Taking a step

As I sit back and think about all that I have done, all that I want to do, and how much time there may or may not be, I cannot help but to stop and think, “Why am I thinking and not doing?”

I have this great friend, whom I do not speak to enough, that has a catchy nickname for me, Mastery. I got this nickname when I was helping an organization train some new hire’s for a teaching position. Of course i spent HOURS doing research, reading, watching videos, and detailing out each step, each move, every aspect. My good friend helped me along the way. She was a more go-with-the-flow person. a great balance to my crazy planning obsessed brain.

As we worked together, we did some research into how people learn and how people teach. Now there are many many schools of thought on the subject and I am not about to go into the psychology and sociology and whatever else you want to call it, but i will tell you we narrowed it down to four, with one being Mastery.

The mastery is a step-by-step rule-following  overly analyzing critical thinker. Yup… That’s me. I pay attention to every detail and plan out even the most minute detail. I even had a family member once tell me “it’s okay we don’t have, it doesn’t have to be perfect.” And then I pulled out a ranch packet I had saved somewhere along the way.

So you might be asking me, Hurry and get to the point. Well here it is.

I spend so much of my brain power and day planning out the little details, I forget to start the project, get the ball rolling. yes the planning and preparation are designed to help the implementation process, but life doesn’t let you just hang out til the pieces fall into place. A little planning is a good thing, but when you get so hung up on the right timing, the right place, you miss out on the right now.

So my challenge to everyone, take that first step towards whatever you have been planning. I am starting right now by developing a tool to help me get the facts I need to start my first independent research project. It took me five minutes… not long and I still have time to snuggle with the dogs before bed, and I have a little smile to carry me through the night.

Embracing the real you: Part One

As many of us struggle with our weight, looks, and even confidence, we stop believing in the real us. We try to be someone we are not.

We may try to please those of us close to us in order to be more accepted. It can be hard when you lack a support system. Friends are great parts of a support system. Family tends to be the best anchor in a person’s support system. You can even find peace in a community. Here are three tips you can use to get over the many excuses you may have for NOT finding a stable support system.


Excuse 1: I don’t have the time for __________! (Insert personal excuse here.)

I use this one often. I work two jobs, I have a child, I have a husband. I don’t have time for ________! Mine most often times centers around me time. First you need to find yourself and support your own thoughts and goals. Take a ten minute mind break to search inside and see if what you are doing is really what YOU want to do. Now in life we all HAVE to do things we don’t want, like paying taxes. But other than those must things, find out if that story you are writing means as much to you as it does your boss. Does planting the herb garden make you smile, or is it just another chore! Cut out those, “chore” jobs and find something that’s for you, like reading a book or starting a blog.

Excuse 2: I have no family/friends here. (Distant family and friends can feel too far for adequate support.)

Most of my immediate family lives hundreds of miles away. Many childhood friends are distant as well. I struggle with this one on a routine basis. The old saying, “distance makes the heart grow fonder,” doesn’t really help when you insert excuse one. Take a five minute break to call mom and say “Hi, I love you.” Telling those around you, even far away, makes those people feel like an important part of your life and they in turn want to be part of your life.

Excuse 3: I don’t belong.

If friends and family out of town are too hard to stay connected to, or if you are looking for a personal connection somewhere closer, join a community. You can find a safe place to retreat when you find others who want to do things you enjoy as well. I have been away from church for a while. Ever since I moved to Florida, I have found it hard to belong. I sought out this sense of belonging with the church and more importantly with God. I know feel I have people who understand me and I am closer to God, who can not only understand but help guide the way.


190112_482353511775013_540611331_nIMG_8496IMG_8551my support system

I have personally struggled with embracing who I am. It can get confusing when you move around. I am still in the process of finding who I am and who I want to be. I used to find myself in my profession. Statements were made like “I am a nurse,” or “I am a student.” But those are descriptions of what we do and not who we are. Now I make statements like “I am a mom!”

In reality I am Mandi. No description, no occupation… Just ME.

 

It’s easier to be lazy…

How often do we use the old adage, I’m not going to if he doesn’t have to.

ImageIt’s easy to look at someone and see all that they DON’T do. I just finished explain to my husband why I leave the baby’s towel on the changing table after her bath. I used to be great about cleaning up after the bath time routine. I would put the dirty clothes in the hamper, put the towel on the drying rack, brush her teeth and hair and put the new diapers on the shelf.

Then one day I got tired of feeling like I was the only one to do so. SO I gradually fell into the routine of NOT cleaning up after the bath routine. I felt it was unfair that I had that responsibility and he didn’t. How selfish was this act? How lazy of an excuse was that? Why would I do something or not do something simply because he didn’t? What I failed to look at was how great he was at bringing her into daycare every day, getting her ready, brushing her hair in the morning and brushing her teeth.

Alright so no more excuses.. Right? After making a big deal about the lack of wipes on the changing table when I was dealing with what might have been the uckiest diaper change in a while, I realized that I was using an excuse to be less of a good person. First, I didn’t give him the credit for what he does do; then I used what he does’t do allow me to be a lazy person.


Earlier today, I had a conversation with a colleague about the same type of issue. No it wasn’t diapers and changing tables it was bigger than that. But I made an observation how someone I knew and liked made a decision to put restrictions on an activity that would actually prove more detrimental than beneficial. Why would someone I respect and look up to do such a thing? One word… FRUSTRATION!

She was sick of feeling like she got dumped on so took an action to stand up for herself and the people she worked for. I am not sure that how she chose to work with the situation was right. Instead of being better than the others and demonstrating how beneficial the lack of restrictions could actually be, she gave into peer pressure. That’s kind of how I responded.

Because I stopped doing my clean up I actually cause myself more grief than good. Instead of being the better person I lowered my own expectations. Part of the better me plan is to do for myself and not for others. It may seem like a selfish act, but when cleaning up after yourself can promote a more orderly and organized house, then we all kind of win that battle.

Aging Gracefully

ImageUnfortunately, today was not the best day on my road to being a better me. I had some struggles along my path that took me away from what I wanted to accomplish. Now I had a legitimate reason for not cutting the grass (it poured down rain), but I found myself bitter or a few words I hear on most days I work; “Aren’t you too young to be a teacher?”

Most people jump for joy when they are considered young. It should be a compliment. I guess I am aging well! But not today.

I guess what really bothers me about it is how my credibility is questioned simply based on how old I look to a person. Are we not taught to judge people less? Is it still taboo to ask a woman her age? Is there a magic age that makes you more credible and smarter? Does hard work and perseverance no longer matter?

 

Alright so I have only lived for less than three decades. So my hair only has two or three greys. My wrinkles are not as deep, and I can still have children without worrying about my biological clock. But does that really mean I don’t have the skills, knowledge, intuition, and passion to do my job and do it well? No that’s just another excuse people are putting on me.

Why would someone want to limit my abilities? I give myself enough excuses to not do things such as exercise and eat right. I do not need external excuses.

So as I question whether those people who doubt me based solely on age are right, I fight the good fight. I tell myself yes, I have worked hard and sacrificed to be where I am, just as many other people have. My sacrifices just came at a younger age.

Do not allow yourself to be knocked down by those who do not know you. Do not allow for those who know you to make you feel less than awesome. Your struggles and worries are just as valid and just as qualifying as the next persons, regardless of age!

Living with daily excuses

I have recently been trying to live a better life. I have been centering on some core areas of my life i want to improve. The first step was taking some time for me. I am not so self-centered that I think I have the hardest life or the most scheduled days. i know there are those of you out there conquering more than I could imagine, but my busy-ish life tends to leave me with little time for me.

I work two part-time jobs, have a husband, one beautifully amazing daughter, two dogs, extended family, friends, church, organizations, and a home. I know, this seems to be the normal for most women between the ages of 24-40. But the day goes by before I take the time to think about what I want or need (I guess this would be classified excuse number one!). So my husband kicked me out of the house one day a couple of weeks ago.

He said in the most loving way, :Go get a manicure, pedicure, do something for you, you deserve it!” So I took him up on the offer that Saturday afternoon. I went out shopping, and walking, and then did a thorough tour of the local book store. I went up and down every isle. Literally!

As I started down my second turn of the isles I began to look harder. Something somewhere was bound to jump out at me. And bam!! on the number one best seller list The happiness Project; by Gretchen Rubin. A book on a journey to finding inner happiness while not going all Eat Pray Love.

As I read through the pages, I find myself taking heart to the items she is working on. I think to myself, oh I could do this or I am going to do that. Yet I keep finding an excuse.

Right before I laid down with my daughter for her nap, I thought I should make a goals list for today. Then I realized, writing that to do would be a commitment. One I don’t think I have the time, or commitment to actually make. That’s when it dawned on me. I am making excuses. I am not going to better my life until I stop the excuse train.

This is step-one! No more excuses. I’ve said it a million times. But look I did it. Sometimes, it just takes doing it to stop the excuses.

I hope you enjoy the tips and tricks I learn along the way of my No Excuses journey to a better me!

Oh and by the way, look into Gretchen Rubin”s book The happiness Project or a good yet inspiring read.