Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Taking Care of my Hyperventilating Hero Self

Lately, I find myself spending a good part of each and every day trying to not have a panic attack - which is absolutely ridiculous, and I get angry just to hear myself say it. I don't know how other people handle it . . . this thing called life.  How they meet all of their responsibilities and deal with everything on their plates without going into a complete and total breakdown is just beyond me. God Bless 'em.  

Some days, as I'm driving in the car, I find myself taking deep breaths in and out and counting to 10 just to keep myself from hyperventilating. The car is when I do a lot of thinking - when it all seems to catch up with me. So I breath in and out, over and over, trying to re-group. It all will get done. It all will be fine. I can do this. I tell myself those things . . . over and over again.  

And I've got it so easy, too. Really. I know this as clear as day. I know that there are  people out there that have it bad. Really bad. I don't have a bad. Not at all. So don't feel sorry for me, ok? 

I just am, as my sister and I love to say, a "hot mess". 

During a magazine promotional sale at a store recently, I found myself subscribing to the Oprah's magazine 'O'. I was an old reader from way back when, but it was one of those things that I crossed off the list when my job status changed and I found myself focused on our household budget.  I always missed it, though, because I thought it was a good publication with great 'self-help' articles for women. 

My first issue just arrived a few weeks ago. It was almost made for me, this issue. I'm sure of it. 

When I took a glance at the cover - there in the right-hand corner, were the words "O's Guide for Caring for Yourself While Taking Care of Others". It almost made me cry. Boy-oh-boy, did I need that.   

As I embark on this next adventure in my life (going back to work), it is imperative that I take care of myself. And taking care of myself is probably my biggest failure in life of all. 

I'd like to think that I'm really good at taking care of others – I put the needs of my children first and foremost to any need I could possibly have. (I have been known to put the wants of my kids above my own needs, which definitely has to change.) But when I see them look at back at me in the car, I know that they are pretty awesome. They are happy. They are healthy. They are living through some awesome experiences and opportunities in their lives. They are loved. They are protected. They are all good. 

They really are pretty awesome . . . you know? 
But me, taking care of me


I wonder why that is. Why I have neglected my self for so long. Is it the mother in me? Or the procrastinator? I always say it is easier for me to tell a friend what to do (and how to follow their dreams) then for me to follow my own. It is easier for me to tell someone else to pray, than for me to pray. Tell someone else to get rest, than for me to get rest myself. It is easier for me to tell someone else not to eat the cookie, than for me put it down myself.

Yes, taking care of myself . . . not so easy. 

Further down the right margin of the "O" magazine, was another title that caught my eye . . . 


Be my OWN hero. 

Could I imagine that? Could you

Do we ever consider ourselves a "hero"? Or do we continue to strive toward perfection. Continue to burn our candles at both ends until we can hardly stand. Continue to push forward in search of feeling great. 

These are things I am going to focus on in the coming months. 

Taking care of me & Being my Own Hero. And Oprah? She's gonna help me do it. 

I start work on December 1st. I imagine I'll be having a few more deep breath moments until then. But I will also be working on me. 

How about you? Are you taking care of you? Leave me a comment . . . I'd love to know. 

Until we chat again, I bid you peace. 


Friday, November 7, 2014

Having my Cake . . . and Eating it, too!

It's so strange how the universe works.

Like, CRAZY strange.

And I love it. Every stinking bit of it. Really. The good, and the bad parts of it.

My friends . . . I got the job. The job I was telling you about earlier in the week. The for real 'wake up and go to an office' sort of job. The job that will deposit funds into my bank account every two weeks (insert cheer of 'yay!' here). The job that will help ignite some old skills, dust of some insurance knowledge, and allow me to exceed in a field that I know I can handle.

Yes, I got the job.

But back to the universe.

I love it.

A few years ago, for those of you who may not be familiar with my story, I worked in health care - in health insurance, specifically. I have actually held a job in health care, in one way or another, since I was 16. And since I am not one to hide my age . . . that was about 27 years ago.

I did well in health care - working my way up from one position to another, and settling finally in health insurance. Managed care. HMO's. All of that.

My passions weren't necessarily filled, but I was good at what I was doing, I had earned the respect of my bosses and peers, and I worked hard.

Three years ago, for those of you that remember - yes, it has been three years - the company I was working for closed it's Chicago office and I found myself (for truly the first time in my adult life) unemployed.

I went through periods of depression and stress, worry and regret, fear and uncertainty.

It was rough.

But I found my way through it - and in the process, found myself again . . . in art.



To make a long story short - I threw myself into making art. All kinds of it, but mostly mixed media. I found opportunities to teach classes at some park districts - started to turn my art into different products and gifts - started selling my goods at Art & Craft fairs. Followed my dreams living a creative life. And being a full-time Mom.

It's been an awesome couple of years.


But in the back of my head, there has been this unsettled feeling and worry that I just couldn't get a hold of. Maybe it was guilt. Guilt for not contributing more financially to our family. Oh, I know - I know - I know that I contribute in ways so very important and necessary (I have already gone through all that therapy to help me realize that). But, still.

Fast forward to last week . . . poor Ella had a lingering cough and cold that wasn't getting better. So I called our pediatricians office and asked if I could bring her in. (Quick sidebar: Many many moons ago, the company I worked for worked directly with this pediatric group - so I have know these doctors for many years - first as a business acquaintance, and then as a patient. The head of the group only works a couple days a week now, so I don't often see him. Even this day, we saw one of the associates. But as we were leaving, we ran into THE head of the group - who I absolutely adore.)

I was greeted with a great big hug from him, and those magic words followed . . . "Hey, do you want a job?" Within seconds later, I was escorted into his office managers office and discussion ensued.

And it felt . . . right.

A year ago, I wasn't there. I didn't see how I could go back to work and do it all.

But now, it just feels right.

I can't tell you why. But I think it is so cool that I have been to the office so many times in the past few years, but something on THIS day made it happen. THIS day, the question was asked. THIS day, it just worked.

That's the Universe.

A year ago, I thought that there was no way that I could work and do my art.

Today, I am not worried about it. I will make it work. I am not about to give up my passion (art). But I am so looking forward to having a purpose other than here (home). I am looking forward to making some money - for kids braces and swimming clubs, for a new car (if the time comes) or college funds. For . . . us. Our home. Our family.

And that feels so good.

There is something different that you feel when a job just happens like this.

It's really cool.

So today, the offer was officially made, and accepted. It will be three days a week, and the start date and days I'll be working are still to be determined - but it will be after December 1st (so I can meet all my Art commitments). I can STILL teach all the classes I have planned for the the remainder of this year, and STILL plan on teaching next year. It really is the best of both worlds.

Like having my cake, and eating it, too.

Yes, life is good.

Here's hoping it is good for you, too.

xo xo


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Burners on HI

My burners are full right now, friends. All of them. And things are simmering . . . steadily. 

In other words . . . I feel like I have a lot going on right now. 

While blow drying the 'do' this morning (because, you know, that is when my greatest thoughts and ideas come to me), I came up with this analogy for life: Comparing it to a great chef in one of the busiest restaurants - with every single burner on the stove running at full capacity, and still keeping up with each of them before anything overflows. 

That's how I feel lately. I keep stirring them - going from one pot to another, to make sure that nothing boils over. But so far, so good. Nothing is burning. Yet. ;)  

One pot is full of Girl Scouts & Brownie meetings and activities, the other is full of swimming and band practices, one is full of Art to work on, the other is planning for craft fairs, one pot has art classes and home art parties in it, and another is filled to the rim with plans and thoughts while helping a friend in her new adventure. One is all about keeping calendars straight and business trips remembered, and the other is full of remembering party invitations and play dates. I have some small pots and pans going, too . . . with laundry, oil changes, grocery shopping, doctor visits and lots of other fun. 

I am so blessed with things to do, places to go, people to see. I am blessed with two healthy daughters who are able to be involved and participate in things that they love. I am blessed with a schedule that allows me to be living a really full life right now. 

But man, I'm exhausted. No . . . that's not true. I'm not exhausted. I just feel like I am running 95% of the day, with little time for rest. 

For now, that's ok. 

But tomorrow . . . I may be adding a BIG POT to the mix. 

I have a job interview.

There was a time that I worked - remember that? When I actually made money working in health insurance? It seems like a lifetime ago. 

I've been on a big art adventure since I stopped working three years ago (yes, it has been THREE years!) It has been INCREDIBLE. And I am  not ready to give it up . . . no way, no how. 

But . . . it might be time to get back to something that can actually bring some funds to our family on a more regular basis. It's only part-time, so I am hoping to somehow fit it in between everything else. Things will need to change on the home front, and my roommates may need to pick up a little more of the slack around here and help a momma out. But I am excited at the possibilities. 

So, think of me tomorrow, if you don't mind. Send a few "happy thoughts" my way. 

I'll tell you more about it all when I have more to tell. 

Until then, I have to run and stir a pot . . . the kids are about to overflow!!! :) 

Wishing you peace! 
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