hustle, mental health

Balls Dropping

The first mistake was a little puzzling. An email I missed. I read it, then forgot about it. The day the task needed completion, my colleague reached out to me to see when she could pick up her request.

A shock went through my body. Suddenly a very full day had a complicated work task dropped in the middle of it. I pushed through and completed it satisfactorily, but maybe not as thoroughly as I would have otherwise.

A couple of days later, my boss emails me to ask if I had made the classroom signs she requested.

The same shock and disbelief followed. Really? I totally forgot a work task again, and this time for my boss?

I won’t bore you with the details…suffice it to say I dropped ball after ball after ball this month. There were loads of things I honestly just forgot. To the point where I was concerned about myself. This is pretty uncharacteristic of me…sure, I may procrastinate at times, but to completely forget again and again?

This leads to the question…what caused this? Could it be menopause? General aging? Stress? Lack of sleep? Loss of focus due to the wearing on of the pandemic? Or maybe it is the family crisis that hit a couple of months ago. Who knows.

It really doesn’t matter. I don’t like the feeling of being incompetent. I don’t like tasks biting me in the butt out of nowhere. So much of my job is supporting others, and I feel physically ill when I let others down.

It’s just a mystery. I’m trying to just observe it, notice it, and not beat myself up over it. Easier said than done, but I am trying.

I’m back to making more lists. Slowing down when I can to read emails and take notes in meetings more carefully. Hopefully this was just a brief episode in life that blows over, and I’ll be back to my usual remembering self from now on. I’m just documenting here to share life’s ups and downs, hoping I’ll look back on this as just another bump in my road.

business, challenges

Good Help?

How hard is it to find good help these days? For me the answer is: it’s pretty hard. Nobody wants to really work hard to prove their worth. They just want to get a hand out or slide by or just mooch off others.

I’m fascinated by this subject. Recently I had a need for a laborer. The pay was good and there were not many expectations. Well the basics of work hard, neat appearance, adhere to safety rules and be okay with physical labor. Now mind you, I’m a woman and met the qualifications and was capable of doing the work yet I was looking to provide an opportunity to another.

No takers. Tired from a trip I heard from more than one prospect. No answer from a couple, as in no interest. Too long of a drive for another. Have to get off by x for another. So many reasons that were just excuses of sorts. I’d rather hear no thanks I’ll pass rather than the lame excuses folks make up.

I’ll also remember the opportunity offer for when one asks for support. I’ll share “I offered it but you had to work for it.” Funny the tune will be different then. I’d like to play the recording of their voices when they cry poor me later. I work hard for everything I have. I almost never pass up an opportunity unless it just doesn’t make sense. I see so many now hiring signs but how many actually want to work?

I hustle but stay humble. I was taught a great work ethic. I honestly feel today’s younger workers expect more to do less and if anything extra is ever asked the answer is a fast NO. Many seem to lack foresight or are incapable of the big picture thinking limiting their long-term potential or this is how I see things today.

I can’t recall a time where I ever felt this way pre-pandemic. There used to be kids hustling to mow lawns or do other odd jobs. Today I just don’t see it. Maybe it’s just my environment. Maybe not. Just a ponder post of sorts.

I’m choosing to end this post on a positive with a photo of a fresh spring bloom from the family farm. Enjoy.

celebrations

32 from Chick 2

Over the last few years, one of the Chicks has made a tradition of a “31 list” at the end of each January. She recaps things large and small that she did in the first month of the year. This year, she went bigger and switched it up to a 49 list in anticipation of her upcoming 50th birthday. Not wanting to break totally with tradition, she asked me to write a list of 32 to recap my January. I’ll try to do it justice! Here goes nothin’.

1.) I saw my daughter play flag football on an NFL field. She was part of a touchdown play.

2.) I rang in the new year asleep, again. A great start for my year of rest.

3.) I took a family member to the emergency room.

4.) I started a new daily journal. So far I’m on the fence about it, leaning toward not liking it.

5.) I committed to a new stretching program.

6.) I made plans for a beach vacation.

7.) I watched my alma mater in the National Championship college football game…at least until the third quarter started. (Being the early-to-bed gal that I am, I couldn’t stay up to see them win.)

8.) I joined another Street Parking challenge with the goal of reducing sugar and stress while maintaining consistency.

9.) I made a decision about where I want to work for my 8-4 job next year.

10.) I survived a car breakin without having a complete mental meltdown.

11.) I planned and replanned a celebration for a high school team.

12.) I wrapped up my primary duties as a booster club president.

13.) I decided not to register for this year’s CrossFit Open.

14.) I bought new CrossFit shoes.

15.) I got my COVID booster shot. Felt crappier after it than the first two.

16.) I lit my stove and did meal prep by candlelight during a snowstorm power outage.

17.) I went kinda off the nutritional rails with fries and chocolate and other sweets after an extremely prolonged holiday season.

18.) I connected with and cheered for some of my favorite high school athletes.

19.) I took a friend to brunch at a new-to-me spot to celebrate her 50th plus a half birthday. I missed the big party last year.

20.) I started a 52 week endurance program on the erg bike.

21.) I went for my first swim of the year.

22.) I started winter sowing flowers to see if our flower season can begin a little earlier this year.

23.) I did a loved one’s laundry and delivered it to him in the hospital.

24.) I attended a funeral for a twenty year old.

25.) I sat back and watched rumors fly about several topics. I chose to just listen and stay out of it.

26.) I spent more time pausing and meditating.

27.) I returned a bunch of gifts that didn’t fit.

28.) I started planning a mountain vacation.

29.) I got a massage for the first time in years. It was as amazing as I hoped it would be.

30.) I continued my move / watch streak, which stands at well over 600 days.

31.) I wrote thank you notes for my holiday gifts.

32.) I celebrated Christmas with my family on January 31 after many delays.

It was a month of big decisions, small moments, and everything in between. Thanks to my friend and fellow chick for lending me her list idea this year. It makes me think I need to write more list posts!

author moments, dare to be different

Island Life

I am not on a tropical island in the Caribbean but I am on an island off the eastern coast of the United States. Just a short drive over a long bridge gets you to this quaint little area. A peaceful spot surrounded by water and simple beauty. Island time is the best time no matter what island you are playing on.

My perch where I write this post is simply amazing. An old house converted into a coffee shop with sweets, desserts and of course custard. But it’s not just what they sell it’s the ambience they supply. An outdoor area with tables / chairs / umbrellas for those who want a little shade. The fire pit for those who want to socialize in a small group by the warmth of the fire. A nice play space with corn hole and shuffle board for a little entertainment. And who could forget the kiddie castle. Yes a two story castle with a rock wall, slide and other neat spots for kids to stay occupied while their adult humans enjoy this unique spot in their own way. So many details.

Palm trees. Sandy beaches. Shady spots. Local dining spots with individual flair. Beach bikes galore. An easier pace of life. The dinner spots open at 5pm while local shops close up early in the evening. Warm days and cool nights this time of year. A perfect escape not too far for me to get a taste of island life.

For now I must go to find the perfect spot to catch the sun setting on this gorgeous evening. Tonight I’m walking to each spot I visit. Partly to get my steps in but also to make sure I don’t miss any of the fine details in and around my new island destination.

I hope you enjoyed my short island life post to help you mentally escape from whatever crazy you are in the midst of.

perspective

You Can’t Make Me

Parenting and life lessons. My youngest is a senior in high school. With two twenty-somethings, I have had some practice letting go of the reins with my kids. I might be a little more chill about their decisions these days, but that hasn’t come without a lot of years of frustration.

I remember when one of my kids was talking to someone on social media that they shouldn’t be. Waking up at all hours, endlessly glued to the screen. This was many years ago, when it wasn’t quite so usual for everyone to be attached to their screens all the time. After trying so many things, taking away the phone, taking away other privileges, and talking until I was out of talk, I still caught that child up at 3 am, on an old “lost” device, talking to this person they shouldn’t be. Again.

I remember my rage and frustration so clearly, in the middle of that night, and the wide eyes of my kid, completely unmoved by my temper. The look said “you can’t make me.”

There may be few things as frustrating to a parent than the realization that no, you really can’t make them do anything. Not without mental / physical injury or breaking the law. Oh, I wanted to wring that child’s neck that day, but I didn’t. And I remember that “you can’t make me” moment so well.

I remember the time I gave it to my own parents, too. I was running around with a much older crowd, lying about where I was. They went to the place where I said I was one night, I wasn’t there, and then confronted me when I arrived home. I got the lecture, and the “promise you won’t do that again” ultimatum. But I looked straight at my father and told him I couldn’t promise him that. And I am sure, in that moment, when I was supposed to promise, whether or not I meant it, he must have wanted to wring my sassy teenage neck as well. (Sorry, Mom and Dad! Wish you were here so I could apologize to your faces.)

In my adult life, this lesson has smacked me in the face many times. No matter what, you really can’t make people do anything. When you’re left out of a social gathering. When people make decisions that you disagree with or take you further from each other. So many little daily things that happen that may seem puzzling or even hurtful. Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

You can’t make people spend time with you. You can’t even make them want to. People are fickle and messy and unpredictable. You can’t make people thoughtful or considerate. They are or they aren’t, and this changes from one day to the next. Most people aren’t sitting around thinking about how they can make me feel left out or unwanted. Most people are too self-centered to even have that thought. (Or maybe they do, but I’ve realized it’s not productive for me to obsess over other people’s hurtful actions.)

If you have someone who cares about you and thinks of you, cherish that in the moment it happens. Thoughtful moments are rare and to be treasured. If someone thinks of you repeatedly, that is truly special. Enjoy it. Relish it.

In the end it is all just data. I just know what I’ve learned from what I observe.

Everything and everyone is optional. Most people and things will eventually move on. When you change your circumstances, it’s inevitable that things and people change. That probably sounds callous. Maybe it’s the stoic reading I’ve done that makes it a little less personal.

Change doesn’t make the people you’ve moved on from less important. Life takes us all kinds of places and there are only so many hours in a day, a month, a year, a lifetime. It just makes every present moment more special. Time and attention are finite resources for each of us. If we can’t make anyone do anything, how are we spending those precious fleeting moments?