Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Put on a happy face

I am not what you would call cheerful. I'm known for my swearing, ranting and general dislike of all who cross my path. And then people who really get to know me point out that I'm not as mean and horrible as I appear. Still, I know that I could stand to be a lot more positive in my life. I know that I should smile more and enjoy the days because we never know how many of them we have left.

But this job makes that so damn difficult.

When you're surrounded by negativity and annoyance it is really hard to be happy. When I spend almost all of my day just trying to get back home to where my happiness is, I can't seem to find any reason to smile. I soak up the negativity of others around me. And I hate that.

People accuse me of always being cranky. I'm not. I was in a good mood today. But then one by one people start being rude to me, intruding on my call when I was speaking to a client, snapping at me when I very politely asked them not to intrude on my phones calls, being loud and annoying in my lobby and just generally being miserable. And as all of those things started to happen I found it impossible to keep smiling.

It's so much easier being annoyed and bitter.

Then I reminded myself that I can go outside and have a lovely lunch. I can go get one of my favorite snacks and indulge in the pure deliciousness that is Berry Chill. I can sit with my friends in the lunch room and laugh for awhile. It is possible to find moments of happiness throughout the day.

Maybe I'll make a big sign to put on my desk. "No Negativity Allowed." Think it'll work?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stepping Out

I like being comfortable. I've lived in the same area all my life with the exception of a single year spent in Evansville. I've had some of my closest friends since high school and some before that. And while I do change my hair constantly, I keep most things the same. Because stepping out of my comfort zone puts me at risk to fail or get hurt. And I really dislike failing. A lot. I also dislike being wrong. Why feel uncomfortable and awkward in a new situation when I can feel in control in an old one?

But, there are things I want in life. I want a new job. I'd like more friends. I want to become more social and expand my life to something more. And in order to do that I need to step out of my comfort zone.

It started small. I went to a tweetup in March. I really didn't talk to many people that I didn't know, but it was a step forward. Then in April I went to another. I met new people. I laughed. I had a great time. And finally I participated in the March of Dimes this weekend. I'll be honest. That was an intimidating experience. I only knew one person there. The rest I've seen online and tweeted with, but I didn't really know them. In the end, I'm so glad I went. Because nothing bad happened. I had a great time. I worried the driver of a Pace car. I met people who were just as sweet and funny as I had thought they'd be.

Putting myself out there is scary. I worry about people not liking me. I worry about not fitting in. But if I never try to branch out I'm never going to move in life. And the last month or so has shown me that I will meet great people and I will have a good time if I just try.

Monday, April 19, 2010

waiting for my real life to begin

Any minute now my ship is coming in
I keep checking the horizon
And I'll stand on the bow
And feel the waves come crashing
Come crashing down, down, down on me

According to Chicago time I'm at a perfectly normal time in my life. I'm 27 and married. I don't have children. I don't own my home and I have a stepping stone job.

According to Indiana time I'm way behind on the kids, home and dream job.

I'm having a lot of trouble trying to balance the different standards in my life. When I'm at work and around my city friends I feel confident and happy. We all complain together about crappy apartments or crappy jobs. We don't think twice about someone not having children before they are 30. It seems normal and nature to be at this state in our lives.

And you said,"Be still, my love
Open up your heart
Let the light shine in"
Don't you understand?
I already have a plan
I'm waiting for my real life to begin.

But then I go home. I go back to the land of corn and sometime during my train ride I lose valuable time in my life. The biological clock starts ticking faster the further east I travel. The fact that I'm not a mom and still in a crap job becomes something I can't ignore. It's as though Indiana pressures me to move my life faster and get to where I want to be right this second.

When I awoke today suddenly nothing happened
But in my dreams I slew the dragon
And down this beaten path
And up this cobbled lane
I'm walking in my own footsteps once again

It's frustrating, of course. I want to have children. I want to have a nice house. I don't want to be embarrassed about where I live (which I am) or what I do for a living (which I totally am). I want to have accomplished everything that my friends have done. I want to be impressive. But then I see people who have everything I want so badly and I envy them. I envy them for obtaining it all so effortlessly. And sure I know it took them a lot of hard work, but I can't see that. All I can see is the end result and how my life pales in comparison to theirs.

I know that my life won't always be this way. I know I'm still young. Hell, my great-grandmother lived to be 104 and I'm only 27. I know that just because people I went to school with or girls who are younger than I are having families doesn't mean I've failed in life. I know that having things doesn't equal happiness.

But I wish I could remember that all the time. I wish I wasn't always waiting for the future. I feel as though I miss what happens right now.

On a clear day
I can see, see for a long way

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Imagine me and you, I do.

Five years ago, I became a wife. Ish. Legality aside, I've been married since April 16, 2005.

I've struggled with being a wife. I will be the first person to tell you that marriage is not easy. Marriage is work and if you're not dedicated to your spouse and your commitment, it's going to fail miserably. Because it's not just about being in love and making a life together. No. It is so much much more than that.

When you're married to someone you have to share yourself. And that right there is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. Those of you who really know me know that I'm not big on sharing. I like my emotions locked up, not discussed and ignored. Feelings aren't something I'm good at discussing. I can handle anger. I can do laughter. But vulnerability and sorrow and that stuff? No thanks, let's move on, etc etc. But I expect other people to be completely open and honest with me. Yes I am aware of the hypocrisy. Very aware of it.

Luckily for me, I have a husband who embraces my flaws. He laughs when I insist I hate being affectionate and then ask him why he isn't cuddling me on the sofa. He just shakes his head when I tell him I'm not upset about something only to lock myself in my bedroom and sulk. For all of my faults (and there are a LOT) he accepts and loves me. For that I'm truly lucky.

I know our life isn't always going to be perfect. And even though I tend to measure my life against other peoples', I know that we're on our own path and one day we'll reach all the places we want to see. But for now, I'm going to be happy with having a husband who cooks better than I do. I'm going to love that my husband is the size of a freaking tree. I'm going to laugh when he falls asleep during every single movie we attempt to watch together. And I'm going to thank God every day for giving me such a kind, gentle and loving giant of a man.

Did I mention he cleans? Really, it's the main reason I keep him around. The rest is just gravy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Diet Coke and Pizza Please

There is no way to write this without sounding full of myself. And since I am full of myself there really isn't any point in trying to pretend otherwise. I'm awesome. I am. Sure I have my faults, but I'm choosing to ignore those today. Today I'm embracing myself exactly how I am. I'm not going to use the word "if" or "when" or "maybe". I am simply going to love myself for what I am in this moment.

I'm a big girl. I have hips so epic that I use them to be remembered. And you know what? I love how I look. I love how I feel. I'm happy with who I am.

This might go away tomorrow, but for today I'm confident and feel good and I'm going to hold onto that as hard as I can. There are some days when we let our faults consume us and rule us. But not today.

Today I am going to list everything I love about myself. I'm going to play a song over and over again. I'm going to encourage everyone else to be happy about themselves.

Because I am beautiful. I am funny and intelligent. I am compassionate and outgoing. I am dedicated and loving and friendly. I'm interesting and spiritual and a good wife. I'm a great friend and a kick ass babysitting. And, to quote the best movie of all time, "He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master."

So, please, share something you love about yourself. Or 100 things you love about yourself. All of your insecurities and fears and faults.. ignore them. They'll still be there tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Doctor

No, not that one. This Doctor is better.

Once, way back in the times of John Simatovich Elementary, there was a girl sitting on a bench during recess reading a book. I remember her vividly. I remember her in that moment even though I know I met her before then. But that was the moment I remember meeting Beth Ann.

Today a box arrived from Michigan. For no reason at all, she set me a sweet little care package. Various flavors of Kit Kats (which I've already promised to Erin), an Anne Rice book (which Greg already claimed) and an Entertainment Book. Why? Because she's Beth Ann.

And that little box made me think. It made me think about the hours we spent driving back and forth from Wheeler to Indianapolis for FHA State conferences. It reminded me of our horrible taste in boys one summer. I remembered sneaking out of class and hiding in the home ec room with our favorite teacher. It reminds me of learning about death and holding my friend through her tears. Driving down to help her pack up an apartment after she graduated medical school. I remember laughing until we cried so many times that a visit with Beth doesn't seem complete without one.

Just one little box. One box that reminded me of how blessed I am to know her. She probably won't see this. My geeky doctor friend and the internet don't get along. But it was good for me to remember how much I love her and how lucky I am to have her.

Dr. Beth amazes me. There is no way I could ever write about everything we've been through, but I'm glad she remembers enough to send me kit kats and (real) vampire books.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Now kids, listen to your mother.

Sometimes we assume that only the "professionals" can educate us. People like my mother, for example. She makes her living by helping people correct their behavior and refocus their energy to yield success. (Look, Ma, I said that without sounding like a smart ass.) And while I will begrudgingly agree that she has valid points, I maintain that everything we need to know about work and business can be boiled down to a few things she taught me as a child. Meaning her degrees are useless and she should've just kept yelling at everyone like she did to me when I was a snot nosed brat. I kid, Ma. I kid. Mostly.

Believe me, I'm the first person to ignore any advice my mother gives me. And I'm the first person to tease her at length about what she does for a living. So, consider this a rare and unlikely occurrence. I'm going to talk about how my mother is right.

By the way, if you just head a loud thud it was my mother falling out of her chair. Someone should probably check on her to make sure she's still breathing.

Is she still alive? Breathing? Heart still beating? Okay, good. Let's continue on with discussing how my mother is right and occasionally people should listen to her.

1. When you are inside you must use your inside voice.

I firmly believe that the majority of the world has forgotten this simple rule. Especially when it comes to being in an office. Park rangers are an exception and I'm sure there are a few others, but most people work in a building. In case you're confused, buildings are inside places. That means it is not appropriate to walk into the office and start talking at the top of your lungs. Especially around my desk. Please, lower your voices and remember that there are other people around you.

2. Do not touch things that don't belong to you.

Apparently no one else learned this rule as a child. Maybe my mother was extra strict. Or maybe people now view offices as communes and believe everything is shared. This includes pens, staplers, food, chairs and computers. Listen. Back off. I don't bring things to work for you to play with. The food in the fridge isn't an option in case you don't like your lunch. Would you go to your neighbors and eat their supper because you didn't like what you cooked? No.

3. When you go to church/work/school it is important to look your best.

I know some people might not agree with me on this one, but I firmly believe it. I don't expect people to buy designer labels and spend three hours in the morning primping. However, I do expect people to take some level of pride in their appearance. Shower, for example. Brush your hair. And do not walk around my office in the same clothing you would wear to a club. Have some respect for your place of employment. Have some dignity for that matter. And pull your shirt down/pants up because no body wants to see that!

4. Be nice to others.

Now this one is a big one. And also the hardest for the average employee to follow. I'm astounded that people question the amount of turnover they have when they are rude, dismissive and disrespectful to their employees. Can we take a moment to saying DUH? If you want someone to help you with something then be nice to them. If you want me to continue to do the work that you should be doing in the first place then try treating me like a person rather than Drone no. 7. And that goes for your co-workers as well. We are all in a tight space together and it's very likely that you work with people that you would not spend time out in the real world. Well too bad. Be nice to them. It's just that simple.

I spend five days a week watching things from my lobby. I see every part of this office work together, argue, complain, etc. And if everyone would just take my mother's advice which is the SAME ADVICE your mother probably gave you when you were growing up. Not that I normally condone listening to my mother, but in this instance I think we'd all be better off.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

I've got Sunshine

Today was beautiful.




I took a walk from my office down to the river. I sat. I listened to music. I chatted with a few friends. I stood and watched the boats go by.

By the end of the hour my arms were pink, I was a bit sweaty and I didn't want to go back to work.

Still, I can't imagine a better way to spend my lunch hour. It was perfect.