You may or may not have noticed that I’m currently behind by three days. I will likely not get back on track with my Reverb 10 posts until Thursday at the earlier because I am moving on Tuesday. This means that tomorrow will be spent packing a truck and cleaning the old digs, and Wednesday will be spent unpacking a truck and setting up some new digs. I might still be working on my Reverb 10 posts into January, but who cares? I don’t need to start my “resolutions” on January 1st. It’s all arbitrary, really. There’s no reason why I can’t take a break from all these reflections and manifestations to live in the here and now of packing mindfully — really, I need my mind to be present when it comes to packing fragile objects. I’d like my dishes to arrive at our destination in one piece so I can actually use them again, you know. In the mean time, I hope you’re all enjoying a safe and happy holiday season.
Prompt: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
Honestly, I’m just fine with my name. While I do get a little irritated having to spell out my first and last name every time, I wouldn’t trade either for any other name.
And because I feel like a 60-something word post would be a waste of time and space, I’ll remind you that it’s Thursday — Thankful Thursday. Today, I’m grateful for having the resources and means to work through whatever problems life throws at me. I might feel as though many aspects of my life are currently crumbling around me, but I still have the ability to weather these problems. I have the opportunity to make my life better, to pursue my dreams. Some people never get that chance. I’m also thankful for all the food I’ll be serving to my family for Christmas dinner.
Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
I didn’t travel anywhere outside of my current town during the entirety of 2010. If by “how did [I] travel” Ms. Hunt means “what was your primary mode of transportation,” then I’d say public buses and my own two feet. In less than a week, I’ll be traveling out of state. We’ll be moving by car. Next year I have no plans to travel as of yet, but I hope to arrange accommodations for my ten year high school reunion. We’ll see what the future holds in store for me.
Sit down. Put your cup some where far away from electronics. Brace yourself. I’m not exactly a big fan of traveling. There, I said it. I don’t like sitting in a car for extended periods of time. I’m terrified of flying (yes, even before that tragic day over nine years ago). I have no desire to float around in the middle of an ocean. I’m familiar with Greyhound buses, and I can’t say I’m a fan. As for trains, well, it’s still an extended period of time. While I have goals to visit places that necessitate flying, I’m not currently planning anything in particular. Obviously, being “tied down” by family doesn’t make much difference to me. I’m just as content to sit at home and enjoy a nice meal with my family as some are to fly to exotic locations and sipping cocktails in the sunshine.
I’ll close this out with a list of places I’d like to visit, in no particular order:
- The Florida Keys
It’s a short list, but those are places that I’ve added to my life list.
Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
Let me imagine myself five years from now. I’ll be a 30-something with a 13 year old, an 8 year old, and a 6 year old. I’m hoping by that point in time I’ll be a home owner and a successful freelancer. I’ll have known my husband for 15 years by that point. Imagining myself in those shoes, I’d like to advise myself to stick to my guns during the upcoming year – buckle down, make the leap, and stop letting fear get the better of myself. Stop living life by others’ standards. I have some reasonable morals and values, and I know better than anyone else what’s best for me and my family. There is no one else who will fully grasp the thought processes going through my head, nor should I expect that. I have a good head on my shoulders, I have a capacity to learn, and I know how to read. (Really, more people should place emphasis on reading in all aspects of their lives. Books, magazines, signs, menus, disclaimers, waivers, contracts, fine print – read all of it.) I also would advise myself to take good care of myself. I only get one shot at this, and I’d serve myself better if I took the time to make sure my teeth last longer, my mind lasts longer, and I function much longer. Oh sure, there’s that email forward that pushes people to “skid into the coffin sideways with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other yelling, ‘wow, what a ride!’” – but what’s the point of “quality over quantity” if by 50 you’re so broken down that you can’t enjoy your life anymore? That would seem to me that you’re sacrificing quality AND quantity, but perhaps that’s just my observational bias.
And to my younger self, get ready: you are not on the right career path as it stands. Brace yourself for challenges and obstacles. They’re all over the place. Don’t wait until the last minute to change course, and don’t feel like you’re giving up. You’re not giving up – you’re just realizing that change is inevitable. You will change dramatically in some ways, yet you’ll stay the same in others. Don’t lose hope, don’t give up on your dreams, and quit worrying about what everyone else thinks. Guess what? It’s not about what other people think – it’s about what you think, and it’s about you making things work. You have all the resources you need right inside that skull of yours, and don’t you ever forget that. Make peace with yourself and all the changes and challenges that come your way. You’ll save a lot of stress that way. And most importantly, remember that people care more about you than you choose to realize. There’s a time and place to be stubborn, so pay attention in order to ensure you know when and where to dig your heels in. Oh, and trust me – you might feel grown up right now, but you’ll look back and realize you were relatively young. Heck, some days I realize I’ll think the same thing in another ten years.
Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)
Is it any surprise that I avoided writing a response to this prompt yesterday? If you couldn’t guess, I really should have been focused on my writing — more importantly, I should have been focused on my career as a writer. I should have been writing on an almost daily basis, regaling my readers with clever, thoughtful discourse. I should have been planning my next moves and plotting my course. I should have been focused on making the transition from employed to self-employed. I should have been true to myself.
Oh, there were distractions around every corner this year. It seemed like every time I stopped to look up, I was surrounded by other, more urgent tasks. Instead of spending more time in “quadrant two,” I was constantly in quadrant one. Other times, I felt so ridiculously burnt out that I’d flounder into quadrant four just because I didn’t feel like doing anything other than sudoku, crosswords, or checking up on friends. And who could blame me? I was feeling jaded. I felt embittered by years of grooming — almost like those words in high school about college making you poverty-proof was little more than brainwashing. (Disclaimer: Kids, don’t take the wrong message out of this — get your butts to college, study what you love, and get that expensive piece of paper anyway! It’s too damn important to pass up.)
I was terrified of leaving a day job to pursue my dreams. I worried about bills and keeping my family in a stable, secure environment. I also questioned if there really was a need for people like me. I’d find myself swamped with projects, typically of the OPD variety. Honestly? I’m an ISFJ, which basically means I suffer from “doormat syndrome.” It took that unpleasant life change back in July for me to be free from my duties to others (except for my immediate family, who I’m more than happy to support as they are part of the dream for me).
Over the past six months, I’ve had plenty of time to mull over the possibilities, and I’ve come to realize it’s not just about putting a roof over our heads or making ends meet. It’s about feeling productive, feeling creative, and feeling fulfilled. Walking around day in and day out feeling like you’re on autopilot might earn paychecks, but it sucks your soul right out of your body. My last two months of employment had next to nothing to offer my career, and it completely blew. I sat there some mornings trying to work up motivation to complete my six months there in order to have the opportunity to once again job search within the university. I didn’t want to be the little assistant who maintains calendars and processes expense reports — I wanted to be the writer, the editor, the person relishing in all the creative little tasks. Next year, I’m not going to settle for anything. Unless it contributes to my dreams, it’s not worth my time. Next year, it’s about becoming the writer, editor, consultant, and tutor I aspire to be. Next year, I’m taking control of my life and leaving out the middlemen who are mere go-betweens for me and the IRS. Hey, the IRS publishes all their forms online — why shouldn’t I go into business for myself? And have you seen what texting has done to our youth? People need me to undo the damage caused by texting. Literacy needs me to mend our broken lines of communication. Now is not the time to feel insignificant. Now is the time to seize opportunity while it’s still slapping me in the face, shaking my collar, and screaming at me, “why don’t you just accept me for what I am?!”
Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?
This year I set out on a quest for knowledge regarding my ancestry. When I finally found the people to answer my questions, everything unfolded so quickly. Before I had time to really, truly process the gravity of the situation, half the year had flown by. However, I’ve had plenty of time to process all the information I received, and I feel that the events lead to a lot of healing. I don’t really wish to comment further.
In 2011, I would like to shed the anxiety. I’d like to leave behind the frustrations. I want my soul to be healed. I intend to practice a lot more meditation, yoga, stretching, and exercising. I also plan to continue focusing on eating a healthier, well-balanced diet. (As an aside, all this cookie dough has made me realize I feel miserable when I don’t eat well.) I have aspirations to write daily, even if just for myself in a trusty old notebook. I feel better when I’ve had the ability to process my thoughts through written word.
I apologize that the past few prompts have been clips of my thoughts. Some of the themes the Reverb 10 prompts touch upon call for a lot more internalization, and the sharing my thoughts seems inappropriate. This is public and open to the world — some of my thoughts are too precious to put onto the internet.
Prompt: Try. What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?
I’m currently planning to begin conducting my own business. I had begun making plans earlier this year, but I had always been too busy worrying about other things. I worried about needing a day job that came with benefits. I worried about doing my work at that job. Then I worried about finding another job — any job, really. I spent a lot more time focusing on the coveted job that millions are fighting for. People with jobs claim there’s a job out there for everyone. Employers claim there’s hundreds applying for the same position. Then other people tell you to switch professions. When you apply for a job in a new profession, you’re told you don’t have enough experience or need to go back to school to earn more credentials. At the end of the day, it’s a nightmare trying to fight just for the opportunity to interview. At the end of the day, I’m waiting around for someone else to make my finances come together. Sure, I’m working my butt off trying to write cover letters and tailor my resume, all for no payoff. Instead of waiting around next year, I’m going to do it myself. I’m going to advertise my services to people who’ll want me to do the work I love. I’m not going through a middle man who’ll determine when pay day occurs. I’ve researched self-employment taxes and competitors’ rates. I’m feeling very confident that I’ll be prepared for details that come along with running your own business. This year might not have been the year to officially “open my doors,” but next year I’ll not only try — I’ll do my very best to make my business work. I owe it to myself and my family to do my very best.
As for a little lightheartedness, I wanted to try red bean ice cream and green tea ice cream. I absolutely fell in love with red bean ice cream. Green tea ice cream has a nice flavor, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. A single scoop of red bean ice cream drizzled in honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds — delicious! Sure, it might sound odd to eat ice cream made with beans, but I promise you it’s delicious.
Prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
This year I finally learned to trust my gut instincts no matter what. I clearly have a good intuition, and I tend to lean more towards logic and input from others. Even when I know the right answer, I still prod others for their input — not always the best idea. I’ve said to myself for years that no one knows what’s best for me better than I do. However, I also realize that I’m not the only one who will suffer adverse outcomes if I choose incorrectly because my family depends on me. I learned the hard way half through the year that I should trust my instincts regardless of what others say because I knew I was making the wrong choice back in April/ May. I just chose to ignore that nagging feeling.
Going forward, I intend to take a little more time to sit back, meditate on bigger decisions, and listen to myself. It might seem like a wise idea to consult with others, but I shouldn’t give outside input more weight that what my instincts tell me. If I know something feels wrong, then I should less to that feeling and play it safe. I already know that patterns dictate I must follow my path if I am to succeed . I know that I must be mindful of even the smallest things — I’m relatively small, but I make a difference. My fourth grade teacher imparted wise words one day after I’d been taunted by the bigger kids: good things come in small packages, like rubies and diamonds. Sometimes the most amazing things take the shape of the smallest of objects, the most minute details can be the most valuable. My worth isn’t something to be determined by an outside party — it’s something to be determined by myself. After all, it’s all about the mindset. If my self-worth is low, no amount of compliments will lift me up. If my self-worth is high, no amount of criticism will bring me down. It’s about confidence and faith. I need to have more confidence in myself and my ability to intuit the best course of action.
Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
I’m having a difficult time singling out one friend who has changed me or my perspective of the world during the year 2010, regardless of how gradual or sudden it was. This year hasn’t necessarily gone to one particular person in terms of who’s touched my soul and given me reason to pause. Most of the people in my life have had some sort of impact — be it big or small, gradual or sudden — during the year. Whether they’re friend or foe, family or stranger, they’ve had an impact. You see, at the start of the year I made a resolution to be more mindful. While most of my other goals and resolutions have gone to the wayside, I have paid closer attention to everything going on around me. Everything has a meaning, everything has significance. At the start of the year, I thought I really wanted a full time position working for someone, making a good chunk of change and accruing benefits. At this point in time, I no longer want to pursue that. I want to pursue my own destiny. I learned the hard way that leaving my financial security in the hands of someone who doesn’t hold a vested interest in my success leads to heartache and strife.
However, let’s focus more on manifesting what’s next. I’d like to see the upcoming year fulled with wonderfully fulfilling interactions with friends. I’d like the support of my friends to push me through the rough patches. I’d like to offer my support to friends who need someone to uplift them. I’d like encouragement with my future endeavors. I’d like to encourage my friends likewise.
Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
Okay, so I may have cheated a bit — 5 minutes to write a post seemed grossly inadequate, though. In the same vein, I also don’t intend to fully share the memories I jotted down in my allotted 5 minute time frame. For the most part, I came up with a lot of family memories that I would like to remember for as long as possible. Birthdays, holidays, family gatherings — the typical. I already discussed my youngest’s first birthday.
This year’s Halloween wasn’t too shabby, actually. For the past few years, we haven’t had really good pickings when taking our kids door-to-door. People are either not home, don’t have candy, or pretend not to be home (yeah, be thankful I’m not teaching my kids about the trick part of “trick-or-treating”). As for our candy dish, we usually get left with a ridiculous amount of candy — and I like handing out candy I enjoy. You can guess what usually happens to our leftover candy stash. This year? We had a boatload of trick-or-treaters. Now mind you, I had quite a few who didn’t even bother to put on a costume, but the novelty of it earned them handfuls of candy. I was overjoyed to hand out most of my candy stash. The kids had a great time, too. Per our usual Halloween celebrations, we ate some “dirt cups” (crushed oreos, chocolate pudding, gummy worms) and other “ghoulish” treats. Our little baby “Yoda” had a blast celebrating his first Halloween, too.
As for the rest of the memories I’ve chosen, know that these are memories that remind me that my life is enriched by wonderful people. Situations might seem dismal, but it’s the people in our lives who make it worth living through. As for my input on the halfway point of Reverb 10? I’m noticing recurring themes of time, family, silver linings, gratitude, opportunity, and dreaming big.