Monday, January 23, 2012

Sitting on a Hotel Balcony. . . All By Myself

I'm out of town for work and at my hotel.  After spending seven hours in a meeting, I'm relaxing on my balcony with a $15 mini-bottle of wine and some Goldfish crackers.  Until I took my current job, I had no idea that meetings lasted an entire day.  I didn't care how much the wine cost, I would have bought it if it were twice what I paid.  Now that my husband doesn't travel for work, I'm not usually alone and I don't have much time to myself.  I'm not complaining.  I'm just saying.  Sitting here, on a Marriott balcony overlooking a beautiful courtyard, I realized that I haven't done much without someone by my side.  Here are some things that I'd like to try all by myself:

  1. See a movie.
  2. Eat dinner.  I've ate lunch by myself but lunch is different.  It is more casual than dinner and it just seems easier to grab something to eat on your lunch break than go to a restaurant for dinner.
  3. Have a drink at a bar.   
  4. Take a vacation. Going out of town for work is different - you have an agenda.  I'd like to just drive somewhere with no plans, rent a hotel room and spend a weekend exploring a new place alone. 
  5.  Fly.  I haven't flown in years and never by myself.  I think that I'd do fine with this but the opportunity has never presented itself.
  6. Attend church.  I imagine that I wouldn't have any distractions if I went to church by myself.   
  7. Ride a roller coaster.  I love riding the Hulk at Islands of Adventure.  I'd like to try this one alone because I always get so nervous before I get onto the ride. 
  8. Go to a concert.  I think about concerts that I'd love to go to that my husband wouldn't particularly enjoy.  Of course, he'd go to any concert for me but I could go myself and save him the agony of seeing Tori Amos.
  9. Swim in the ocean.  I go to the beach by myself all of the time but I've never went swimming without someone else with me.
  10. Go camping.  I'd like to actually go through the entire process by myself one day - hooking up our camper, driving it to a park, parking it into a space, getting set up and building a campfire.  Then, I'd like my husband to surprise me.  Who am I kidding?  I love going camping with him.
Now, it isn't that I want to be alone or I don't like doing things with other people.  Everything on my list I do with my husband and I absolutely love the time we spend together.  I just feel that doing these things would help me grow as an independent woman and increase my confidence.  I might get anxious or even fearful but I want to face my anxieties and fears - not hide from them.  Okay.  This year, I am going to do one of the things on my list.  This is a simple, attainable goal.  I'm not sure which one it will be but I'll be reflecting on the experience the entire time.  Don't you love doing things you are afraid of?   

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Beauty of Humanity

I came across a video and was instantly mesmerized.  I paused the movie I had just put into my DVD player and watched the entire one hour and thirty four minutes.  It is beautiful.  The video, Life in a Day, portrays the beauty of humanity in a very organic way.  The beauty of sadness, anger, poverty, love, overindulgence, illness and death.  I can't tell if it helped me feel more connected to others in the world or more isolated.  It filled me with such emotion and I've been reminded of both the wonder and the pain that life holds for all of us. 

This video captures raw human emotion.  I had to close my eyes during certain parts - they were just too painful to watch.  Though, I do appreciate everything that is included in the video because I know that life isn't easy.  Life is messy.  People die, hearts get broken, we hurt each other, children dream of lives they will never have, we face our fears (or worse, we don't), animals are killed every day and families fall apart.  Life is also amazing.  People fall in love, couples find out they are pregnant, we surprise each other at the most unusual moments, adults impact children in very positive ways, we create, learn and build things, we find ways to trust each other and connect with God in moments of pain and loss. 

What's the point of it all?  This is where the word coincidence begins to linger in the air.  The movie I had started watching before I came across this video was Cafe.  It is a very interesting and spiritual movie about a coffee shop where everyone is living in a virtual world.  It is a wonderful movie and I highly recommend it.  The programmer tells the avatar that if she could do anything, "I would create a virtual world.  Filled with beauty and opportunity.  And everyone and everything in that world would ultimately be one.  But they just didn't know it."  Was it coincidence that I began watching Cafe when I came across the Life in a Day video?  Maybe.  Maybe not.         


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes, Life is Just Plain Crazy

This morning, when I was walking Floyd, I prayed that God help me find balance and I asked Him to help me create a healthy perspective about work.  I planned on being extra healthy this week - exercise every day, no alcohol or sugar, lots of writing, reading my Bible, practicing yoga twice per day - and then I got slammed at work today.  It completely changed my outlook on this evening (I'm hoping not the entire week).  I couldn't help having a beer while I cleaned out my car and I'll probably chill the rest of the night and have some wine.  I'm totally burnt and I loathe the feeling of not being able to keep up at work.  I only have so many hours in the week because I absolutely refuse to work over 45 hours.  Maybe if I made $80,000 per year I could justify working over 50 hours per week.  But I don't.  Not even close.  I keep moving time that I block to get things done on my calendar.  I don't know where to move everything.  I can't fit it all in. 

How do you give 200% of yourself at work and still have time to exercise, cook a healthy meal, do the dishes and laundry, exercise, practice yoga, write and connect with your family on the same day?  I don't even have kids.  When I think of all the moms out there - whether they are working at a job or at home - I am filled with such appreciation.  Being a woman is difficult, working is hard, finding balance is very challenging and sometimes, life is just plain crazy. 

I've learned a lot of things through my life and also during my graduate studies.  I haven't quite internalized the concept of balance, though.  I don't want to be one of those women who spend all of their energy at work.  I don't want to dream about work-related things or wake up with work on my mind.  I want to enjoy life.  Today, I did not do a good job.  I did clean out my car and I am writing this blog - I guess that is something.  Tomorrow is a new day and I will start over.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Crunchy Feelings & a Happy Place

I hate feeling crunchy.  Just hate it.  Crunchy is how I describe feeling a bunch of emotions at the same time: upset, jealous, disappointed, sad, anxious and whatever other negative emotions might transpire.  I was feeling crunchy last night.  Work is insane and I feel overwhelmed, anxious and stressed out.  My head spins when life gets this busy and I have difficulty putting things into perspective.  I stopped by Target on my way home and ran into a colleague.  The conversation left me feeling really crunchy.  When I got home I drank some wine, ate pasta, watched a movie and went to bed.  I woke up at 3:00 in the morning and just could not sleep.  I had too much on my mind.  I needed to define and work through my crunchy feelings. 

After reflecting on the conversation I had at Target, I realized that I felt jealous and angry.  I felt jealous because I was being egocentric and I felt angry because a decision was made about my mentee and no one consulted me.  I came to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how I feel.  The decision will benefit my mentee and he is who I should be thinking about, not myself.  The other part of my crunchiness stems from feeling like I have to be superwoman at work.  There is so much to accomplish and there just isn't enough time.  I cannot do it all and I need to remember that work will never end.  That's why it is called work.   

There are two things that have brought me back to a happy place - prayer and the Golden Girls.  Through prayer, God has comforted me and put things into perspective.  If I'm not in control of something and it is good, I should just be grateful.  God also reminded me that worrying will not accomplish anything - it is completely useless.  Life is too short for worry.  After I prayed, I put in the Golden Girls.  I don't know what it is about them but they always alleviate my crunchy feelings and make me happy.  This morning, I'm thankful for both prayer and the Golden Girls.                        

Monday, January 2, 2012

Fireworks & Waves

The last day of 2011 was wonderful.  My husband, Floyd and I woke up early and went to the beach to watch the sunrise.  It was cold, clear and beautiful.  Waking up with coffee on the beach is a perfect morning. 

Floyd loves the beach as much as I do.  I'm really happy that he can still enjoy it, being that he is 14 years old and not as energetic as he used to be.  I really savor these moments with him and I pray that he stays this content the rest of his life. 

After a relaxing afternoon, we headed to the intracoastal to watch the sunset.  As soon as I stepped out of the car I was overwhelmed by one of my favorite childhood scents.  It was a combination of boat motors, brackish water and fishing.  I instantly traveled back in time to my family's cottage in Michigan and I couldn't help but reflect on all of the memories I have that incorporate water.  It is so fitting that I spent December 31, 2011 surrounded by water.    

To celebrate the beginning of 2012 we watched fireworks on the beach.  We walked toward the pier where they were shooting the fireworks off but didn't make it time.  So, we sat on the beach and took in the beautiful fireworks, sounds of the ocean and amazing starry sky.  It was an awesome way to say goodbye to 2011.  Here's to a wonderful New Year.