Wednesday, June 19, 2013

My mind never rests...

Sometimes I'm up, sometimes I'm down, sometimes I'm happy/perplexed/frustrated/optimistic or cynical.
Sometimes I'm early (yes, it's true!), sometimes I'm late, sometimes I'm wishing the time stopped/reversed/slowed/skipped or the day was longer.
Sometimes I want to scream, sometimes I want to laugh, sometimes I cry/sigh/smile/frown or have days with a wide range of emotions....

...but I can't remember the last time I was bored.

This includes Saturdays, Sundays, weekdays/holidays/vacations or any time of day.
This includes driving, reading, playing/learning/sitting/standing or when I go for a walk.
This includes in a crowd, with family/friends/neighbors/co-workers, or even just alone....

While I don't always feel satisfied at the end of each day, I never feel bored.

My life feels like an adventure. I don't know what will come around the corner or what will get rolled in front of me like in the classic Indiana Jones' scenes, but I know each day won't be smooth. Even when my daily life seems unchanged, my friend's/family member's/neighbor's/co-worker's day--or life-- may have been turned upside down.  

I have often thought the word adventure has a positive connotation. Sure, I've heard it used sarcastically ("Well THAT will be an adventure...") but I rarely hear it used to describe one's struggles.

Unfortunately, something can switch from an adventure to a tragedy in an instant. Irregardless of religious or spiritual beliefs, our life as we know it in this body/spirit/soul/mind will come to an end on the day of our last breath. Death is a known risk, but so much leading up to it is unknown.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of adventure is:

a : an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks
b : the encountering of risks <the spirit of adventure>
: an exciting or remarkable experience <an adventure in exotic dining>
: an enterprise involving financial risk

When everything is status quo, life is like an adventure. When people predict, tolerate, or accept change, they can create detours, stay on track, and are not haunted by the finish line.  
But when tragedy strikes, life is like a hurricane, flood, or any other natural disaster. That's when we replace security with fear and stability with chaos. We question our strengths, our beliefs, and may be haunted by our own mortality.

*Now it's time to go to bed...I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors at the end, but I suddenly got very tired.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Lesson from Grandma Hobbs

After reading my previous blog entry, my Grandma Hobbs sent me the following story. I do not have the original author or source, otherwise I would credit it. I like the story, and wanted to share it with you!

"The Mayonnaise Jar and Two Bottles of Beer"

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They agreed that it was...

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They agreed it was...

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'

The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed...

'Now,' said the professor as the laughter subsided, 'I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

The golf balls are the important things---your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions---and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.
The sand is everything else---the small stuff.

'If you put the sand into the jar first,' he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

The same goes for life.

If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Spend time with your children.

Spend time with your parents.

Visit with grandparents.

Take time to get medical checkups.

Take your spouse out to dinner.

Play another 18...

There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

Take care of the golf balls first---the things that really matter.

Set your priorities.

The rest is just sand.

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

The professor smiled and said, 'I'm glad you asked.'

The beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of beers with a friend.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Random Monday Ramblings

I went for a 3 mile run/walk (most of it was walking) yesterday, and I got to thinking about a few things--here goes:
1. Blogging and Boundaries
Sometimes I struggle with determining what is an appropriate amount to share--both in the blog/internet world and in my personal life. I am pretty much an open book, but of course there are times when sharing is not helpful or needed. I am learning these boundaries--and I'm sure I will need to reevaluate when Freyja gets older.

I read a blog recently where the mother was trying to figure out what is ok to have on the Internet, because she doesn't want to embarrass her children when they are older. While I think that is defeinitely something of which to be aware, I also know that if a bully is going to tease a kid, they will find a way with or without the Internet. I will be mindful of what I choose to post, but I am not going to be paranoid. I was teased in middle school before the Facebook era. I'm friends with my grandmas on Facebook and have nothing to be ashamed of, so I know that I can use the same discretion when posting about Freyja. I may have some silly pictures of her with her face covered in avocado, but if some kid teases her for that, they are reallllly stretching. I think Freyja will have thick enough skin to handle that, if she is anything like her parents.

2. "Mom friends"
Right now it's been nice having other "mom friends" with children around Freyja's age, and I enjoy hearing what things they are doing. Since Freyja isn't able to speak up and nothing can embarrass her yet, I am not currently worried about protecting her feelings.

When I went for walks with other moms on maternity leave, I mentioned that I knew that all kids have different interests and strengths, and it certainly wasn't a competition. Most of all, I like hearing about what other kids are doing because:

a) if the child is doing something similar to Freyja, it helps me feel normal (like when I can't get any cleaning done because Freyja is crawling from one thing to another and putting any little thing she finds on the floor in her mouth).

b) if the child is doing something different, I know what things might be coming and can "prepare" (not that you can ever really prepare!). For example, we thought about what needed baby proofing before Freyja could crawl.

When I was in high school and college, I would get uncomfortable when I would hear my mom bragging about me--like any normal mother--especially in regards to grades. Once in college I told her I didn't want to share my grades with her, and when she kept asking I told her I got Fs. She didn't believe me, but that's besides the point. It made me slightly uncomfortable with my educational "successes" being praised, when for some people they worked just as hard--if not harder than me--at schoolwork and didn't get the same grades I did. She didn't go out of her way to brag, she just was a normal, proud mother; I just didn't feel that she needed to share my "success" with others. Other kids asked me my grades, and I shied away from answering this. I worked just as hard at school as I did in the sports I played, but never had the same results. School was important to me and I wanted to do well, but I didn't want any recognition like sports players get at an assembly. Which leads into my next topic...
3. Success
Growing up I was never the fastest, nor was I the smartest--and I was ok with that. I felt comfortable. I knew that if I studied, I would pass the test and likely get an A or B in the class. I put in effort, and my efforts were rewarded by societal standards.

In track/field and cross country running and skiing, I knew I wouldn't be fast but I would finish the race. Would it have been nice to finish in the middle of the pack at least? Sure. But when the timid girl next to me looked unneasy and said she was worried about being last, I could put her at ease by assuring her that I would likely be last and that it was ok. I can't count the number of girls who I talked to who were so afraid of failing. I worked hard--I didn't try to be last, or not give it my all--but I was ok knowing that my best was just not very fast.

I have a bone to pick with whoever coined the phrase if you try hard enough, you will succeed. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case...and that is okay. Effort, intention, and motivation are more important to me than success.

No matter how hard I try at certain things, I will not always succeed according to society's definition of success. While I am ok with this, I have met many people that have had a hard time with this. For example, the girls I mentioned above who were scared to finish last. According to the concept mentioned above, finishing last would mean they didn't try hard enough and thus didn't succeed.

I loved sports growing up, but I had a hard time with the coaches who lived by this motto. They truly believed that the "slow ones" were not working as hard. I didn't want the coaches to be easy on me, but rather meet me where I was at and know when I was pushing myself even if the time I got might not have looked like it.

An example from the NFL is the well known Randy Moss. He was fast, but admitted that he didn't have to work too hard. When he did put in effort, it showed...but his effort was inconsistent. He ended up being a detriment to each team he played for because he wasn't reliable.

I may not have been fast, but I was consistent. I showed up to each practice and game or meet. I worked hard and treated my teammates with respect. To many, I would not be considered a success in any sport in which I participated. This is because many people think that success is objective and quantifiable where effort is subjective. But I beg to differ, and thankfully I surrounded myself with friends and family who knew that I always worked hard.

If you had watched me back in high school running the race--seen my eyes, heard me gasping for breaths and could count my heartbeats--that you would have seen that my effort was equal to some of the fastest runners. I believe that I was a success, just by a different definition.