December Eighteen – Eighteen Whys I Discovered in the Past Year

December Eighteen

12.18.18

It’s been waaaaaay too long since I’ve blogged. That is just the kind of year I’ve had. I wouldn’t take back this year for anything, however, as I am pretty sure I’ve grown as a person along the way.

One year ago today I started a new position at a new company. I knew I’d like the job and I also knew it would be an adjustment. Both of which ended up true. I also knew that I would find out some “whys” over time, which I most definitely did:

  1. Why I was supposed to leave my old company.

I knew this answer would come with time. I also knew the second I found out that my position was eliminated that it would be for the better. However, you have to wait these things out. I pretty much let myself cry about it two times. Once driving away and once the next day cleaning out my office. Then I was done. I have yet to go through the box from my office, even though I know there are things in there that I could put in my new office and that would be helpful for me to have. I drove back into the parking lot about three months later because I had to drop something off for some friends.  I didn’t know it would affect me at all since I pretty much didn’t let my mind think about it…but it did. When I pulled into the parking lot, it felt like I was being punched in the stomach and it was hard to catch my breath. I can say that I am in a way better position at a better company that is 100 times more stable with growth potential. I didn’t know how much I’d actually enjoy a position with no one reporting to me right off the bat. It was different but it allowed me time to truly learn first, which has been incredible. It also taught me that no one is immune to getting laid off if a company is in trouble. Every single person is out to save themselves, no matter what that means. Everyone becomes a number instead of a person and it humbled me a lot. I’ve always been good at what I do and have always cared a whole heck of a lot, so I just never ever thought I’d be in that situation. It made me a stronger person. I also found out later that I was a strong leader and there was a hole left when I was gone.

  1. Why I didn’t choose other job offers.

I would rather not have to make big life decisions. My entire life I’ve questioned myself because I never want to regret a decision or be disappointed. It is easy to think “what if” – what if I would’ve chosen the one that offered more money but was farther away, or the one that would’ve taken me out of my comfort zone but I could’ve proved to myself I that I could do it? It didn’t take too long for me to see why. My gut guided my decision and I knew I was in a good place, even if I never found out anything else. I did find out, however, that the leadership at both of the other companies I was considering turned over within six months, and not voluntarily. While I am sure it would’ve been fine, it certainly would’ve been more stress to deal with as someone new.

  1. Why everyone says parenting a teenager is no picnic…and should most definitely come with a manual.

I really don’t have to say much more here. It is walking a fine line between being a parent your teenager enjoys being around and preparing them for life – sometimes with a little necessary tough love. They don’t understand how difficult executing on this tough love thing can be. It’d be way easier to just let them do whatever, but I won’t do that. I’ve had moments I’m not proud of when my patience got the best of me. I have a stronger backbone than I’ve ever had. There are also such amazing moments when she wants to hang out and do the same things I love to do and even some times when she wants to snuggle (!!!), which I soak in 1000%. This year we’ve handled anxiety, depression, self-harm, all-out screaming fits, punching, hitting, doubting God and faith, experimenting with vaping and even a little drinking. Just when I thought I couldn’t handle more, more came. I am the whipping boy and I just take it over and over again, knowing that one day she will realize that I did care and did love and did make decisions based on what I knew to be best for her life and future. I question myself daily and still want to get my hands on a parenting teens manual that works every time. I realized long ago that no matter how hard I try I cannot make someone else happy or make someone else do something for themselves or make someone else care. That holds true as a parent of a teenager.

  1. Why I shouldn’t worry about things I cannot control.

I know I learned this a long time ago, but man I still try to control every little thing in my life. God has to be shaking His head at me all the time because as much as I pray to let go, it is so natural for me to just take control. I think it is my safety net and go-to so I fool myself into thinking I can hold outcomes in my own hands. I will continue to work on this one in 2019, that’s for sure!

  1. Why travel for work is way more work than it appears.

I traveled with my old job, but nothing like I traveled this past year. Just leaving for one to two nights disrupts life and even more so when traveling to the west coast or gone for five nights. Being divorced with 50% custody of my children also makes this quite the balancing act. Every trip I had brought value to my role, so I knew it was important to my future. I got to see a lot of places and meet so many amazing people. However, I had a lot of 4 am and 1 am trips to and from the airport to avoid more nights in a hotel. Dealing with weather or other delays brings another element of crazy. So while it is valuable, I found it is like working quadruple time.

  1. Why giving time its proper time works.

This one speaks for itself based on the above. If I wait to respond to anything, it is almost always a better response. Time is a healer. Time is knowledge. Time is strength. Time shows us so many important things if we just let it.

  1. Why God has us live in limbo.

Have I mentioned before that I absolutely HATE living in limbo??!! I believe that is why God puts me in situations where I must live I limbo. He must have more work to do on me because I am still living in limbo as I type this. I am trying to be patient and allow time to first, get me out of limbo, and second, show me why. Still waiting!

  1. Why I love my family so freaking much.

I am so beyond blessed with my family. They are incredible – loving, understanding and patient. They are always there for me and my children and my heart could explode just thinking about each one of them. My parents are the most selfless people I’ve ever met. They’ve gotten screwed over a lot because they won’t speak up or be all in it for themselves, however it is character. It is true selflessness and taking the higher road. It is killing others with kindness and loving your neighbor as yourself. My sister has an unspeakable bond with my daughter. This bond has helped so much this past year with everything we’ve gone through. She can be there in ways I can’t be as the mom. And it taught me that when she has a teenage girl the aunt I will be for her daughter.

  1. Why everyone in our lives crosses our specific path for a reason.

My mix of people has completely changed over the last year. It is crazy how much time you spend with your close co-workers. You spend more time with them than your own family, actually. It is sad when the ones you used to talk to and see every day are gone, but to gain a whole new group of people with their own stories and need for a listening ear, is what I live for. I would’ve never met so many more amazing people this year had I not gone through everything I went through. I know each and every one is in my life (no matter how significant) for a reason. Sometimes we don’t ever find out that reason, but it is there.

  1. Why it’s ok to truly let someone you were once in love with completely exit your life.

I’ve stayed friends with exes before, including my ex-husband. In order to truly move on and let each person heal, it is ok to completely close a chapter of your life, though. I have always felt bad and haven’t wanted to be mean, but I learned that sometimes it is absolutely necessary. Not because you are being mean, but actually doing what is best. I believe certain people in our lives will always hold a certain spot in our hearts and that is ok. It doesn’t mean anything more or less than that.

  1. Why I just want to be home.

Between traveling and having a less than stellar place to call home, along with not being able to sleep very well alone, I felt rootless this year. It’s like living in limbo…I hate it. However, I do take a deep breath sometimes when I have a true stretch at home with my kids because as I put my stuff away and hang my clothes where they belong, I just soak in where my home actually is. Maybe this year helped me to see that even in a 1970s duplex it can somewhat start to feel like home if you are surrounded by your stuff and make it smell good. It also taught me that maybe home isn’t so much of a place, either. Maybe it is more of a feeling. And that feeling can be just as much someone’s arms as where you hang your clothes. J

  1. Why exercise is so important.

I’ve never gone very long in life without exercising. I did get really busy earlier this year, though, and it went to the wayside for a few months. I never felt more horrible. I never had a more difficult time dealing with stress as during those months. As much as I can hate running, running is my ultimate, #1 stress reliever. It works like a charm every single time, no matter how much I am cussing at it during the dreaded treadmill minute, which by the way is at least 10 times longer than a normal minute! No matter how busy I am, I cannot stop exercising because it is the only way I can handle stress.

  1. Why living my best life simply for me and making decisions accordingly is vital to my happiness.

Sometimes I live too much for other people. When I’ve allowed myself to make decisions for me and what I truly want and what is best for my kids, I’ve definitely felt good. I need to keep that up.

  1. Why it’s ok to still let your kids – no matter their age – sleep with you now and again.

Always. I learned that it will end. I learned that they grow up too quickly, especially in today’s world.

  1. Why I wasn’t meant to be a plumber.

My dad taught me that hot is on the left, but this girl is no handyman. I was meant to have a man in my life, living with me. I can be independent in so many other ways. This is not one of them. Especially at midnight when the toilet floods the upstairs bathroom and begins showering into the laundry room downstairs. I was not given the appropriate talents to handle these kind of situations with grace. This just happened to me last weekend and I am still salty about it…haha.

  1. Why hearing the words “I love you” mean so much more to me now.

They just do. Actions do speak louder than words, but sometimes you just need to hear the words. I learned that this year.

  1. Why trips to the ocean are good for the soul and why I must walk the beach if I am anywhere near the ocean.

Ahhhhhhhhh. The large, majestic ocean, no matter the coast, still amazes me every time I’m there. Maybe growing up in Iowa far away from the ocean gives me a different appreciation. I cannot travel near the coast and not walk on the beach. That is so wrong to me. I was lucky this year to see the ocean many times. I have no problem walking the beach alone. It is pretty special to have someone to take long walks on the beach with, too. He is even adding it to his resume.

  1. Why I need to stop holding everything in and trying to cope by internalizing.

This is my signature. I battle it constantly and it is like battling who I truly am at the core. I am a stubborn ass. I really am. How do I change that? I guess since I am at the end of my 18 things, I can just say that I am focusing on this one in 2019. Is that good enough?

So there was my year. I learned a lot. I stressed a lot. I got through a lot. And I still have a long way to go! Here’s to enjoying the next 365 with as much grace as this stubborn ass can exude.

I Am From…

I attended a training yesterday that wasn’t really a training, actually. It was a drama troupe that put on a great production surrounding many issues we all face – whether it be personally or professionally. It was a work event, so a lot of the content fit the workplace – such as diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment and communication.

I read once that most work challenges are because of people. People are messy. We all are. We all come from our own place and see the world and others from our own perspective. Because we don’t always know what’s someone has been through or where they are from, it is difficult to assume what their perspective is and even more difficult to understand it without the background information.

I am writing about this because the exercise we did at the end of the production really impacted me. They had us all write a short “I am From” poem. In highs school I remember writing a similar poem, which was called “This is me. I am.” I loved that poem, too. Why? Because they help me put into words my own story and realize where I am at in my journey. Do I still have guilt associated with some things? What has impacted me so profoundly that it makes the poem? If you dig deep, even your own eyes are opened by the content.

I dug deep, because that is usually what I do. I could’ve kept it very surface level but it wouldn’t have been authentic. I knew that if I had to share it, tears were going to flow, but I decided not to hold back, even though I am newer employee and not everyone knows me very well at all yet.

So, here is my current I am From:

  • I am from God, the mile wide city (Denver, Iowa), middle child, middle class, self-employed family, shamrock baby
  • I am from the end of the alphabet and being last in line
  • I am from an eating disorder starting in 3rd grade that never really goes away, even if outwardly I am controlling it
  • I am from family and authentic relationships that are trusting and close and make me laugh until my stomach hurts
  • I am from having my own baby way before I was ready in the mile high city
  • I am from a 10+ year roller coaster of pain that led to a divorce that my deep rooted faith and values never wanted to allow me to have
  • I am from guilt for my kids’ lives being a single mom, living in a run-down duplex
  • I am from a whole lot of faith, hope for the future and full of grace for others
  • I am from trying to please others too much sometimes
  • I am from fairy tale visions of romantic comedies and being swept off my feet
  • I am from Hawkeye Heaven and shop til you drop
  • I am from jumping to conclusions like a boss
  • I am from pizza and diet coke for every meal
  • I am from dreams, goals, determination and hard work to accomplish what I seek to achieve
  • I am from stubbornness and impatience of wanting to know everything…and taking control whenever I can
  • I am from not knowing the answer when it comes to parenting and just trying to do the best I can every day
  • I am from my imperfections, my experiences, my tendencies…and always always always my children’s hearts

What is your I am From? Understanding where others come from is such a big step in tackling the biggest distance that usually exists between two people: misunderstanding. The most effective communicators meet someone where they are and where they come from, not the other way around. Share your story with others. You never know who’s life you might touch.

I am from

What to do When Your World Comes Crashing Down on You

World crashing down – Day 3.

Well. I didn’t think I would be writing this post but here I am. On Monday morning I found out that I was being laid off from where I had been for over a decade.

I am actually thankful to be unemployed right now. I need situations that I’ve never been in before to make me stronger and better. I know that when I get to the end, I most definitely will be both. It doesn’t make it any easier or less scary, but it does give me motivation and hope for the future. I looked for other opportunities a few times over my tenure, but never did anything that took much effort because I never knew if I could actually pull the trigger and leave or not. I also wanted to stay. I loved what I did. I loved my team.

I do not have a choice now. It is like God was trying to get me to open my eyes for a long time and I wasn’t budging. So, he had to force me down a different path. I am trying to figure out what that path looks like, but I do have faith even though I cannot see. I started reaching out to my network and sending resumes on Monday at probably 10:00 am because I couldn’t sit around and do nothing, even if for a day or a week. Not when I have my kids’ wellbeing on the line and too much to figure out for our future. Being divorced, I do not have anyone to come home to that I can lean on in terms of a spouse, so it’s all on me. I already had a phone screen on Monday, I have coffee with a recruiter tomorrow morning and another phone interview tomorrow, as well. I will do my part. And, it could still take 90 days or more to land a new position, I know. I am fully preparing myself for that possibility. It scares me, but I do know it will all be ok. I have actually been through worse and it was all ok then. That’s how I know it will all be ok this time.

So, what do you do when your world comes crashing down on you, like mine did this week? Below is my advice and what I am trying to do with every passing hour:

  • Pray and give thanks – for me this is so number one. God does not put us through anything he will not give us the strength to get through. I am strong enough with God to get through this and any other tragedy that will most definitely strike my life. I thanked him right away. I still have so much to be thankful for. And I am constantly praying because I can’t get through this without constantly praying.
  • Only focus on getting through the next 24 hours – this is big for me because I like to get way too far down the road in my thinking and planning. However, I simply cannot do that right now. I can only focus on today. I am not worrying about tomorrow. Today has enough worries of its own.
  • Do not make any rash decisions – my dad told me this right away. Hmmmm do you think that maybe I’ve made some of these in the past? For sure. I was already talking to him about moving on Monday. He was just shaking his head and said verbatim: “Lindy, do not make any rash decisions.” Got it.
  • Spend time with your parents, if you can. I know I am blessed to have my parents so close to me. I went to their house the very next morning because I needed to be “home.”
  • If you don’t want to talk to or see anyone at any point, don’t. I tend to go inward when I am trying to get myself through something. I’ve had a lot of phone calls I haven’t answered because I am just not ready. I am telling myself that is ok because I know that at some point I will be ready.
  • Use your network – I haven’t went into full blown networking mode, but I have reached out to the vital people in my network that can start to move mountains for me in terms of getting my name and resume in front of the right people. When I am ready, I will do this more and with people I don’t even know.
  • Soak in the love – while I haven’t let everyone in quite yet, I do have a close circle of family and friends that have been here for me. It can be difficult to accept help but sometimes you are the one that needs the love and support. This is the time to soak it in and allow it to happen.
  • Don’t lose your sense of humor – I drove to my sister’s house right away after leaving the company. I have a garage door opener to her house and it wasn’t working. I found out it was because the power was temporarily out. I laughed to myself at the time, though, because I was like “I have literally lost access EVERYWHERE!!!” Haha.
  • Allow yourself to be sad, but don’t stay there. I am a person that needs a mental health day every quarter or so. I need to get the tears out and just be depressed. I need to lie around and do nothing and throw myself just a little pity party. I’m sure this will happen a few times during the next few weeks and months. I will just not let myself stay there or pity party too long.
  • Don’t eat too much…or too little. I can go either way. This week it has been more of not having an appetite and who knows next week. I am trying to make myself eat the right amount and healthy foods.
  • Day drink – I haven’t done this yet but I fully plan on it. 🙂
  • Believe in yourself – I talked to my old boss on Monday morning. He was one of the first people I called. I will never forget what he told me. And that was that this is NOT the time to not believe in myself.
  • Go on a long drive and sing at the top of your lungs or cry your eyes out…or both. My dad actually drove to Minnesota with me yesterday because I felt like going on a drive. Not many dads will do that with their 37-year-old daughter, but mine will. And, he will even listen to my Christmas playlist with me on Halloween (and sing along). My mom would, too, she just couldn’t get out of work yesterday. 🙂 I’ve also cried alone in the car a few times this week. One of these times was after I had to clean my office out on Tuesday morning. That was a difficult moment.
  • Give grace and don’t hold grudges – but it is ok to not want to see or talk to some people ever again in your life. Don’t feel bad about that.
  • Clean house – sell all the stuff you haven’t used, touched or worn for a long time. I am kind of digging eBay. Why not make a little extra cash to stash when I need it most?
  • Embrace being an at-home mom (or dad) while you can. My kids and I slept in this morning because I didn’t have to rush to be at work early. I am leaving to pick my daughter up from school in five minutes. I am scheduling my son’s conference for during the day. Because I can!
  • Give back. The best thing I could do right now is help someone else or give money to someone who needs it more than I do. This is what God has called us to do.

Sometimes you have to get through your fear to see the beauty on the other side. That is how I am living today and for the near term anyway. I am facing my fear head-on. I know my kids will be ok and I will be ok. I know we will be taken care of. And, that’s all I need to know in the next 24 hours.

I’ll keep you all posted on my journey. Thank you for all of your support.

Lindy

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