I don’t know how it is for most families but for ours there’s been a pattern of wacky behavior this time of year. I imagine the stories are just about the same, the cast of characters a little different. There will always be the large elephant(s) in the room that either go undiscussed or are discussed with the aid of the seasons finest adult beverages. What is supposed to be a time of festive gathering turns into the dramatics of a room full of people whose sole purpose for the night is to make everyone as miserable as they are. It’s tiring but it’s family.
This year is a bit different as there are actual issues worth discussion. Generally, it’s just a whirlwind of craziness that always ends up being a battle of voices screaming about who has it worse. Now, however, we are in the midst of a real and serious family drama of which no one has a clue which way will turn out. We’re at the point now where we’re all hoping for the best but expecting the worst and where the obvious tragedy lies in the fact that there are children involved, children who have seen and experienced far to much in their limited years. We ‘re stuck in a sit and wait moment which feeds into the incessant gossip and instinct to use this circumstance to better ones own standing within the family. It’s doubly exhausting.
My immediate family is where the true impact lies. We’re pivoting toward the very real possibility that we’re going to lose one of our members to her own weaknesses and self sacrifice. She seems willing to sacrifice that structure that has gotten her through some of the more difficult moments most people would ever need to go through. And she’s sacrificing it all for a cause that has everyone baffled.
My approach has been to make sure that, despite what happens, we maintain at least a little level of communication. I can’t help her see things my way, but I can help her work through the problems of her situation that I know she can see. Everything I know about her tells me that she’s sees what we all see, she’s just holding on to some fantastical hope that all will be right in the end. The rest of the family knows that this is not going to happen, we have to sort of stand out ground on this one, but there’s nothing that we’re going to be able to do or say to sway her. She’ll need to come to her own understanding of what is at stake here. For both herself, her kids, her family and her future.
We’re off to our family Christmas Eve get together. I guess we’ll find out how many elephants we’re let out of their cages. I hope it’s not too interesting tonight!
November 4, 2014 was a life changing day for me. It was election day 2014 and I had a bunch of things going on professionally. One of which was trying to position myself to get a job with one of our candidates in his district office. I debated whether or not to go to his district victory party. In the end I thought it would earn me some brownie points, I went! Being the efficient person that I am, I decided to arrange a few extra things while making the trip through Napa and Sonoma.
I had been communicating with a new guy from match.com for a while and thought it would be a good way to meet him for the first time. I had a timeframe to work with so I knew I had an escape if things didn’t go well. Things went well. In 6 short weeks I went from planning my next career move and looking for new piece of property to planning a family and a move to a another country. It’s crazy how quickly it has been happening but I have no hesitation!
Life is what happens when you sit around making plans. And it’s awesome!
I can’t say I watch much life changing television. I peruse a fair mix of trash TV (hoarders), educational programs, and a decent array of the things that everyone else is watching (Dr. Phil, Orange is the New Black, etc…). Of the later category I always watch weight loss shows, namely The Biggest Loser and Extreme Weight Loss for a little added inspiration to stay in shape. I’m pretty knowledgeable, for the layman, when it comes to fitness and losing weight. I’ve studied it a bit and have been my own guinea pig. I found myself profoundly inspired by a comment that Chris Powell made during the last show that I watched. He told the contestant during an insane workout that “the average person only lives up to 50% of their potential.”
This struck me for a number of reasons. One, and this is my own hang-up, it’s a totally arbitrary statement. You can never know what your full potential is. Even if you have achieved great success in any particular way – whose to say that isn’t actually only 50% of what you’re capable of? Two, once I got over myself, I realized that this is the beauty of it. It means that the sky’s the limit, right? Barring actual physical and/or mental handicaps (and I imagine even some of those can be overcome) there is really no end to what you can achieve.
I quickly tried to come up with ways to maximize my potential; I choose to believe I have plenty of it. Setting out to conquer my world is a large task so I started thinking about how I can take the first step. The first thing I did was turn of the damn TV. It was a step, albeit a baby one. It may seem silly that I would turn off my source of inspiration. I’m certainly not going to claim that I’ll never have a lazy night on the couch again. But, in all honesty, I have been “relaxing” a bit too often these days – not sure who I think I am.
Then, I took a page from my professional life. I created a to-do list for the next couple of days. Everything from workout times, chores, personal development, household projects, etc…the visual has helped me actually keep on track. I even cross things off as I finish them. It’s amazing how many more hours in a day there seems to be. My current to do list has been written through Sunday, I’m curious to see how I feel after this 4 day experiment. So far so good!
I hesitate to use the word deserve. The word is used in ways, at times, that makes me think entitlement. Because of that small bias of mine, I’m going to use the word earn, instead.
I’ve tried, over recent years, to focus my energy on becoming a person that I can be proud of. The type of person that when met or engaged, others can’t do anything but respect and treat with integrity. I’ve worked, I’ve dedicated, I’ve learned, I’ve explored and I’ve taken risks. I will continue to do so. I’m happy with me. I’m happy with who I am currently and the person I know I’m developing into. I think I’ve earned a few things that I haven’t yet received. I suppose I’ve been waiting for someone to hand me the treasurers (whatever they may be) that I’ve declared that I’ve “earned.” I’m an idiot.
The work to get the things you want should never stop. I should have figured by now that things will not be handed to me. I’ve been enlightened and it’s time to act. I’m ready to take on a bigger part of my world…
A friend of mine (retired at 30) told me the other day when asked “what are you up to these days” he answered, “just floating through life.” The answer baffled me. I told him “Never float – start kicking.” He laughed. I thought about it for a while, and I discovered that I’ve been floating too. I’m gliding through my life taking advantage of the opportunities that I’ve been given, never quite taking hold of my own destiny. I’ve always waited for the next thing instead of creating it for my self. I need to start practicing what I preach, so to speak. I need to start kicking my ass off.