dare to be different

Blu

Blu was her name.

She was born in 1965.

She has lived many life stories.

She has had many adventures.

She has a solid core.

She has traveled many miles.

She is ready for new stories.

She ready for new adventures.

She will travel many more miles with me.

Blu is new to me.

Blu is a 1965 Chevy Stepside C10! She is a little weathered but she has aged with grace. She is the oldest car I have ever owned. She is a beautiful shade of powder blue. She is ready to hit the road or the show.

Her last job had her as a photo prop for many families looking for a cute photo setting. I guess the photographer has moved on to a new backdrop. Her loss is my gain. Now Blu is on to bigger and brighter adventures with me.

My first ride with Blu: I had the windows down. Air flowing through the cab as the engine purred. The oversized steering wheel was a blast to use. It somehow just made the ride complete. No need for the radio as I was listening to all the new sounds of the vehicle. 

I rode by the waterfront. Then traveled the back roads. I hit the speed bumps. I idled at the traffic lights. With each traffic stop,  I had some conversations with those admiring her beauty and badassery. It made me giggle a bit but inside I was beaming with pride.

Oh the memories I will make with this vintage vehicle. Definitely checked an item off the bucket list with this purchase.

Beep and wave if you see Blu on the road.

perspective

Doctor Doctor

A not-so-well-known fact about me: I’m a doctor. No, not the kind of doctor that prescribes medications or carries a stethoscope. I’m a doctor of the mind – a PhD. Earned in 2012 in Language and Literacy Education from the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!)

Why do I bring this up? Recently I read an op-ed and surrounding arguments about our incoming First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and whether or not she should own her “Dr.” title. The author raised all kinds of small-minded reasons why she should drop the Dr. title, even calling her “kiddo” at one point, as if her using the title she earned was childish and deserved a patronizing pat on the head. The arguments he made only showed his own shallow thinking and aren’t even worth reviewing here. Still all this made me mad, and also made me reflect on my own title.

I’m not going to bother to defend the work it took to earn my title. Six years, countless courses, teaching, publications, awards, etc. I have an obnoxiously long academic vita that does that. In some ways the PhD is a measure of stubbornness and I earned that through and through. I also won’t argue that all Dr. titles are worth the same. Especially now, when we see even more brightly how health care is heroism, I can’t even begin to equate what I have with what they can do.

What my PhD shows is that I have learned how to think. I have learned how to collect data, analyze it, theorize it, and write about it at length. When I earned that title, I knew that it was one of the few things no one could take away from me. I am one of the two “Drs.” in my building. Maybe it won’t surprise you that a school actually makes a big deal about a doctorate. Yes, my kindergarteners call me Dr. Friese. (Sometimes, with a wink at Southern custom, they call me “Miss Dr. Friese.”) For a while I wondered if the students should use my title or if it really mattered, but now I think it’s good for students to see that thinking is valuable in all areas of life. If they love that kind of advanced-level thinking and intellectual work / play, it can be pursued in countless contexts. Doctoring isn’t just in an office or hospital. We don’t all wear scrubs (and special props to those who do!) The more people see different possibilities, especially kids, the better.

On the flip side, Dr. has its downsides. I can be a total snob about things. I can’t unsee typos on a professional document. I ask too many questions at times, which can lead to the “analysis paralysis,” or being so stuck in overthinking I don’t get anything done. (I’m trying to remedy this with my OLW this year: DO!)

I also know that titles aren’t everything. Several people I know are much smarter than me learning from the school of hard knocks or lessons from in the trenches. I’ll be the first to argue that my classroom smarts doesn’t always help me “in the streets.” I embody the absentminded professor stereotype in many areas of life. Many will make a better living and a happier life taking paths that don’t necessarily lead to titles, certifications, or initials. So a Dr. isn’t everything, but it is something and it was the right challenge for me. Whether it’s initials or just more digits in your bank account, I’ll honor what you have earned.

What bothers me most about how this writer treated Dr. Biden is the tone and the underlying sexism of it all. As if being First Lady should make anything else she does or has done take a back seat. As if prioritizing her work as a highly educated educator is sort of laughable. As if the title conferred by marriage is the one she should favor over the one she earned for thinking, writing, and persisting. How many times have I gotten mail directed to Dr. and Mrs. instead of Mr. and Dr. or even Dr. and Mr.? Why does doctoring default to men? Why should women minimize what they earned when it takes nothing from anyone else? Sometimes I even minimize what I have earned myself, if I let the opinions of others invade my mind and erode my confidence.

When I taught at UGA, my students called me Beth. It was a personal choice and I had my reasons. These days, if someone calls me Mrs. Friese at work, I don’t correct them but my bosses often will if they hear it. Although my interests have taken me elsewhere, all this has revived my thinking about that title, what it means, and what it’s worth. Some might say I don’t use my doctorate, but in many ways I use it daily. I think. I write. I argue. I reason. I plan. I observe. I analyze. Every. Single. Day.

So yes, you may call me doctor. If you don’t, it doesn’t change who I am or what I’ve earned. In the mean time, I won’t waste energy worrying about what you think of me or my title. I’ve got too much to plan and DO to fret over small-minded guys.

business

The Deal

The deal is dead so I guess I can write about it. The deal I wanted to wrap up in 2020 with a pretty bow is in the toilet. Gone just like that.

Instead of celebrating the new deal in my portfolio, I am reviewing how it got squashed. It wasn’t just squashed once. It was squashed many times. Why? No lenders want to take a risk in this particular industry thanks to COVID.

Despite a rocking year of financials and long standing history, the market is considered volatile. This is crazy to me because the housing market is booming. Lenders will lend people money for a $400,000.00 home but they can lose their job just like that. As an entrepreneur you need to make things work, not just collect a paycheck.

For this deal I was willing to bet my blood, sweat and tears on an opportunity that is solid and immediately generating revenue but that’s too risky for the stuffy bankers in their suits and ties. 

This is just an example of what’s wrong with today. It’s okay for me. I have other irons in the fire so I’m going to keep on fighting and maybe revisit that opportunity later. Maybe later I won’t want the deal because I wanted it when others saw the odds were down. I like the underdog shots. The come-from-nowhere wins. The opportunities others will toss to the side because it takes grit to get the outcome desired.

For now I’ll watch. I’ll listen. I’ll soak in the experience. I mean I do say you have get some nos before you get the yes. I also believe in karma, timing and gut feelings.

In my gut I know when the time is right for me, the deal of a lifetime will pass by and I’ll be ready to sink my teeth in. For now I’ll wait. I’ll watch. I’ll learn. I’ll keep putting those coins in the piggy bank so I’m ready when opportunity comes knocking.

Can you say Corona has put up a wall for you in 2020? How did you handle your challenge(s)? What, if anything, are you doing now to be ready for traversing the wall. Hopefully your wall is just temporary like mine.

A new day. A new opportunity to get better. Moving on to greener pastures. A little farewell to bankers. I’ll don’t like government loans anyway. I’d rather start with a $20 bill and see how much I grow it.

Starting something from nothing is far more gratifying but not for the weak. Maybe you now know something about me. I will always be chasing the next version of me.

dare to be different

Change

Change impacts people in many different ways. Many don’t like change. Some fear change. Others crave change. Where do you fall in the mix?

For me, I crave change. I like variables. I dislike the hamster wheel feeling. Running in circles with no end in sight. I enjoy challenges that come with change. The unknown. What’s around the corner. How will I react?

Amidst a change in ownership at my gym, I learned my daughter doesn’t like change. What an irony since we have been living in constant change almost the entire year thanks to the pandemic. She said she likes things just the way they are. She doesn’t like to change the paint on the walls. She doesn’t like to move things from one side to another. To test this theory, I asked her to change bedrooms with me. She thought about it. She seriously contemplated. Can I have your bathroom too? Yes. She debated. The final answer is no that’s too much change! I will be missing this. I would need to do this different. The list went on. It was all the negatives and no positives.

I learned a lot during this process about her and how I can help her adapt to the change she faces in school due to the pandemic and other unexpected scenarios. I also learned that I again love change and thrive at even thought of changing rooms. The excitement was in the air. Would I like the new environment? How would I change the layout. What fuels me, panics her. 

Are you the type to live in the same house for 50 years because you don’t like change? Is it the inconvenience of change or the stress of change? Since some may fear change is that the same as not liking change? I don’t think so. Some truly fear change and get anxiety over change. While others just don’t like change as it’s uncomfortable or just an inconvenience. An annoying interference in your normal life.

Are you the type to keep the same job through retirement because making new friends and adapting to new environments is too uncomfortable?

How many kids struggle with change if their parents move because of the unknown?

The sooner you test your tolerance to change the better. Knowing where you stand is important. Knowing how to adapt or help others around you see the positives of change. Especially when change can strike without notice forcing you to learn a new skill or may mean new friends. Changing environments or scenery may be just what the doctor ordered for your life.  

Can you adapt or pivot if you got laid off from work or would you fall into a dark space? This is a change many can’t predict. Happiness is a choice. Choose happy. Where you are today is sort of tomorrow’s history lesson. You can visit the history at any time but change is in front for you. A forward progression. You chart your path ahead when you embrace change. You already know what history gave you, why not see what change brings to your future?

Thought post #1121. Hope you are enjoying your new year.

healthy hacks

Same But Different

I was on a podcast kick for a while. Then, as it happens with many things, I got burnt out on it. Many of them started to get repetitive. Still, I do a lot of driving and sometimes music doesn’t cut it. If there isn’t anyone to talk to, a podcast is worth a try.

I thought I would try to freshen up my podcast listening library. I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health lately…my own mental health as well as the mental health of my friends, my students, my family, even society at large. So Gretchen Rubin’s Happier Podcast seemed worth a shot by name alone.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span is shorter these days than it used to be…or at least it feels that way. Maybe it’s covid fatigue. Who knows. So short little tips are much more useful to me than long drawn-out explanations.

The happiness tip / healthy hack she gave at the beginning of the podcast was to do something familiar in a new way. Novelty amuses the human brain. We like to do new things. So doing something we already enjoy and adding a twist can light up the happiness spots in our brain. The hosts mention doing familiar activities at different times of day or with different people (or alone.) So go on a hike in the afternoon instead of the morning. Or go to a restaurant by yourself instead of with family. Change it up.

This seems both more challenging and more necessary during the pandemic. So many of us are very closed in, even locked down, to routines and schedules. I feel the doldrums of routines at work and even at home to some extent. For me, it might be riding my bike outside in the afternoon instead of the stationary bike at the gym in the early morning. Maybe have a hot drink in the afternoon instead of just the morning. A different scent of candle of lotion? Extra walk in the evening? Breakfast for dinner? Who knows. Take a new trail. I’ve often heard that changing up our routines can keep our brains nimble. Maybe this is a related perk.

What are some things you can do that are the same but different? What happiness hacks do you use in these challenging times? Share in the comments.