A pledge to figure it out

Last night I rifled through my blog notes that I originally wrote down about nine months ago when I started this wild journey.  Notes about writing topics, hopes, dreams, wishes and fears, things that interest me and things that I dislike, place we’ve gone and places we intend to go, and a whole slew of other random blurbs about where I want to take my life.  That seems to be my free time thinking topic these days – where I am going and how am I going to get there?

Yesterday, as I muddled through another mundane Thursday on the 7th floor of my downtown Los Angeles high-rise building, I once again had the recurring thought of a different life.  Well, not completely a different life – don’t get me wrong, I am not leaving Hugo, the pups, my beautiful home, or the remainder of my close family.  I mainly just want to change my job and how I spend my time, as I strive to find something that excites me and pushes me both mentally and spiritually.  The spiritual side of it pertains to my wish to pour my heart and soul into a passion project that I could spend my life doing.  And I keep looking around at the world and all of the different people and professions that comprise this massive planet and I can’t help but wonder – what else is out there?

Maybe I am being a little selfish thinking about what more I can do for myself and never being completely satisfied with my current position in life.  Don’t get me wrong – I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am and I am very thankful for the wonderful benefits that come with my current employment.  Regardless, I can’t deny my feelings, my gut and my heart.  In my opinion, no one should.  Thankfully, I have an insanely supportive spouse, as well as parents who always want the best for me, so I really don’t have anything to lose.

It might just me a weird phase, as I continue getting adjusted to work life in the big city.  After all, I am a country girl at heart and maybe I will never get used to a long commute, spending ten to 12 hours a day in the concrete jungle, and the overwhelming amount of human interaction that comes with a large organization with tons of moving parts.  I probably tell Hugo on an almost daily basis how I want, need and crave a change.  At this point, he is sick of my frustration and uneasiness with my current situation.  Maybe sometime soon I will either find peace with the present or decide to jump into the deep end of the entrepreneurial ‘pool’.  But first, I will need to buy some swimmies.

Torn but not broken

Try to stop the distance from tearing us apart.

Been away too long and we just aren’t

From strong, to fair, to fading

No matter how much we fight for a strong love, we end up with fringes.

 

Try to stop the distance from tearing me apart

When we talk, its not the same

We want to fight the inevitable but sometimes the world happens without our permission

Your cold lack of interest in my life, wants and dreams

Hurts my heart, doesn’t matter if you mean it or not

You only care about yourself, I don’t care what you say

You only think of what you want, need and feel – I am an afterthought, don’t care if you deny it.

 

This smothering blanket of uncertainty and, and, and

You are selfish and sick, sad in the head and ill in the chest

Your only child keeps screaming out for something more

Your only wife tries hard, you just ignore.

 

Try to stop the distance from tearing you apart

We are all you have

You don’t love yourself

You taught me to be depressed and insecure and to not love me

Just like you don’t love you

Now I struggle with the same pain

And I hurt my partner, just as you’ve done

Thank god for reflection and change so I don’t repeat the same mistakes as the generation before.

 

Try to stop you from tearing me limb from limb

The mind corrupts, the body follows

The father leads, the child learns

I’ve gotten good from you but also all of the dark

Deep, lost and broken puzzle

As you fall closer into.

 

Familial friendship

Just because you are family, doesn’t mean you are friends.

My mom and I have uttered that phrase many times throughout the years.  We normally mention it when we are chatting about the fact that we are such close friends and how we find our tight relationship to be quite a rarity among family members.  Among all of my friends, coworkers and outlying family, none of those people share the love and bond that my mom and I have.  We see a lot of surface-level interactions, where people are cordial, polite and relatively kind to one another, but nothing that remotely exhibits real friendship.  Maybe it is just our family, although I believe these types of things occur in a lot of other family circles, but I see more fake bullshit, jealousy, arrogance and rude behavior than I see genuine kindness and love from some of my aunts and uncles, not only to myself but more so to my mother.

Throughout the years, I have seen several of my aunts and uncles, including my mother’s only sister and her dorky husband, treat my mother as if she was less than in every respect.  Despite my mom being the older sibling, who has always cared for and loved her little sister, my aunt has routinely spoken condescendingly and disrespectfully both to and about my mother.  As my mother’s daughter, I hate this.  I am really sickened by anyone who mistreats my mother, who is such a kind and loving woman.  My mother would give you the shirt off of her back (in fact she has with children in need in South America) and she exudes love and happiness every day that she walks through life.  She greets all those she comes in contact with on a daily basis with a smile, generosity, friendliness and a feeling of genuine realness that is too often lacking in human interactions these days.  I believe that my aunt acts the way she does because she is an insecure person who is unhappy with herself and jealous of the beautiful relationship that I have with my mother.

Despite the lack of relationships that I have observed in both my own family and countless others, I am so thankful for the lovely mother that I have.  From the love, guidance, grace and endless support she gave me as a growing girl, to the friendship and pure fun we have during our visits throughout the year, I am so grateful for her in my life.  As both of my parents are in Poland right now, and I am even further from them geographically than I normally am cross-country, I am sending love to those two wonderful people in my life.  May their bellies be full with fresh perogies and their hearts full of happiness…and should they choose to order the pig cheek from the room service menu for a late-night snack, I hope it brings a smile to their face.

 

*6:59pm update:  I almost forgot.  My intention with this blog post of the next was to make a commitment to write a little more and to truly make this one of my more important and present priorities.  Now that school is done and the pups are getting older, and therefore mildly more independent, I have a little more free time that I want and need to devote to this passion project.  So join me on this journey as I pledge to write more frequently – don’t hold me to it if I miss a day or two though, ok?

 

Crossroads

Is it a mid-thirties crisis, the fact that I’m fed up with my current office job, or the stark realization that life is too short to spend anymore time than you have to doing things you aren’t dying to do?

Not really sure what I intended with posing that question but all three of the above options are how I feel and what I am currently debating in my sunburned head.  Yes, I am mildly sunburned after spending a beautifully relaxing weekend at the beach with Hugo and the pups.  It was their first time staying by the ocean and they spent the majority of it learning about seagulls, big waves and just how much sand in your belly and up your nose makes you feel sick.  This weekend did so many things to me, and they were good things at that – I once again realized just how much I love Hugo as my partner in life, I reaffirmed how obsessed with and thankful for our two new pupster additions I am, and, finally, I circled back to all my continuous thoughts about doing something different concerning work and really pursuing my dreams.  This quite time by the Pacific made me realize just a little bit more how life is constantly fading away, with every passing minute, so why waste it commuting into a heartless city to engage in work that doesn’t excite or reward you, when there are so many opportunities lying right outside of your comfort zone, just waiting to be explored?

Tough questions with even more difficult answers, because the answers require great risk and no guarantee of reward, success or happiness.  But I think that is part of the thrill and appeal.  If we knew it would work out, most of the anticipation and our ability as humans to pour our blood, sweat and tears into an endeavor might subside.  Also, our ability to create sometimes hinges on a fire being built right under our ass, leaving us with no choice but to jump up.

Regardless, I still want a change.  I am not sure where to go from here and I can’t just make these feelings go away.  Some people easily work thirty years, from 9 to 5, in an office or not, just plugging away at their job, only to finish their tasks at hand on the day of their retirement party and pension check.  Others (and I might be in this group) struggle from their hire date with inward questioning about if the job is for them, if something else would make them happier and pondering what it would look like if they were to quit, today.  Now, throughout a long career, some might fall out early on, while others may grumble and moan, yet remain, until the bitter end.  It is probably just a matter of time, personalities, pressure (both on oneself and from family), and the size of that fire under one’s ass.  Hold on, I have to go…the flame is burning my bum.

Speaking Up

Saying what’s on your mind, telling a loved one tough news, and standing up for yourself can be some of the most difficult words that we utter, if we even say them at all.  I have always been someone who preaches the importance of telling those around you how you truthfully feel and emphasizing how much you love someone, because we all never truly know how much longer we have together on this Earth.  In addition, I place great importance on admonishing those we care about, in an effort to correct potentially destructive or dangerous behavior they may be engaging in before it is too late.  I always fear the idea of failing to remind a friend, subordinate at work, or my loving Hugo to either wear sunblock or to slow down while driving on slick roadways, because it could possibly result in them being injured, or worse, and I would know in my heart that I could have and definitely should have said something.  If I think it, it is worth a couple caring words to try to help those around you.

So, that leads me to tonight’s topic – speaking up.  There have only been a few times in my life where I have decided that my fear of some particular dangerous thing, and the potentially enormous associated risk factors, outweigh the social stigma and nervousness around being the person who ‘said something.’  A lot of people think things and, better yet, most people with sound judgement know better, however, very few will actually speak up.  From telling someone you are engaged in conversation with that they have a speck of wilted spinach in their teeth to suggesting a loved one reschedule an upcoming flight, due to forecast storms that may wreck havoc in their path, I am of the philosophy that when one thinks of warning a friend, by way of voicing a thoughtful opinion, it is always the best way to go.  Tactfully done of course, and always rooted in love and concern, a simple sentence to say, “You have a little something in your teeth” (because I don’t want you embarrassed), or “Maybe it would be safer to fly the following day, when the bad weather passes” (because I love you in my life and want you safe in one piece) is all it takes to potentially change the course of someone’s trajectory for the better.

Ok, got a little sidetracked explaining how and why I feel as strongly about speaking my mind as I do.  Just because I can write about it, doesn’t mean it has always come easily to me – I honestly don’t think the exercise of standing up and voicing an opinion comes very easily to many people.  Regardless, I did it tonight and I am glad I did.  For months now, I have been carpooling into my downtown Los Angeles job (you know, the new job I transferred into in February) with a male coworker that we will call Mouse (for the sake of this piece…and maybe because he is a relatively small, feeble individual who is rather consistent with a tired little rodent in my mind).  Mouse and I share the use of a Ford Taurus, trading the task of driving one another from our north county residences month after month, in an effort to save gas money and reduce the number of vehicles on the already congested Los Angeles freeways.  Alright, I might be fibbing here – we do it so we don’t have to spend our money on gas and vehicle wear & tear…the Ford Taurus is completely comped through our employer so it is a lovely little perk.  Again, there I go off topic…

After months of riding shotgun as Mouse speeds down the interstate, through multiple lanes, around slower tanker trucks and almost into the rear-ends of early morning freeway commuters, I have become more and more frustrated with his driving style and, quite frankly, a bit fearful for my own safety.  Now, you see, Mouse isn’t exactly an Indy 500 race car driver.  In fact, he wouldn’t qualify as the equivalent of an Indy 100 driver, if there was such a thing.  I say that because Mouse isn’t very stealthy behind the wheel – with a couple close calls, where he tried to smoothly maneuver around slower moving traffic, only to almost collide into gas tankers as the lane he was in suddenly ended, I am not impressed with his judgement or skill set as a middle-aged commuter.  In fact, I am completely turned off by his driving because not only does he lack the basic skills that many aggressive drivers have (I can comment on this because I am a fairly assertive driver myself), but he also appears to be speeding to impress me or prove just how bad-ass he is.

Needless to say, I am not impressed by Mouse.  I like mice, don’t get me wrong, but Mouse is a prick in my opinion.  Point blank, his driving is annoying and he is selfish because he is putting my life at risk by driving like an asshole.  So, tonight I said something (queue the applause).

It all went down like this:  Mouse texted me about an hour ago asking in his regularly paranoid, self-conscious state if something he said earlier, during our afternoon ride home, had annoyed me.  As always, I wasn’t really sure what Mouse was talking about, but as I was about to reply back that everything was fine, I decided to finally voice my opinion regarding how I truly felt.  Not that Mouse had seen me upset, because he hadn’t, but I have been thinking the same thing for weeks – slow the hell down and don’t kill us on the way to work!

So I said it like this – “The only thing that annoys me is driving 90mph to work for no reason…no need to put our lives at risk for nothing.”  And that’s it, I said it and couldn’t take it back.  Not that it was bad but it certainly made me feel vulnerable, judgmental and exposed.  But you know what?  That’s ok, because I said what was on my mind, I finally explained to someone who has been engaging in unnecessary, risky behavior that I don’t appreciate their callousness, and, most importantly, I finally stood up and spoke up for myself.  After all of those mornings thinking to myself that I sure hope he doesn’t lose control of the car and I become a paraplegic today, I finally told him how I really felt.  His reply – “Ok.”  And that is ok because I got it off my chest, put my feelings out there, and possibly saved my own life just by speaking my mind.