Just knowing that someone cares enough to send off a few kind words can make all of the difference. Thank you my friends. Tough week.
We all need a hug sometime.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes, when you let go of trying so hard to make things happen, they just appear on their own?
There’s a bunch of you reading this right now and saying “No, actually.”
I know, I know it doesn’t happen nearly enough to me either. It usually happens when I finally say “F**K it. I don’t care. I’ve had it and I’m not trying anymore.”
Yesterday I spent the very, very… did I mention very… rainy day making lists. Lists of things I needed to do, lists of things I wanted to do and then more lists on how to do them. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or out of control I make lists of what is important to me. Most of the time it helps calm me down. Even when it’s a very long, seemingly insurmountable list, I still know where I need to start and what I need to do.
One of the few things on the list without a list of steps to make it happen was friendships. I haven’t been a great friend over the last few years. I’ve let many of my friendships fade away because I just haven’t made the time to take care of them. I need to change that.
It’s not that I don’t love these people, but when they called to get together I was with my kids, working, studying, going to school, etc… Something had to go and that was the only thing I could spare, although I really couldn’t.
So, recently I’ve been trying to arrange get togethers, coffee, drinks and/or dinner, anything to bring those people back into my life and off of the fringe.
All of the other things on the ‘to do’ list seem to pale in comparison to renewing these friendships. So, I’ve been working hard at it.
And then yesterday in the middle of all of that planning and list making a wonderful new friend reached out and just made my day. Truth be told, she made my month. Sometimes amidst all of the planning and making things happen I forget that wonderful unplanned opportunities present themselves and that friendships are what we all really need and belong at the top of the list of things that are important to me.
The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship. To raise this to the highest pitch of enjoyment, is a secret which but few discover.
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. Michelangelo
Is it acceptable to still want to be something when you grow up, even at 49? Is it best to have a plan and expectations or is it better to do as I do most of the time and just have an idea and fling yourself at it? Do we still get to do that at this age? Of course I’m not saying that I don’t think about what I want to do, but if I consider what has worked in the past, I’d say launching into something full steam as if it were really already under way has been the successful approach. Starting this blog and proclaiming to people all over the world what I was in the process of doing surely made me feel as though turning back would be defeat.
This new business and non-profit is the first endeavor I’ve undertaken where my main concern is not how I will work it around my children. My youngest of four is almost 17 and the oldest nearly 30, so it’s all about me this time. What a glorious age this is. I love the woman my age too. They have done so many different things, many while raising children, and often supporting a home, that they just don’t have time to be afraid or if they are they kick it aside and march on. They’re supportive and compassionate without being patronizing. They know themselves or they are clearly on the path and don’t mind telling you what they think. Women in thier 50’s, give or take a decade, are to be envied. When I turn 50 next year I feel like I’m entering this exclusive club of creative, smart, funny, self assured people who don’t have time to take any crap from anyone and God help you if you mess with anyone they love. They are fiercely loyal and understand the value of a good girlfriend. They know what they want and also how to get it. I just love that.
Another incredible part of life at this age is I get to do some of the things I’ve dreamed about. July’s adventure is a trip to Italy. I’ve dreamed of this trip and I see no reason to waste anymore time. If you miss my ramblings I’d suggest you check out:
Oh, it’s just ridiculous how much talent and insight is out there. I could never include them all. These people and quite a few others have become a sort of blogging family for me. I feel very blessed.
Positano, Florence and Tuscany. I’m going to eat, drink, be merry, and contemplate my future as if I were 16 and it was all ahead of me, because it is. Only now I’m smarter, have no time to waste and I’m aiming higher.
There is no greater harm than that of time wasted. Michelangelo
You cannot have a happy ending to a miserable journey.
Many of you who have followed my blog over the last few months (have I said thank you recently for that?) have watched me torture myself with the decision of whether to stay at my job as a special education teacher or to dive into a new business in a full-time capacity. The business has already been started and the nonprofit component is waiting in the wings for some attention from me. I can work part time at the business until I’m ready to leave my job or I can just run head long into a new life. Part of the dilemma is that I love the kids that I teach. Until you are a part of teaching a child no one thought would read, to read, or giving a student the confidence to raise his or her hand in class and believe they can add value to a conversation, you can’t imagine how rewarding this path can be. Unfortunately, because of the legal requirements of the special education system I spend about 85% of my time in meetings, writing IEPs, and answering emails from parents who have no faith in the educational system or dare I say have no boundaries’. I pass my lessons on to a tutor who has the joy of teaching it, often not in a way I’d do it myself. This all adds up to an enormous amount of stress and it’s taken a toll on my health and my personal life. I keep asking “is it worth it?” Of course any sensible person would say “no.” Then I get a card in the mail from a student thanking me for my dedication, or telling me they will visit me every day next year. Then there are the students that do come to visit and I get the chance to watch them turn into adults, and know that I was a part of making them understand that their disability is both a blessing and a curse. The fact that they struggle is difficult but as with any difficulty they have the opportunity to let that hardship turn them into people that know how to press on, to work through what would stop a weaker person. They also see the world a little differently and all of the most influential people in history have seen the world in a different way. That’s where we get the innovative thinking that changes the world. Oh, you can see I could go on and on about these wonderful people I’ve had the chance to know. I have been blessed, but it may be time to move on.
Then there’s the stress, which is incredible, and I have to be honest; it’s over-shadowing the good parts. Turning 50 this year, and watching so many people around me stricken down by illness, or worse yet die far too early, causes me to worry about how the stress is impacting my health. I found the information below in a Huffington Post article but you could find the same in a thousand articles. It has become common knowledge that stress kills.
Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University found that feeling stressed is linked with a decreased inflammatory response regulation. Their research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The immune system’s ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease,” study researcher Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon, said in a statement. “When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease. Because inflammation plays a role in many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders, this model suggests why stress impacts them as well.”
So, I have given myself this weekend to decide what I will do. I think I already know what I’m going to do and having flipped a coin as another blogger suggested confirmed it, but I keep waiting for that moment when I’ll be 100%. Maybe we’re never 100% on anything. Maybe it’s just about following your gut and watching what unfolds.
Thanks for reading. I truly appreciate the support and the friendship I have found here.
Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.