Time for Change?

Changing seasons always feel a little nostalgic to me. Summer is on its way into fall and the beaches, the sand, the picnics, and outdoor fun are ending in what seems like a minute. Fall makes its appearance in shades of orange, yellow, and brown. It nudges summer out of the way with smells of burning leaves, fire pits and crisp air.

You know this change is coming, but it still always feels like it’s overnight. It’s like life; you can look forward to an event, like a wedding, and it’s so far away…and then it’s over! It’s also like a stage in life; you wait and wait for your child to walk and then it’s happened and it’s like they’ve walked forever! You wait for your graduation and then Boom! You’re working and into the next phase of life.

These seasonal changes are affecting me differently as I age. The seasons are coming faster and the next one is right around the corner. I am trying to think of what’s most important to me that I want to accomplish. I’m putting more thought into what will make me happy. I’m trying to be more conscious of my time and do what I value the most. Throughout our lives, there are so many things that we must do that is seems that we rarely get to make a conscious decision of what we want to do.

Now and then it’s a good idea to sit down and look at what we’re doing and where we want to go and who we want to be. How do we get there? What priorities should we have in place and what do we have to do to make those things happen?

As we wind down from summer into fall, and then winter, I think it’s a great time to take stock of where we are and where we want to be for a while. Do what you have to, sure, but try to also do what’s important to you and what makes you happy!

Letting Go

journey

This time of year makes me so nostalgic.  Summer turns into fall, school starts, and it’s the time of year when you find yourself letting go of your baby.  Depending on your age and your situation in life, the circumstances will vary, but you will find yourself having to let go of the most important thing in your life and it doesn’t matter if it’s your first, your third, or your tenth child; it feels the same way each and every time.

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What’s the Big Deal About Mother’s Day?

What is it, exactly, about moms that generates all the love, flowers, cards and hugs that happen on Mother’s Day? It’s not just about a day on the calendar; it’s about the one holiday, aside from Christmas, that’s respected and honored for what it’s all about and nobody dares to debate it.

While everybody’s experiences are different, there’s little doubt that a mother or a mother figure is a primary influence in a person’s life, regardless of what that experience is. There are expectations of what a mother should be and then there’s reality.

The expectation is that a mother is perfect; she is exactly what we all need. She is fierce and protects us and she is soft and sweet and nurtures us. She knows what’s good for us and somehow makes everything better. She also makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

The reality is that most of us moms spend our lives not knowing what we’re doing and praying for the best. We’re not trained in being a mother, there aren’t classes telling us what to do or how to do it. It’s something that each one of us must figure out for ourselves. I can say for certain that it’s the hardest job that I’ve ever had in my life and, yes, it IS a job. On top of any other job and the million responsibilities that we all have, we are responsible for a living, breathing, human life and ensuring that they are safe and happy for the next 18 years (forever).  It’s hard and there’s no break. It’s a 24-hour, 7-day a week job.

We fail sometimes. We’re not perfect but we try, and we keep trying. We might not get everything right; in fact, we might get a lot wrong, but the one thing we want you to know is that we tried to the best of our ability to be everything that you needed. A mother loves her child with every fiber of her being for the entirety of her life. This is what Mother’s Day is about!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you celebrating today! Enjoy your day; you deserve it!

It’s a New Year! How are you doing?

Be forgiving of yourself and others. We’re all just doing the best that we can and that’s good enough for now.

I think all of us feel like we should review our lives at New Year’s. What have we done, accomplished, or learned from this past year? It’s always a good time to reevaluate where we are and where we want to be.

What have I learned this past year? I had a lot to choose from. This year, out of all my many years on this earth, I’ve seen more turmoil than I’ve ever seen or experienced before! I don’t recall ever having been exposed to so much news and disruption, so much anger and bigotry and pain, yet also so much hope and support and shared empathy. It’s no wonder we’re all left feeling a bit shaken, if not completely overwhelmed. This year has been a lot!

From the pandemic to protests and politics, we’ve had our hands full dealing with circumstances that we’ve never experienced before. All of these things have put us into a situation that made us reevaluate what we believe and how we choose to react. It has sometimes made us question our choices and beliefs and it’s definitely made us uncomfortable. It’s a perfect time to take a look at ourselves.

Times like this require a different set of skills to adapt to life. On a normal basis, we tend to rely on habits that we create to make our lives easier. We don’t normally have to think as much or make as many decisions as we’ve had to do over this past year. It’s hard work having to be “on” constantly and thinking about new things several times a day every day. It’s not how our brains are set up to work and it’s exhausting.

Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher adapting to remote learning or an employee that had to learn to work from home or you have to go in to work every day while staying as safe as possible, each of us has had something to adapt to. It doesn’t even matter if you’re used to staying home, HAVING to stay home is something entirely different. I can’t even imagine the stress, the pain, and the emotional toll that it takes to have had a loved one become ill or worse. The amazing people that have had to treat the hundreds of thousands of people that have become sick are truly amazing but I can’t imagine the toll that this has taken on them. There has been more anxiety, stress and pain than anybody should have had to experience over this past year.

While we’ve all had different levels of change, different levels of stress, and different effects on our health and well-being, we’ve ALL been impacted. I feel like if there is any time to be kind to ourselves, it’s now.  In looking at my own expectations of this past year, I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to accomplish several (most) of the things I had intended to do. However, I’m still here, alive and well, ready to greet the new year. A lot of us are not that fortunate. I’ve learned to be especially grateful for things that I’ve taken for granted previously. If nothing else, I’ve learned to be more patient, more forgiving, and more tolerant, even of myself. I think that’s definitely a plus for me personally. At this particular time, I’m pretty content with that.

I think the overriding message this New Year should be acceptance. There’s no guidebook on how to survive what we’re living through. All of us have our own set of circumstances and ways of coping, so the answers will be different for each of us. What we can control is how we react to each other and how we treat each other. Acceptance and tolerance is a lot better than anger and hatred. We should also accept our own limitations this year. We may not have accomplished everything we planned to, but maybe we gained a lot more than we would have in a different time. We can value our relationships with each other a lot more; we can feel more compassion for others and show it with our actions. We can support each other through these turbulent times and be there to listen to and understand each other.  We’re all just trying to get through it right now. There’s no precedent for what we’re experiencing, so do what you can to support yourself and those close to you. Reach out to friends and family members if you need help. Reach out to see if you can help them with anything. Be forgiving of yourself and others. We’re all just doing the best that we can and that’s good enough for now.

As for 2021, I think we all deserve a break. I’m wishing you and the people you love a very Happy New Year!

This Summer

I feel like this is the summer that never happened. Once the ‘Rona hit, our choices became severely limited. I know that I, at least, thought it would last for a couple months, maybe three tops. It’s been more months than I care to count. It seems like it was just the 4th of July and all of a sudden, more than a month has passed. Here it is mid-August and we’re not much better off than we were. Now’s the time when I would typically review what I’ve done so far this summer versus what I wanted to do and make a plan to finish off my list.

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