I have a friend I’ve know for quite some time who is an executive coach. This man makes a living coaching top executives at companies to improve outcomes (and I imagine this means profits) for the organization. He makes more money in one gig than I make in several years. He’s probably made and lost more money over the years than I will see in several lifetimes. As I type this, he is involved in putting together a deal that will allow him to quadruple his income and expand his business. He’s doing this at a time in his life when he should be (or most people are considering being) retired. He doesn’t punch a time clock. His office is in his home or in a coffee shop or cigar shop nearby. He lives in a tower and drives an Audi. He controls his time, his life and mostly his levels of stress. He does what he wants, when he wants with no demands imposed on his life other than those he chooses for himself. It’s a pretty good gig for supposedly being retired. But it hasn’t always been this way for him. He’s had some pretty rough moments along the way. Read the rest of this entry
And then there was the evening when I finished off the last of the whiskey, drained the vodka, emptied the tonic and ran out of ice. The gin had been ingested and digested a week ago. I was determined to stop with the evening cocktail or glass of wine and get up the next morning and complete a full workout. I was going to do it. I wasn’t in the mode of telling myself “I should do this for me.” I was in the frame of mind (which is difficult to muster artificially) that “I was going to do this thing.” That “I could do this thing and I could start whatever I needed to start, change whatever I needed to change and I would not quit until I had achieved it.” So, after finishing off a very small whiskey on the rocks, I went to bed determined to get up and get started on my new life.
This, after completely gorging on dinner that evening.
This, after saying a thousand times I was going to start only to start and fall off the wagon or skip the exercise or eat the pasta again and again and again.
But this time it was different. There was no mental waffling or fear of failure. It was a solid way of thinking. It was going to happen, and I was going to do it. Read the rest of this entry
Three days short of being a full month from the date of the accident, I called my new lender to let them know that the insurance pay0ff had gone through. When I got through to my contact, I was greeted with the words, “Oh yes, your loan funded this morning.”
So ended a month of wondering when the next call from the lender would come and what the requirements would be for me this time. So ended a month of wondering how long the process would take and whether or not I’d be car and loan hunting again soon.
So ended the last of my March and the first of my April. A small blemish in my otherwise wonderful year.
My mother used to say some things that were interesting when she told them to me as a child, but now, after her passing nearly a decade ago, I find them to be perceptive beyond belief. One of her favorite axioms was, “Most of life is boring.” She would usually say this in response to one of us kids declaring our boredom. She was unphased. “It’s life,” she’d say. “Only boring people get bored. Learn to entertain yourself, instead of relying on others to do it for you.”
My mother was right. So much of life is wash, rinse, repeat.
I get up, drag myself out of bed, and fumble my way to the shower. I go through my days doing mostly stuff that pertains to making sure my kids and I have a roof over our heads, food in the fridge, electricity and heat, and a vehicle to get us to and fro. My weekend activities don’t vary much. I’m a bit of a cyclist and spend lots of time out on my bike. I tend to go to the same places to eat and socialize. I have fun, but it isn’t a constantly changing menu of activities and events.
Today, or rather, yesterday, I got up and decided I would drive my fancy new-to-me car to a small trendy town nearby and have breakfast at a lovely little place that is always packed and has delicious, melt-in-your-mouth menu items. I went alone. I usually go alone. I like to go alone. I’m really okay with this most of the time, but lately, maybe due to the car wreck with my kid, maybe due to the fact that everyone else around me seems to be having success in the relational field, maybe because I’m just tired of being alone all.the.time. Most of the time I don’t mind being alone, but lately I’ve stopped going out and doing things, because I was getting tired of doing the alone thing. Today, I didn’t care. I wanted to have breakfast at a nice place. I wanted to drive in my car. I didn’t necessarily want to have to be responsible for holding up my end of a conversation, but I somehow, strangely wanted to immerse myself in a crowd of people and noise, and fragrances and life. So, I went out to breakfast.
Have you ever found yourself caught in the comparison game? Have you ever looked at someone else’s achievements, or work, or life and thought, “Wow, I’m a complete failure?” Have you ever compared yourself (the self you actually are now) to the self you imagined you would someday be? Have you ever compared what your goals or plans were to what you are actually living out today? Have you ever been disappointed by these comparisons?
Tonight, only a few moments after our celebratory cheers and noisemaking, my oldest daughter, as she drifted off to sleep belted out, “2012, We will never, ever, ever be getting back together.”
I chuckled. I continued on about my business of making sure my home was picked up and secure. I have guests crashing on couches and in extra beds throughout the house. There was a great deal of Martinelli’s flowing tonight, and for the first time in years, some fireworks after the Times Square ball dropped. It was wonderful evening, spent with the people who saw me through the most difficult parts of 2012. I couldn’t imagine celebrating without them. Read the rest of this entry
Ever notice how we human beings have ways of marking the passage of time? Sure, we have our calendars, our reminders, our clocks and gizmos. I’m talking about the not-so-obvious ways of marking time. The methods which mark time in subtle ways that leave you realizing after the fact how time has passed rather than noting it up front.
I am not a winter person. I like cool weather but I’m really a sunny, summer person. I mark my years mostly by noting the passage of the seasons. The months from January to the end of March are dreadful for me. In the region where I live winters are relatively mild, but temperatures can vary from a balmy 60 degrees one day to snowing and freezing levels the next. I find this pretty tough on my system. I’m always glad when Daylight Saving Time arrives. Even though I lose an hour, I can see that summer is on the way, and with it, some more consistent temperatures.
Here in my neck of the Pacific Northwest woods, we’ve experienced some strange weather this winter. First, it started off with an unusually long summer. We were still having 80-90 degree weather in October. Summer was followed by an unusually short autumn. I think it lasted two weeks. Since then, we’ve had more rain than we usually do, more flood warnings than we have had in years, and wind. Wind warnings of all things! We’ve also had snow, something that usually doesn’t happen here until January or February, if it happens at all.
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