Tuesday, November 25, 2008

When is living in the 'here and now' not enough?

A few years ago, I walked into my job, ready to teach my pre-school sports class in less than an hour. I was surprised to see my boss in so early. I quickly learned he was there to give me my final check and help me carry my stuff to my car as he was 'no longer able to keep me on payroll, effective immediately.' A few months earlier, the girl I replaced was hired back as what she went off to do didn't work. I never had a chance in that position.

That experience really opened my eyes to the fact that we aren't guaranteed anything. I had been making plans that I'd be in that position for a while and was even checking into ways I could work my schedule and finish my master's degree at a university 2 hours away. Then bam--just like that--all of my plans came to a screeching stop.

From that point on, I've been careful to make plans about anything. I mean, here I am living in CA. I never would've thought that was in my future, yet I love it. A few years ago, I was at a presentation with the message of don't make plans. When you make plans that you're do focused on, you miss opportunities that are right in front of you. I agreed 100% as that was during the time when I offered my event planning services, for free, to someone I met online. Crazy, right? Not at all...I saw it as an opportunity to network and get experience working on something that had a great reputation. I saw the opportunity and did something about it.

Now don't get me wrong, when all of this happened with the CA event planning thing, I had just made a 2 year non-commitment commitment to my current position and boss. I asked him what kind of commitment he'd like from me as I had just been promoted. We discussed what we both thought was a good option (2 years) and then he looked me straight in the eye and said, 'Unless something better comes along.' I laughed and thought he was crazy and that I'd be there for another 2 years (I had been deep into job searching for 4 months prior to this conversation, of which he was supportive of.) Lo and behold, 4 months after we made the non-commitment commitment, I had decided I'd eventually move to CA for a new job. If I had been locked into that 2 year agreement, I probably wouldn't have even thought about making an offer for the CA thing. Funny how life has a way of surprising you. :)

So this all sounds good, so far, but I think maybe I've taken this a bit too far and need to start making a few plans again. I'm in this place of not having a dream or goal to work towards. I don't like that. I truly feel like I'm just living life with no direction. I'm not passionate about anything specific. Booo! That's not exciting!

My goal over the Thanksgiving holiday is to take some time and make some goals. Usually this happens around New Year's with resolutions and what not, but what can I say? I'm an overachiever. ;) I want to get these in motion NOW and start doing something. I'm open to suggestions of goals I should consider as well as ideas on how to stick with 'em.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've been homeless since 2003

First off, I've blown NaBloPoMo. Bad timing to do a post a day, or even 30 posts in 30 days. I've been blogging a bit more than normal, so I guess that's a plus. Maybe next year NaBloPoMo. :-/

I had dinner the other night with a group of amazing women. We get together once a month and it's a place that is completely safe to be honest as well as a place to encourage each other. Friendships are being built that will last a lifetime, and we've only met 3 or 4 times. Out of this group, I've received an invite for Thanksgiving (think Misfits Thanksgiving), and when I mentioned I was job searching, 3 of the ladies asked what I wanted to do and immediately offered connections and intros to people they know. But this isn't what this group is all about. It's becoming a support system for me, yet I barely know these women.

During these dinners, we eat, drink, and share about what's going on. We also have a question of the evening that causes us to think about who we are. The question this time is "What difference do you want to see made in the world and how are you going to work towards that?" Answers included teaching their kids about taking care of the environment, starting a dog therapy program with incarcerated minors, educating people on where materials are coming from when people order her clothing items, and just plain learning to love ourselves in order to help others.

When it was my turn to share, I was excited as this is something I've been thinking about for a while. I don't have a major voice, but I want to use the influence I have to be a voice for those who don't have a voice or aren't being heard. The thing I feel most passionate about is being a voice for the homeless. My heart breaks and I'm often on the verge of tears when I walk or drive past a panhandler. I feel guilty when I turn away, pretend to be on the phone and just completely ignore them. They're people too, damn it. They're not all cracked out, lazy people. Some of them have faced hard circumstances and have lost everything they have. It could easily be you or me on the street.

As I started talking about this, I lost it. The tears were flowing, which I partially contribute to the exhaustion lately. I've often wondered why this is something that has such a great effect over me. It started during my time in Wisconsin where I often walked by (and ignored) those living on the street. I think my eyes were opened when I saw a video of a homeless man, sharing his story who said "All I ask is that you look me in the eye and show me respect. That's all I want." Even now, this brings tears to my eyes.

Our discussion continued and I pulled myself together as a few others shared their thoughts. Then, the woman on my right, who knows me fairly well, turned to me and said "I can see that this means so much to you because you feel homeless yourself...being in a new place and still getting settled in." What?!?! I lost it all over again (and even now am crying). She's 100% correct and I had never put the two things together. I've been in CA for 7 months and have moved twice and have even had 2 jobs and am now looking for a new job. Wisconsin never really felt like home. Oklahoma is home for me and it's been 5 years since I've lived there. My parents moved to Michigan a few years ago, so even now, when I go to visit them, it's not home.

Not only do I feel 'homeless', but I feel abandoned to a point as I barely talk with my parents. Being an only child, I don't have siblings I can connect with. I often feel like I'm wandering around in this world on my own. I have friends but it's a weird dynamic for me. I don't let many people into my close circle and I know I can call on any of them if I need anything, but I don't have anyone who's in daily contact with me. Life is busy...people have their own things...I have my own things...not to mention I don't know any different. I grew up coming home to an empty house after school as my mom was at school/working. In college, I was surrounded by friends as I lived on campus and was extra social. Now, I have one roommate who isn't really in my 'circle' and we're on extremely different schedules.

Now I'm faced with the challenge of how to make CA feel like home. I'm also faced with the challenge of what I'm going to do to treat those actually living on the streets with respect. The ladies and I talked about some different things that I'm checking into. Maybe interacting with the homeless and showing them love will not only help me see how to make CA my home, but will also show me how to love myself. Baby steps...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

What are the rules for NaBloPoMo?

Am I still in the game if I make sure I post 30 times in 30 days? Or are the rules 1 post per day? Either way, I've got some major catching up to do.

Part of the reason I've been slacking is that I've had friends in from out of town since last week. It's so good to have the 4 of them here. These are people who I'm sure will be friends for the rest of my life. They're each amazing in their own ways and I love each of them dearly.

They couldn't have come at a better time as I have truly been in depression mode lately (if you couldn't tell). With being put to a commission only contract (meaning, I'm not guaranteed any money and don't really know how much I'll make off any events I'm coordinating) I haven't felt like doing much of anything, not to mention I'm a little freaked about the future and money. It really has been great having them here. It's bringing sunshine to my days each time I see them.

So, we've been super busy, just hanging out, enjoying meals together, volunteering at a conference, surprising one in our group with tickets to a concert, exploring local museums, doing a wine tour and just loving life. It's been amazing!

Once things quiet down here, I'm hoping to catch up on my posts. There are lots of things I've been thinking about lately, including the circle of friendship, how we pick up traits from others to blend together into our own, why people of power don't use their power for good (and what am I doing with the power I have?) and some other things.

I've also been a slacker on reading others thoughts, but don't worry...I'm planning on a good day of catching up, commenting and getting some thoughts out of my own. Until then...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Is this really my life?

Last night, multiple times, I was struck with the thought, "Is this really my life? How'd I get here??" Wait, wait...seeing as you can't interpret tone via blogpost, let me explain, this is a GOOD question being asked. :D I'm realizing more and more how awesome the people are I've met since moving to CA a few months ago. For instance:

  • The food and wine critic who is helping me coordinate a day of wine tastings for my friends on the super cheap. She's hooked me up with AWESOME info and even a VIP tasting at one of the wineries.

  • The people who are opposed to Prop 8; gay, straight, and everything in between. Lots of people are passionate about this and it's inspiring!

  • People who have such influence that when they share a link of something they found interesting on the internet, that site crashes due to how many people immediately go check it out. WHOA!

  • People I can be absolutely honest with about crap going on in life and can give it to me straight...tell me if I'm being whiney or help me see another side!

  • A multitude of people who are passionate about life and what they're doing.

I really am loving life today and am looking forward to brunch, fun, sun and good times. Hope you have a great day as well. What are you looking forward to today?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Act my age, not my shoe size

Last night, I had the chance to hang out with another female doing similar work and within the same circle. We have mutual friends and have seen each other at events, but last night we actually had a chance to chat a bit. Was a great time getting to know her better. (Gaw--this sounds like a date or something. It totally wasn't.)

Anyways, we asked the "How old are you" question and come to find out we're the same age, (31, in case you're wondering). However, she thoughts I was 25-ish. I thought she was maybe 28 or 29. This has caused me to think a lot about how I'm acting and how I want people to perceive me.

Growing up, I was the 'mature' one of the group and I credit being an only child for that quality. I've been recognized as a leader for most of my life and am comfortable doing what I do without thinking much about what others think about me. But I'm at a point in my life that I think it's time to grow up; to be an adult.

When I compare myself to my new friend (which I don't often do), I see her classiness and my ordinariness. I see her composure, while I see my goofiness. Even reflecting on this and how things were last night, it hurts. I didn't do anything to make me not want to show my face ever again, but I didn't project myself as the 31-year-old successful woman I am.

Don't get me wrong...this doesn't mean that I can't have fun anymore. I can't go that far. ;) It's just a different type of fun. I feel like I need to calm down a bit when I'm in public situations and present myself in a better way. I'm making a reputation as the 'fun' girl, but I want to be the 'classy, pulled together, composed' WOMAN.

I honestly wonder what it would be like to go back 5-7 years with the knowledge I have now and how I would do things differently. Not that I have regret, but I think I could shape myself a little better to become what I'm hoping to mold into.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My mom must've known

I usually call my mom on Sundays but didn't want to this week, so I didn't. Why didn't I want to talk to her? Because I'd have to tell her that I was back into job searching and am not sure what to do.

She called tonight...she must've known.

I answered and decided I had to tell her. I'm still working, but the pay has been cut significantly, meaning I'll have to find something else to help pay the bills. She seemed OK about it and I know she wants what's best for me. I often feel like I have to put on a 'brave face' for her, at the same time, she's the one I can call and cry my heart out when my world has fallen apart and I don't know what to do about it.

I love my mom, but we have such a weird relationship. I should really try harder with her, to make sure she knows I love her and think about her.

I love you mom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is my FIRST post for today

Pay no attention to what the time stamps says, this is my first post today. The previous post was before midnight PST, but my Blogger settings showed I was in CST. BOOO!

So yes, I voted. It took less time to vote than t did to walk to the polling place 2 blocks away. Was a little ticked that they didn't ask for identification when I checked in. I could've been anyone. Disturbing, really.

Everyone's talking about how there are more people voting in this election than ever before. This is a big day! After I voted, I got home to find out that a friend had been 'outted' by a 'friend' on a public social network that he was voting for McCain. He made mention of it at lunch and this 'friend' decided to publicly post who he was voting for. Wouldn't have been a huge deal (besides the fact that it wasn't the 'friends' right to share that info with the world), but come to find out that my friend was getting threatening emails because of who he voted for. What?!?! He says he's had over 70 negative/threatening interactions because of who he voted for. (We work within the social networking community, so everyone knows everything about what's going on!)

This really makes me sad and mad all at the same time. Yes, each party wants THEIR candidate to win, but really...threatening someone because of who they voted for? Way out of line. We're adults people and should act like it. Is that so hard?

Bottom line is it doesn't matter who you voted for, as long as you voted! I really hope that no matter who is our President elect tomorrow morning that there is no violence. For once, we need to come together as a country and be united. Seriously!

Daylight savings time screwed me over!

I looked at my post from yesterday and it's stamped as today. No, no, no...it was completed by midnight PST on Sunday. I think maybe my time zone is still listed as central which may be the problem. Anyways...I did post yesterday.

Today's been a weird day. I'm in the process of a job hunt, kinda, as my current job just put me to commission only due to the economy. I'm fine with staying on and doing work with them as it's a great opportunity, but I've got to make some real money too. There are a few good leads of companies that rock with positions that could be fun, but I haven't updated the resume yet. Need to do that as most of these places ask for one. I even got word that the company of my dreams has a position open that I'd love to do. It's a small step back from what I'm doing now but I'm sure it could grow into something freakishly amazing. This company is AWESOMESAUCE to the max and I interact with it everyday. I plan to update that resume first thing in the morning and kick it on over, probably before I even vote!

Which leads me to the big election tomorrow. I am very excited about what's to come. I'll say it, I think and hope Obama wins, partially because I think Palin is a horrible option for VP. Obama has a spark to him. He's very charismatic, unlike McCain, and I think he'll do some good for the country. I've heard friends say things like, "Obama makes me proud to be an American again." That's good stuff. Is Obama the right person for office? Not totally, but I think he's the best option on the ballot.

I really hope people take the time to vote tomorrow. I often feel like "Who am I...just one person. Is my vote really going to matter?" and then I'm reminded that just over 500 votes (or something like that) last year won Bush the presidency. That's a small margin.

Whoever comes into office, my greater hope is that the country will support them 100%. I can't stand people who for 4 (or 8) years say "Well, I didn't vote for 'em." This is the President of the United States we're talking about, people. He's our leader...trying to do what's right for the millions of us who call this place home. Realize too, he doesn't make the decisions alone and has a team of advisors. So anytime he makes a decision that you don't approve of, remember that he's not a lone ranger.

So just do it. Vote. And educate yourself on the local politics as those should matter even more as they affect you more. :) Yes we can!

Monday, November 3, 2008

"If I saw myself the way other people see me..."

"...I wouldn't be nearly so self-conscious and insecure."

These are words put out into the universe from a friend. As I read them I thought, 'Wow--I most definitely could have said this same thing.'

Being an over-achiever and a perfectionist is possibly the worst combination ever. To me, nothing is ever perfect and there's always room for improvement. When people tell me how great a job I'm doing, I immediately think they're just blowing smoke up my butt and don't believe them. I have raving recommendations from people, but that doesn't boost my confidence that I'm doing a good job.

Why am I so skeptical of my work? Why do I not believe what others tell me? Do I really think that every person who tells me 'good job' is lying to me? I know I don't tell people 'good job' when I don't think they did a good job and usually offer some suggestions/feedback on how to improve. If they rocked the world, I definitely tell them and make it genuine.

I've done some thinking this weekend and am trying to believe what people are saying about me (well, at least the good things!) I'm going to have to over the next few months in order to survive as the economy is making an impact in my life.

So, to get the ball rolling, let me list a few truths about myself that I DO believe:
* I'm passionate about what I do
* I make sure details are taken care of
* Hospitality is my forte. I love making people feel welcomed!
* I'm creative and can problem solve with the best of 'em
* I would rather put others needs before mine

What do people tell you about yourself that you don't believe? Why do you find it hard to believe?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Do you know what Nov 1 means?

NaBloPoMo starts today (thanks for the reminder FreeAndFlawed). What does that mean? 30 posts in 30 days. I'm actually excited about this as I really have things I need to take time to think about and blogging is my way of doing that. (I seriously sound like a broken record and say this ALL. THE. TIME!)

I've been thinking a lot lately about making this blog known. Only a handful of my friends know about it. So few I could count on one hand. However, I think there's something to be said about being transparent with those in my life. On the other hand, I don't know that I want everyone and their dog knowing what's going on, which makes it nice that people who know me don't know about it. Such a debate. Any thoughts on this from anyone??? I've thought about starting a public blog, just to keep private and public separate.

I anticipate the next 30 days of blogging to help me see my strengths, especially in work, as well as the areas I need to work on and making strides in becoming a better person. If you're participating in NaBloPoMo, what are your goals over the next 30 days?