Birthdays

So this past Wednesday was my birthday and I’m now closer to 40 than 35. Most of the time, adding a number doesn’t mean much to me except that I know things won’t be as easy as I get even older. I will say that I will take getting older to the alternative which is…well you probably can figure that one out! lol

But I find myself reflecting on my life when my birthday rolls around. I try to take the time to figure out where I am, where I thought I would be, where I’m headed and where I would like to be headed. I do this more on my birthday than even New Year’s. Sometimes, the results aren’t pretty. Other times, they are surprising. Many years, I simply adjust course and keep going. Some birthdays have definitely been more memorable than others of course, be it mentally or emotionally. I’ll just touch on a couple and not recount my entire life for you.

I remember turning 16 and being the oldest child, used to sharing and coming from a family with not much money, I certainly didn’t expect my parents to buy or give me a car. In fact, my parents told me that when I got my license and started driving, I would be expected to drive my sisters around where they needed to go, and I had to pay for my part of the insurance. Hence, I had to get a job. So I started working at the local big retail store that has since gotten too big for its own good, in my opinion. My mother dropped me off a couple of times before my grandfather gave me my first car: his old ’87 Fleetwood Cadillac. He had gotten a new one and I drove that boat around all over the place. If you wanna get good at parking, learn on a car that big! lol

The year I turned 20 was also the year I got married and that has it’s own regrets and lessons learned. I had heard and sort of knew that was very young to get married but I thought I was so mature. Little did I realize that I hadn’t had time to really get to know myself before chaining myself to a man who was definitely not worthy of my affection and caring.

When I turned 25, I had a few minutes of panic as I thought about my decision not to have children. There are medical issues that run in my family that usually present themselves after having kids. And with my marriage as it was, I knew bringing children into it was not a good idea. But almost every woman goes through a period where she really wants them or at least thinks about it hard. I knew the best time would have been before I turned 30 to start a family if that’s what I was going to choose to do. I’m still thankful that I chose not to go that route. If I had children, I would have taken care of them and loved them with all my heart, but seeing how things turned out, I definitely made the right decision to stick to my instincts and not have them.

I was 36 when I lost my dog, my cat, my grandmother, left my husband and moved into my own apartment for the first time. This is when I truly felt I began to live. Wow. Sounds like a country song doesn’t it? lol It was a very tumultuous time in my life but I learned a lot during that time. I miss my grandmother a lot. I miss having a dog a little. I don’t miss the ex a bit. lol

So this year? This year, I’m more optimistic about life than ever. I still plan on trying to get into better shape physically. I hope to finish losing the weight I was trying to over the last year. I am trying new things and exploring options and I feel like my future is bright. I am happier than I can remember ever being and while everything isn’t perfect, I certainly can say I’m on the upswing. And yes, I’m two years from being 40. 😉

Funny, one of my favorite songs came to mind as I was reading this to edit it. Maybe if you are a Five For Fighting fan, you already know it. If you want to check it out, here ya go: 100 Years

If you’d like to share a memory from one of your birthdays, I would love to hear about it! Just message me or drop me a note here.

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Updates on Relationships and Weight Loss

So I thought I would take today to simply catch you up on a couple of things. First, I will update you on my relationship(s) with my two boyfriends. If this doesn’t interest you, just drop down to the next section. So West-Coaster took another job where he is as he couldn’t find anything here near me that would pay what he wanted. That means that our “relationship” will stay long-distance and I’m not really ok with that. I can’t move there and honestly, I don’t want to. He says that his long-term goal is still to move somewhere on this side of the country but who knows when or if that will ever work out. While we will still chat, text and visit with each other, the future of our relationship has shifted significantly to the more friends zone instead of anything more.

It took me a bit to get over that and to be open with you, I admit to feeling like I was just not enough to him for him to keep looking or accept a lower salary. Now he works a job that has him working 60+ hours a week and with the time difference, we barely text during the week anymore. We want different things out of life and have different priorities and that’s fine. He wants to make a good amount so that he can save to possibly be able to retire significantly early. I want to enjoy life while being content with having what I need and saving at a reasonable rate for the future. If that means retiring at 65, then I’m ok with that. He wants kids and I’ve decided that children aren’t for me. I love kids but I really don’t want any of my own. Many times, it’s not about one person being right or wrong in a relationship. Sometimes it’s just that you are both too different or want too different a life for things to work out.

However, things with “Native” are so awesome that I can’t tell you in words. I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with him and we can talk about anything and everything. We’re in the same line of work and while that has never been something I looked for in a relationship, it’s awesome to be able to ‘talk shop’ at the end of the day. (Don’t worry! HIPPA/privacy stays completely in tact! lol) He’s got a great heart and he treats me like a queen. I don’t think I could possibly be happier. Our future looks bright and we’re talking about serious commitment in the future being a possibility.

As for my weight loss program/routine, I admit that I seem to have stalled. It was supposed to be temporary but I haven’t been able to get motivated to try as hard again. I have not gained anything back so that is a relief. But I also haven’t lost any more.

I have a plan, however, to start with adding more exercise into my routine. This weekend is the time change where we fall back an hour and I plan on using this to get my butt out of bed earlier (as it will feel like the same time) and walk either outside or on the treadmill for half an hour Monday thru Thursday. I’m not sure about Friday as I have to get up earlier for a different work shift anyways. I hope this will get me pumped about working on my eating habits again and going back to being a bit more strict. If not, at least I will get in better physical shape.

So there you have it! An update on what’s happening with my relationships with the men in my life and also with food! lol On a side note, my birthday is next Wednesday. I plan on trying to do at least a short post on how it went. Don’t have anything exciting planned but who knows! 😀

Thinking Seriously of Trying Something New

As I have shared in previous posts, including the introductory post, I work in the medical field. I have for the past 13 years. I really love my job but after so long, it’s not quite as…fresh as it used to be. So I’ve been talking to a career counselor and thinking about my life and where I want to see myself going in the next 5, 10, 15…even 30 years.

One of the ideas I’m exploring is more of a hobby idea and possibly secondary income instead of a total change of careers. I have never had a fear of speaking up in front of a group. I inherited that from my father…good, bad or ugly. I’m thinking of trying out stand-up comedy. I love to make people laugh and I’m usually pretty good at it without trying too hard. I would love to try it for real and see how it goes.

I’ve heard for years that the fear of public speaking is the number one fear of most people. While I can see being a bit intimated by it, and I certainly don’t want to embarrass the hell out of myself or fall flat on my face, but I find that most people will be at least polite if the setting is right and you don’t truly insult them. And I can take just about anything if it’s only temporary.

I taught students part time for my medical job for a few years and while they had to pay attention, I tried to keep it lively and entertaining as well and quite a few thought I could be quite funny! Either that or they just wanted to butter me up to get a better grade. I choose to believe the former. 😀 And so the idea of doing stand-up comedy has floated in and out of my brain for a few years and used to be my joke that if I wasn’t teaching then I would have to try that.

So why wouldn’t I want to try to make this my career? Well, I’m personally not super keen on traveling all over the country trying to ‘make the big leagues’. I would be happy performing at local establishments or maybe having a regular booking a couple of places or something like that. Besides, being from the South…I’m not entirely sure my jokes and sense of humor would carry over to all parts of the country or world. Not being a regular traveler, I honestly have no idea.

To try to really take it seriously (pun intended), I plan on going to several open mic nights at different places and checking it out. I certainly have pretty good ideas about material to write but I want to see the types of places, the length of time allowed most places, the other people courageous enough to be out there trying this, and really hone my own style. Then I will write down my outline, or as I call it “my flow of ideas”, and practice, practice, PRACTICE!

Will I be nervous? Oh, you’d better believe it! But I don’t want fear to stop me from living! I want to put myself out there and take chances. Not the kind that are likely to kill you but definitely trying things that are outside of my normal comfort zone. That’s what life should be about! Living!

So what about you? Is there something out there that you’ve always wanted to try? Something that maybe you would love to put yourself out there for? Even if it’s only one time? I would love to hear about it! Maybe we could encourage each other!

Rethinking/Revamping the Blog

I started writing this blog in an attempt to organize my life into writing. I got discouraged because I didn’t hear from many people, and I haven’t really had a huge direction of where to go with this blog. I admit that I thought about giving it up. However, a…mentor or coach, for lack of better labels, encouraged me to rethink this blog. Even if no one else reads it, I do want some to know that it’s out there. I want people to see that I’m a flawed human being like everyone else. And maybe, someday, others won’t be scared to come out and share with me.

That said, I do plan on having more purpose to this blog. I want to share my struggles with everyday life, my own insecurities and dealing with the (in the words of the band “Stealers Wheel”) “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right” in this world around me. Because I want to inspire more connection with people. Maybe the entries I write won’t appeal to you. That’s okay. Maybe we can find some common ground, even if it’s a funny joke or story. Maybe it’s just that we both like ice cream! Either way, I want to connect with you people out there and I figure (yes, that’s a Southernism as far as I can tell) that I have to start with being vulnerable and out there myself. Give a little to earn a little right?

So I will be around. I will be writing at least, hopefully, once a week. I would love to hear that you are out there reading it too. Tell me what you want to read about or maybe you have a question or just want a sounding board about a topic. Maybe you need a Southern interpretation or opinion or just a different perspective. I’m here. Dang. Now I feel like Frasier Crane. “I’m listening.” lol

Have a great night everyone!

Elevator Etiquette (for laughs)

So this particular entry is really just for laughs and doesn’t really fit my usual categories but maybe you agree with me. Does it seem to you that lately nobody knows what good manners are anymore? And then there are those who don’t seem to know how basic things like elevators work. This is something I must take for granted. It seems simple enough: elevators are boxes on cables inside buildings that you get into to go up or down instead of taking the stairs. Well, I have a few gripes about how people don’t seem to get more basic manners or maybe just exactly how elevators work, but instead of being angry and ranting, I decided to simply list a few things to keep in mind. Maybe you know someone who should read this and forward it to them. 🙂

  1. Pushing the button to call the elevator once is enough. If I’m standing there waiting for the elevator and the button is lit up, there is no need for you to step in front of me and stab at the button ten more times. The elevator moves at one pace and it’s coming. Just relax! lol
  2. Hold the door for people! If you are on the elevator or the first one on and there is a group of people filing on or maybe they’re just a little slow, don’t let the damn doors close on the people. Find the “Door Open” button and hold it or trigger the sensor to keep the door from closing if at all possible. There’s no reason to watch an older person with a walker struggling to get onto the elevator and then get thrown off balance by the closing doors.
  3. If you’re by the only set of buttons, you are the designated operator. What does this mean? Well as people get on and you are crowding the buttons, ask them what floor they need and then push the button for them. Conversely, you can always get outta the way! lol The other side of that is, if you get on and I ask what floor and I’m pushing buttons, there’s no need to shove me out of the way to push the one you want. I promise I’ll push it if I asked. That said…
  4. Know where you want to go! I work in the medical field so people are always getting on the elevator for various floors that hold multiple suites and doctors’ offices and other businesses. No, I’m sorry that I don’t have the huge building’s directory memorized or have never even heard your doctor’s name. You need to know what floor you’re going to before getting on the elevator and don’t get mad at me when I don’t know where you need to go. lol I know my area and a couple of others. That’s it.
  5. No need to be rude or ignore people. I get it that maybe you’re tired or cross or just don’t feel like a long conversation. It’s a short trip in an elevator and I’ve felt that way on many days. But it makes my day when someone just smiles and says something like “hello” or “have a good day”. It takes so little effort and can make someone feel a little lighter. However, I also know that sometimes we can have things on our mind and not be paying attention. So I try to let little snubs go as I realize they might not be intentional. Or hell, maybe they don’t speak English and, as that’s the only language I know, they just didn’t understand me. But also…it is a short trip so don’t start a conversation that won’t finish when you or I need to go. lol
  6. Don’t crowd the door so people can’t get on or off. If I’m waiting for the elevator to open onto my floor and there’s a huge group around the door, it’s very hard for me to get off. Typically it’s better to let those on to get off before trying to stampede onto the elevator and run them over.

That’s it. Six short rules to try to keep in mind when you’re getting on or off an elevator. Not too difficult when you think about it. It’s just things that maybe people have forgotten. Do you have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you.

Learning to Take Financial Control

Growing up, my family didn’t have much money. Vacations consisted mostly of the five of us (my two sisters, myself and my parents) loaded into the station wagon, luggage in the back and driving to Florida or North Georgia or somewhere else within the limit of time that we could put up with each other. I don’t remember my parents ever talking about saving money, I didn’t get an allowance and I was never taught anything about planning for retirement or investing or any of that stuff. It’s funny because I started working as soon as it was legal for me to do so, right at 15 or 16, and I started spending my money as I made it, saving a little here and there but mostly just buying what I wanted or contributing to groceries or, once I had my car, saving for the insurance premiums.

So when I got married at 20, as he was older than me, I thought he knew how to handle money because of his age and expected experience. Boy was I wrong! Didn’t realize I had married a big spender with big dreams and a very modest income. In the end, before I walked out, I was working two jobs just to keep our heads above water and he was spending as fast as I could make it. When I would bring up concerns or beg him to stop spending or demand to know what this or that charge on our credit cards were, or when I tried to set a budget or adamantly refuse to apply for another loan or credit card, the ex was very good at making me feel like I really didn’t understand finances. He would try talking me into things, bullying me, and guilt-tripping me. And I admit, y’all, that there were lots of times when I questioned whether I knew what I was talking about or not.

But here I am, left his carcass over 2 years ago, all my bills paid on time every month, some money in the bank and I’ve even taken the money I got from our house sell and invested some of it. I’m not rich by any means, but I have an awesome credit score and I don’t have this gnawing ache in the pit of my stomach when I get the mail every day or the phone rings or I go grocery shopping. I don’t have a running total in my head to make sure I have enough to buy food. So obviously my instincts were good, and I’m learning more about how to plan ahead for the future and balance what I need or want now for what I need and want later.

The cool part about this is that I am learning to dream for things I want again. Vacations that I never thought I’d be able to afford (and I’m talking like a week at Disney not a two month long European cruise) are not only possible, they might actually happen more than once in my life. Things that I never allowed myself to think about buying or doing, are within my reach if I’m careful and plan. That’s such an awesome feeling! I don’t want so much money that I don’t need anyone or anything. But I am happy to have self-confidence in my abilities to deal with my finances and occasionally spring for something a little more self-indulgent.

I love feeling like I can help people who need it without depriving myself of my own needs. Not that I minded in the past but it’s nice to not constantly worry about it anymore. It’s nice to know that I’m not crazy or a little (and this might not be PC so forgive me if it offends because I’m not trying to) slow and can’t understand basic finance stuff. It’s nice to have the validation that I can take care of myself, mostly, and that just because I’m younger than some people, maybe not as experienced, or I’ve never had enough money to think about whether to invest in the stock market or put it in a CD that I can learn and take control and be in the driver’s seat and come out okay in the end. I will admit that I’m grateful to know how to do without and count every penny, but I’m also grateful that I don’t have to be quite that careful anymore…at least for now. Life is always subject to change. lol

Celebrating the Close of a Long Chapter

Ok so I left my husband in May of 2015 and hadn’t gone back to that house except to move some things when I got an apartment in July and to drop something off. Both of those times were within the first couple of months after I left. We finally had it out and he bullied and dared me into filing for divorce in May of 2016. It was final in September and in the divorce agreement, he had agreed to buy me out of the marital home, and I would no longer be responsible for any money going towards that house. He was supposed to buy me out by the end of the year (2016).

Well he had a couple of health issues, and I am not an unfeeling person so I made some payments to help him out until the time he said he would not only be able to take over all expenses with the house but get me the money to buy me out. One thing I will say for my ex is he is a very smooth talker…a born salesman. He will make you believe just about anything and feel sorry for him with the best sob stories. But it’s all BS and eventually people figure that out. When I called him on his bluff and told him I wanted the house to sell as he hadn’t been able to buy me out (as was the agreement in writing), he first tried asking for more time (which I wouldn’t agree to), then he started to threaten me and get nasty. I wasn’t going to throw him out of his house! (Ironic since when he wanted money from me it was “our house”.)

I had been nothing but reasonable. I think helping him out with payments about 9 months after I was supposed to was more than generous, but as long as we owned the house I was still tethered to him and that wasn’t the arrangement we had agreed to. I pointed all of this out in an email and said that technically, if I pushed and wanted to be nasty back, I could ask the court to force him to reimburse me for what money I had put in since the divorce. That’s when he hit the roof and decided to try to bully me more. I was ‘trying to destroy his life’ and ‘stealing’ from him. I was not going to get any more money out of him. I was not going to force him out of his home. I would get my money when he had it and not before!

So I hired a lawyer. I had let him sweet-talk, bully, threaten, override, walk-over, and push me around all of our married life and he was still trying to do it. No more. I was not going to be pushed around anymore, and I was going to force him to give me what he promised just once in the time that I had known him. I called his bluff and, even though my lawyer informed me that I had the right to ask for more if I wanted it, I kept my demands to what we had agreed to and to be reimbursed for the money I had put in after the divorce. I would have let that go without resentment or anger if he had simply been reasonable and done as we agreed.

Well the end result is that yesterday the house sold, my half of the money plus what I had put into that house since the divorce is being wired to me today and I am finally free. We had no kids thankfully, so I have no reason anymore to fear him, talk to him, take his calls or emails. I’m closing the book on a very painful and long section of my life and it’s looking nothing but up! I feel lighter…a weight has been lifted and so much of my stress is gone. While I’m not rich by any means, I have a little nest egg for emergencies and to invest for retirement or what-have-you. I admit that I’m honestly thinking of taking a nice vacation as well. I’m happy and feel like I could fly.