Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Fool Speaks His Whole Mind i.e., Quit While You're Ahead

I sat, nibbling on my left thumbnail, arms crossed, staring at the unsent email response, which was in its third or fourth iteration. I was responding to a question from my boss, asking if a particular task had been completed within a project. It had not. Since I had taken great care to ensure I had the multiple elements of this project on point, my initial reaction was that he never asked me to do it. But after searching my emails, I learned that indeed he had -- the week before in a flurry of other project-related messages.

Apparently I missed it. Well, not necessarily. I had read the email. In fact I had printed it out and pinned it to my bulletin board. But the way the task was outlined, there's a whole line of rationale that had me thinking he was talking about something else. Classic misunderstanding. Go figure.

And there I was, typing and retyping, trying to figure out how to apologize and admit to my boss that I was unclear on the instructions and therefore the task was not done.

Fortunately, I caught myself.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

31: The Last Stand

Well, I'm still close enough to the Twenties to hear the music thumping, though I don't always know what they're talking about. (Case in point: Had to ask some buddies what "cashin' out" meant, since I just know it as what I do when I'm ready to leave the restaurant.)

Thirty-one feels miles away from 30. If I met someone today who was turning 30, I'd probably say "Awww!" as if they were turning five. Weird.

The Clock Is Ticking...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Succeed or Die: A Lesson from The Dark Knight Rises

Armed with his new knowledge, Bruce can escape from Hell.

*tiny spoiler alert ahead*

It makes perfect sense.

As long as that rope is tied around your waist, you will try. And you might try really hard. But as you rear back, take a deep breath, bend your legs, and leap -- you know that if you don’t make it to the next landing, you may not be satisfied, you may not be content, you may be unhappy, you may be depressed -- but you will survive.

What if you wouldn’t survive? What if you only got one shot and it’s...curtains?

To leap from that ledge without a rope, every muscle and nerve ending and adrenaline drop must come to the aid of the party.

Can the safety net keep us down?

It’s not a new question or a new debate at all. There’ve been books and films and philosophers and politicians mulling over it for centuries. But while watching The Dark Knight Rises, the debate renewed for me again.

Ironically, a couple weeks before watching the film, I was musing to someone during one of those whimsical “what would you do if you could do what you want” convos that it was the lack of a safety net that keeps me from leaping. I made a point that if I was married, and there were two incomes, it would be less risky to step out and be entrepreneurial, in whatever form that would take for me. With someone helping to hold things down, lights would stay on, bills would be paid, and my car wouldn’t be whisked away in the night. There’d be nothing to fear, nothing to lose. Well, at least nothing tangible.

But maybe it’s like what the old dude in the prison with Bruce Wayne said, real fear is necessary to climb out. It’s what makes mamas strong enough to lift cars. It’s what makes someone who’s been struggling with their weight all their lives finally get it together after hearing they’ll die if they don’t.

Fear is arguably the most powerful motivator in the world. Even when we’re talking love, fear is not far behind -- fear of losing love, fear of not ever finding true love, or fear of what/whom you love not loving you back.

We thrive on the support of others..our cheerleaders, our partners, our help. On the other hand, knowing your family, friends, mate, kids won't let you hit rock bottom might keep us from giving our all in some cases.  

At the end of the day, no matter what one's situation is -- whether you've got a trust fund or no funds, a spouse or just a cat to keep you company, we've all got one thing in common. This.Is It.

You can make many attempts in life, but there’s only one attempt at life. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Motto

I wrote an article a few weeks ago for a magazine in which I asked three professional women about their words of wisdom for success. Actually, the way I phrased it, with Drake's voice in my head rapping to a heavy bass line was: What's your motto?

You know, what do you tell yourself in the low moments when you're not feeling the love or the motivation?

Listening to those women share their thoughts on the subject got me to thinking about mine, my motto. Well there are several lil' jewels I pluck out of my purse for various occasions. For the past few months though, there has been one “motto” that has come in handy in this particular phase of my life. And it's not really a motto at all, it's a gesture.

As shared in “Relocating: The Thrill and the Fear of the Ride,” I've got a new gig in a new city. And as also stated in that post, the new gig has a Daytona 500-like learning curve. But I am learning. And I'm growing more knowledgeable every day.

But there have been some anxious, challenging moments along the way – moments in which I could've done better...and moments in which I expected better of others.

In those moments, when no one is around, I take a deep breath, raise my right hand to my left shoulder – and brush the dirt off.

The physical nature of this action – coupled with picturing the issue or the hurtful words fly away like dandruff – helps to make it all good...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Relocating: The Thrill (and Fear) of the Ride

Image by Alexandra Elefteriadou

New job, new city...I guess you could say I put the new in New Year.

I’ve been in Tampa about a month now and I can count on one hand how many places I can drive to without the crutch of GPS--work, Target, my friend’s apartment and anything off Dale Mabry highway. Then again, depending on where I  start off, I need assistance getting to those spots too.

Which means that every day has that new car smell. And I’m diggin’ it in more ways than one.

While I'm only an hour and a half away from where I pitched my tent for 11 years, this move is still monumental for my psyche. Living in a different location than you’re used to feels a lot like being on vacation. Not that I’m kickin’ it with a cocktail in a coconut all day, but in the sense that everything and everyone has the benefit of a fresh slate, including me. There are no good or bad memories or news reports or gossip to attach to anything or anyone. No predetermined opinions. It's refreshing.

Like vacationing, relocating forces you to open up. You ask questions--Where’s a good place for sushi? What’s the live music scene like? When you’re from a city or you’ve been there a long time, you lose that curiosity, that childlike wonder that only reappears when you’re out of town.  

Residing in Tampa for the last few weeks has illustrated just how routine my life had gotten in Orlando. Mind you, by a lot of people’s standards, I lead a pretty spontaneous lifestyle. Even still, I was doing so within the confines of my comfort zone. Hanging with the same folks, going to the same places, shopping at the same stores.

I learn something new at work every day. I learn something about the Bay area every day. All this shiny newness has me wondering how many days went by in the past that I didn’t do anything--different.

But it’s not all pudding pops and rainbows. There’s no auto-pilot mechanism at this point, which means I’m figuring out something all the time...which gets tiring. Sometimes you just want to coast through the day. And the learning curves at work rival Jennifer Hudson’s before Weight Watchers. I’m constantly running to keep up. And there are piles of uncertainty. I don’t really have much to fall back on here. No decade’s worth of connections. No die-hard buddies in every section of the county.

And that whole clean slate thing? There are cons to that too. New folks don’t know your story, which means you’ve got to explain the prequel before talking present day. This Valentine’s Day I’m freestylin’, but they don’t know this time last year I thought I was about to be engaged. And when May rolls around, some well-meaning colleague will surely ask what I’m getting my mom for Mother’s Day. 

I don't mind sharing, it's just that 30 years comes with quite a bit of data. One of the good things about old friends is that they already know.

Embracing the Change

I’ve been mulling over this phrase for the last few weeks, trying to pin down what it actually means. So far this is what I’ve come up with: It means accepting the moment, the situation, the phase, without trying to make it something else more familiar. It means being open to vulnerability and uncertainty.

Embracing change is a conscious decision; I don’t know if it can be done accidentally. Aside from relocating, we’re all faced with the choice of embracing change or not. Do you sulk when you’re single or do you use the time to do what you want, no questions asked? When you don’t have the kids for the weekend, do you call every 10 minutes instead of enjoying the temporary freedom? If you’re in college, do you just go to school and go home...or do you take in all that the university experience has to offer?

I’ve got to make friends here. Find a mechanic, a doctor and a church congregation -- here. That’s embracing change.

Sometimes you gotta shake things up just to know you’re alive.

It's why we ride roller coasters.