Category Archives: goals

Kick in the Teeth

So, I came back from my weekend retreat refreshed, relaxed and inspired. My brain was literally overflowing with ideas and plans. I got my groove back and had a new outlook on life.

Guess what? Life happened. My pink cloud didn’t last much past 9 AM yesterday morning. I got seriously bummed at having to spend the day in the office working – which had absolutely nothing to do with my new attitude for self-fulfillment and personal growth. Didn’t help that it was a nasty, humid, rainy 76 degrees outside either. Even my hair rebelled, which is nothing strange. But it didn’t help my mood. And by the time I got home last night – exhausted – I just wanted to crawl into bed. No reading, Zumba, journal writing or thinking of any kind. To tell the truth, I fell asleep in front of Pawn Stars.

This morning, determined to find the groove I worked so hard to get back, I shut myself away for some quiet time. Reflecting and surfing. Which always solves the problem, right? A little Facebook makes everything better. Ha. Usually those types of days are the ones where my news feed is stacked with everyone’s vaca photos from Costa Rica or a SAHM’s latest Pinterest project.

But not today. The first thing that popped up was a link to a new post on Legacyunleashed.org. And if you haven’t checked out her stuff, it’s fantastic. Motivational, thoughtful and spiritual. So I clicked. and read. And what she had to say was a wakeup call for me.

Boy, was I glad I did. Today’s post is all about keeping your vision alive. Keeping the groove. Keeping the spring in your step while living life on life’s terms. It was truly a God thing. Given my current state of mind, it was a reminder that He hasn’t just given me these ideas and plans for nothing. There is a plan. And I need to keep the joy and remember that things don’t happen on my schedule.

While I was reading her post, the minions were playing some new app in the other room. Some bike racing thing. And I heard minion 1 say, ‘Man, I hate the bumps in the road.’

Son, I do too. And what I felt yesterday was one of those bumps. But there’s always level ground after a bump and sometimes a hill or two. I wrote down a quote from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn over the weekend. It totally fits here, I just need to remember it. So do you. Ready? Here it is:

All of us are what we have to be and everyone lives the kind of life it’s in him to live.

Profound, huh? But I also need to remember that I have some choice in what kind of person I am. That’s my challenge this afternoon. Well, that and having enough energy to put plans into action tonight!

Riker – I just don’t like the bumps in the road.

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Filed under Attitude, goals, Personal growth, Perspective, Plans, working moms

Lipstick Does TOO Matter!

Got your attention, didn’t I? Good. Keep reading. And this ain’t gonna be one of those fashion-y cosmetic review blogs, either.

What does lipstick have to do with anything? Oh, just let me tell you. Remember yesterday’s resolution update? The one that I thought I could manage – Zumba, Pilates or yoga for 40-45 minutes four or five times a week?

Yeah. That one. Day one and I’m kind of miffed. Because my time management – at which I’ve always been pretty good, or at least pretty organized – is being affected by something totally out of my control. Know what it is?

Expectations of Women in the Workplace.

Let me get this straight – this is nothing new. Granted, my current office is more Mad Men than The Office. But thinking back to my very first teaching job brings up a couple of things I forgot to mention in my ‘Schooled’ posts. Gotta write these down for the book too!

My Very First Teaching Job was a dream. Excellent school, excellent neighborhood, supportive families, fantastic administration and a building full of overachieving teachers. What more could I ask for?? But one thing that anyone new to the building learned really quick was the Head Honcho’s pet peeve. And that, my friends, was teachers looking anything less than completely put together. Yes, she was older – and had been in education since the days of female teachers’ wearing pants was frowned upon. (Trust me, that wasn’t all that long ago. My mom worked in the library at my elementary school back in the ’80s, and she remembers the staff keeping their distance from one teacher who called herself ‘Ms.’ and wore slacks occasionally. Fast woman!!)

Back to the point – anyway, this particular Head Honcho’s idea of teachers looking completely put together included the One Necessary Touch – lipstick. Lipstick in the morning and – especially – after lunch. If she saw you in the hall during the afternoon and your lips weren’t freshly colored and dewy – you’d get The Look. And if The Look didn’t get you instantly fumbling to refresh your pucker – and if you got caught again looking unkempt – you’d get a nicely worded gentle reminder note in your mailbox. You can imagine how many notes I got the semester I was on Accutane and my lips were literally peeling off my face. And THAT was in the era when really dark lipstick was the fashion.

Yes, I’m serious. No, I’m not joking. And I can’t have made it up either. Get a group of teachers from that school together and we all have one thing in common – we ALL refresh our lipstick to this day after lunch. It’s a habit. We can’t all be that neurotic on our own. And for someone like me, with my music background, that’s no minor feat.

See, as a Wind Player, lipstick was verboten. Absolutely. Chapstick, on the other hand, was a requirement – especially after hours of rehearsal during the blustery, cold and sometimes snowy North Texas winter months. We obsessed over it. Chapstick was a requirement, but the stuff that really worked – Carmex – was an absolute NO. There was some weird urban legend that the stuff was addictive, could make the chapping worse due to withdrawal, and should be avoided at all costs. By graduation I can’t even tell you how many industrial-sized tubs of Vaseline I’d gone through out of necessity. The Spouse could probably joke about our early married days and budget arguments about my Vaseline expenditures. Seriously. So you can imagine how much of a stretch it was to actually WEAR lipstick, much less refresh the stuff.

How does this have anything to do with my fitness goals? It’s simple. Today’s work environment – at least mine – still has pretty set-in-stone expectations about how a woman should look in the workplace. And for me, that takes a while. I’m NOT one of those lucky chicks who can go to bed with wet hair, wake up and shake it out, dab on some mascara and zip out the door. Looking presentable requires lots of time and effort. I’m ‘blessed’ with hair that every stylist I’ve visited in the last decade calls ‘uniquely textured.’ Translated, that means that it’s naturally curly underneath and a frizzy disaster on top that’s neither wavy or straight. And it’s really thick. My Hairntervention hasn’t worked. So just looking decent requires a good blowdry session followed by Chi torture. And then more Chi torture. Makeup and lipstick add more time.

Look, I’m a mom. I already get up at five AM just to look decent, dress appropriately and spend some time being mom, wife and getting the minions out the door to the bus. If I want to work out in the morning, I’d have to be like the guy on the radio right now that I absolutely want to punch in the throat. He rambles on about how the only time he can work out is at three AM and his miracle solution is some random energy shot drink. Three AM?? I’d be a zombie by noon, and I have to work until six.

Evenings are a problem too. Most nights I get home around seven – and need to be wife and mom again for a while. Working out on the way home would mean that I’d see the minions for about five minutes before they got to bed. That’s a no-go in my book. But if I try to work out after they’re in bed my body gets so ramped up on endorphins that I can’t sleep, which makes looking decent the next day a huge problem.

See my dilemma? And don’t go all feminist on me by saying that I should just screw the makeup and hair and let myself be judged by my performance in the workplace. Sounds good in theory, but reality is different. Your competence in business really is determined – at least in the Mad Men building in which I work – by appearance. Granted, the Girls Down the Hall have taken that to a new extreme. Forget VPL – they specialize in VTL. Visible Thong Line. But in my office, it’s ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have.’ Rule set in stone. Period.

And conforming to those expectations doesn’t – in my opinion – make me less of an empowered woman, less intelligent or more of a conformist. It’s called having goals and ambition – and doing what I need to do in order to achieve my goals and move forward.

But working out?? I’m desperate here – suggestions please!!

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Filed under Fitness, goals, New Year's Resolutions, Pilates, working moms, Yoga, Zumba

Resolved!

So, it’s that time of year again. The time that my list-making, goal-setting Type-A self absolutely loves. The New Year. And that inevitably brings resolutions.

Past resolutions have been hit and miss. I’ve resolved to work out more, to journal every day, to practice my instrument XX hours per day and spend XX hours making reeds, to clear out the clutter and put my crap away, you name it. I’ve resolved it. And for the most part, none of these well-meaning promises ever stick for very long.

Why? Well, honestly, I think it’s because once I start making a list I just can’t stop. A list of one or two really good resolutions usually turns into eight or ten. And for me, that’s just overwhelming. Especially if the resolutions are big ones that require lifestyle changes. I end up spreading my limited icing so thinly over a very large cake that I end up failing in style. Apparently this means I have an issue setting boundaries with myself.

Now, if I were a different kind of mom, things would be different. If I were the kind of SAHM who sits on the couch and eats bonbons – homemade, of course – every day, for example. Now, I’m not knocking all SAHM’s here. The majority of them that I know are hardworking genuinely caring souls who do the best for their families. But come on, be honest. As much as we deny it, we all know at least one of the other kind. The ones who bemoan the day they have to ‘clean up the house because the maid is coming.’ The ones who only got four hours last Tuesday to peruse Epicurious for Martha-Stewart-worthy dinner recipes because little Magnus or Starla had a dentist appointment. The ones who work so hard to fit in the mani-pedi between tennis and yoga. Those moms. My Spouse says I would last about a week before going stir crazy. You know what? Let me try it for a week and let you know if that’s true!! Because I guarantee that I’d have tons of brilliantly productive ideas that would actually see the light of day if that were me. And I’m not just talking about cleaning up for the maid. Things like:

  1. Painting the dining room.
  2. Secretly going through the minions’ rooms and trashing the bags of junk and crap that they don’t even know are under their beds.
  3. Devoting some serious time to a hobby, like writing.
  4. Taking a class – just because. I love to learn and research and I’m usually not bigheaded enough to emote about my savant-worthy abilities.
  5. Clipping coupons that I actually use, instead of tossing them in some random drawer only to discover them months after the expiration date.
  6. Finishing a self help book – and actually using it to help myself.

The list goes on. You get the idea. Instead, you know what happens? I spend my few minutes of rare free time doing one of three things:

  1. Sorting through the list of stuff I really want to do and trying to decide what to do first. Which results in nothing. Zero.
  2. Falling down exhausted and sleeping.
  3. Having a meltdown about all of the things I want to do with my free time but don’t get to do because I was so tired I fell asleep.

Number three is the most popular at my house. I could probably make a hobby of having meltdowns, now that I think about it. Yeah. Sure. That one would be seriously popular with the fam, wouldn’t it?? And to be honest I can’t stand myself when I’m having a meltdown either – so that one’s out.

So where does that leave me? Well, I’ll tell you. My boss actually gave me a Pinstrosity-worthy idea last week that I’m taking to heart.

The Resolution of the Month.

With the idea that it takes three weeks to change a habit plus the conviction that anyone can do something consitently for a month, I’m taking this one and running with it. I’m tackling my to-do list of resolutions one at a time, one month at a time. My biggest challenge here is to tell my overachieving conscience to shut up and deal. One change. One month at a time. I’m having to remember what my mom said about childbirth when I was pregnant – you don’t get extra points for doing it the hard way. So there it is. I’ll post tomorrow about my January resolution.

One problem – the one thing I really want to achieve is an unachievable goal. Could be an issue…

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Filed under boundaries, goals, Life Changes, New Year's Resolutions

Waiting

I don’t like waiting. Period. Well, that’s not entirely true. I am perfectly capable of waiting – patiently – if there’s an end in sight. Doctor’s office? No problem. Dentist? Check. Hair appointment? Got it. Scheduled  meeting at work? It’s in the bag.

See, all of those things have a deadline. A set date and time. At least if the dentist is running an hour or so late, it might not be a pleasant hour of waiting, but it’s finite. Even going to camp as a kid or preparing for an audition in college had a set start and end time and date. Those things were doable.

With everything else, my Type-A-ness gets in the way. And it’s annoying.

I think part of it has to do with being so goal-oriented. Back in school there was always a set timeline. Tests, social events, auditions and contests always had a concrete calendar – and I could work with that. In fact I thrived on it. It’s always been the ‘sometime’ future events that give me the most grief.

Like getting married. Several college friends were engaged to their guys for years. YEARS. With no date set other than ‘when we both finish school.’ I never could understand how they were able to function. I mean, how could you make a timeline, schedule, to-do list and count down the days without a definite calendar? (And to me, that’s the fun part.) To my credit, I did pretty well with that one. We were engaged a whole month (and a half) before I caved and had to set a date or go crazy. Once the date was set – nine months in the future – I was OK. I could function. Goal, schedule, timeline – all ready to be in place.

Even now, it’s the unknowns that get me. ‘We’ll take that vacation sometime,’ is a popular one around our house these days. Not. Good. Enough. I’m antsy – even if it’s five years from now, I’d like to know that from April 7-11, 2017 I will be on a beach in ___________ . Crazy, I know. Just one of my many quirks. I’m sure I drive others just as crazy as they drive me. Trying to plan nights out with the girls is a prime example. ‘We’ll do this again soon,’ is a pretty common saying. I get it. We’re all moms with kids and spouses – with schedules of their own. I’d much rather look at my trusty calendar and get something down – even if it changes.

And my Type-A brain likes to grumble, ‘Why isn’t everyone like this?’ It’s frustrating. Frustrating because I thrive on a schedule, frustrating because – even after a fun time – I need ‘the next thing’ to look forward to. And finally, frustrating because it’s times like these that make me realize just how weird I am. I know it and I own it.

Living in the moment. Enjoying the journey, not just the destination – that’s my new challenge. (Well, along with accepting the knowledge that I’m quirky that way and that part of me – just part of me – needs to get over it.)

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Filed under goals, scheduling, time management, type a personality