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All Work and No Play

11 Oct

… makes me an uninspired, uncreative, dull, dull, dull girl.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I have a job. Maybe even lucky. But lately, my job has left me completely drained – of energy, of time, of creativity, of inspiration. Every day, I go to office, put in eight hours (sometimes more) of my time, my energy, my talents, my heart, my mind, my LIFE.  And at the end of the day, I feel I am left with nothing but fatigue and frustration.  I have nothing left for God, for my husband, my friends, my family, even myself.

I know that part of the problem is my own perfectionism. It kills me to have to deal with mediocrity. (And that can almost be taken in a literal sense, as my intensely high daily stress level surely is doing nothing good for my health.) But every day, mediocrity is what I deal with. On top of that, the people I am surrounded with don’t seem to even notice it. So, every day, I take it upon myself to “cure” us (by us, I mean the media company I work for) of mediocrity. And I’ve realized that I CANNOT do that anymore. I can’t take it upon myself to “fix” everything. I just can’t.

I need balance. I need ME back. When I leave work, I need to LEAVE work. No more taking work home every weekend. No more stressing out during my vacation time and being unable to RELAX because I’m worried about this project, or that impossible deadline, or this article that I need to finish and to perfect. No more skipping workouts or turning down social invitations because I’m exhausted, because I’ve spent too much of myself on work, work, work. No more. I’m done. Done.

Well, until the next time I lose sight or my priorities and lose myself again. Help keep me accountable, will you?

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When It’s Hard to Say “I’m Sorry,” Write It in a Yearbook

24 Oct

I am in the beginning stages of helping plan my 10-year high school reunion.  (Wow! I feel old.)  And this, of course, has prompted me to browse my high school yearbooks and such.  My school days (all of them, not just high school) were often difficult.  Kids were cruel, as kids often are.  Sometimes, especially cruel.

That’s not to say that my school experience was all bad.  It wasn’t.  We all eventually grew up (sometime during the summer before senior year) and learned to get along despite our socioeconomic/racial/personality/whathaveyou differences.  And I’ve never been one to hold a grudge, always forgiving people despite the lack of apology.  But as I was skimming my old high school yearbooks, I did come across an apology – the only one I ever remember receiving from a once-cruel classmate – written in blue ink on page 22.

Laura,

How goes it?  Well I want you to know that you have been a great friend.  All those times I was mean to you when we were younger, well I’m sorry for that.  Keep band strong next year.  Maybe you’ll get Drum Major next year!  That would be awesome.  Well I’ve gotta go.  I’ll write more later.

Your friend,

It was nice to read nearly 10 years ago.  Still is.  There is so much power in a simple “I’m sorry.”  I think so many times, we make offenses and then move on as if nothing ever happened, expecting the person on the receiving end to do so as well.  We’re penitent, and we expect others to realize this without our making it known:

My husband knows I was only angry and didn’t mean to say the hurtful things I did.  I don’t have to say, “I’m sorry.”  My best friend will forgive me for letting her secret slip.  After all, it was an accident.  My mom understands how busy I was last week when I forgot to call her back.  There’s no need to apologize.  My little brother won’t mind that I forgot his birthday.  He understands I have a lot of things on my mind.  My son knows I love him, even though I angrily yelled at him out of frustration.  My sister will forgive me for going overboard on the teasing.  She knows I didn’t mean to be hurtful.  That girl at church who walked in on us gossiping about her probably didn’t even hear what we were saying, anyway. The list goes on.

Not every wrongdoing is easily glossed over.  Many offenses are forgiven, but not all are forgotten.  Words and actions that may be no big deal to us can have a lasting effect on the recipients of those words and actions.

“I’m sorry.”

A simple phrase.  It’s not always easy to say.  But it is comforting, and sometimes necessary, to hear.

Overwhelmed

9 Oct

This is how I feel.

All.

The.

Time.

Neighbors?

27 Jun

After recently returning from Papa John’s where I had a lovely chat with Pizza Guy, I came to the realization that I don’t know any of my neighbors. Never talk to them. Never interact. Nothing. May not even recognize them if I saw them out and about. However, I do know Papa John’s pizza guy, practically all the employees at Nacho’s Mexican Restaurant, cute Starbucks guy, Jersey Mike’s deli dude, the hilarious Otter’s chicken guy, several of the Moe’s Mexican Grill peeps, and the cashier lady at the Daily’s gas station where I stop for my breakfast coffee and Krispy Kreme donuts more often than I should.  And they all know me and recognize my face. Some even know my name, and we talk every time I see them (which is a lot, I imagine).  I can’t say that about the people who live withing 20 feet of my front door.  Heck, I don’t even know how many neighbors I actually have.

I’m not exactly sure what this says about me, but I’m pretty positive it says something. I’ll let you know when I figure it out, and of course, I’m always open for suggestions.

Sometimes, On My Lunch Break …

24 Jun

Sometimes, on my lunch break, I feel a little lazy and undisciplined. So I drive through Wendy’s to pick up lunch instead of going home to make it myself. And some days, like today, I forget that small really means medium and medium is actually large. And I order a medium Mr. Pibb (they don’t have Dr. Pepper there) and medium fries to go with my five piece chicken nuggets. Then, when I open the bag, I’m all like – “Holy Mother! (no, I’m not Catholic) THIS is what they call a medium, now? What is the world coming to?” And I spend the rest of my day bothered and bewildered (but not bewitched, mind you).

Related:

Kid’s Meal?

Notes on a Drive-Thru Window

Cheeseburger

Ducks in a Row

16 Jun

This one from Kris Carr could apply to anybody:

So often we wait for all our ducks to be in a row, our closets to be neat and tidy, and our endless to-do lists to be checked off before we allow ourselves to have fun. We believe that only after we get all our “stuff” done can we take a deep breath and live.

Well, cancer doesn’t wait for order. In fact, it thrives on chaos. Breathe now. Burn the lists and let the dust bunnies roll like tumbleweeds. Narrow your focus to what really matters: you. Cancer is unknown territory. Will life ever be the same? I hate to burst your bubble, but no. Can you still drink wine? Maybe. Dance on tables? Yes. Go on vacation? Absolutely. Be “normal”? Why would you want to be that? ~ Kris Carr, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips

I struggle with this to-do list problem continually. I feel like I can’t go out, read a book, call a friend, write a poem, do anything until the dishes are clean and the clothes are folded and the mail is sorted and … . All it ever does for me is cause stress and anxiety. Lately, I’ve been making a concentrated effort to shift my focus from all the chores of life to its abundant opportunities. Carpe diem, right? Or is collige virgo rosas more appropriate?

Related:

Anne Thompson and Dr. Death

Things to Do in 2008

On Self-Pity

On Divorce

16 Jun

From my most recent interview, I found this statement from Sylvia (opera singer, cancer survivor) really interesting, especially considering that about half of all marriages end in divorce. Maybe it will give people one more reason to stop and think before deciding to end their marriages:

I remember hearing Lance Armstrong give an interview to Charlie Rose on PBS. Armstrong said his cancer was so much easier than his divorce. Writer/satirist/comedian Robert Schimmel (Cancer on $5 a Day) has written the same thing. When I’ve heard those guys say it, somehow it has lightened my burden. So I’m adding my name to that list saying, “If you’re going through divorce, know that you are doing the toughest thing any human ever has to do.” Divorce is so difficult. Cancer is too, but with cancer everyone surrounds you with love and support. With divorce, so many people – at a loss for what to say and do – run for cover. Piled on top of overwhelming grief, you then also lose many of your friends. I’ve never felt so alone and lost as when I was going through divorce. With cancer, I had an ARMY of people to help!

Wow. To me, that’s pretty profound, especially with the way divorce is often portrayed in this country – as the punchline to a joke, as “the best thing I could have ever done for myself,” as a solution for the problem of what to do when you meet your soul mate after you’re already married (there’s a book on this one) … you get the point.

Notes on a Drive-Thru Window

26 Feb

When I drive through McDonald’s to pick up a salad on my lunch break and the lady at the pick-up window forgets to put the croutons in the bag, I don’t request them because I think to myself that maybe she didn’t “forget” the croutons after all, maybe it’s just her polite way of letting me know that I don’t really need to eat those croutons anyway.

Drunk Driver?

13 Feb

A couple of days ago, I was standing in line at the gas station near my house, just trying to buy a Dr. Pepper.  I don’t keep them stocked in the house.  It’s less of a temptation if I actually have to make an effort to get one.  That’s beside the point. 

The guy in front of me was picking up a case of beer and a couple of lotto tickets.  When the cashier asked for his ID, he presented, not a driver’s license, but one of those government-issued photo IDs that you get when you don’t have a driver’s license, for example, because it was taken away after a DUI, or three. 

So there I was, standing behind a man who was not very well put together, who was fumbling and shaky, and who, for some reason did not present an actual driver’s license to buy beer.  And I was trying to decide whether or not I should take down his license plate number and call the highway patrol to let them know that there might be someone on the road who shouldn’t be driving. 

Well, I watched him walk to his truck, and luckily, he got into the passenger seat.  I still don’t know what I would have done if he had gotten into the driver’s seat.  I know I’m not supposed to judge, but I do understand alcoholics, and one thing about alcoholics is that they are pretty much always drunk, even when they aren’t drinking.  I don’t know for sure if that label applied to this man, but he exhibited many of the signs.  It’s hard to know when to step up and act and when to just live and let live.

 Is is ever okay to “judge” someone?  What would you have done in that situation?  What would you have done if he had gotten in the driver’s seat?   

Horoscope

20 Dec

I was in a gas station the other day when I heard the following conversation:

Lady in Line: My horoscope for today is so right, it’s almost scary.
Cashier: Really? What does yours say?
Lady in Line: It says “In both love and sales, it is important to remember that a ‘one size fits all’ approach does not always work.” Isn’t that weird? That freaks me out it’s so right.

This got me thinking that if enough Americans are this gullible/stupid, I could make a real nice living writing horoscopes. I mean, exactly how hard is it to write pseudo-profound generalizations that could apply to almost anyone who is reading them at any given time?

I think I’ll give it a try:

  • When it comes to life, you will be much happier if take a glass half-full approach.
  • To succeed in business, determination is essential.
  • Keep your eye on the goal, and you will not be easily distracted.
  • This month, you may be lucky in love. But if romance does not come your way, you should embrace your singleness.
  • The only stupid questions are the ones not asked.

So, what do you think? Am I ready to quit my day job?