Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I've done a lot of thinking lately, and I've come to a rather obvious revelation, an oxymoron if ever I heard one. You know the kind, it suddenly pops into your mind, usually after rolling around in there for some time like a marble finding a place to finally rest, and you think, Wow! That is so incredibly true! ...Wait, why didn't I ever realize this before? Of course that's the case.

So here it is. Get ready:

I absolutely have the power to change things I don't like about my situation.

That's my obvious revelation. Now, the details of it remain much more complex. The change may not (probably won't) come quickly or easily. Perhaps it won't come about in the way I'd prefer or even in the way I expect. But I am not helpless. I have intelligence, I have resources, I have people who support me, and I can and should use all of these if I want to get out of my current situation. It goes along with my guiding word for the year. I will try to remember that every day; as a habit, I'm more productive when already busy, so I have to work to make sure this gift of time doesn't work against my natural inclinations.

With all of this as well comes the Serenity Prayer: While I have that power, I must remember there are things I cannot change, and I must work to recognize the difference. I can do that.

All of you can do it, too, just in case there's anyone out there who doubts it. What routes have you taken to figure out your own situations? I'd love to hear from you. Or just think about it for yourselves. I think I'll list a few here just to remind myself and come back to:

1. I have the power to get myself employed. I have people I know; a college degree that, despite what the news and cynical people claim, isn't a handicap; the Internet to learn new skills and find possibilities; and the drive to do so.

2. I have the power to control my health. I know what to eat and in what amounts. I've chosen to use funds to go through an online boot camp with a friend who's a registered nutritionist and a certified personal trainer. I have the desire to live a long and active life for myself and those I love.

3. I have the power to improve my happiness. I'm not saying I'm unhappy. I just have things in my life that I want to make more of, like cultivating friendships and doing things that truly enrich me. Easy to do.

I've been reading the latest Stephen King lately, and the main character, Dan Torrance (it's a sequel to The Shining, in case you didn't know), deals with alcoholism and a lot of AA meetings. King, having gone through addiction himself, writes well about the tenets of living a life of sobriety and AA's various steps, sayings, and methods for staying sober. I'm finding a number of them coincide with my recent thoughts. There's a part of me that believes I'm meant to read this book right now, at this time in my life: I haven't devoured a book like this in a long time, and I find myself more introspective than usual lately. Perhaps King's writing about the ability to connect with others through, shall we say, less-than-conventional means rings true for me lately in its own way, if that makes any sense. I just feel this book wasn't on the library shelf by accident. Lately I've had an inexplicable flow of positive going through me, so I'm not going to question it; I'm going to ride it. Even the form email I received today from the University at Buffalo stating I wasn't chosen to move on to the next round for a job I truly wanted and knew I'd do well at didn't entirely deter me. I'm bummed, definitely, but I know those jobs often get filled internally or by someone with connections. So it wasn't mine to have. Some other one is.

And a job encompasses just part of who I am, really. So I'm off to harness this positive energy, wherever it comes from, and see what happens.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 wrap-up

Yes, here we go, the re-evaluating of a year. In years past I've done this by looking at old blog entries, but there aren't so many of those for various reasons, so I'll rely upon my memory. 2013 brought my family a number of ups and downs, including job loss, grandma loss, ear tube surgery for J, glasses for J, job frustrations (for T and me), re-budgeting, various fears.

It also brought continued health and weight loss for T and me, language leaps and bounds for J partially due to the surgery, visits from Papa, a growing cousinly love between J and C, new opportunities and career paths for me, a new nephew, a future new niece or nephew, growing and renewed friendships, kindness from all corners during a difficult time, a new car (I always hear Don Pardo from The Price is Right saying that), a chance to sing in a choir again, a fun recurring ladies' potluck, and lots of other things.

So while some major events may have overshadowed the last quarter of my year, most of it really went pretty well, and I need to remember that. R, I didn't fill in my Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude as diligently as I could have, and I think that's symptomatic of how I approached some of my year. But when I remembered, it definitely reminded me that even in dark days we have small points of light.

I try to make New Year's Resolutions, as everyone does, and I read today that only 8% of people keep them. But that same reading pointed out that if we focus on goals, which help us aim for something to change our current situation, as opposed to resolutions, which are about changing something about ourselves, we have a better chance of making them happen. The article also made two points worth mentioning:

1) State everything in the positive. For example, don't focus on saying you want to lose weight; think about it in terms of becoming healthy (and having weight loss as a side effect of that) through eating and exercise.

2) Come up with a guiding word for the year. Instead of a resolution, think of a word that can guide your actions and lead you to your goal. That way, you can apply it to everything you do throughout the year. It's not nearly as constricting as a resolution.

I have a tendency to sometimes think in negative terms, unintentionally. For example, I'll want to take a trip to see friends out-of-state and think of all the reasons why it can't happen. Part of me wants to convince myself that I do this in order to list the negatives in order to figure out how to overcome them, but I don't always work in that last part. It can be something as simple as, "I want to renew my friendship with X!" and then I think, Well, but we're both so busy; she rarely answers her phone; T's out that night and I don't want to spend money on a sitter....and then I don't do it. I don't mean to beat myself up; this line of thinking doesn't comprise my overall M.O. It just happens too often.

So in keeping with that, my choice for my guiding word is POSSIBLE. What can I do to make something work? What are the possibilities? If one route won't work, will another? And so on. So I want to make 2014 the year of what is possible and what I can do to make that happen.

Because, really, the -- you know -- are endless.