celebrations

That Time of Year

Graduations. Awards ceremonies. End of year gatherings. Oh how fortunate one feels to be in public this year celebrating others. A gift of sorts. Really it is if you compare it to what others missed in 2020.

For me I’m selfishly excited. First I’m happy to celebrate others. Next to celebrate being able to celebrate at all. And finally to secretly honor those who missed their chance last year. The chance they can’t get back as time has moved on.

As we celebrate in any fashion this year let’s think of those who missed out last year. Some missed graduation. Others missed a normal funeral to honor a loved one lost. Many missed their wedding day. Some missed a big award day they waited many years to be a part of. Maybe even a final season of one’s sports team was missed. 

This year I went to a graduation. It was masked. It was socially distanced. It was different. But I was able to participate and celebrate the graduate. I didn’t take that lightly this year. While waiting I had many thoughts or reflections. It’s was an eye-opening experience in many ways. An awakening.

I went to a college signing event this year. I listened to the stories. The athletes who sustained season ending injuries in 2019 causing pain and rehabilitation to prepare for 2020 seasons only to have a pandemic hit. Only to emerge in 2021 to rise again and overcome. I would have missed these stories as they are not in the headlines yet deserve a spotlight as do the other untold stories. I may cheer in silence but I’m celebrating all who missed that opportunity for whatever reason I’m 2020. 

This experience also gave me a whole new level of understanding for playing like there is no tomorrow. Every game is like your last. Leave it all on the line. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed on or off the field.

Now that we are in 2021 and restrictions are lifted I seem to be on the go. Go here go there. Do I complain about being busy? Yes. Would I want to be in isolation? Heck no! I do however need to be able to pause and make sure I don’t miss celebrating others due to my busy schedule. For the reasons I noted above, others need the chance to celebrate in 2021 because so much was missed in 2020.

I may have too many graduations to make them all but I will send that card. Send that text. Make that call. It’s an important step in 2021. For all those virtually reading this I’m sending you a celebratory high five if you are in need of celebrating. For those of you who have the opportunity to celebrate a milestone in 2021, make it a point to honor others.

It feels good to celebrate others. If you have somebody in your life who missed something big in 2020, send them a follow up this year. A card. A note. A call. A secondary celebration for making it a great year despite the blah of 2020. Why not? We have so many have-tos in life why not just do something different. 

giving

Life

A big sigh. A deep and hearty breath was expelled. A yawn. Another big sigh. A controlled exhale.

Here I am before bed. In my super comfy pjs. It’s late on a Friday night. No big plans on the calendar tonight as it’s been a long week. My adorable fluffy dog at my feet. The most loyal companion that ever did live. She missed me today. I had a Zoom call that took me away from her for a good bit midday and an errand in the afternoon. She missed me terribly. Oh, and I missed her too. Guilty as charged. All is good as we wind down for the evening. We are reunited and calm because we have each other. Just being present is what matters. Just being present. 

When one is present there is no worry. No anxiety. No stress. No silence. No wondering when one will be back. A calm. A reassurance. A beautifully peaceful place in time. Can you picture this in your mind?

As we have each other I think of many who miss loved ones or miss out on true connections or companionships. Life happens. Life isn’t always a bed of roses. I wish it was but there are more thorny paths in life than I care to share. However I will always find ways to shift to positivity in life.

I’m currently working with a person who is single raising a young child. This person is amazing in so many ways and is doing the best for their child. Sometimes the two that make the miracle end up being better apart. In this case it’s definitely for the best for many reasons.  As the single parent/child duo emerged from the thorny road they travelled for too long, the puzzle pieces were left scattered. Not just on a table. Literally scattered to the point one had to search high and low for the pieces to put them back together. This is life for them. Many twists, turns and more thorns. 

Unfortunately, a cheering squad is missing as they out the life puzzle back together. Maybe it’s the ex’s side who fails to show up for visits today. Maybe it’s the temporary accommodations at night.  Maybe it’s just the lonely road of single parenting another day. Maybe is the constant juggling act with school shutdowns and balancing work/home all by oneself thanks to Corona. Maybe it’s missing the parental figure that was lost before the grandchild arrived. So many obstacles. So little support. Or so it seems to the one carrying the heavy load.

Fortunately I am there. Jumping up and down, cheering from a far, offering a listening ear, and so much more. Today more than ever I recognize people need people. In many different ways at different times. Companionship, trust, love, loyalty and overall presence. It seems simple in concept but many miss opportunities be present for others. The chance to be present in life. Or be a present to that person in need.

For me, I feel the universe whispers to me at times. The special times when certain people around me need to have a friend. A support. An outsider looking in. A new perspective. An unbiased party. I am to others what my dog is to me. I may not be all snuggly, cute and fluffy but I’m purposeful in my undivided attention to the needs of others.

My dog is purposeful in her loyalty to me. She recognizes I care for her. I support her. Much like a child relies on a parent. A parent needs support at times as well. In the case above I mentioned the single parent scenario. Another scenario may be an aging parent who needs the support of their adult child. The support that is just being present. No parent wants to feel like they are a burden.

Do you have a friend to family member you could do a better job being present for? Why not make present and see how much that gift is appreciated?

author moments

New Year New Fun

As the new year is upon us, I like to review. For me I took a random look at my blog content for 2020. I reached out and pulled up 3 random postings. Now I will reflect on my review of this in a snapshot since so much change was upon the world in 2020.

Daydreaming 8/26/20

Ah the day dream post. I admire Sara Blakely from afar. If I happen to be on LinkedIn I may catch a daily dose of her sass and awesomeness. I may catch a photo of the vibe in her office from the acquaintance I know who works there. It’s a great glimpse into the dynamic work / life balance of a positive woman in business. Not to mention she has amazing coffee cup poses. Details matter. Not only is she thriving during the pandemic she is still inspiring through her Red Backpack Grant program. Amazing work!

This reflection reminds me to always dream. Always be looking to what’s possible on the horizon. How to be fresh when all else seems ordinary.

This year I drifted to daydream about growth. It’s a widely casted net but it has thus far provided amazing opportunities. Just dream it. Just keep dreaming!

Gift of Words 12/23/20

I read this post and reread it several times. A different view or vantage point as this task pulled random posts.

My two cents is what an amazing post. Just what many needed to read about. However, I thought about words in written form vs. words spoken. How much are people missing that spoken connection?

I used to think we needed to have the verbal interaction however since the world has been digital I see how some deal without those words everyday. Those who are deaf can’t hear the word but they rely on sign language and reading lips. If they already weren’t dealt a raw hand with being deaf, now they have to deal with masks. That may take communication away for those people. Or does it?

We have text. Generally speaking before the pandemic I thought texting was lazy. A way to hide and not face people in person. I never considered the shy person or the person with anxiety who struggles in speaking publicly. Texting is a communication outlet. It’s an option for those who can’t read lips now. 

What about the slow thinkers? They can craft their words in written form until they see perfection vs. having diarrhea of the mouth. These things never carried much weight for me before the pandemic. I thought about you can’t hear emotion. You can’t hear tone. Too much room for misinterpretation. How I missed the big picture.

The gift of words can be spoken, written by hand, texted and any other form some may use of other digital form such as photos, Bitmoji, or icons. Just another slant on the gift of words as I reflect.

One can be capable of reading emotion, intention, pain if they listen to the words in a text vs. focus on the written word in isolation. 

Oops I Did It 9/19/20

Well this is such a funny recap today of all days. It’s about my shoe fetish and my special edition Nike metcons I bought this year. 

I love them to this day. One of my favorite shoe purchases to date. They always get a second look. Some think I have on two different shoes. Nope, but I have done that before. Others think they are custom. Nope. They are a mashups of the year’s hits.

Complex, colorful and just badass. Not made for the basic person. Made for those bold enough to strut around in them. I just love them.

But the real irony is earlier today I was on the nike.com website designing a new pair of custom shoes. I wanted a new pair to launch the new year and nothing on the shelf jumped out at me. That meant I needed to design a bold pair. I have an upcoming competition and definitely need some new shoes to celebrate my competition.

There they are. Check out the colors and the bold design. Dr. Seuss said why fit in when you were born to stand out? I’m choosing to ring in the new year with some flair on my feet. I probably need them to run, jump, bounce and leap around all the obstacles. They will still be lurking as I try to launch an amazing year.

This little reflection exercise was fun and spontaneous. I think I’ll make it an annual project. I hope you can find something fun in your life to do like I just did. 

friendship, giving

Listen Up!

I often talk about active listening skills in professional settings. I often challenge many participants (especially males) in those environments to engage in activities that test their ability to actively listen.

It may not be every male who can’t listen but it is definitely a higher number than women by far. I often think about the why of this…

Listening is the greatest gift you can give to another human. Anyone can give quick advice when somebody has a problem but those who are actively listening can hear your emotion, feel your pain and generally connect with you. Listening takes time. Listening requires one to be patient.

When I think of my own life and frustrations, I think of how my spouse doesn’t listen a lot of time. Doesn’t engage or empathize with anyone who has an issue or struggle. This makes me think back to something my mom taught me at a young age. Never pass judgment on somebody until you have walked a day in their shoes.

In order to be supportive or helpful one has to be willing to set their own feelings to the side, get down on your level, listen and really relate to your issues or struggles. This doesn’t even have to occur face to face!

If you are struggling and you text your life partner, one would hope they could read your words and really listen to your hurt. Unfortunately, I have seen first hand that many close to me are grossly incapable of doing this. 

I think this honestly comes down to their inability to get down on your level. Feel the hurt. It’s a lack of genuineness. Ask yourself, who do your reach out to when you need to talk? Is it your mom? Your best friend? Your sibling? Your spouse? Who?

Then ask yourself who will listen to you when you feel troubled? Is it the same person? Maybe it’s more than one person. The point is you are never going to reach out to the person who lectures you, passes judgment on you, or just brushes you off.

In order to be a better listener you need to give of yourself. You need to put the phone down and listen to the person in front of you. Maybe you need to stop playing a video game to read the words of a loved one.

Today more than ever our words are powerful. In today’s digital world words are a big way of communicating. Sending a note of praise. Sending a text of good will. Even sending an emoji with a smile is positive communication. We are all capable but not everyone does it.
Positive communication opens the door for building trust. One day somebody may need you. They may need you to hear or read their words. They may need you when they are struggling.

If you are not capable of using your active listening skills you may never hear or read those words. It’s unfortunate that many I know struggle in this area. This why I am opting to write this post.

If one person can make a change based on this blog, I feel like I have made an impact. Listen up. Turn on your antennas. Today’s world is hectic and crazy. We are all busy. We are all trapped in a digital world. But we are all capable of listening to words spoken or words written or even emailed / texted if we just slow down, pause and think about what another is saying. 

Remember “tell me more” offers the one person with words hope that somebody is there to listen to them. Offering hope is free.

I know I am making it a point to listen more listen to all around me and I encourage you to do the same. It’s a new year. Why not make it a goal to be a better listener?

Listen up!

mental health

Kindness

In the past week I have seen kindness in many shapes and forms. Each instance was in plain sight. Could everyone see the kindness? Would anyone react and create their own kindness towards others?

Some interesting questions I asked myself. Instead of wondering about the potential domino effect of kindness that could happen, I decided I should write a blog about kindness hoping kindness would be multiplied around the world.

Today some friends went caroling for the holidays. They visited a few sweet elderly ladies. One was struggling after the loss of a spouse of a lifetime. The other battles dementia. The music lifted their spirits. No matter if it was lifted for seconds, minutes or hours. The kindness lifted spirits of those who needed it most. Examples like this show me that hope is still alive today. 

Last week I witnessed an elementary-age school girl who wanted to raise money to buy kids toys for Christmas who were less fortunate. She drew hundreds of pictures and her parents helped her sell a digital copy of her art to buy the toys. So many toys were bought. This little girl’s kindness will make the holidays extra special for so many children. In addition she restored hope in many via the internet of goodness in the air. What an amazing story to share. 

Then there is the kindness in friendships. I am so lucky to have friends who are always there to support you when you need them most. The friends who help you in tough times but also celebrate with you in good times. Kindness and friendship work together in unison. 

In a world of chaos why not be kind? Kindness matters. Please read this short post and think of how you can offer kindness in your area. How can you support the elderly? How can you volunteer at a food pantry? How can you help guide somebody who is struggling? Think kindness today. Set a resolution for kindness in 2021 and every year thereafter.  

Be purposeful. Be intentional. Spread kindness like you would spread butter on bread. Offering kindness is free!