Tag Archives: personal

The Planner Failed To Plan

You ever know about something early yet nothing gets done? It isn’t entirely your fault, though. Life happened, kids got all needy with their needs and your financial sitch got dicey a few times. You knew none of that was going to get in the way. You saw said thing coming and then it all pretty much went to shit.

I am a little light in the pocket and on a normal April Thursday, I would not be phased. Only, this April Thursday is different. It is the wrong time. Graduation is a month away.

Remember said thing you saw coming? Imagine you saw it coming eighteen years ago and stood idly by while the slowest train in history pulled into the station. You had a daily reminder living and growing before your very eyes yet you didn’t plan. For shame.

On paper, before kids, it is easy to say “We will save $5 a week until he/she is 18.” Or “We after they are born we will start saving for college.” But when life hands you lemons and you have no patience for lemonade you wave off their little $5. Suddenly the furnace is broken or you need just one more day of gas or you have no job and you think ‘I have plenty of time.’ And instead of saving you start surviving.

Here, eighteen years later I realize (painfully) the planner failed to plan. Aint that somethin’? The one person who can compile planners, charts and papers at the drop of a hat didn’t prepare for this moment. And here I stand staring blankly at the nothingness I have to offer.

Life lesson #75: plan for the inevitable. There are a few things that happen in life we have the responsibility to actually prepare for death, birth, flat tires, car breakdowns, and at least one hospital visit. If you have kids, high school graduation always comes (at the same time in life…go figure).

Luckily, most high school graduates who are itching to take the real world by storm don’t care much about dinners or brunches celebrating their accomplishment. About 99% of these young men and women are clamoring to shed the flimsy gowns and uniform dress attire and head to the nearest party. Spending their first moments of freedom with their elders and parents isn’t exactly top of mind. And because of that, I release myself from all the guilt of not being planner perfect and responsible.

Even though I would prefer to have the graduation brunch of a lifetime with cloth napkins and delish chef specialties, I know it isn’t worth the trouble. He really won’t care. And even though I failed to plan for the inevitable, it isn’t decorations or amazing graduation gifts he is concerned with. Deep down, what matters to him most is that we are there. He cares that we are somewhere in the crowd proud of him for being his own kind of great.

~SM

Timeception

The Professor called on Saturday afternoon and was excited to share her latest journey in time management. She extended an invitation to join in the fun. Me? With all six of my planners? Of course, I would! This was going to be a piece of cake (an actual piece of cake and a full day of time sucks later, I was still lost).

Time blocking. It is terminology I had never heard before but practiced on several occasions (just a few months ago to be exact). I failed, of course, and set it for when I grew up more—well, until this weekend. Time blocking, for those who do not know, is the practice of—well—blocking time for daily activities. It goes much deeper than that, but for the sake of simplicity, we will leave it at that.

Start by writing down a list of your everyday activities—from the roota to the toota. Morning sex on Thursdays? Write it down. Daily 4 p.m. dump? Write that, too. Once you have your list written down, prioritize. Okay, now that is done, make an appointment for each task. Sounds easy enough, right? Workout: 5 a.m. – 5:30 a.m., Shower/Dress/Hair: 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m., and so on. Morning routine time block, BAM! You know between the hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. you are working out, showering, doing hair, getting dressed and eating breakfast.

But wait! There’s more!

Time batching is taking various tasks and grouping them together by brain power. Doing your taxes uses different brain power than, say, blogging. Go back to your nifty daily activities list and take a peek at all the things you do. Group the like-minded items together. By doing this, you will find it easier to focus and complete each task because you will not be wearing out your brain.

We won’t stop there, though!

Forgive me for forgetting the terminology, but when working in said time batch within said time block, it is best to set a focus time and a break time. From what I have been reading, most benefit from a 25 minute focus time and a 5 minute break time.

(Whew! I am spent just thinking about the timeception within the inception)

Needless to say, I failed miserably. I spent the majority of my day writing lists, researching planners (yes—stop judging), printables and the like. This means nothing work related got done. My brain hurt from all this time management planning and apparently (as seen in recent work productivity) I am getting nothing important accomplished.

I am still going to join The Professor in her quest to manage life better because the truth is I need to do better, too. Besides not working on actual work due to organizing my time, what do I have to lose (besides my legit job)?

~SM


Whatever Happens, Love That

“…you need a mantra…Whatever happens, love that…”

~Match Making for Beginners

 

For a few weeks now, the thought of settling into mediocracy has become more appealing. Even hamsters get off the wheel sometimes. The barrage of ideas, plans and what-ifs can make a person weary in their well-doing.

I have been wrestling with mediocracy. I tell myself I just simply cannot be ordinary or I must dream big, but really…do I? What if all we were ever meant to be is exactly what we are? Not everyone was built to be an Oprah or a Michelle O or a Bey. Some of us are just meant to be exactly what we are, and that is okay.

We are taught from a very young age through various channels we should go beyond where we are. If you are fat, be skinny. If you are as flat as a teenage boy, buy body parts. If you are poor, get rich. If you are uncoupled, be coupled. In the years between vanilla life acknowledgment and the colorful just out of reach, we claw our way up. But should we though? Think of all the energy wasted on trying to be something not meant for you. Was it worth it?

Last night I watched a group of young men and women sing and dance. They were all amazing. The courage to stand in a crowded room and leave their talent spent on stage was beautiful to see. Afterward, I thought about what would happen to them in the next ten to fifteen years. How many of them would ignore the present and fight to get a toe onto the promise land? How many would be still be talking about making it when really they have already made it? How many would be satisfied with church on Sundays, meatloaf on Wednesdays, and a 9 to 5? My guess…hardly any.

They have been taught to pursue dreams and strive to get from their present point A to the magnificent point B. And that is not entirely wrong. We should dream, but we shouldn’t ignore the regular. And we shouldn’t abhor staying there (some of us). Some of the finest people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing lived normal lives. They paid their bills on time, punched a clock every day, loved others and were as full as a person traveling the world with millions in the bank. Who says greater is better? Shouldn’t it be more about loving what comes your way than trying to climb over it for the unknown? What if what is right in front of you is all you are ever going to have? Is it worth missing?

As I start the descent to cuarenta, I am coming to terms with vanilla. Whatever comes my way will just come. I am no longer in need to push the mountains. There is nothing wrong with setting up camp at the foot. I will sit there, outside the tent watching all those who dare to push or climb. I will gladly offer water to the thirsty and nourishment to the hungry. The homemade of flimsy canvas and dirt floor will offer rest to the weary. I will offer a smile and perhaps even a word of wisdom. I will be the cheer squad for those who need it. I am waving the white flag and surrendering to taking it down a notch. Finally, after all this time, I will accept what is present. I will not overlook it for the sake of something better. What I have right this moment is enough. And whatever happens…I am going to love that.

~SM

Running The Tree of Peaches

This is it. You are standing in a sea of people staring at the largest American flag you have ever seen. Of course, you have seen it for the past ten years, same place, same bat time, but somehow it feels different. This year, you have something to prove—to you. You started this thing as a challenge, you repeated it to prove to The Kids anything is possible, you ran this whole thing in emotional shambles, you reduced your run to a walk after injury and sadly, was benched by The Cheersquad while carrying new life. But this time…this year….it is about no one, no one but you……..

For the last ten years, I have run the Peachtree Road Race. I stand in a sea of runners at the starting line, stomach gurgling with nervous anticipation. Every year for a decade I have been a ball of nervous energy as I waited for yet another chance to make it to the end. Each time I get the “Congratulations!” notification, I am all too excited to join an area tradition that has somehow become such a huge part of my life. I have muddled around in the mud with my shoes off after it was over, drank beer in the rain at a pit stop, glided up Cardiac Hill and cried when I crossed the finish line knowing inside all would be well. This time around it should be no different….but, for some strange reason, it is. This year, when the acceptance email came, I was afraid.

Any woman will tell you after she gives birth her body just isn’t the same. I dunno about the Beyonce’s of the world who spit out a kid and bounce right back, but us regular chicks do not always bounce back—especially knocking on the door of forty. Eight months later and I can finally walk up and down the steps without feeling like my whole body is about to fall apart. My joints are back to where they should be and my Va Gina bones have finally stopped hurting. The baby blues have subsided and I think the uterus has no longer gone rogue. I am back to myself–finally. However, the thought of trying to make it 6.2 miles in the Georgia July sun with rusty head, shoulders, knees, and toes makes me a little fearful. When will I train? Hell, when will I sleep? What will I eat? Can I actually make it? Better question: What if I can’t?

This will be the first indication if I am the same because, to be honest, nothing about me feels the same. A lot of days the world is fuzzy and focusing is futile. My heart is sort of numb and everything is tasteless. My immediate responses to everything are either boiling hot or extremely cold with nothing in between. ‘I don’t care’ falls from my lips far too often and it seems ignorance really is bliss. This run will be a test of will and mental mind (as YG says). For a decade, this race has been about everything and everyone but me. It has been proof to others I am capable, proof anyone can do anything, proof I was strong enough to pull through, proof no injury could hold me back. This will be the first of many moments when no one and nothing matters except the one walking six miles in these shoes.

…….The buzz of the crowd swirls around like bees. The announcer has the crowd count down and suddenly, the swell moves. Your feet cross the red and blue line and you realize there is no going back. You have been counted. Your time has been started, and no matter how long it takes, even if you are last, quitting is not an option. And you know what? You don’t want to quit. You want to prove to yourself that you are you, this is you and no matter how far you get from home you will always come back.

~SM

Dare to Dream

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

~The Doc Who Is Suess


 

The Girl roped me into watching Acrimony over the weekend. Not the best movie ever, but there was one part of the storyline that had me thinking (and jealous almost). The basic gist of the moving picture was woman met man, man used woman for twenty years as he worked to get his dream off the ground. At the end of the twenty years, said woman (who had the patience of a saint with him) booted him out. Shortly thereafter, his dream came to fruition and she missed the life he promised her by a hair. Yikes. The part that stuck out was how committed he was to his dream. He was absorbed by his belief he had something that could change not only their lives but the world.  He allowed his wife to work two jobs, quit school, mortgage (and foreclose on) a paid off home, and drain her inheritance. Nothing mattered outside of his dream. It left me wishing I had the balls to abandon all responsibility to work on a dream.

There are things I want to do before it is over, but to accomplish them even a little bit, I will (maybe) get two hours of sleep a day. No joke. Thoughts of spending hours upon hours writing and planning are so filling I could barely contain myself. Oh, how I want it. Need it. But then I am brought back to life, back to reality. As much as I want to be absorbed by the dream, I can not allow myself to get too carried away. Life comes with kids, husbands, and bills and I am not willing to toss them aside. (Well, maybe the bills)

The easy part is dreaming. The hard part is believing. It is tough to believe in something so much that causes tunnel vision. We believe in our vision, but depending on how long it takes, our cheerleaders run out of cheers and get weary in our well doing.  Believing in a dream means work, commitment, and dedication. Belief in the vision is a selfish act, and sadly I am not that selfish. I sure as hell want to be, but the way my spirit works….I just can’t do it.

The scorned ex-wife ended up going crazy and trying to kill the ex-husband. She toiled and troubled for half her life because she gave him the space to believe in the dream, but she also knew survival meant food, power, and water. As much as I  need to dream the dream, I need to not end up with a crazy ex-husband more. I need healthy children more. I need a regular paycheck more. I can chip away at what I want slowly and surely, but what I am not willing to give up for the belief of a thing is everything else. It won’t stop me from thinking left or right. But, it will slow me down a bit, and that is cool. I’ve got nothing but time…I just pray it doesn’t take twenty years.

~SM

 

Hard Head = Soft Arss

Oh, the joy of selfish, self-centered, selfish (did I say that twice?) teenagers. They are truly what makes the world go ‘round. Them and all their ‘Me Me Me’. It makes the world a much better place and it provides parents of said teens a respite from the everyday struggles of Life Life Life. Said no one ever.

Being a parent of a teen makes you question every wrong thing you ever did…EVER. I find myself sitting in the dark going over the boneheaded, disrespectful, annoying, self-centered things I ever did to The Parents. I was often met with general hissed words that went something like ‘as much as your mother/father does for you….the least you could do is…stop being so damn selfish….’ You know, typical parent to teen conversation.

But parents are dumb. They don’t know anything. They have no clue how it feels to be [insert asshole teenage issue here]. They are all old and stuff. What do they know?

Welp, parents know more than you, assclown…is what she doesn’t say to her eighteen-year-old-self-absorbed-know-it-all child. Instead, I stand down. I wave the white flag and snicker behind their back. Know why? Yea, you do. You know why. You know the moment they step foot onto that real-world sidewalk life comes fast. Cars break down, paychecks get sucked up by everything but wants, love hurts, food does not just magically appear in the pantry, and the decision between a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas is life changing. See, they don’t know that. They have no idea what they are about to walk into.

But those are lessons you just simply cannot teach. They just have to cut teeth on ’em, as the old folks say. It is a train wreck hard for us to watch, but for them it is necessary.

When the teenage monster rears its ugly, hormonal, pimply, smelly head, I rarely say a thing. There will come a time when they are sitting in the dark and think back on every idiotic moment and cringe. They may or may not apologize. They may or may not pick up the phone just to hear my voice or come visit just for a hug, but I will know they know. Life isn’t so easy, is it? Can’t always have your way, can you? Pouting doesn’t work out there, does it? Mmmmhm…didn’t think so. It is okay, you needed to figure it out for yourself. No amount of yelling, grounding or PS4/iPhone snatching was going to get through that thick skull. Only life can do that (wink).

~SM

Settling Into Oldish

Whenever I would tease Mommy about getting older, she would smile and say she was happier to be getting older. At twenty years her junior, I could not understand. Older meant things were falling apart and wrinkles. Older meant menopause and drooping everything. Old age meant walkers and medicines. Why be happy about that? Seventy-four days away from the big four-oh, I think I get it.

As you age, you settle more into yourself. The tightly wound ball of confusion that once was you at twenty is now settled and relaxed at fifty. She was excited about the relaxing part. The settling. I get it.

Now that it is my turn for ribbing from youngins, I find myself thinking about Mommy. She hasn’t quite embraced the housecoat (with the snap buttons, ‘member those?) but she has settled in. She isn’t wearing weaves and lashes, but upon suggestion (from The Boy) she will listen to a little Chief Keef. She often proclaims her ‘too old for [insert foolishness here]’ motto and leaves it where they land, but she can entertain an in house Nerf gun fight foolishness, too. She is where she is and that is okay. As I slide into another year, another grey I find myself working toward okay as well.

I’m is what I’m is, all greys and droopy whatever. It takes a minute to remember things and I can’t handle too much nonsense (my patience is -5). I own a housecoat with snap buttons and side pockets. I listen to Young Thug religiously and I live to binge watch Riverdale. Yes, I know what Bitcoin is but I also remember when pay phones were a thing and they took actual coins. I groan when walking up/down stairs, and I swear when it rains my bones hurt. But as I come ’round the mountain, I am quite all right with all of it. With every year I am blessed enough to see, more wisdom and more comfort are settling in. Thank God.

~SM