challenges

A New Wall

I hit a new wall today. A mentally exhausting wall. One I didn’t initially bounce off and spring ahead like normal.

This wall was different. It started out as me being tired. Then it shifted to me being irritable. Then technology flipped a few switches that set me off kilter.

Moving on to mid-day a teenager rattled my cage. Then the rain hit. All the while work was super busy. It’s the end of the month. The end of the fiscal year. Emergencies by phone and mail.

I wanted to dish out numbers like they do at the meat counter but that’s not reality. It all needs to get done. You need to be four places at one time. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain let alone if you are tired. 

When you are in the hot seat. The driver’s seat. The most relied upon seat, nothing matters. You are just expected to balance it all. But what happens when you hit the wall and don’t bounce back?

For some it may take one into a dark place in mind and body. Luckily for me I have some friends who can crack me up during the day with a funny text to lighten the load. I have some go-to gals who can be a listening ear when I want to punch everyone.

And then I can always change my scenery. For me, today I took a car ride. Got a coffee. Drank it away from people. Talked to a friend by phone. Took some deep breaths. Ordered dinner to-go. Planned an early bedtime to mentally let my brain rest.

I took to writing. This blog of course. Writing is a therapeutic outlet for me for many reasons but sharing stories of walls is important for people to read. It’s life. It’s real. It’s not filtered. There are no amazing pictures.

My wall is the beginning of what may be a long road of walls. It’s midlife womanly adjustments. The yucky m word. The one you want to be over so your cycle is history but the one you dread because of its uncertainty.

Let me just type the damn word. Menopause. Menopausal. Resident psycho to some. Bitch to others. I’m sure I’m missing a few descriptions but owning the word and its side effects is step one. One of God only knows how many steps.

Pray for me. Think of me. Lift me up in spirits if you see me against the wall. Plastered to the wall. Mentioning the wall. Or anything resembled the wall symptoms. Baggy eyes. Disheveled look. Short fuse.

The worst thing you can do is ignore my hot mess as that will make me want to isolate you. As a giver and doer I help many. Unfortunately many won’t see that need for help. That struggle at that damn wall. 

Is there a magic tea for menopause? And why the hell is the word “men” embedded in the word itself. That is just crazy because they are clueless when it comes to dealing with a menopausal woman. Just sayin’.

mEn-oh-PAuse: your lady friend is about to go batshit crazy. Clear the fuck out now. Don’t pause. Run. Hide. It’s safer that way.
If the DICtionary doesn’t say that it really should. Fun fact!

working women

Wah

Work at home or wah has been something I have been accustomed to for over 20 years. I am not a newbie to juggling work and home life. Wah requires a certain kind of discipline.

School holidays, summer vacations and digital learning days have always added a layer of distractions over the years but they were managed with care. Even when the pandemic popped up tolerance was built up and grace was given across the board. A juggling act of sorts began. The tolerance was temporary.

Fast forward four months and patience weakens when the reality sets in that one’s wah environment changed permanently. The distractions become coworkers. A teenager, a spouse, a token visitor, and a dog are now fixed figures much like a coworker. Don’t be fooled. These coworkers are not on your team.

Their output doesn’t impact your quota or goals. In fact, their production counts against you in ways that are hard to articulate. Their mere presence over time can counteract your goals.

Each new coworker has needs. It could be bandwidth for zoom meetings. Background noise for calls. Your favorite snack in the pantry. The list could go on and on. Now let’s compare that commotion to the once quiet and peaceful singular employee wah environment one was used to. There is no comparison!

The world around us has changed as well. Neighbors are also working at home due to environmental conditions. They may now mow the lawn more mid-day. They may let their dog(s) out in the yard during the day more. There may be neighbors talking over the fence more. There may be kids playing in the pool next door. There may be more UPS deliveries next door more often. That means noises, distractions, and so much more.

A chain reaction can start quickly. One dog barks in the area then five dogs bark. One toilet flushes then another, then another. School starts at 6:20 am for one. Work starts at 8 am for another. Work starts at 10 am for another. End times, lunch breaks, naps, and meetings all fluctuate between the pop-up mini-team. The poor dog is like a ping pong ball. No more daytime naps for the dog. Too much stimulation.

Somebody turns on the laundry mid-day. Somebody has a visitor pop over. Somebody burns something in the kitchen. Somebody takes a TV break and turns the sound up too loud. How does anyone get anything accomplished?

Work conference calls. School zoom classes. Chaos on the home front. Home and work is now mixed without barriers. Temporary is now more permanent.

I almost forgot the annoying coworker. The one who reads an article and wants to discuss it with you. The one who can’t focus on their own work so they ask you irrelevant questions. A coworker who looks to you for motivation or that mental push. Remember your coworker isn’t on your team but they need you to solve their perceived problem. Today it could be motivation. Tomorrow it could be world news they want to have a chat about. The complexities of wah with coworkers that have independent goals and objectives are many especially if they are related to you.

Was your home office really designed for one or four? Do you have additional responsibilities during the pandemic to keep your job? How is your performance holding up? How is your mental toughness?

How will businesses survive when employee productivity declines even further because their impatience and stress at home become too much? How will kids develop when we take away their social environment and replace it with forced digital environments that  are unhealthy in the best of situations?

So much chaos today. I didn’t even have to mention the fact that no masks are required at home. But is home really home when you make it a workplace, a school, a gym and force so much change on everyone within the home walls that the seams are ready to bust?

Wah no longer means work at home to me. It now translates to what a haze. A haze not traditionally discussed. One that will cause some to revert to drugs, alcohol or other self- medicating or self-harm measures to cope.

Each of the above coping mechanisms present another layer of negativity in the home which is now the school which is now the conference room and maybe even the church and so on.

I can’t wait to see the statistical reports in about 3-5 years. The data that will show all that was lost and learned in 2020 during the pandemic. Statistical data is going to pack a punch down the road. Many are in the moment not thinking about long term consequences.

There will also be stats on kids’ vision and how it was impacted. All the screen time between video games, social media and now online schooling. I know in our wah environment we have made adjustments from varied background screen colors to glasses to keep up with changes in digital hours.

2020 is definitely a year for the record books. Wild, crazy, unpredictable. I think I’m going to work at the office. I have that choice, many don’t. It will most likely be less chaotic.

adventure, inspire

Inspiration Project

I was inspired by a table. A table at an outside seating area of a small-town gastropub. Shiny red barrel legs. Barn wood type table top. It looked homemade but I knew it was commercially produced. See below for a visual.

I decided in that moment that I was going to use this inspiration to spark my own home project. And off my mind went to what the finished product would look like!

I didn’t think about where to find the components or how much work was involved to get my end result. I just knew what I wanted and said I’m gonna do it. Why not?

I started with the cool base. The red barrels. But why stop at two when you can have three? Then I needed a topper. Not just any topper. I wanted a 12 foot topper that was straight from the woods. Off I went on a hunt.

First I secured the base. Boy that was an adventure to get one night. Then it was the search and negotiations for the topper. And they had to be big which meant I needed bookend pieces. Into the woods with a big truck to get the pieces that were hand selected.

Now the hard work has begun. The sanding. The endless dusty sanding. It’s mindless work but therapeutic at the same time. I’m creating something. A one-of-a-kind piece that will be showcased in my new outdoor space. I will take great pride in knowing the hard work that was put into this table.

From creating the perfect edging to preserving the bark. All intricate details making it special to me. I could have bought a table but that would have been easy. I chose difficult or the path requiring hard work. May this table be a staple piece in my space where people can gather and share good times and make memories. Oh the adventures my table will have. I can’t wait to unveil the finished product.

Moving on to staining and some finish work. Full assembly won’t happen until it reaches its destination so for now you have to ignore the messy warehouse background that I have morphed into a mini-workshop of sorts. You will see a final photo when the table lands in its new home but for now you can see it close to the end result below.

I didn’t track the hours I invested in this project but it was an experience. One of many I will embark on in the second half of 2020.

working women

Patience

Can one master patience?

Generally speaking I am an immediate gratification girl but I am always working to master my patience skills.

This requires conditioning the patience muscles. Right now I’m in a conditioning phase. Many loose pieces in multiple big projects means I have to wait patiently for some to collaborate or make decisions.

This patience phase can be a grueling process for me as I like the finish line in projects. I like cross over the line and say I did it. Boom! Sometimes however it’s not about the finish line rather it’s about the process.

The cultivation. The experience. The relationships. The people. The success. The failure. The memories. The time. The overall patience built into the crossing of the finish line. Watching the vision turn into reality.

Let’s talk about writing a book. Our 1095 Days project. It’s in the works. Well into the planning and execution phase but no finish line. The process has been nothing less than amazing. Much of our concept couldn’t be imagined on the onset to the naked eye. Only the eye that was interested in investing in the farming time. The planting of the seeds. The patience required while you wait for the seed to blossom. The time. That’s the beauty of the process.

In my yard during corona I planted some trees. Now months later those trees are starting to flower. Such a beautiful sight. One blossom born out of such a devastating time. New growth is around in the land but also in people. If we all Look deep into our souls we all learned something during corona. We grew.

In business there is always what’s next. The next sales month. The next big deal. The next job experience. This means if you think there is a finish line then you halted your growth. You have to look beyond the finish line to see what’s next. Or for some like me it’s what is here in the now. I see the finish line but I’m working on what’s in the middle. Because I’m working on what’s in the middle my finish line may be extended. Maybe a longer project yielding more value or maybe even a deeper relationship with a client because of the time spent in the middle.

My patience growth is in the middle. Where is your growth? As I grow I mentor others. This blog is just a glimpse of what I do for many although each experience is different which enables me to compound my growth through experiences.

I encourage each of you reading this to challenge yourself in some aspect of life. Maybe it’s getting organized financially. Maybe it’s taking a risk on a dream. Maybe it’s even swimming across a stretch of water because you fear you can’t.

Take the next move before it’s too late. You can exercise your patience muscles after you take the first step!

Vulnerability, courage and patience all tie together in my mind for many reasons. In order to grow exponentially you usually need to be aware of these three words. More to come on that is a future post.