The Difference a Year Makes

I have been pretty much absent for the past twelve months.

Life happens like that sometimes.  One year ago, I was struggling, really, really struggling to find ONE full-time job. And I got it!

In the past year, I have published two articles and a book, changed jobs, received a promotion and enrolled in a PhD program.  I know where I’m going and I have hopes of being “settled” here for a long time.

happyIt was a long road, a winding, twisty, rugged road.  I fell.  I got the wind knocked out of me and it hurt.  I learned a lot about myself and I grew into “Me”.  I spent many evenings reflecting on where I was and where I wanted to be in five years and they were worlds apart.  SOOOO, I got up and started walking toward the sun.  I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I knew if I stayed where I was, I was going to lose myself, and that was simply NOT acceptable.  Now that I am a bit more settled on a route to take, I hope to be back here more often.  I’ve missed you.

Who Am I?

I Am

I am Creative and strong
I wonder who I’m going to be when I grow up
I hear the soft waves hitting the beaches at Cape Cod
I see the bridge to everywhere
I want to accomplish my goals
I am creative and strong

I pretend that I am already free to be who I am
I feel comforted by love and belief, with strong attachments
I touch the edge of the universe
I worry that I may die too young
I cry when I think of what could have been
I am Creative and strong

I understand that I cannot change the past, but I can change tomorrow
I say I can be anything I want to be and do all I imagine being possible
I dream of being a success and making an impact on the world
I try to look for and savor small pleasures
I hope my children become strong, ethical, kind and generous
I am creative and strong

This is a post inspired by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, which is pretty much my main source of inspiration at the moment.  If you’ve hit a dry spell, or, like me, are simply overwhelmed with life in general at the moment, check out her blog!

If I Were Still Alone. . .

It is ironic that Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop chose this as a challenge of the week.  It is exactly part of my current struggle in an ongoing saga of, “Who the hell have I become?”  I am middle age-ish and in the midst of Erikson’s Generativity vs. Stagnation stage,  I am frustrated at my lack of being “settled” somewhere- anywhere, just settled.  Ya know, pick a career and make a go of it!  Be somebody!  Excel!  Accomplish! Settle!

I am in the process of moving from three part-time jobs to ONE full-time job.  While this sounds like heaven on earth, finding the job has been nothing if not completely stressful. Like, wake up at all hours of the night and not be able to go back to sleep resulting in pretty much continual exhaustion, stressful.

Over the past three weeks I have, admittedly, entertained thoughts of, “What if it were Just Me?”, “What if I had never married and had kids?”, “How would this be different?”  The answers?  Well, I’m SO glad the Writer’s Workshop asked! 

The ten things I miss about being alone, in no particular order, are:

1.  The freedom to come and go as I choose.  Having the ability to make my own schedule was amazing and simple and wonderful.  Lonely at times, but I was a good friend to myself and I had a good time.

2.  The freedom to eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  Sometimes, given the amount of stress I have, the whole “We must eat at 5:00 thing is overwhelming indeed.

3.  The capacity to move across town or across the country if that would be best for me.  I can find jobs in my chosen field, just not in my current locale.  Major bummer.  It’s either uproot my kids and hope my husband could find work elsewhere, or suck it up and maybe change career paths- SO not my choice!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrr.

4.  The ability to make all decisions based solely on what’s good for me. See above.

5.  The freedom to go home at night and sit in front of the TV and do blessedly-NOTHING, which includes thinking!  The ability to get lost in, say, Matlock where every detail is taken care of in a mere 60 minute time slot. 

6.  Expendable income.  I just want to be able to buy, say, a latte without having to scrounge change from the floorboards. 

7.  The ability to pick up and go out at a moment’s notice.  You know, when a friend calls and wants to just go downtown and hang out.

8.  The freedom to spend the amount of time I need doing research and writing.

9.  Peace and quiet.

10.  A clean house.

THOSE are the things I miss most. 

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Slop Bucket List

Inspired once again by MamaKat’s Writer’s Workshop, here are the Top Ten Things I NEVER Want To Do:

10.  Camping- in any form- tent, camper, lodge, etc.  I am not a high maintenance kind of girl.  I don’t require designer things or to have my nails done.  I don’t need lattes from Starbucks or fancy jewelry.  However, I DO require indoor plumbing, a heat/air system and a nice soft bed free of bugs and rodents as well as the possibility that if I close my eyes, one might appear.

9. Play in a Band:  I sing and I enjoy it.  However, I just don’t like loud music.  I never really have. 

8.  White Water Raft:  The only white water I want to see is from the current in a jacuzzi.  That’s as adventurous as I get.  Sorry. 

7.  Professional Bra Fitting:  Ladies, there’s just not that much there in the first place, and I really don’t need someone else to call attention to my short-comings.  Also, true confession- I have never wanted to be any bigger than the size “A”  I am.  When I was pregnant and they got to the enormous size of a “C” cup (not even kidding), they were, frankly, in my way.  They made exercise difficult and they were sweat traps.  So, I’ll just be an “A”.  I like it that way.

6.  Wear Contacts:  If God had meant for us to intentionally stick things in our own eyes, He would not have made blinking a reflex!  Think about it.

5.  Be A Nurse:  I am a compassionate woman.  I am.  And, perhaps being, say, an obstetrics nurse would be okay.  However, to get to that point, there are a lot of “dues” to be paid, and frankly, I’m just not willing to voluntarily clean up anyone’s bodily fluids.  I am a sympathy puker.  I’m not thinking that is on the list of attributes that make an effective nurse.  So, while I am amazingly grateful to those nurses who have been there for me at various stages of stomach upset and post-op insanity, I am unwilling to pay that price to “be there” for total strangers. 

4. Go Sky-Diving:  Why?  Why would anyone jump from a perfectly well-functioning airplane?  Why leave the relative comfort of such a vehicle, opting instead, for a thin piece of nylon that is “supposed” to launch via “pull cord”?  Hello?  What if the chord breaks?  Malfunctions?  What if. . . .?  Well, the possibilities are endless, so uh, no thanks!

3.  Go caving:  Again, why?  Why crawl into a space inhabited by God knows what with a light attached to your head?  I want to go into a place with lights ON in the ceiling, operated by a switch.  Oh, and that dank, musty smell?  I’ll skip that too please.

2.  Run a Marathon:  Again, why?  Is something chasing you?  Did you lose a bet?  Seriously?  For fun?  I don’t get it.  My running shoes are for “running” errands.  They provide a nice bounce in my step at the grocery and Target.  That’s all I need, really.

1.  Eat raw oysters.  I love fried oysters.  Anything fried is good, and so wonderfully bad for you at the same time.  But, the slime of the little critters is beyond my ability to swallow and the mere thought of allowing it to “just glide down your throat” as some have suggested, makes me gag!  So, thanks, but no.

22 Things I HAVE done

Okay, so, what to share??

At 41, I HAVE:

1.  Canned my own vegetables and jelly

2.  Visited 39 states

3.  Been in 15 stage productions

4.  Completed two Masters degrees

5.  Been to Pike’s Peak

6.  Been swimming in the Atlantic and Pacific

7.  Driven coast to coast

8.  Eaten a McLobster Sandwich-yep, you read it right-McDonald’s special in Maine

9.  Attended a professional football game and sat in a suite

10.  Drunk a bottle of wine- alone- by myself

11.  Survived cancer

12.  Buried a child

13.  Tiled my own bathroom and backsplash

14.  Sat with a friend at the trial of her son’s murderer

15.  Had the lead in a play

16.  Crawled in my dorm room window because it was after curfew

17.  Won an award for some photos I took

18.  Learned what love is- and what it is NOT

19.  Paid $3,000 less than the asking price for a car I bought

20.  Met my Soul Mate

21.  Watched puppies being born

22.  Hand fed a baby giraffe

I’m Back!

It has been a long time-too long!  I have been away dealing with life in general and doing some editing which requires all of my mental capacity focused on really mundane, ummm, boring, um, no, intense and interesting research done by cognitive psychologists who really ARE the geeks of the geeks.  So, alas, I’m done for the moment and now, my creative energy needs a place to “just be”.  So, I am picking up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop and her challenge du jour: 

22 Things I Have Never Done

I am 40+ years old and I have NEVER:

1.   Ridden on a motor cycle

2.  Been skinny-dipping

3.  Eaten octopus

4.  Been to Europe

5.  Smoked a cigarette

6.  Flunked a class

7.  Been to anything remotely NASCAR (nor do I intend to in the next 40+       years)

8.  Had a Bloody Mary

9.  Been Skydiving

10.  Put eye drops in my eye without a major anxiety episode 🙂

11.  Used a bow and arrow

12.  Worn a bikini in public

13.  Been on water skis

14.  Eaten oysters on the half-shell

15.  Taken Calculus

16.  Made a late mortgage payment

17.  Visited Washington state

18.  Made a purchase at Bass Pro Shops

19.  Ridden a roller coaster that turns upside down

20.  Dyed my hair

21.  Owned a guinea pig or anything else that could be mistaken for a rodent!

22.  Gambled