awareness, perspective

Struggles

Everyone has struggles in life. Some dwell on them while other move past them. Sometimes struggles are magnified and lead to homelessness. Maybe not any one reason gets that person to such a state but there is a homeless population.

Some have drug and alcohol riddled backgrounds. Others may have some bad luck and financial woes. There may even be criminals lurking to hide out. Whatever the case they are human beings living through a struggle of life.

This past week I visited a homeless shelter. It was a big one and I came around the time where many were loitering outside in the cold. I stuck out like a sore thumb. I was a dressed in business attire for my work- related visit. How I felt the pit in my stomach as I strutted by those not as fortunate as me.

I heard comments about my shoes, my jacket and so on. It was a humbling experience before I even got in the door. Once I got in the building I had to clear the metal detector and other safety measures. Something I didn’t even think was needed but that shows you how naive I am.

The lobby was full of a diverse group of people. I could share my mental picture in this post however I’m opting to keep it to myself as I think many need to experience a visit for themselves to appreciate what they have and offer kindness to others.

I was escorted to the second floor on this day. I was meeting with 50 men working to better themselves through a residential program. Each had their own stories and struggles that they will soon overcome. Each was blessed to be in the program. Each was making strides today for a better tomorrow.

It was a great experience. I met some people who may not have otherwise crossed my path. My experience gave me many things to think about.

How many will graduate the program?

How many will relapse?

How many will end up in jail?

How many will not live to tell their story?

How many will help others?

How many people don’t ever get the chance to spend time with people who are trying to better themselves, to go from hopeless to hopeful? 

I will never know the answers to these questions. What I will know is I worked to improve communities today. I was kind. I extended an olive branch to others. I provide valuable information to others and my hope is that at just one received my message. The point of this post is just one. Just one person can make a difference. Just one person impacted can then make another difference. The domino effect impacts positive change. Positive actions are free. We all have the ability to offer hope and kindness to others less fortunate than us.

Never lose sight of who you are, where you came from, your life struggles and how you can impact others. I share my story today to help anyone near or far who needs hope. 

dare to be different

21 Odd Things

Going into 2021 I thought I’d jot down 21 odd things about me. Hoping to have people play along and send in 21 odd things about themselves.

1 – I like peanuts but not peanut butter.

2 – I eat cherry tomatoes but not tomato slices unless they are fried and green.

3 – I like chunk white tuna from a pouch but every other kind of tuna is gross to me.

4 – I like roller coasters that are short and winding but not the ones that have a steep drop that leave my tummy in an uproar.

5 – I like to drink from a plastic straw but hate to use a paper straw.

6 – My workout socks matter. They have to be just the right fit, matched and no holes.

7 – I like to put chalk on my hands at the gym and put the hand prints on the nearest black pants that somebody is wearing.

8 – I also like to use chalk when doing a lot of burpees to decorate the floor and show that I did a lot when I’m done. Very gratifying.

9 – I like to meet new people and ask questions to learn about them but it could be unnerving to others.

10 – I am always planning my next tattoo.

11 – When I order my coffee at a restaurant for breakfast I only order 1/2 cup. The other half is normally for creamer!

12 – When I order an omelette I ask for a sprinkle of shredded cheese. I don’t like a big blob.

13 – I am somebody’s safe word.

14 – I post a lot of pictures online or more so than many my age or so my kids say.

15 – I like to wear different shoes for different kinds of workouts.

16 – I change outfits more than once at a competition.

17 – I order my nuggets extra crispy at Chick-Fil-A. Some people don’t even know it’s an option.

18 – I like thin chicken breasts not plump chicken breasts.

19 – I like soft cooked carrots but not hard carrots.

20 – I use many notebooks for many different tasks and ideas.

21 – I like to drink Shirley Temples and I like extra cherries.

It took a minute to think of 21 and I might have asked a few close friends for help. It was fun to think about.

This was a good way to end 2020 and all its weirdness. We all have our own weirdness about us. Now go make your list. Be bold and share it.

adventure

91 On Board

My little weekend escape is over or almost over. This afternoon I was on the back of the plane which allowed me to hear the count and recount of passengers manually by the crew before take off. 91 on board. Confirmed 91 on board by the second attendant.

That led me in my idle time on the plane to calculate the percentage occupied to available. Just over 63% was occupied on this flight. I think that’s an upward tick compared to some previous months of hard times for the airlines. How long can airlines hold on with diminished capacity?

I was flying Southwest as mentioned in a previous post. Group boarding but one seat open in between each passenger unless people are family. Another friend was on Delta with the same open seat strategy which I observed on my last Delta flight. Delta includes sanitizing wipes in the on-board sacks. Another was on Spirit and oddly enough there was no breaks in seats and the plane was more full according to a friend. Interesting how each airline adopts their own plans relating to safety and profit.

The airport seemed busy enough on my return leg but not packed. I again enjoyed the people watching aspect including the two women with shower caps, masks and chemistry- type goggles that I saw in line at Starbucks. I really wanted a picture for this post but I couldn’t bring myself to snapping it.

Just another day in the air for this girl. Surprisingly I was super relaxed and just observing for my pre-flight wait, my actual time in air and as I moseyed on out of the airport for the day.

Time to get back into the swing of life for a few days before traveling again. Figuring out my end of year travels. Have to wrap up the cruddy year of 2020 where I seemed firmly planted most days on the homestead. Off to adventure more.

Stay tuned to see where I land next…

adventure

Up, Up and Away

Today I flew on a plane for the second time since March 2020. The first time was in May for a funeral when many cities were still in shutdown mode. I thought that was an interesting experience back then and I’m sure I documented it but since I was probably numb from the loss of a loved one I didn’t observe everything I could have.

That first flight interaction was new and seemed different. Wearing a mask. Socially distancing. So many rules yet this time was even more of a drastic change. Plastic dividers in the security check line. Masks, gloves, social distancing signs everywhere. Nobody says anything to you. Nobody sits near you in the waiting area. Many restaurants and bars are boarded up in the concourse. Desolate in certain areas.

And if somebody moved off their 6-foot dot in error boy did eyebrows flare in lines. Many may not realize how expressive eyes can be. When masks are on everyone’s eyes are even more fierce. I can see sad eyes, stressed eyes, tired eyes and even angry eyes. 

I made the best of my travels. I enjoyed the extra space on the plane itself. I overly enjoyed the people watching as I usually do, but this time I seemed to really savor the experience.

It started in the parking lot when an interesting person chatted it up about parking fees. Then we entered into baggage claim where apparently somebody was returning from the tropics and pretty much left their bathing suit on (it was not visibly pleasing). Then at checkin there was a gentleman with super cool pants that he must have designed himself. A mix match of patterns that flowed nicely in such a clever way. I was jealous.

Moving on to the security check and here I focused on masks. Who was wearing what mask and what did the mask tell me about said person. It was almost a game of sorts with myself in the line. Of course I will never really know if I was right or wrong but I sure did pass time and enjoyed being curious.

Then onto the security scanner which I had to go through multiple times. I didn’t wear the right slip-on shoes so it was a lace up lace down task on repeat for this girl. At least I wasn’t the only one. Every time I had put my shoes on waiting for my bag only to find out I had to go back through and that required shoes on/off. Maybe they should say hold up wait for your bag before you put on your shoes. Then a moment of panic keeping up with my cell phone as I ran back and forth. My everything is online from the airplane ticket to the car rental to the no-touch hotel checkin. Help, I need my phone!

Then the escalator and transit system to the gate. Here I was asked for directions. Puzzling since the signs were in abundance but maybe he couldn’t read. Anyway I had a skull mask on so my travel buddy said geez you look like the least approachable person with that mask yet you have been approached twice. Pretty funny to me but maybe my eyes said I’m nice? Who knows.

At the end of my travels, I can say I had fun. A field trip of sorts. I got to see more people in one place than I have seen all year. It was a wonderful occasion. I wasn’t really excited to fly with the recent outbreak of cases but I enjoyed the experience nonetheless.

I love people. I love conversation. I love to watch how things flow. I like to see new places. I just like to explore and that’s what I’m doing. Exploring the new world through my lens and that’s why I’m writing this post.

In case you can’t get out to explore maybe this blog post will show you to do so in spirit with me. I share my lens with you. Enjoy!

perspective

Passing Time in Class

A short time ago in reality but in my mind it seems like years ago, I was in a multi-day professional training. Attire was casual but attention to learning was expected. I had an open mind as day one began. Seems funny to recap this now since most people are stuck inside 24/7 these days.

Commuter time was long and exhausting for many but some had hotels with no commute. A luxury many of us actually miss today (traffic/people/hotels). Coffee was served until 10 am to spark the day but nothing after lunch. How would this impact the audience? Would limiting caffeine hinder learning or attentiveness? Another reminder of how much I miss coffee dates with friends, sigh.

A couple of the speakers were slow in getting their concept across or ill-prepared at times. Unfortunately that seems to make time move at a turtle’s pace for many, myself included. When time seems to stand still for me my mind wanders. I people watch. When time slows in the afternoon the overall audience aura changes. I especially enjoy people watching during and after the shift. I wonder if people carb loaded at lunch or if the lack of caffeine caused their shift.

As day one ended I noticed a gal using play doh in another row. I thought it was odd then saw another doing it. I was ever so curious so I asked what the significance was and both said stress relief and ability to concentrate is the motivation. Okay I can buy into that I said to myself and moved on.

Next day it was a couple different people this time with coloring books. One had felt tip markers, one colored pencils and another crayons. By the next day the color sheets seemed more elaborate as well. I wasn’t in shock rather I thought if I was the presenter I might reevaluate my performance, that I wasn’t being engaging or there was too much idle time built into the day. Neither seemed apparent to the presenter.

The next day I noticed a woman knitting. Not just knitting a cap for a baby this was a full blown scarf or blanket of sorts. At this point I seem flabbergasted. How would I feel as the presenter? Shocked that the focus was not on the presenter and the content he/she was supposed to present. Then I saw the neon stress ball group in the back row. Then the smackers who used food to soothe their environmental stresses.

Using tools of soothing was normal behavior in this class group. I have doodled in the past in trainings and school in general but have never taken these more extreme measures. Or are they extreme? If my kid used this strategy in high school or middle school would it be an acceptable concentration method? Would a teacher be offended? Would the concession be allowed or would it cause chaos among other students?

Is this a new trend? Am I old? How would this culture affect you as a trainer? I neglected to mention there was also the classic person who nodded off but we had a full-fledged snorer on day 4 after lunch. Might have been my favorite to watch from a distance.

In a world of videos, I wouldn’t envy the person sleeping as it might be sent digitally to their big boss. Just food for thought. For me I will stick to my old school training and try my darnedest to pay attention in this type of formal training. Mostly out of respect to the person conducting the training as the content may be difficult to present at times.

No matter what your perspective is, I applaud bold folks for taking initiative to calm their minds and nerves to enable themselves to focus and realign as needed to be successful in their environment. As a footnote to this paragraph: I wrote this weeks before the corona pandemic. I had no idea how it would totally come full circle as I sit in my own home on lockdown. A time out from life.

This is clearly my observation post. Maybe you are a stress ball person or maybe a coloring book type. Whatever your stress relief I applaud you. Don’t mind the people watchers like me. My tool is observing my environment. Assessing the whos, the whats, the whys and so on.

Thankfully my in service training has come and gone so I can get back to my routines being routine and keep my people watching distractions to a minimum especially while
in isolation. It is again an irony that I initially wrote this post pre-corona yet it’s applicable to life today. No routines, keeping my distance, and of course limiting my
people watching because I’m on lockdown.

It’s also apparent that in these crazy times people of all ages and mindsets need refreshing and new ideas to comfort them and shift their focus. I chose to take a long bike ride today. I enjoyed the crisp fresh air. I listened to the peaceful sounds around me.

Knitting may be your thing or maybe it’s playing cards or playing video games. Find your niche and get your groove on when you need to. This blog post was written sometime during the self-quarantine phase of the great corona virus 2020.

While in quarantine I have resorted to coloring my driveway with sidewalk chalk and chalk paint. I have blown many bubbles with those super size bubble blowers. I planted flowers and even a few trees. I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned more times than I can think. I colored. I sent care packages by mail. I binged watched Netflix more than I should have. I’m sure some of these idea came from my people watching time in the past. And the list continues….

Drop me a note to let me know what you have been up to in isolation.