Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Cancellation Conundrum

 


You might think I want to talk about "cancel culture." This podcast (which I highly recommend) does a way better job than I could.

What I want to talk about is thinking about cancelling plans to do fun things when we're still living in the ups and downs of pandemic times. I have been planning a future vacation, and the helpful Facebook group I have been lurking in has been filled with "Should we cancel?" or "Is it even worth the trip?" type comments lately. Sigh.

I say NO WAY. Why would you even try to predict the state of the world in 6, 9 or 12 months? You COULD decide that things will NEVER get better, but that's no way to live, is it? I LIVE FOR VACATION, and I refuse to not plan something in the future to a dream location or to see my family (even better when the family goes with me to a dream location, obvs).

I'm not a moron though, so I make plans with the following caveat: 

PAY THE EXTRA FOR FULLY REFUNDABLE RESERVATIONS/TICKETS/ETC.

This isn't actually a pandemic thing, this I learned pretty quickly (and expensively) earlier in life from the military and my kids. I love both, but they do have a habit of changing schedules on me. 

Also I am a rule follower, so obviously I am vaccinated (duh), wear my mask on all forms of transportation, and any other place where it's required. But I am not cancelling fun unless I absolutely have to. Nope.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Happiness at Your Finger Tips

 


Whenever I am overwhelmed by...whatever...I often turn to mindless social media scrolling to let my mind (and any worries) idle. But lately, thanks to the Olympics, I have made my feed way more mindful and motivating. You can too, in these three steps:

1. Open your Instagram
2. Follow @nbcolympics, @onherturf and @teamusa
3. Follow all the athletes they shout out, like recent gold medal winners Sunisa Lee (@sunisalee_), Lydia Jacoby (@lydiaalicee_), Women's 3x3 Basketball (@usab3x3), Carissa Moore (@rissmoore10), Amber English (@amberenglish) and Anastasia Zolotic (@ana.zolotic)

You're welcome :-)



Monday, May 24, 2021

A Beginner's Mind

 


Have you ever had a great quote make your day? This one sure did. It's by Suzuki Roshi, Zen monk and teacher. A couple months ago I started a new job. While I am working with people I know and like, it's  a whole new role and there is so much to learn. I feel bad not giving an enthusiastic "it's awesome" response when people ask how the new job is going, but it's 100% because I feel like I am bumbling around making mistakes.

Part of me thinks - when will this end? When will I know everything I need to know and work will  be effortless. When will the surprises end? Uh, never. Every new role or new project in your life is a leap of faith that you can do it, and you will never know where it will lead. This quote helped remind me that being a beginner (again) is not bad. It's mentally and metaphorically keeping me on my toes, and I am learning every day. It would be nice to not cringe with each new e-mail though - hah!

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Happy Mother's Day!


I am joking 1000%. This quote was from Jon Acuff, who's newsletter this week talked about Things Moms Never Say, along with "I can't believe I ever stressed about taking care of little humans that demand all my care and energy" and "I have so much time to invest in myself, I think I'll spend the weekend learning how to play the harp."

We all know a mom that appears to have it all together all the time - kids dressed impeccably, who happily eat vegetables, who are in all the accelerated classes at school. Moms that always appear well dressed and fit. But even that mom is probably telling herself that she's failing at something, or maybe even everything. And if that mom feels like they are failing, what about those who are always late, forget permission slips, and keep their children alive on chicken nuggets (ahem).

If you haven't told the mothers in your life how awesome they are, Sunday is the day to do it. Your mother, grandmother, the mother of your children, every mother you know.  Because, where would we be without them?

 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Sage Advice


Over the last couple of days I rewatched the entire first season of Ted Lasso. I think it's my 3rd or 4th time binging it. The quote above is from Episode 8. Sage, sage advice. 

So many times I have surprised people (usually military bosses but sometimes fellow room moms) who made a judgement without being curious enough to ask what I really thought, or how I could contribute to the challenge at hand. I've brought my son to a staff meeting with a general officer, and I've attended a room parent meeting in uniform, and got the same looks at both. I am not being judge-y about what people expected of me, heck I do it too, but I had to learn to love surprising people. The dart scene in Episode 8 - ha! - makes a good point about this.

I'll probably watch Ted Lasso another couple times while I wait for Season Two, which starts July 23rd. I CAN'T WAIT. Catch the trailer below...



Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Soundtracks: Out Today!

 


I am a big fan of Jon Acuff. He has a great social media game and is always positive and fun. But also what he has to say is usually what I am longing to hear. So when I got the chance to read a preview copy of his new book, Soundtracks, I had to take it. 

I am a complete overthinker. My friends and coworkers often say "you are so calm," but that's not true at all. I just don't say out loud the frenzy of thoughts in my head. I have probably already conjured up and overthought all the possible pitfalls of whatever it is that is going on, and have come up with plans to fix problems that haven't even happened yet. Or I am distracted because I am reviewing all the things that have already happened that didn't go well. Sometimes this is helpful - running through possible risks and outcomes is a handy tool for raising kids and managing people - but over doing it can be exhausting.

Jon gets this. He defines overthinking as "when what you think gets in the way of what you want."  It's a soundtrack that plays over and over, stealing your time, creativity and presence. Every time a soundtrack plays in your mind, Jon says you need to ask three questions: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind? 

How many times have you accepted a judgement about yourself without actually asking these questions out loud. I had a boss once that was incredibly hard to read. I was convinced that he thought I was terrible at my job. Then one day he complimented me (to another person) in his usual gruff way (something along the lines of the squadron did well while the commander was deployed - very effusive). Woah. How much time had I spent worried that he thought I was a terrible leader?

More than just these three questions, Jon's book has tools and tips to change your soundtrack. Not eliminate it, but flip it, and turn it into a super power. He is a great writer and the book is a fun read. It's full of great stories of his own, many others, and even the science behind how and why we overthink. Despite my best intentions, I rarely finish any self-help books, but this one I sure did. It was that engaging. I took many notes as I read it, and plan to listen to it now that the audio book is out. I know you will enjoy it too!

You can order the book today (on Amazon or your favorite bookseller), and if you do before April 9th, you'll get the audio book for free! Go to this website to claim the bonus audio book after your make your purchase. 


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Rethinking the Lost Year



As we have rounded past the first anniversary of the pandemic in the United States, I find the paper full of articles referring the the last year as "the lost year." Usually the articles fall into the "this just sucks, doesn't it?" category (totally valid), but one or two have highlighted interesting pivots and silver linings. This article about a couple who befriended vultures is pretty cool (really).  My friend Missy's stories about deciding to buy the quirky AirBnB farm they had stayed in as their post-Air Force home were also pretty cool (read all about it here).

But I don't want to call this a lost year. Sure, everything changed as far as how we spend time together, how we work, and where we can travel. People have lost loved ones and jobs. Kids have lost out on so much of the joy that fills up a childhood. 

But you can't have the good without the balance of bad - how else could you to know how to appreciate it? You can't learn without being challenged. How much do you remember from that class that you breezed through compared to the class that you had to work and struggle though just to pass? We are so close to "normal" right now - I love the joyous excitement in peoples voices and they talk about returning to school and getting vaccinated. 

Look back and know that you bested the challenge, and look forward with joy to those every day events that you can appreciate now so much more.

(or not :-))