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Intro to my Blog

Where you learn a little about what this blog is all about.

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Welcome to my personal blog! I’ve never had a blog before but I’ve wanted to start one for some time now. So I know you have some questions about it and this first post will hopefully address those. If you have others, feel free to ask anything you like in the “Contact” section!

So what’s the point of this blog? This is about my personal journey through life as I try to improve myself and “discover myself”…words of wisdom I’ve picked up here and there, observations, blunders, heartaches, funny ‘schtuff’, and general thoughts on various aspects of life. I’ve divided posts into categories that you can find on the right side of the screen.

WAIT! I know you’re thinking, “Why in the world would I want to read what basically amounts to someone’s diary?!” Well before you totally dismiss this, hear me out. I’m a human being on this road of life with you. Maybe you’re struggling with some area of your life and want to hear about someone else’s troubles too. Maybe you are looking for something deep and profound (Though I don’t know how much I fit that category! lol) to help change your perspective. Maybe you are looking for someone who can relate to your problems or other areas of life. Maybe you just want to be entertained. (I’m nothing if not entertaining when given a chance! 😛 ) The truth is that I’m out here, sharing some very personal things with you just because I think you might benefit from some of them. I hope you think that’s brave because I admit I’m a little nervous about it!

So who the heck am I anyways? Well, you can call me Elizabeth. I’m a Georgia girl, born and raised, several generations rooted here. I’m over 35 years old, have 2 cats, a full time job in the medical field (NO I’M NOT A NURSE!), and I’m divorced. Doesn’t mean I’m the crazy old cat lady! lol I am not looking for a relationship. I’m currently in kind of a complex situation as it is! And I have no kids and no plans for any in the future. I get along with just about everyone and I don’t hold back honest answers when asked for my opinion. (And sometimes even when I’m not asked. lol) But I’m always kind and try to be understanding of others.

As for the title of this blog…what does it mean? Well the truth is, as the oldest of 3 kids with a perfectionist father, I have tried all my life to be perfect. I have OCD tendencies and I’m extremely hard on myself when things don’t go according to plan or the way I really want them to. Recently, as in the last couple of years, I’ve made a lot of changes in my life and I’m learning to stop striving to be perfect and live up to everyone else’s expectations or standards that I set so high for myself that I’ll never be anything but disappointed when I can’t reach them. I’m exploring life and things I like. I’m looking at the way I think about a lot of things and asking myself is that really the only way it has to be. And the truth is, my life is totally different than I ever dreamed it would be or should be! And I’m freaking HAPPY, truly and deeply happy! I’m loving the journey I’ve put myself on and I’m learning that I will never be perfect but I do need to keep striving for something in my life or else I’ll become stagnant and boring and just…exist. I don’t want to just exist! I want to continue to grow…my way. So I’m striving, not for perfection, but for “different”. I want to continue to make changes as I see a need for them or a desire to do so.

I’m going to be sharing some personal stuff on here so it might get a little bumpy or not exactly for the “whole family” as it were. You might decide that some posts are interesting to you now but later they might be. I’ve categorized them in some instances under what part of my life it’s about. But I hope you’ll enjoy the ride, find some inspiration, share some things yourself and ask whatever you like. I will be posting on average 1 to 2 times a week, sometimes more or less depending on time. Enjoy your day! And in the words of Truman (The Truman Show), “In case I don’t see you, good afternoon, good evening and good night!”

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Career Change

So I have mentioned before that I’ve worked in the medical field for almost 13 years now. I’m not a nurse but I have loved working with patients and what I do. However, in the last few years, I’m seeing some major issues with big hospital systems. The don’t seem to care about their patients or their employees, just the bottom line and making sure all the little details are addressed instead of the major flaws in the system.

I’m good at what I do and I work hard. But I didn’t choose this path originally…well, I did but I didn’t. My ex was in the same occupation and when I said I thought I should go back to school for a skill, he thought I would be good at this. I looked into it and here I am. But since exploring more of myself, I have done the research on myself and also on options out there and, while there were many paths I could have chosen, I have decided it’s time to leave my current career and try something new. Not just a new job. But I’m in the process of becoming my own boss by buying a franchise.

This is big…really big. A huge change and I’m not embarrassed to tell you that I’m scared. But! I’m a good scared. I have done the homework on this. I have taken a hard look at myself and not only what I can do but what I’m willing to do. I have talked to experts in small businesses and I really think I can do this! I can’t begin to describe the feeling well…maybe start with the bats in my gut. They aren’t warning me away from this but they are trying to prepare me for new challenges. (I’m speaking metaphorically here of course.) This will be very different from what I already do but I know I’m up for the challenge and I’m excited to take it on. I’m excited to work hard at something that I can build from the foundation up. (I won’t say ‘ground up’ because it is a franchise with a system for me to follow to get started.) Wish me luck!

So why write about this? Because I know a lot of you out there know what it feels like to be scared of change, from shampoo choices to bigger things like moving or career swaps. It’s daunting and scary as hell. But use that fear to push you to succeed. Use it to propel you to discover new things in life. Life is a ride, a journey, and it is meant for living. I am trying to do just that!

Valentine’s Day

So what did you do for Valentine’s Day? Did you spend it with someone special? Did you have a “Galentine’s Day”? Did you sit in front of the TV, watch a sappy movie and cry into your carton of ice cream? Did you miss it or forget it even happened? Probably not likely on the latter because the media wouldn’t let you forget.

And that’s one reason why I’m just not a fan of Valentine’s Day. I am one of the biggest romantics you would ever meet and I love coming up with creative, cute, endearing, etc ways of showing that you care about someone. But I’m also a bit of a rebel. I hate, hate, HATE when someone tries to make me feel bad for not doing something that I really don’t have to do. The retail and media world would make you feel bad for not spending money, time, or energy to recognize this holiday in some way. It kinda pisses me off. lol

I don’t want someone telling me that I have to show someone I love them on a specific day. If the day means something special to them and myself, then that’s one thing. But honestly, what does a Catholic holiday that has pretty ugly origins have to do with showing my boyfriend how much I care about him? What gives “them” the right to tell me how much I should spend and how?

These are my thoughts and personal feelings. If you love Valentine’s Day, then awesome for you. Personally, I would rather be surprised by a cheaper bouquet of flowers on another day “just because” than to receive something because of a perceived obligation. My best gifts from my boyfriend are when I come home after a long, crappy day and he has done a load of laundry and gotten dinner ready for us. That’s how love works. He’s thinking about what would make me smile…what would make me happy…what would help my day be just a little bit brighter. That’s awesome! I try to do the same for him.

Have any thoughts to share about this post? I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a line anytime.

Procrastination

Everyone has things they know they need to do but they really don’t want to do. Or maybe the task is just so monumental and overwhelming that they don’t know where to start. Maybe it’s a decision that needs to be made and because it is so life-altering/changing that it puts them in a state of almost panic. The normal human reaction in these situations, at least from my observations, is to just procrastinate. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? After all, in the words of Scarlet O’Hara, “Tomorrow is another day.” Right? lol

Well, I used to be a terrible procrastinator. I remember in middle school staying up with my mom late into the night, dictating a paper to her (because I hadn’t learned how to type myself yet other than to hunt and peck) because I had put it off, not realizing how long and big a task it truly was. Or maybe I did and just didn’t want to do it. I used to do that with a lot of things…deciding what to have to eat until I was so hungry, I’d eat anything in front of me; putting off laundry until I had to wash things and dry just a pair of underwear to have clean ones for the day because I didn’t realize I was out; calling someone just because I dreaded the topic or knew I would be on the phone a while.

Problem with putting things off is, you might run out of time to get it done altogether or the results turn out just crappy because you didn’t have time to do a good job. Does that mean you should rush to get everything done immediately? No, but I admit that I’m learning that I feel better about things and myself when I get things done or make decisions in a timely manner instead of putting it off. So I thought I might share a couple of tricks I’ve learned to help myself get tasks done and still not wear myself out or run out of time to do anything fun.

Let’s start with housework, cleaning, or any other tasks that are made up of lots of smaller tasks. I put on some good music that makes me want to move, set a timer for 15-30 minutes and just do whatever I can in that amount of time. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you just do that little trick. I’ve gotten loads of laundry changed out of the machines, one folded and put away, kitchen straightened, bills paid…it’s just awesome.

I will admit that I also love making “To Do” lists. I know they can seem never ending and take time to do when you could be doing some of the actual tasks, BUT it does help to get organized. I also usually put beside it how long I think each task will usually take. I usually put down a few more minutes than I would think just in case I run into a snag. It’s just so nice to see how many things that will only take five or ten minutes when you felt you had a full day’s worth of stuff to do! Maybe something will actually take an hour to accomplish. That’s ok. Work on it a bit, then if you get tired of it or start feeling stuck, stop and go do one of the short, simple tasks. And making a written list of what needs to be done is always awesome because you get to cross it right off as soon as it’s done!

But let’s say it’s something like a paper you have to write for school or some other huge task that, let’s face it, is seriously going to take hours? Split it up! Break it down into steps and then do a step at a time or two and then take a break. Set mini-deadlines to meet so that it doesn’t feel like such a monumental undertaking, maybe even doing bits of it on  different days. Do not sit or stand or work in one position for more than 50 minutes at a time. Take a few minutes to stretch, take a deep breath, get a snack or take a walk. You can only handle so much for so long.

Let’s make it a little harder though. What if you have a huge decision to make? Like maybe if you should move or take this job or that one. What happens if you put the decision off too long? You lose the ability to make the decision. It’s taken away from you because time has run out. In not making a decision, many times you have made one. So how do you make such huge decisions? Well, it starts with research. Really look into all your options. Talk to the people who have had to make the same decision and also people who your decision will affect. Don’t worry too much about opinions if the source doesn’t know what they’re talking about but definitely listen if they’ve had experience being where you are or are headed. Put the decision(s) and option(s) on paper and really take a good look at it. What are the risks of each way you could go? What are the benefits? What’s the worse that could happen? What’s the best? Most outcomes would be somewhere in between there. Could you live with that? Many times, there might be more than one “right” decision or there isn’t really a “wrong” one. It’s about your commitment and effort that you put into making the decision work. Not always. Sometimes there are circumstances our of our control and things turn badly. But if you have a backup plan or a ‘cushion’ if things don’t go as well as you’d like, usually they still work out ok.

Bottom line is, putting things off (especially unpleasant things) is normal. But it can be nerve-wracking and stress-inducing. Why create more trouble for yourself? lol Try to just get it over with and it will go smoother than you feared 99% of the time.

New Year 2018! Resolutions?

Wow! I know I’m going to sound old here but it’s the year TWO-THOUSAND-EIGHTEEN! That just seems…so futuristic/sci-fi-ish! lol I always here around this time of year people ask where our flying cars are. Honestly, I’d much rather have the totally self-driving car than have to learn to fly a car. I could nap, watch TV, read, do whatever I like while I travel to wherever I need to go. Not to mention the cutbacks on car crashes.

But that’s not really what I wanted to talk about this post. Every year, around this time of year, we hear about New Year resolutions and people determined to get into better shape, lose weight, etc. Gym memberships soar in January and by March, are seldom used. I’m not knocking people who make these resolutions; getting into better shape is a good goal, as is losing weight if you need to. However, I personally think that New Year resolutions are a bunch of hogwash promoted by the media.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever there are milestones in our lives or change, it’s natural for us as human beings to reflect on where we are, where we’ve been and where we want to be in the future. Setting goals is a good thing. We need to grow and change, not just exist. Trying to better ourselves in any aspect is admirable. But this shouldn’t be a ‘oh-it’s-New-Year’s-so-I-have-to-make-resolutions-that-I-don’t-intend-to-keep’ kind of thing. If you see a need in your life to make changes, you should set goals to do it. Work on them a little at a time, celebrating each accomplishment and any progress. Pick yourself up, dust off and keep going when you fall down on the path to your goals. But make sure that you set goals that are reachable and do it for you…no one else. Because if you’re doing it for someone else or because you feel you have to but you really resent it or don’t want to, you are going to fail. You’re going to stop working towards that goal because it’s not what you really want.

So what do you do when you know you need to make changes but you really don’t want to? You have to make yourself want to. Yeah, that sounds easy right? lol Well, it starts with small changes in your thought pattern. Little changes in habits, realizations, research, meditation, self-searching. What am I rambling about, you may ask? Well, let’s look at an example.

Let’s say that a man smokes and he knows he needs to quit but he really doesn’t have the motivation or desire to. He enjoys smoking, it relaxes him and he resents people telling him what he should or shouldn’t do, even if it’s for his own good. So how does he start to want to make the changes, take the steps, to stop smoking? Maybe he loves his family and doesn’t want to endanger them so he starts smoking outside or away from home. That’s a start. Maybe mentally and consciously he knows that it can cause cancer but he doesn’t really know what all that involves and means or what other major health risks and dangers attributed to smoking. So he does research and talks to or reads about people’s lives who have had major issues because of their past smoking.

Maybe that’s not enough to motivate him, but it gets him thinking. When he has to choose between his cigarettes and something else that he’d like to buy and his ingrained habit starts to cause him to choose the cigarettes, maybe he stops for a moment and realizes that he never seems to have enough money for everything. So he starts saving receipts and keeping track of how much he’s spending on his smoking habit. Maybe the shock of that starts him thinking that he would like to change.

He knows that smoking is hard to quit. He’s tried it before but never was able to stop for long. But after thinking about it, he realizes that he never really wanted to quit. He was just going through the motions. But the motivation of the love of his family, the medical conditions and expenses, the cost of buying cigarettes…concentrating and thinking about these over and over makes him want to eventually change and so he tries harder. Will he relapse on occasion? Probably. But if he really wants it, he will eventually obtain his goal and be smoke-free.

Goals are like that. So make goals and resolutions because you have thought about it and really want to. Don’t do it because someone tells you it’s the right thing to do or the right time. The motivation to change and the drive to do it has to come from inside. Write the goals down. Write down all the details…what you want to change, why, how you plan to do it, how you plan to reward yourself when you reach the goal. Get a buddy or friend or family member to help you. Don’t resent them for reminding you of your goals. Take a deep breath and thank them. If you decide to give up for a while, think about why and when you plan to pick it back up, if ever. Try to live life and direct it, not just react to it and go through the motions.

If you are making resolutions this year, I’d like to know what you personally plan on working towards if you’d like to share.

Update on Weight Loss/Healthier Goals

So I admit to having slowed down on the weight loss goal. I haven’t really gained anything back but I’m still not trying as hard as I was. I also quit Weight Watchers. Not because it doesn’t work but for a couple of other reasons. One of which is that I really wasn’t following the plan so why should I keep paying for it each month? When/if I’m ready to pick that particular plan back up again, I can always rejoin. Also, I am just starting to use a different app that kinda helps with the same things that the WW app does (at least it looks like it does so far) and it’s free!

It’s called the “My Fitness” app and I’m really digging it so far! It can track your steps, calories, weight loss goals and progress, and has a great added feature of tracking the actual nutrition in your foods. So you can see if you’re not getting enough of certain things (like potassium, for example) or are eating too much of something, such as sodium. I really love that feature because I like being able to see what cutting or adding certain foods does for my nutritional intake. For example, I decided to cut out most potatoes for a week, no matter how they were cooked. I just had no idea how much potassium is in potatoes and I had cut out a good source! Oops.

Like most things in life, balance is key in a good diet mostly. An occasional cookie or serving of ice cream won’t make or break you. However, I need to make sure that I’m eating enough variety that I get the nutrition I need while being careful not to overdo the saturated fats, sodium or empty carbohydrates. I’m finding the app such an awesome tool that I kind of think of it, right now anyways, as a toy. lol

But I am trying to add a couple of things I have read to be helpful in trying to be healthier and/or losing weight. If they don’t help, they most certainly won’t hurt. Here are a couple of things I’m trying:

  1. Drinking at least 8 oz of water when I wake up in the mornings, even before coffee.
  2. Absolutely no soda, even diet, for at least one week out of every month. (If I could kick the habit completely I’m sure I would do better but I occasionally need the caffeine boost and don’t want or have coffee available.)
  3. Get out in the sunshine for at least 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week for some needed Vitamin D. I read somewhere that if you think you’re getting the Vitamin D by driving in your car, you’re wrong. Glass apparently can block it from getting through. So unless your windows are down, you aren’t getting the Vitamin D like you thought you were.
  4. Don’t let myself do just cardio for exercise. I also need some kind of weight-lifting, push-ups, etc in my routine and stretching! Stretching I also want to try to do better at by doing some stretches while I watch TV.
  5. Wait about 15-20 minutes after eating before going back for seconds or even dessert. I want to make sure I’m actually hungry or just haven’t let my body catch up with my eyes yet. I’ve also found that even when I’m craving something sweet, like chocolate, if I just eat one or two small pieces I’m usually good. Any more and I start to feel icky.

So there ya go. Updates and some small goals I’m working on adding. Some might sound familiar but I know that I need reminders. And just because I haven’t been doing my best doesn’t mean I want to give up altogether. I want to be able to live a good quality life for as long as I can.

The “Holiday” Movies that I watch Every Year

I usually try to write on Fridays but with work and the holidays and everything being just a little nutso, I didn’t get to post this past Friday and I decided to do a little ‘fluff piece’ here since it is Christmas Day. Whether you celebrate any of the recognized holidays this time of year or not, perhaps you are like a lot of people I know and have traditional things you do this time of year, even if it’s just staying away from all retail centers until after January first! lol Well I have certain movies that I like to watch every holiday season. In a fun spirit, I decided to list them and maybe tell a little about them here. Most are comedies and aren’t new by any means. If you are a movie buff and have maybe missed these, give them a try. If you simply have one you want to share for me to check out, let me know! I’d love to hear about it.

  1. Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – As being only a year apart from Macaulay Culkin, I saw these movies in the theater when they came out and I laugh as I watch them every single year. Even cringing as I watch what happens to “Marv” and “Harry” (I am in the medical field), I crack up and find myself liking the antics of Kevin just as I do Bugs Bunny. Just don’t try any of that stuff at home!
  2. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – As Clark Griswold tries so hard for a perfect family Christmas, you can’t help but sympathize with the guy who just doesn’t seem to be catching a break!
  3. Elf – One of my favorite Will Ferrell movies, you will fall in love with the “elf” that comes from the North Pole to find his real dad. All star cast, lovable characters and fun for the whole family.
  4. While You Were Sleeping – While technically I suppose it’s not a “holiday” movie, it is set around Christmas and New Year’s and it’s just so sweet to see Lucy (played by Sandra Bullock) go from a lonely fantasizing woman who works for the elevated train company in Chicago to being adopted by a crazy family when it’s mistakenly told to them that she’s their son’s fiancee. Another movie with a lot of well known faces and some very sweet moments, not to mention some great lines.
  5. The Santa Clause (and ok 2 and 3 can be thrown in there as well) – Tim Allen not over the top but definitely a great premise and these movies go on to heal a rift between a father and son and show that sometimes families are an unusual package.
  6. A Christmas Story – Truly a classic. You can’t miss seeing little Ralphy as he tries so hard just to get through life and get what he wants for Christmas…without losing an eye or getting into too much trouble with dad!
  7. Hitched for the Holidays – This is a Hallmark movie (and I admit that I seem to watch most of them this time of year) but this one stood out to me the first time I saw it. Absolutely hilarious and a little different from the usual romantic comedies of this time of year. Joey Lawrence and Emily Hampshire’s characters are alone for the holidays and tired of being set up by their families or pressured about being alone. So they agree to pose as each other’s SO to keep the fam off their backs. There were a few details they might have forgotten to mention before getting everyone together…like her family is Jewish while his is Catholic and his grandmother’s dying wish is to see him settled down! Fun and sweet. I’ve been looking for it this time of year since it first debuted and I laugh every time I catch it.
  8. How the Grinch Stole Christmas – Dr. Seuss’ classic tale. You can’t go wrong!
  9. It’s a Wonderful Life – Because you gotta throw in some sappiness and life lessons in the mix to keep you a little grounded.

That’s all I can think of off the top of my head but I’m sure I left a couple out. I really hope everyone has a fun, happy and safe holiday season, no matter what you believe, celebrate or don’t.

The Kind of Person I Want to Be

So I’ve been going through a period of self-discovery the last year or so, and I’m exploring more about who I am and who I want to be. I think most people have those moments or time periods. If not, they definitely should. Life can keep you very busy…but is it busy doing things worthwhile? Are we busy taking action or simply reacting to what’s going on around us?

I got tired of simply reacting to life and wanted to really take control. So I’ve been doing several things. First, I’m writing more often: here, working on my own fiction, I wrote an article for a professional journal, and I write in a personal journal more regularly. It’s helped me tremendously to be able to clear my mind by putting thoughts on paper…or in a computer document or on a website. lol When I free-write for myself, I’m sometimes surprised at what comes out, both positive and negative. I am surprised sometimes at the strength of the feelings that surface when I didn’t realize I felt so strongly. But it is extremely therapeutic for me and I hope to keep it up for a long time, if not my remaining lifetime.

Second, I went to a career counselor who also used to be a personal counselor. This was a fantastic move for me. Not because I desperately needed help finding a job or something similar to that. I’m employed and I make a good living (not that I’m loving my job at the moment but that’s a topic for another day). No, I did it to explore my talents, abilities, personality, the kinds of situations I would thrive in, the types of things I would excel at, etc. I wanted to get to know better who I was and who I could be! It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so happy to have spent the time and money on it. I’ve learned things about myself and built confidence in myself. I’m at the point that I really understand myself better and have a couple of paths that I’m exploring to be happier in my everyday life. I’m even seriously considering opening a franchise of an established company that I think I would be really good at. It has helped me to know what kinds of careers are out there if you just have the right direction and inclination to learn and explore. I’ve also found some great resources to explore and also met some interesting people, either in person or on the phone, as I got the courage and inspiration to ask them about their careers and businesses. The counselor also had me take the Myers-Briggs personality test, which I highly recommend you do if you never have. It helped me to understand myself better and to recognize why I do certain things a particular way or get frustrated at other things. It also helped me identify traits and tendencies I need to watch out for so as to better get along with people around me. I have absolutely loved this time with the counselor and while I still have one session left, I will take the information I have learned and discovered and continue to go over it in the future.

Lastly, I’m reading a self-help book (one of a few that are on my list to check out), and I have found a section that I plan to definitely try to apply. I’m not entirely sure how much I’m allowed to mention about this book but it’s not a new one. The title is, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and it’s by Stephen R. Covey. I’m taking my time with it and trying to absorb the messages in it, either to use or to discard but it has brought up a couple of things that I want to keep in mind and I’d like to share them with you. I will keep it brief and limit it to only two. (I’m only half-way through the book right now.)

One, I have learned the difference between leadership and management. There is definitely a difference and while you can try to be/do both, it’s important to be able to differentiate the two. If you have to choose one to be, know what the role involves and what it does not involve. In my own life, I want to be a leader first and a manager second.

Two, I’m planning on taking some time in the next couple of weeks to develop my own personal “mission statement” or creed or rules for living or however you want to phrase that. The idea is to explore what’s important to you, what your core values are, and to try to stick to them when you are devising plans or making decisions. It’s a way to explore yourself and the kind of person you want to be and I think it’s a brilliant idea. It will take a little soul-searching and probably some tweaking or adding bits over time, but overall it will be something I can refer to when I feel like I’m losing myself or going through a difficult situation. Maybe you feel as though you already know what’s important to you in life or you have your religious faith or some other guiding factor. I’m telling you this is for you personally and a way to word things so that they really mean something to and for you. These are not for a specific situation but can cover multiple situations. Principles not rules or laws. For example, I’ll share one of mine that I first thought of… “I will not do or bring any harm to others, trying hard to apply this even to those who might have wronged me.” This is important to me as it is a reminder to not only mind my actions but to think through consequences and not to seek revenge. It’s something I want to strive to make a part of myself. I’m looking forward to putting my mission statement down in writing.

While life can be an ongoing journey of self-discovery, it can also lose you in the everyday rat race, or in the chasing after material things that you really don’t need. Sometimes life can keep you so busy that you forget the kind of person you really would like to be. That’s why I plan on trying to take some time out on a regular basis to reflect or meditate on things like this. Maybe I won’t have time every day but certainly some time every week to check that I’m on the right path and headed in the right direction for me. I invite you to do the same and I would truly love to hear about your journey if you care to share.