Tuesday, June 30, 2015

End of June? NO WAY!

I can't believe it is the last day of June. How did this month fly by? I have a choice, I can either bemoan the fact of how fast time is going by, or I can look forward to each new thing that is ahead. Instead of looking at it as only so many days until such and such (panic), I can choose only X days until such and such! (excitement) To help me with this, I've made a list of what to look forward to.

It's ONLY:

8 days until Girls (family) Weekend at the beach!
30 days until my husband's birthday!
31 days until family vacation in Chicago!
46 days until our middle son moves back to college!
47 days until our middle son's 19th birthday!
53 days until our eldest son moves back to college!
56 days until our daughter starts her sophomore year in high school!
148 days until Thanksgiving!
177 days until Christmas!

What about you - what kind of list do you look forward to?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Default or Pay Your Bills?

I recently read an opinion piece that was very disturbing. It was in the New York Times by Lee Siegel who defaulted on his student loans over 30 years ago, and was now in fact encouraging others to do the same thing (sending a message about the high cost of education, unfair burdens on young people, etc.). The gist of his reasoning was that in order to pay the loans he would have had to take a job that took him away from his dreams. There's more to the article and I encourage you to read it.

On the other hand, I read a different article by Kirsten Powers about coming out of college in 1991 and taking a job she hated just to pay her bills and eventually one thing led to another and she wound up in a great career she could not have foreseen. The gist of her article was to encourage young college graduates that they don't have to have the "grand plan" for their lives, but to live life and take the opportunities before them. It was a very encouraging article and I suggest you read it also.

I was disappointed in Lee Siegel in that it seems personal integrity means nothing. Life circumstances didn't keep him from paying his loans, he chose to default because it was seemingly better for him and his dreams. He even seems proud of his decision. I was inspired though by Kirsten Powers because she demonstrated personal integrity in working hard, doing the mundane, and being faithful to what was in front of her. I shared her words with several college students I know (two of them being mine) and hope they felt some of the pressure lift.

Personally I have found it to be true that doing the mundane, and whatever you find in front of you at the time, can lead to great opportunities if you do it with a good attitude and to the best of your ability. I recently received an unexpected job promotion and love what I am doing. Seven years ago when I re-entered the job market I could not have imagined where I am today. Do the small stuff.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Once is Enough

I am in the stage of life where I have friends and family losing spouses. Sometimes under tragic circumstances, others to illness, and always sad. Seeing them go through this, and knowing my father-in-law was only 64 when he died, has made me more aware that I have no guarantees of a long life ahead with my husband. This does not mean that I live in fear or with a sense of impending loss, but I do choose (usually) to put aside the petty annoyances (does the television really have to be that loud?) and enjoy, cherish, and hold on to the present day.

With a good chance that he will pass before me and I will face life without him, I have contemplated what might happen next. A common theme that I seem to hear is that a person "deserves to be happy" which apparently can only happen with a significant other in their life. Multiple movies show widows and widowers, and divorcees finding their deserved happiness once more. Elsa and Fred; And So It Goes; Something's Gotta Give; and Grumpy Old Men are just a few that I've watched and enjoyed.

A close cousin in our family lost her husband a little over a year ago. It was a long and difficult journey as she lost him a little at time over several years to a debilitating disease. Within six months of his passing the nudges were already being made that she should think about dating. Why? If she chooses to do that of course I will support her, but why do others assume she needs someone else in her life to feel complete, to be happy?

When I tell others that I have no intention of marrying again or finding a significant other should my husband predecease me, I get the knowing nods (like, we'll see about that). Maybe I will change my mind, but what's wrong with that intention? Can't I be content with one great love in my life?

I wonder if that thought of needing to have a "significant other" comes from a subconscious fear that we are not "enough" in and of ourselves?

I don't know what my future holds, but I do know that I get to choose what's right for me.
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