celebrations, challenges

The Last Hoorah

Every year I take a glance back at that year I’m in around October first. I celebrate. I reminisce. I shake my head. Then I say boom this is what I’m going to accomplish for the remaining days of the year and here is how I’m going to set myself up for success in the upcoming year.

This year is a little different. When I look back I sigh. I celebrate all that has been endured. I shake my head at the insanity. I high five myself for conquering fears and trying new things. I reminisce on this and that. I sigh again and say when is this year over. The shit show has been constantly flowing all damn year. I looked forward to 2022 but now that it’s here I think okay it’s time to go and hit 2023 ever so fast.

Three loose ends dangling in the air. I have to be in limbo until each gets sorted out. Each has its own set of complexities, costs, consequences, and of course risks. The end of year trips are less than exciting. More have to’s than want to’s. Family away for the holidays. I seem to be missing the wow factor to finish out the year. Maybe it’s a new kind shit show that hasn’t hit my radar yet, but hopefully not.

As I take out that calendar for 2023 I see some blah on the horizon in January. A roadblock to maneuver in February. A pivotal decision in March. What I don’t see is the break in the chaos. I see higher expectations. I envision bigger shoes to fill. And then there is taxes. Another thing I love to hate come April.

I guess 2022 didn’t wow me. I’m thinking 2023 won’t wow me as I’ll be recovering from a 2022 hangover. I’m going to have to find some creative mechanism to help shovel the shit for the year ahead because it still looks like shit is going to be around me in droves. Maybe that is just the hint of manure I smell at the farm? As I revisited the post as I do all my writings I thought to myself I don’t really need to post this rant but that’s exactly why I do.

When I began this post I was wallowing in the pitiful mess of life. However reading, revisiting and revising was very beneficial for me. Not only the writing but in life. I allowed myself to be reviewed. I made note of some things I could control and jumped on them.

I added a little sunshine to my end of year. I put a little hope on the horizon. I said no to something I really wanted to show self discipline. As an added bonus others around me became inspired in ways I didn’t see coming. Actions have meanings. We may not always know what or why at the beginning but in the end if you are open to growth you can see. Funny how life works.

In a short 24 hours I saw motivation, action, desire, support, and those around took notice. You do become what you surround yourself with: your environment. Your people. Your motivation. Your success. Each hinges on the other. My final note to you is simple:

Step away. Do something spontaneous. Enjoy the moment. Everything will still be there when you return. You just might see things a little differently to endure the shit show for longer or maybe even find a way out of the rabbit hole.

adventure

Here We Go Again

On the road again. And again. And for a third time because it’s a charm, right?

Northern tip of Florida is stop one from northern tip of Georgia. Just a couple of days for business trip #1. Off to coastal Georgia for a conference. A picturesque landscape but one you won’t enjoy as your schedule consists of inside time spread across a hotel campus for days. Stuffy dress up clothes. Limited outside time. Lack of normal routine. No time to get cozy. Time to head northwest to the land of orange, also known as Tennessee. Stop #3 for next set of business tasks not too far past the Honky Tonk of Nashville. But again not a fun trip just boring business to do’s. 

Three states. Three different business obligations. Seven days on the road, again. I had settled back into my routine after my summer road show of travel.  Now it’s time to hit some other spots even if all business and no pleasure. I suppose money makes the world go round; this girl is off to work to support herself.

First segment on the road was eventful. Major rain storms popped up at random limiting visibility. Minor to major accidents galore. So many cars turned the wrong way after crashes. Ambulances. Fire trucks. Police. I was complaining about delays at first then I realized the delays prevented me from being caught up in the multiple wrecks. How I came to realize I dodged some major bullets on that segment.

The drive was enough for my nerves until I was notified of a boil water advisory upon check in at the hotel. Bottled water only. I had never had this experience at a hotel. Many adjustments only to find all nearby establishments were closed for this reason. No coffee in the morning after a rough evening of travel was not on my agenda for the day. Gas station grapes and crackers for the win on this fine morning. The day didn’t get much better. Restaurants served soda from cans. No water for consumption. The frills we take for granted.

I should have made the water advisory it’s own post as there were so many situations that popped up that made for good stories. On this bright sunny morning, I am enjoying my coffee. Boiled water over 180 degrees according to the server. At this point I don’t care. I’m just happy to have my rocket fuel to start my day. The coast is calling my name at this point in time. Hoping the water is usable on stop two. Fingers crossed. 

Highlight of trip two was a good meal On the coast. Snow country boil was the name. A combination of shrimp, sausage, corn, and snow crabs. A little twist on a favorite meal thanks to the add of the snow crabs. I was extra full that night but it was all delicious.

The highlight for trip three was really a lowlight. A rude awakening of sorts. A meltdown of my mind and spirit. Too much. Too fast. Too tired. All leads to emotional weakness. I caved at the end of the day on my drive. My broken spirit was obvious. That led to overall sadness. I attribute the negative emotions to the last meeting. A shit show in my mind. A train wreck from the get go.

As I rejuvenate my spirit and my mind, I am opting for some physical fitness to get my mind going. Tennis was the sport of choice. Then after a match some crumbl cookies were in order to signify my crumbling the day before. Symbolic in one way and a splurge in another. For today I have some peace as I move forward in a slightly different direction.

Thankfully a long weekend is backing up to this 3 state road trip. Eeek. There are events on the calendar. I guess it was a good thing I flipped my calendar to see what was ahead. Preparations are a must. Hoping to catch my breath on this long weekend before the fall chaos of more travel hits. A spa day would be the perfect match for that extra day off but at the same time doing nothing but watching Netflix in my pjs will probably win.

As I think about the hectic travel schedule I take a deep breath and remind my of my fortune of being able to travel. To see new places. To meet new people. These benefits far outweigh the stress involved in traveling and twisting to get everything done. Palm trees always seem to make you feel like you are on vacation and I saw lots of palm trees in stage one of this trip and two. Maybe that’s why stage three was a dud. No palm trees. Celebrate the small wins in life. Sunshine is never really far off and eat crumbl cookies when your life feels like it’s crumbling. 

These days all seem busy but somehow we manage. Or maybe we aren’t managing at all. Maybe we are just surviving while others are thriving. As I wrote today, I’m sitting outside enjoying the cool breeze before a small storm sets in. The calm before the storm. As I’m reflecting I giggle a little knowing how many blogs I wrote this year about traveling adventures. Funny how life just fuels content most days.

Until next time, enjoy your day and thanks for keeping up with our blog.

awareness, challenges

My World Erupted

Shaken to the core.

Abruptly awaken.

All seemed taken.

I blinked. I sighed. I swallowed my pride.

One lonely night a medical emergency hit home. The challenges that go with this situation are taxing to say the least. This wasn’t about me, but it spiraled around me. Time spiraled to the east. Memories spiraled to the west. What if scenarios spiraled to the south. Family spiraled up north. The spirals met and formed a chaos cyclone. A circus show in my brain. Who? What? Where? When? Why? Oh my!

Amidst the chaos another lingering shit show keeps rearing its ugly head. Unfortunately, this one is a one and done meaning the gas tank is empty when it comes to help or support. No mental energy. No funds to spare. No support to give as it all falls to the wayside. The taker in life. The taker in my life. The mental strength it takes to keep the takers at bay is not for the weak. A wall of sorts is built. Carefully crafted to shield all my loved ones from the mayhem. Managing this on top of life and unplanned medical challenges is just wow. No words to really describe today. The now.

When I breathe deeply and let it settle in another blow strikes. This one is hard. Straight to the gut. Straight to the heart. Straight to the mind. All the feels. All at once. The pressure is intense. Every calming mechanism is put into play. Repeatedly.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup. 

One would think I just played a hard core tennis match, but I didn’t. It was just life. The uncertainty of life. The unplanned chaos that can ensue without notice. Sure there are worse scenarios, but in that moment my life was in disarray. It’s seems unforgiving. Relentless forces striking at once. Repeatedly.

Life is full of wonder. Life is full of surprises. Life is full of happy, sad, ugly, fear and so much more. Life is about living and living means shit happens. When life throws the shit show your way, it’s up to you to see the perspective. Don’t crumble. Don’t let fear stand in your way. Live through the turmoil. Learn from mistakes. Find opportunities in the chaos. Fight for you. Fight for those around you.

Bend. Flex. Shift. Rebound. Reset. React. Refresh. Think. Act. Recoup.

Do it as many times as you need to. Be relentless. Be daring. 

change

Change #3,454

It’s early February and I think I just hit change 3,454 for this year. It might not always be change I contributed to. It could be change that impacts me. Maybe even change that hits somebody close to me.

I’ve written about change a few times over the years. One was a thought post about how much I like change back in 2020. Seems so long ago as it was pre-pandemic which is like 5 million changes ago, but who’s counting?

My desire and love of change is ongoing.  Change still holds true today, but I have decided that the changes I like more are full disclosure changes vs hidden changes. For instance if somebody was to be fired in a workplace, I could cope and adjust to said change but I would prefer to know it’s about to happen vs watching it unfold unexpectedly.

If my favorite coffee shop was closing its doors for business I could adapt and go elsewhere but I might want to wish my favorite barista good luck. This means I wouldn’t appreciate the move-out-in-the-middle-of-the-night option. I prefer the sign on the window that says “last day is Saturday.” Now the world isn’t perfect which means I may expect too much of others and how open they may be about sharing the news of change vs fearing the change itself.

Nowadays I have a beef with Starbucks. One location in particular likes to put a hand written not up on the drive through stating closed catch you tomorrow at odd times on random days. This irks me. An unplanned change. Something I didn’t account for nor that I can control. Without notice. Over the last several months my dislike of changes in this fashion irritate me more and more. I cope with change and my irritation subsides however I wonder how many others are bothered in the same way about change. 

My gym changes ownership not once but twice in a short period of time. Out with the old. In with the new. Change everywhere. The paint on the wall. The people in the four walls. A new fresh outlook, cool. Did I suspect change was on the horizon? Absolutely. Will the environment change? Most likely. Will the rules change? Probably. Will the name change? Yes. The list goes on. None of these pieces of change are directed by me but the impact is front and center. For me. For my sweat mates. For many, including the new and old owners. Time is needed for all to adjust. A period of grace for a transition. 

Out with the old or what was new. I’m with the new which was old. So crazy how change goes back and forth and sometimes back again. This is so my life. Front and center. Reaching for growth within the change. At least that’s what I hope change brings for others as it should me.

You see I learn as change surrounds me. From the whispers of those who don’t like change to the trailblazers who force change. For change is really the only constant in life. The days of the week change. The hours or minutes of a day are ever changing. The weather changes. Moods change. 

Funny I talk about change as I wrote about the subject about 13 months ago again. I learned how I like change but my daughter fears change in some instances. As she has spread her wings and sprouted this past year she has been more open to some changes but not all. And funny this week she was insistent on change but she had no power or control to garner the outcome of change she wished to see in her world.

In her athletic journey she hoped for change. She saw the need. She jockeyed for change but fell short. Such a life lesson. You see sometimes we want change but we don’t get the change we want or need. instead we are stuck with changes that others decided for us. Do we sit by and wallow in self pity or do we move ahead and bend, flex or pivot to see the change as an opportunity?

After 3,000 changes I learn to go with the flow. It might not be my change or vision but it was somebody’s. I need to embrace the change however it is thrust upon me. Suddenly or with notice. It’s a practice I’m working on mastering since I stated above I don’t necessarily like surprise changes.

Just another thought post to take out of the vault for others to ponder as they undoubtedly face change in their life. A passing of a loved one brings many changes. A new school or teacher brings change of a different kind. A new city bring a changes of many kinds.

Remember change brings opportunities. You must look beyond the change itself to see how change can truly benefit you.

challenges

The Off Season

I am a teacher. I work from 8:00 am (or earlier) until 4:00 pm 190 days a year. During those hours I am a role model for little kids, a good colleague to my co-workers, and so on. What happens when I head out to stores to do errands after school?

As an elementary school teacher, I honestly still watch myself a lot of the time. I know I could look up at a store or restaurant and see little eyes looking up at me with an incredulous squeal: Mom, it’s Dr. Friese!! This has happened many times. For that reason, I can’t be cursing or loading up on margaritas when I am out and about, especially within a certain radius of my school.

This self-censorship of sorts extends to social media. I rarely post anything except for very “innocent” family or fitness updates. I stay out of photos where drinking or other grown-up activities are involved. I don’t post political content as much as I can avoid it. I have just a handful of select parents who can see what I post. Otherwise, I just refuse most of those requests, but I am still aware than many people could be looking. I sit through legal presentations each year that share examples of teachers losing their jobs because they post themselves doing legal, adult things online that a parent used against them. Better safe than sued or jobless is my mindset, I guess.

Some comments lately had me wondering if this is fair…as a teacher, I feel expected to hold up some sort of rated-G moral standard no matter where I am. The other roughly 14 hours a day and 175 days a year I am not at school, I often mentally steer away from situations where I can be captured doing “inappropriate” things. But is it fair to expect that I’ll just be basically angelic most of the time? Is being a teacher what I do or who I am? Who gets to decide?

Others close to me have been in this situation lately as well. A friend who is a nurse had a family member go through a medical crisis. She wasn’t completely happy with the way all the care was going and let the staff know it. She wasn’t ugly or unreasonable as much as firm and inquisitive. She was told she wasn’t being professional. But her role in this situation was that of a family member advocating for her parents’ health. Does she have to be a professional even in her personal life?

What other jobs seem to carry the expectation of acting a certain way 24/7/365… am I always a mother? A father? How about the captain of an athletic team? Do I have to behave “as a captain” even in the off season? What does that mean? If I am a forklift operator or a chef, I don’t have the weight of those jobs following me around all the time. How about an athletic coach to young people? A politician? A priest? A police officer? Why do some jobs or roles become identities and others allow you to clock out and just be who you are?

I don’t have solutions for this. It just troubles me how some jobs or roles are seen as 24/7 while others can be left behind when work is over. It’s not even the highest paid people who can just shed their professions at will. Some onlookers use these roles as a weapon when they don’t like what you are doing. (Heaven forbid you’re a teacher and post something with spelling errors!)

In the end, we are all just human, with likes and dislikes, flaws and foibles and lives outside of our work. Just a few early morning thoughts.