I’ve been working, walking, reading and repeating.
Some travel. A few meetings.
All the calls.
The demand is constant, it never slows.
The pace, the pressure, the expectations can be unreal ~ some have left, moving on to other opportunities. New stress and chaos, most likely!
Evening arrives, laptop closes, phone is muted.. and I read.
Recently I celebrated my 20th year with the company and a Sr. Exec. asked about future plans, including retirement. Well, I’m not there yet. It’s closer than it was but it’s still far off on the horizon. He asked, “When that day comes, what are you going to do?” My response, without skipping a beat, “Live! And read all the books I haven’t had time for yet ….” 😀
“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself in all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life.” ― Sylvia Plath,The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
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?”
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.
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?
It’s Sunday morning, early December and here we are. Time for some random randoms from my part of the world. Ready? Let’s do this:
1 ) Sundaymorning coming down: Sundays are my favorite, there’s no rushing, no fussing, just stirring and sautéing and tidying. Reading, regrouping, resting and readying. My day to recharge. ahhh…
2 ) Taters: Took this picture of 31lbs of potatoes I stacked up that represent what I’m leaving behind in 2020: 31lbs, 49″ and 60 – count ’em – 60 non-scale victories. Intermittent fasting is my life now. Want more info? Read the book, “Fast, Feast, Repeat” by Gin Stephens – it’s the health plan with a side effect of weight loss Fast. Feast. Repeat. | Gin Stephens | Macmillan
3 ) Walking friends: Something that’s saved my bacon this crazy year has been my daily walks. These are non-negotiable. I might not take a lunch break but I always take a walking break. Now sometimes my walks are stomps, other times more leisurely, but regardless, I come back refreshed, energized and thankful. A highlight is seeing my buddy, Chief. It’s even better when he sees me ~ tail thumping, a big smile as he lopes over to lean in for a big hug and many pets and assurances that he is, indeed, a very very very very good boy.
4 ) Christmas: The tree(s) are up and decorated; the lights and pretty colors make me smile and remind us both of the promise of Christmas.
5 ) Kiss an Angel good mornin’: Rest In Peace, Charley Pride. Such a sweet and timeless message of “the secret of happiness.” It’s a simple thing …. and the answer is in this song that I always sing:
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” – Roy T. Bennett, “The Light in the Heart”
Autumn makes me happy. Of all my seasons to choose from, this is the one that makes my heart sing ~ the colors, the sights, the smells. I love Autumn!
A dog’s attitude is a great reminder on how to live: play, play, play, sleep.
Being and staying healthy makes me happy.
Every day I choose to put myself on the “to-do” list I’ve carried for 40+ years.
I choose movement, engagement, discernment, nutrition, and sleep.
I choose by turning off the “news” & smart phones and reaching for a book instead.
I choose by tuning out the voices who blather on with opinions on issues or choices they’ve never lived, researched, or attempted.
I choose to walk outside even if that involves gloves and long johns.
I choose to go to bed sooner and get up earlier to savor the sacred stillness of a quiet morning.
I choose to honor my body with real, whole foods made at home by yours truly.
I choose me.
What are you choosing? Have you put yourself on your “to-do” list yet? If not, why not? If not now, when?
It’s Sunday morning, coffee tastes good and time for 5 random happenings from my corner of the world. Ready? Let’s do this.
1 ) 10 years – 10 years ago I registered for this domain on Word Press. 10 years!
I’ve written many posts and most about life, love, relationships, and life-lessons. Over time posts have evolved in depth and scope, frequency and topics. I’ve followed & commented on your blogs, and you on mine. Thank you; I appreciate the kinship and connections we’ve formed.
2 ) News – Did you know there’s an election this year? Chiefers would like to remind anyone reading that, no matter what happens November 3rd, dogs will still be dogs and cats will still be cats. We don’t need to all be the same to get along. I’ll try if you will.
3 ) Fall. My favorite season. Time for soups, stews, and chili. Muffins, banana bread and cookies. Books, cozy blankets & a time change. Pink cheeks, brisk walks in the wind, scarves and hoodies. I. Love. Fall!
4 ) Choices. This year has been a doozy, and that’s an understatement. 2020 is that annoying house guest who shows up early and never leaves. At the start of the new year I set a personal goal that went as follows, “If you want to take the island, burn the boats.”
I focused on 2 choices: intermittent fasting (IF) every day and delaying alcohol. Those 2 choices led to other positive choices, daily walking for stress management has evolved into a love of movement. Being outside makes my heart sing: it took a Pandemic to get me walking my neighborhood. Between all 3 I’m leaving (so far!) 31lbs & 43″ by the side of the 2020 road. Boats have been torched & the island is mine. What I love best about this lifestyle is that AF/IF is free and so am I!
4 ) Heart songs – I’ve written about this before but, the older I get, the more stock I put into simple pleasures: supper simmering on the stove, good coffee, a cozy sweater, the delight of a good book. A hug from a grown child or a wee grand. Conversations that meander and turn. Sunlight streaming in. Walks in nature. A quiet, clean house. Laughter so raucous my face hurts. These are my heart songs.
5 ) Fill up: Soon we’ll have one son, 2 grands & one grand-dog over, I’m cooking brunch ~ tunes are playing, bacon is sizzling, and the fridge is full of leftovers. My heart is full.
Thank you for following my blog, many of you for 10 years!
Chatting with my sister yesterday we laughed about how, like Mom, we wear the same things over and over: A raggedy tee shirt, a fraying nightie, favorite shorts with a rip in the pocket.
There’s comfort in old clothes and in old things ~ they’re worn and soft and easy on the skin. We know what to expect and they deliver. It’s not that we can’t buy new clothes, we can. It’s not that we can’t wear new clothes, we do. But, time and again, we reach for what’s comfortable, what’s familiar, what endures.
Old recipes on batter-stained pages.
Coffee cups that fit our hands.
The love of an old pet who leans in for more.
How good the house smells as something simmers in the kitchen.
We talked further about “the good stuff,” about how, as you get older, material “stuff” matters less and less. What we want are connections, meaningful conversations, comfortable temperatures, good stories, tasty foods, deep sleep, great coffee, and loyal friends. We want our kids and grands and pets to be OK and everyone we know to feel safe and loved and remembered. And in the chaos this year has brought we reach for the good stuff.