Day 148 & 149 – No cheating

You know, I thought about cheating…going ahead and posting yesterday’s post late but back-dating it so it looked like I actually posted yesterday when the truth of it is that yesterday was a really long day–up super early to be at work, then tapping out and going to bed early because I was so tired from work, and then getting up today to do it all over again.

But damn that just defeats the purpose of this whole write-and-post-something-everyday goal doesn’t it?

So instead of cheating, I’m just owning up to the fact that I skipped a day because I was too dang tired to even surf Pinterest for a fun meme or quote to use.

Such is life. And honestly I’m not going to apologize about it. Like I keep saying–my blog, my rules. And this whole blogging thing isn’t about punishing myself. It’s a way for me to stay balanced and think through things and put some of my thoughts out into the world to see what comes back.

There have been times in my life when my day job tore me away from my writing and I hated it, because I didn’t actually enjoy the job enough to feel like it was a fair tradeoff. These days, I’m lucky because that’s not the case. I love my job, and the fact that I get to make money and pay my bills doing something I genuinely enjoy is one helluva bonus.

But that doesn’t mean I can ever put the writing aside completely. It would probably be easier to give up breathing. And I’m definitely in a place right now where I’m struggling to find a balance. I’ve got projects sitting stale, waiting for me to jump back in. I’ve got new ideas simmering, but I need to find ways to carve out time to actually work on them.

It continues to be a work in progress.

But I’m getting there. And I just might be stubborn enough not to quit.

Day 135 & 136 – Tired

Yep, I did it. Two-for-one blog post tonight.

Remember…my blog, my rules.

I’m playing catch up and making it easy, because my fitness tracker is starting to scold me. It’s been a week of averaging 5.5 hours of sleep a night, long days at work, after work meetings, kids’ activities, trying to catch up on house work and prepare for a very busy June. After not even getting home until almost 9:30 last night, I’m taking things easy and leaving you with this…

And now, it’s time for bed–a full 8 hours of bliss. I’ll catch you on the flip side. 🙂

Day 122 – A gift and armor

Someone asked a question today that got me thinking–What HS graduation/going to college gift would you recommend for a first-gen student?

The question took me back to my graduation day.

We had a party at the house after the ceremony. Family and friends to come over and eat sandwiches and potato salad and cake. I got an address book and stationary and a dozen cards with cash tucked inside.

I had no idea that day, but the best graduation gift I received was a brown leather portfolio.

It was a gift from one of my Mom’s coworkers. I remember opening it and thinking how professional it looked. I tucked it carefully into my bag and took it to college with me. I was afraid to carry it at first. I didn’t want to scuff it, ruin it. But after awhile, it went everywhere with me.

And as my college graduation approached, I would use it especially for interviews and important meetings. I feel silly admitting it, but carrying that portfolio was sort of like putting on armor. It gave me confidence. It helped keep that nagging Imposter Syndrome in check.

It’s nearing the end of its life, beginning to show signs of wear. But it has served me well, helped propel me forward. I’ve written thousands of pages of notes, earned degrees, negotiated contracts, attended conferences, received promotions.

Twenty years later, it’s sitting here on my desk.

Day 121 – Beautiful wreckage

Another semester is ending, so yeah, I’m probably feeling extra sentimental. Students have been dropping in to check in as the year wraps up. Some are sharing exciting news–they’re graduating this weekend, going onto grad school, starting new jobs, taking a break from the studying to go on much-needed vacations. Others are facing uncertainty–grades aren’t where they need to be, financial aid is in jeopardy, family issues are making things complicated. I love that they feel comfortable coming in to my office, sharing their news, asking for advice, just wanting to touch base one more time before they scatter for the summer.

You know, when I look back on the whole of my own college days, it was the best time of my life.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. My life is pretty great now. I’ve got an awesome husband, two fantastic kiddos, a sweet hound dog, a loving family, an incredible group of friends, and a job that I absolutely love going to every day. But not one bit of this would be possible without the time I spent in college, without the connections I made, the lessons I learned, and the foundation I built there.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. I soared higher than I ever thought possible. And I crashed, burned, tried to get up, stumbled, fell back down, and had pick up the pieces and build something brand new there too.

And you know what? It was all worth it. Every. Beautiful. Painful. Moment.

And the best part of it is that it led me here, to this place, where I get to spend my days working with college students, helping them navigate this crazy transition, helping them begin to understand that our mistakes don’t define us–they give us perspective. I get to help them learn that failure is not a dirty word as long as you own it and learn from it and use it to make better choices tomorrow. I get to be the person I needed (the person I found) when I was young and scared and confused and looking for someone to walk with me on my journey.

So don’t be afraid of the wreckage. It’s an important part of the story too.

Day 113 – Stevie and his cats

Whoever decided to prank my husband by attaching this lovely decal to the back of his car absolutely won the day.

He admitted that he must have looked like a fool, walking out into the parking lot and having to stop and stare at his own car for a few minutes wondering why someone else with that ridiculous cat family sticker was in the spot where he swore he remembered parking that morning. And then it dawned on him that it was HIS car and someone at work decided to play a little joke.

The part that cracked me up was that his co-workers were probably watching him out the office windows and cracking up at his confusion.

So next time you see Stevie out driving around, make sure you compliment him on his adorable cats. 🙂

Let it in, and let it go

I’m starting to wonder if the only way I’m ever going to be allowed to take a break is just to go ahead and schedule some sort of breakdown. I honestly don’t see how I’m going to have time for it otherwise.

It’s been a helluva new year so far. I can’t really go into detail, but there are some really heavy things weighing on us, and we’ve been doing the best we can to manage them. And maybe if it was just one or two things hitting us, we might have been able to escape unscathed. Instead, Stevie and I are feeling crushed beneath the weight of everything hitting us all at once and it’s just about all we can do to hold onto each other and our sanity out here in the middle of the shit storm.

But even with all the stress and the issues and the obstacles, there are still work events and obligations, Cadence’s school and swim and soccer lessons, Henry’s next feeding and nap and diaper change. There is still dinner to make, laundry to do, toys to put away. There are still friends and family coming over, bills to pay, performances to attend, and miles to go before we sleep.

And miles to go before we sleep.

In the brief moments of clarity–somewhere beneath the sleep-deprivation and the oppressive weight of the recent stress–I wonder how I’ve managed to keep going. I imagine it’s only because through the years I’ve developed the ability to compartmentalize. I set aside what I need to set aside–if only for a moment–so I can keep moving forward, keep crossing items off this infinite to-do list. I keep going because I have to. I keep going because I need to.

My work trip to San Diego this past week and the weeks of prep leading up to it was, in some strange way, exactly what I needed to keep going. It gave my mind a whole lot to keep it occupied so I couldn’t dwell on some of the other things that were happening. Instead I’ve been dealing with all of the crises in short bursts. Like a pot on the hot stove just beginning to boil, I’ve been giving them just enough of my attention to keep them from boiling over, stirring away the bubbles and foam and managing to turn the heat down just a tick before shifting my attention away again.

But even if I’ve managed to keep it all from erupting into flames, I haven’t really managed to keep myself from getting burned. There have been a few mini meltdowns and tears and I’ve definitely been a bit more on edge these past few weeks, but still I keep going, keep moving, keep believing that I’m going to make it through all of this, just like I’ve made it through every other hardship life has thrown my way.

It can’t rain all the time. Even when the forecast is this dismal.

My work schedule was packed so full this past week, I didn’t have a chance to sit down at all to write, and that probably didn’t help. I tend to do much better dealing with the hard stuff when I’m able to put pen to paper.

You’ve got to let it in and let it go.

Stevie got that advice from his sister-in-law this past week, and that’s precisely the philosophy I try to live by, the philosophy that has helped keep me sane and keep me going, even through the tough times like these.

Let it in, and let it go.

And then keep going, keep moving, keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.

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