Winds of Change

I had a dream. Well truthfully I’ve had many many dreams, but let’s start with this one; home ownership.  I had a dream to own my own home and just shy of two years ago we made this dream come true when we bought our little house. It was very very run down and in need of a lot of TLC but it was ours. And over these two years we fixed up our little house and made it nice.   But as it seems to go with my dreams, home ownership was not all that I expected it to be. In fact it comes with a pile of responsibilities and problems that renting gets you out of. Nonetheless I am glad to have achieved this dream and maybe someday will enjoy home ownership again. Right now however I cannot resist the deeply embedded nomadic tendency I apparently have. I am restless and in great need of change. I need to fullfil a different dream.
When I became a mother I made a decision. Perhaps not even an entirely conscious one, but a firm one.   My sole purpose now is to raise my kids and any job I have to do to support them is fine because my purpose is to live for them. It is easy to feel this way when you have a tiny, completely dependent human being that lived inside your body, in your arms. I couldn’t imagine a more important job than keeping each one of my kids safe and loved. I still can’t.  But somewhere along the way this devotion caused me to lose, well myself, and what kind of a role model can I possibly be if I have denied who I am?  Like most parents I want my children to grow up an live what they love.  I want to them to find and make their own happiness.  This in my opinion is success.  I realized though that despite wanting this for them I sure wasn’t showing them how to do it.  In making my decision of sacrifice I had unwittingly taken away one of the most vital components of motherhood from my children; role model.  Sure I modelled being a hard worker and caring person, but I also modelled complacency and mediocrity.    I didn’t do this through the type of work I did, I’ve had some good jobs with great coworkers, including the rewarding work I do now as a health care worker.  No it was more of what I didn’t do.  I gave up.  I didn’t pursue the things I love to do, or even try to make a career out of them.  I didn’t show drive and determination to “have it all” in family and career.  No instead I settled.

 

Now before I get some hate mail from this, I’m not trying to put anyone out there down that has done what I have and put aside their dreams to make a living to support their families.  Some dreams are harder to achieve than others, and some dreams, even if pursue do not come to fruition.   For instance, the chances of me becoming an astronaut now at 36 with no related experience or physical aptitude for it, are slim to none (good thing this wasn’t my dream).  There can be elements of your dreams though that can be pursued either in a related career or hobby.  Which is what brings us back to me.  I had long given up on being a professional writer, thinking that ship to hard to board let along the fact that it sailed.  I half heartedly put in scant effort to blogging as a small consolation prize, but in the huge ocean of blogs, it seemed almost pointless.  I had given up.  And then, serendipity.

 

My husband was laid off from his job as an editor, and although we were fortunate enough to have his employment insurance for a brief time to keep us going along with my job, we both knew that it was time for a change.  The small town in which we had bought our little house is a former mining town that is still struggling to find it’s footing again, so jobs are scarce.  We knew we could not stay here.  So I told him to look at this as a second chance.  A fresh start or do over if you will.  I told him to think of what he really wanted to do if he could do anything.  And he did.  The funny part is that I took my own advice.  In finding his next step, I found mine.  As it turned out the path I had started 16 years ago in university was the one I should have stayed on all along.  I found a way to use my love of writing, even my love of photography in a career.  So I am going back to school to get my master’s in Anthropology, and if I can even be the least bit lucky, I will get the chance to work on documentaries.  In the very least I can use my writing for an academic career.

 

SO we are selling our house, trading one dream for another, and moving so that we can go back to school.  An adventure of sorts.  I hope that even though this will mean some sacrifices, that it will also mean that my kids will have the courage, drive and desire to pursue what they love.  After all they are my life, but it’s ok to live for myself as well as them.

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When Someone Dies

Would it make you think any differently about your life if I told you that you are born to die?  Would it make you enjoy every moment?  Would it make you see things more clearly or feel things more deeply?  Would you still take people for granted?  Maybe.  For a little while you would change. But soon you would forget and life would go on as if it will always do so. 
It’s not a morbid thought or even depressing, it’s just the nature of the life cycle.  There are no certainties except that at some point, whether young or old, prolonged or sudden, we will die. It has to be that way or there would be no space, no resources for new life. It’s this way in all forms of nature, we have just mastered the art of avoiding it. Medicine. But inevitably, it must happen. 
It’s hard to imagine that we or someone we love will someday just not be there.  And when it happens that someone we loved, liked or knew passes away, we are stunned. Numbed for a moment. Whether we knew it was coming or not. At first we cannot process it.  And when we do, we not only each do it differently, but our timing is also different.  Some of us run through the stages of grief openly, while others morn in private. Some of take time to grieve while others seem to pass through it quickly. It all depends I think,  on who it is that has passed and how they were in our lives.  But no matter how distant or close, the loss of a fellow human being touches something deep inside us. It reminds us of this truth of life that we don’t really want to remember. That we are born to die. 
I work with the elderly. People who are coming to the end of their life. People who love to reflect back on all the things they’ve done, places they’ve been and people they’ve know. To comment on how different things are now. People who have lived. And although they have this doesn’t make the reality of an end any easier.  They are still fighters, survivers and for the most part happy to be alive.  Some aren’t. Some have had enough of their fight.  But the will of our bodies to live is the strongest Drive there is. The drive of survival. Even if it is not the best thing for that person, their body will drive to survive as long as possible. As if somehow our bodies are also in denial of nature’s truth. 
 Over the years I have come to terms with losing people I have taken care of.  It is easier to do this when you know that they have lived. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the young dying. To have a coworker or friend or family member that is young and should still have time left, is almost impossibly hard to come to grips with.  That is why I have to remind myself that we are born to die.  It is the only way to truly force my brain to understand that everyday is precious, even if it doesn’t go the way I’d like.  That every person  deserves to be looked at right in the eye, because tomorrow I might not be able too. That expressing my love for those special to me, cannot wait another day, today is what I have.   There are many sayings that remind of this. We say them, but do we appreciate it?  Perhaps it is our minds way of protecting us against the pain of losing people. The fear of being lost. And we shouldn’t dwell on it. But I think we should be grateful, truly grateful for the gift of life while we have it and respectful of the fact that it cannot last forever. 

I would like to dedicate this to a great woman that we lost far to fast to cancer this week. 

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Mirror, Mirror

We all know this one, ” mirror, mirror on the wall; whose the fairest of them all?” From the Disney Classic Snow White. The evil queen desperate for validation seeks approval from anyone she can. Her obsession going so far as to want to take another’s life just for being prettier. We can all relate I’m sure. The green eyed monster rears it’s ugly head at least once in everyone’s life. The thing about Snow White though, was that she was not just another pretty face. She was pure of heart. She was kind, caring and compassionate. All traits that made most flock to her and live her. So was it really the pretty face the evil queen despised? Or was that her own heart had long been eroded by vanity?There are lots of thing the mirror can’t see. It can’t show us our personality or our good hearts. It can’t reflect back to us the positive choices we make or influences we have on our world and people around us. But what if it could? What if when you looked in the mirror you didn’t see fault with your appearance, or even vanity over your beauty; but instead saw the purity of your heart. What if you could look in the mirror with love and kindness? What if you could see that you are much more than the face that stares back at you?

I strive for this every time I look in the mirror. I used to avoid mirrors, not wanting to see my imperfections and how much I was letting myself down. Now I don’t mind looking. I enjoying seeing the changing I am making through better health choices. I look into my eyes instead of scrutinizing for imperfections. The eyes show you a lot. Try looking in yours and the others. What do they tell you about what is going on inside? Usually a lot. 

I’ve decided that the mirror is not my enemy, nor is it the judge of who is fairest. We are all beautiful in our own way and should embrace this in ourselves and others. If the mirror is reflecting something ugly back you then you should change what you see. And chances are it’s not your appearance that needs changing, but the pureness of your heart. The happiness and love that you hold within will ultimately be what makes you look beautiful to others and yourself.  

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Negative Noose

 You would be hard pressed to go through life never encountering negativity. It’s everywhere. A fact of life. The question is not will you experience negativity, but how will you deal with it when you do?  Negativity is like a black hole. It likes to pull everything into it in an all consuming way. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “misery loves company.” So when you encounter people that are negative or in a negative place in their life, the last thing they want is to see you or anyone else happy. They want you to feel as miserable as them. They either feel threatened, jealous or just low and can’t deal with seeing something they don’t have. Happiness, positivity, change. Unfortunately it is so very easy to lose your own happy and get pulled into the negativity. To then get pulled into the drama that comes with negativity. 

There have been several times in my life where I’ve been in situations that engulfed me, entangled me, or pulled me into negativity. And let me tell you, it has never ended well. There is such a fine line between standing up for yourself and trying to be right. To stand up for yourself is to voice your opinions, concerns and needs in a non aggressive but assertive manner. If you can’t be heard in this, yelling louder will not make you heard. If you cannot get what you need, whether it’s through compromise or not, than you must walk away. This is not the place, relationship, organization for you. You need to find where you fit. 
Being right means that you stood up for yourself and even though you can see no resolve, you continue because you have to prove that you are right. Your actions and words become much less logical and even aggressive. Being right eclipses the original problem. In these cases, no one wins. 

Then there are times when you are a third party and dragged into negativity through gossip, or conflict amongst friends/coworkers/family. This can be the hardest as you have less control over the conflict. In these cases, although it’s the hardest thing to do, separation from it is the best way to do it. Allow the parties involved you want no part. Find a neutral ground. 

Living in a positive light with positive intentions is a harder task that one would think. It takes more effort and harder choices to remain out of drama and conflict. But in the end, it is what can give you a happy life! When you live happiness, you feel happiness and you pass happiness on to others. It can be a wonderful thing! This is the place that I want to be in. To always choose to put out good karma and avoid getting pulled into negativity. It won’t be easy but I can do it. Some people will always be negative. They thrive on it, encourage others to do the same. These are the people that need avoiding. That need to be shown kindness when encountered, and avoided when possible. Making choices to not have people like this in your life is difficult but in the end well worth the effort. 

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Stand True

For a lot of us self assertion is of great difficulty. We worry about others feeling, putting our own aside, even to our detriment. For some of us it’s because we crave acceptance and what better way to be accepted than to allow the other person to have everything they want?! Being an only child, I learned very quickly that this tactic was a great way to not HAVE to be alone. There’s a problem though with always putting others first; it breeds resentment. 
Relationships are or should be a fine balance of give and take. Of mutual acceptance and consideration for one another. When they function like this, both parties get what they want and need to some degree. When the relationship isn’t mutual and is one sided, one person ultimately is left wanting. And the frustration and pressure of not being considered, festers in the form of anger issues, self confidence issues and lack of true connection. 

It may not even be that the other party realizes that this is happening. As the “doormat” of the relationship we are less likely to bring our lack of contentment and dissatisfaction to the other’s attention. One my call it ignorant bliss on their part. Well there’s no complaint so it must be ok. And as the doormat we think we are being kind and caring, by not asserting our needs. We are essentially being martyrs to an unnecessary cause. Because the truth is, it doesn’t do anyone any favours. 
When we aren’t true to ourselves we don’t give others the chance to see how great we are and truly know if they like us or not. We are false advertising. Our not taking satisfaction in being heard, considered and valued, doesn’t give anyone more happiness or a better life. In fact they probably don’t even notice the “kindness” you think you’ve bestowed. You are the only one being affected by this action. It’s only when we burst out in frustration or anger (often at the wrong person) that anyone even knows we have a voice. And then it’s not only shoking but misinterpreted. And when you do assert yourself after having not spoken up, don’t be surprised if people walk away. They may feel they don’t know you. Or feel uncomfortable with having to take on the new role of considering your feelings. Whatever they feel or do, it is for them to own, not you. 

See when you are true to yourself, you can own your behaviour, your choices, you feelings. You don’t have to worry about what other’s think of you because you are secure with you. That’s not say you can’t be wrong or that there may not be ways to improve yourself. But if you are true to you then you can also recognize these things too.  

Being a “martyr” has not served me well. Putting myself last has only put me in places that were filled with negativity. I can still be a good friend, and person while considering my own feelings first. Of course I still care about how others feel. And I never want to hurt anyone. But I won’t put myself in a place of disappointment, dissatisfaction,inconvenience or hurt because I don’t want someone else to feel “bad”. Chances are that person is asking something out of line to make me feel that way. 
I hope that I can show my kids that their feeling are important, by taking a stand in my true self. I wouldn’t want them to place less worth on themselves because I was misguided enough to do so. 
So the next time you start to accommodate someone in a way that puts you at a disadvantage , stop and think about your motivation. Are you doing this for acceptance, or just so they don’t have to feel bad? Or is there a genuine reason that involves that mutual kind of relationship? Remember you have just as much worth as they do, or anyone else for that matter, and you deserve a happy outcome too!

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Now I See

I saw you standing there;

You looked so sad, so tired and worn down. 

I wondered how you got there. 

Where all you joy, and spunk had gone. 

It was shocking to see you. 

I hadn’t realized how bad it had got. 

But I don’t look at you often. 

I don’t really SEE you. 

And now as I look at you in the mirror I realize;

I realize how wrong I was to neglect you, to not love you they way you deserve. 

I’m sorry!

I promise to do better!

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Dear Mom

DEAR MOM

You held me in your arms

You dried my tears

     Comforted me

You read to me and cooked with me

You taught me things

You took me places

You watched me grow

          And

                 You let me go

Now I hold my babies in my arms

I dry their tears

        Comfort them

I read to them and cook with them

I teach them things

I take them places

I watch them grow

        And

              I wait for the day when I have to

                      Let them go

The love you have given me keeps going

        The lessons keep teaching

              Then strength holds strong

                       ALL because you are my Mom.

Dedicated to my Mom, Happy Mother’s Day!!

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GIFT OF LIFE

GIFT OF LIFE

LIFE IS THE GREATEST GIFT WE WILL EVER RECEIVE.

We rejoice in it, Lament in it, Grow in it, Laugh and cry in it.

We take it for granted and often try to fly through our time in it.

Some people though, make a difference in it.

They reach out to those around them.

They change the way others see their own lives-

Give them worth and love.

They bring smiles and leave lasting impressions.

For some people LIFE is not just their own journey, but a

Journey to be shared.

And when these people come to the end of their road – of their LIFE,

They leave behind the love, the smiles, the worth and those lasting impressions.

A TOKEN FROM THE GREATEST GIFT OF LIFE.

Dedicated to a great a man whom we lost this year.

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In The Wee Hours 

There’s something peaceful about working the night shift. Unless of course you work in a hospital and then you have my sympathies!  But I work in a nice quiet assisted living facility, where not a lot happens at night.  Mostly. 

It’s a little strange to be surrounded by sleeping people. Like being the keeper of the Sleeping Beauty story – when all the kingdom is under a spell.  Your job is simply to protect the kingdom until the spell is broken. Or in my case, until the sun comes up.  

Strange things can happen in the night. People awake confused, weird noises make you jump, animals lurk around the building and sometimes people pass on. Overall though it’s a quiet time. No hussle or bussle. No loud noises. Just peace. Maybe that’s why I don’t mind working night shift. It’s a real change from my everyday crazy life. 

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Body Trap

I am like most women my age who have had kids – pudgy around the middle. We seem to have been caught in a trap of never being able to lose and keep off the weight we gained from carrying our children. I guess it’s an understandable occurrence,  the thing is, our mothers didn’t seem to have this problem. Most women from that generation remained thin or in good shape until they reached their 50’s at least. So what has happened to cause us to not be the same?
I guess in general people were thinner then.  Maybe we started out at a disadvantage. I’m not trying to make excuses for myself here.  I am not at all happy with my current weight. But I find it a struggle to lose it and almost impossible to keep it gone for good. So I guess I’m just looking for insight. 

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