Time off or … time on?
As often happens, I am up against a “use it or lose it” vacation days scenario. But add to it the complications a pandemic brings — it’s difficult to make travel plans, as the situation can change on a dime. I’m not interested in the hoops I’d have to jump through to maybe be able to visit my Canadian family ~ quarantines, mask mandates, ridiculously high airline fees, crowds, people. Nope, not doing it.
Work has me traveling a fair bit now so I don’t feel a burning desire to get out on the highway.
What to do, what do do.
I love this image about being seated in the front row of your life:
So I booked this week off ~ and yes I took great pleasure in politely declining each and every zoom/webex/teams/call invitation. Instead I had lunch with a friend, brunch with Hubby, a mani/pedi, have savored my coffee as the sun rose, refilled the bird feeder, and continued my daily walks. I’ve scheduled a massage & facial for later in the week + another lunch with a friend & mentor, will do a little exploring and shopping and a lot of reading.
The TV is off, cell is muted and my work laptop is powered down.
And this little girl personifies just how I feel about it! 🙂
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others. ” – Christopher Germer
Photo from my walk today ~ It’s hot (90F), hazy and humid (88%).
The triple H’s ~ heat, haze, humidity – but it’s August, whaddyaexpect?
My hair is hot, curly and wide.
My arms glisten with sweat.
I walked anyways, praying, listening, thinking, striding.
Thoughts swirl but movement comforts and grounds me.
The steadiness of the trees steady me.
Life happens, life tugs, pulls, pushes, strains.
Life gives. Life takes.
I move with it, walking keeps me grounded and moving forward.
What started as a break for stress relief, early in the pandemic, has brought me back to what I loved as girl ~ being outside.
So I walk.
I walk, and as I do, my soul reminds me I’m grounding and reaching heavenward.
What habit(s) sustain and comfort you?
It’s Friday ~Here are my randomly thought-out thoughts as we head into the holiday weekend~
1 Work / Life Balance — I don’t know about you but I laugh every time I hear that phrase. What a joke -Like the words “quality time,” there’s no balance, never has been. Work is crazy, busy, demanding, and all-consuming. Life gets squeezed in here & there ~ but the balance thing? ha ha ha – Thank God for coffee 🙂
2 Summer reading has me transported back to my childhood ~ at night, when all calls/webinars/demands have ended, I sink into my coziest chair and read in the golden hour ~ the last bit of sunlight streaming across the pages of my book, the TV off, the house quiet. Sometimes I stay up late reading but often I barely make it to 9:30 before my eyes are heavy and tired. My one true indulgence, that I savor daily, is reading for pleasure. Ahh … summer.
3 Lifestyle choices are giving me LIFE– Yes Life continues to loft challenges my way, but my ability to “deal” with them has increased so much~ I’m so much calmer and at peace with myself. Intermittent Fasting (IF) has given me incredible focus, stamina and clarity but much of my lessened anxiety I can attribute to having left alcohol in 2019 ~ It never solved anything, in fact it often made things worse b/c it ramped up anxiety and negativity ~ Now that it is no longer in the picture I traded in angst for peace & self-confidence. BAM! The image below personifies how I feel walking confidently towards my future knowing I can handle what life brings me! She is EXACTLY how I feel ~ INVINCIBLE!
4 My daily walks continue, with affection ~ what began as a break from work morphed into a return to joy – I love being outside, hearing birds, feeling the wind on my face, and saying “Hello” to all my furry friends along the way. I know all of them, the owners not as much ;). Here’s our neighborhood kitty, expert mouser, birder and catcher of all small pests ~ she comes when I call her, stays for a pet, refuses food and hunts, hunts, hunts!
5 Pandemic Lessons – If this past year taught us anything it’s this – Stop Waiting to Start Living. Tomorrow is promised to no one.
- So — how do you feel about phrases like “work/life balance” or “quality time?”
- What’s saving your bacon these days?
- Got a summer reading list to share?
Happy Independence Day!
Today is one of those days ~
- Those days when the neighborhood quietens, lawn mowers hush, kitties nap and dogs dream.
- Those days when heat climbs, birds quieten, and bees stop moving.
- Those days when fans hum softly, the A/C kicks on regularly, window shades are pulled down and books and naps beckon.
- Those days when sleeves are intolerable, feet are bare and fresh produce sounds better than anything else.
It’s one of those days when you know for certain that, in spite 50F temps a week ago, Summer has arrived; her suitcase is tucked behind the door, and she means to stay.
It’s one of those days.
Ahhh … Summer, how I’ve missed you.
It’s a beautiful, bright Sunday in May ~ windows open, blue skies, and, after last night’s rain, song birds are chirping happily. Life is busy and good, with much to be thankful for. My five Random Musings are below:
- I live in Michigan with some of the most severe pandemic restrictions in place – our cases are higher than ever. Other states are wide open with numbers falling. What gives?
2. Enjoyed watching the Kentucky Derby yesterday ~ b/c of competing priorities I didn’t have time to do my usual research. We met up with friends & placed our “bets” on which horse we hoped would win. I glanced over the field and put my bet on the trainer – and his horse won. Something gleaned from growing up at the track — a) all the horses are “pretty,” b) sometimes a long-shot wins but c) when in doubt, bet on the trainer.
3. New job starts tomorrow ~ as is my pattern, I’ll be doing my current one + the new job as things ramp up. I’m hoping to jettison the current one over time, but that remains to be seen. It’s new territory, teams are being formed, and none of us really know what we’re in for – which is exciting and nerve-wracking, all in one. I prefer to be at the start of a project vs. coming in later on. And as my all-time favorite boss (from 7 career moves ago) always reminds me, “If you’re not the lead dog the view never changes.”
4. Working from home I had another epiphany recently ~ while I’m an introvert at heart, I can be extroverted, especially in my professional role, always needing time to regroup afterwards. Hello road trips! I am also hugely empathic. What’s that, you ask?
What is the difference between having empathy and being an empath? “Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain,” says Dr. Judith Orloff. “But for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.”
As a result, working remotely works brilliantly for me b/c exposure to others – and their “stuff”- is minimized. When I do go out/interact, I take steps to guard myself from being bombarded with others’ energy / thoughts / emotions / physical ailments. Ever walk into a store and suddenly hear “noise” even though no one is talking? If I don’t do a prayer of protection ahead of time the experience feels and sounds like I’m on an airport tarmac standing between jet planes taking off. If you’ve experienced this, you might be empathic, too. This book helped me.
5. Last night I re-watched footage of Prince William & Princess Catherine’s 2011 wedding as this year marks their 10th anniversary. It was fun to view such a joyful event and remember where I was at that time. A few days after their wedding, I penned this blog post https://emjayandthem.com/2011/05/03/so-did-you-watch/ which went on to become “Fresh Pressed” by the editors at Word Press. It was deemed of their “best of 385,233 bloggers, 387,452 new posts, 449,667 comments, & 93,406,663 words posted” on May 3, 2011. It remains my most viewed & commented-on post, and it’s still fun to go back and re-read the comments from all over the world. How lovely she was and is.
So how about you?
- What have you learned about yourself lately?
- What new tasks are you undertaking?
- And did you watch?
I was up early this morning, rolling around at 4:00am and in the shower by 5:00. Over coffee I mulled over a new opportunity that excites and un-nerves me. There is a lot about it I love ~ stewarding a high-profile, multi-year, multi-state project – but just as much is unknown which, for me and my planning nature, is unsettling.
It’s brand new, un-defined, and questions I have will be answered in time.
That’s the thing with new opportunities.
- They come to you.
- You may be ready or maybe not.
- You may see them approaching or not notice as they pass by.
I’ve found this to be true – every job, role, assignment, and committee I’ve led or contributed to, every start and stop, frustration and success, every win and loss, each and every one brought me right to this moment.
I’m confident in my abilities, but even more so in my ability to be discerning.
I said yes.
So I’ll ask you:
- What does your decision-making process look like?
- How does Faith guide you?
- What’s the last big thing you said yes to?
It’s Friday and time for 5 randoms from my world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 1 year ago today (March 20th) I had a scheduled day off planned because Hubbs & I were going to gather with friends and watch “March Madness” (college basketball tournaments). I don’t know much about basketball and have never watched a full game in my entire life, but Hubbs does and was a star player back in the day. So I go for him, the camaraderie and the food. 🙂 About a week before that fateful day, the tournament was cancelled b/c of the virus. A week later lockdowns started and we’ve been locked down ever since.
I had a scheduled day off today and over coffee this morning, Hubbs and I reflected on this past year ~ and what a tragic, strange and twisted year it has been. He’s watching as many basketball games as he can and I’m over here in my books ~ Onward!
2 ) The same habits I’ve chatted about before are same ones sustaining me ~~ work is v.e.r.y. busy, every day is long with many, many calls, however I remain thankful to be well employed with plenty to do. I take a break for a walk mid-day, I eat simple, nutritious foods; at night, the TV is off, books are open, and bedtime comes quickly. I’m up early and savor alone time before the race begins again.
3 ) Hubbs golfed a week ago and is planning to go again shortly. I see everyone getting all lovey-dovey with this Spring weather that’s happening over here but there’s a very big part of me that just. does. not. trust. it. I’m sure we’re in the “Spring of Deception” and that a snowfall spanking is coming for us soon. After last year, I admit it, I have trust issues.
4 ) Speaking of last year, this made me laugh out loud. Gentlemen, start your engines:
5 ) Lastly, I know this post violates MPSI (memes per square inch) rules, but I’m creatively spent. I miss writing. I miss my blogging friends. Some day it will come back to me. Until then, I give you this:
Yep, I need a vacation!
So, how’re you doing?
It’s Super Bowl Sunday and time for 5 random things from my corner of the world.
Ready? Let’s do this!
1. Snow. Our part of the country is well UNDER “normal” snowfall levels. But late last week/this weekend a big storm blew in …Lake Effect snow, high winds followed by bitter temperatures. Local grocery stores were crowded with folks in line, chatting through their masks and talking about stocking up. I don’t know about you but I think people like a big storm, gives ’em something to talk about. 🙂
2. People. Sometimes I do wonder about people: the same ones whose mask hangs half off their face while they fondle produce can be seen shrieking at another for standing too close in line. When I go out there are often moments when I think, “well, this is why I don’t go out!” Mask-idiots = Maskiots!
3. Walks. I miss my walks. I’ve been able to get in a few here & there but, for the most part, it’s just too icy. I miss my doggie friends; just last week my buddy, Chief, and I were reunited. Hard to say who wiggled and twirled more!
4. Zoom Exhaustion. It’s a thing. Extroverts are all about Zoom calls, Zoom Happy Hours, Zoom-you-name its. You see Zoom allows them to be on camera, talk over each other, comment too much and tell others every single thought or concept they ever had. Meanwhile introverts are muted with the camera off because we know our facial expressions will give us away.
5. Road Trips: I miss road trips. Having a new place to go (besides the grocery store) and meetings in-person. I miss driving and listening to music or podcasts, sipping my coffee or water, and thinking. I sure do miss road trips. But I don’t miss doing so in winter. 🙂
So, how are you doing? What are you missing?
I’ve not been here.
I’ve been working, and when not, I’ve been walking, and when not, I’ve been reading.
Reading in my chair.
Reading under a blanket.
Reading my way through winter and the Pandemic.
On Zoom calls colleagues chat up what TV series they’re binging. I remain on mute with nothing to say.
In the evenings, after supper, Hubbs finds me back in my chair, with the TV off.
Savoring the silence.
We chat, he is thankful for sports and news, and me for my books.
I’ve been reading.
- Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.– Mason Cooley.
The door is closing on 2020 ~ we’ll soon be packing up Christmas décor. What a year this has been! There will be “2020 in review” shows on TV shortly, but I’m not watching. I’d rather reflect on my own ~ my year in review involves one word: gratitude. I’m not tone-deaf to the struggles others have/are facing in the pandemic, rather sharing that I chose to be grateful where-ever possible.
- I’m grateful to be well employed in year of chaos and uncertainty and that my employer allowed for and supports working from home.
- I’m grateful our boys, girls & grands are healthy, happy, and employed.
- I’m grateful that what started as daily walks for stress relief morphed into a habit I look forward to & enjoy.
- I’m grateful I can cook; Hubbs and I have enjoyed more home-made goodness than ever, and his oohs and ahhs sustain me. We’re still working our way through his “pandemic groceries.”
- I’m grateful I can read: my regular reading habit relaxes and comforts me.
- I’m grateful I found Intermittent Fasting ~ the health plan with a side effect of weight loss. The clarity, energy and peace I enjoy is indescribable. And it’s free, even better.
- I’m grateful to have enough – I can, and do, help others.
- I’m grateful that last New Year’s Day, when I declared, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats” that the Island is now mine. I’ve found gifts while being home ~ using the time to improve my health, mind, spiritual journey, body, sleep and work product.
“Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.” ~ Maya Angelou
This weekend, I’ll create my 2021 vision board & hang it where I can see it. I’m enjoying thinking about themes and ideas to explore. I’m mixing it up.
Your turn: What does your year in review say? Do you set intentions for the coming year?
- Here’s to 2021!