January 11, 2017

Gossip.  For years it has been considered salacious and the stuff of idle housewives. Studies out of the University of California, Berkeley, however, are questioning that opinion.

I personally think that a good gossip session is okay once in a while. It can be a release to share a story with a friend (or two) and voice an opinion.

Sometime gossip can be helpful. I was recently at a lunch with some friends and the gossip that came up was about two people that we all knew. As it turns out it wasnt gossip, it was, in fact true.  Had I not brought it up, I would never have know and could have put myself in very uncomfortable situation.

Okay, maybe not a great example…..but you could see my point?

Gossip is a fact of life. Everybody does it whether they admit it or not. So why not just admit it and enjoy it. According to the study done at U of C, Berkeley when people observe somebody behaving in an immoral way it caused frustration. Being able to share that information helped them feel better.

So go ahead and have a good gossip. It will do you good.

January 9, 2017

We come into this world woefully unqualified for what life has to throw at us. It’s not our fault. It’s just the way it happens.

But never have I felt so ridiculously unqualified as I have as a parent.

People have been doing this for how many years? And yet……nobody has put together a comprehensive ” how to” guide. Yes, many have written self help books on parenting and I have read them all (mostly) but none of them have really resonated with me as being authentic.

I feel like at this point in my life I should have enough life experience to be able to handle this. So how do I take my experiences and the knowledge that I have gained from them and pass it on to my kids in a relevant manner?

This is not going to be a post with a smart, well written, Best Things in Life ending. This is a real question.

How do I take my life experiences and pass them on to my kids in a meaningful, educational way that will benefit them?  Without driving them crazy.

January 30, 2017

Following up on my post from a couple of days ago…..

This morning I went to see my physiotherapist, who is awesome. Except when he tells me what I don’t want to hear.

No running.

What the hell? I thought you understood me? I thought we were on the same page? I thought we were friends? How am I supposed to deal with that?

Find an alternative form of cardio. Try swimming.

Now I know he’s lost it. It’s like he doesn’t even know me.

The diagnosis is bursitis in my right hip joint. Painful, but not untreatable and way better than osteoarthritis. Rest, treatment, ice and specific exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip.

Piece of cake.

Now can we revisit the whole “no running” thing.

The Best Thing in Life is accepting an expert opinion even if it doesn’t make you happy. A lesson we could all learn.

January 23, 2017

How much of life is smoke and mirrors?

Over the last few days it seems that a lot of what has been going on in the media is just that. People saying and doing things to make you think one thing while they are actually going to do another.

Today my daughter tried to convince me that she was too sick to stay at school. We’ve all had that call. Tiny voice in the end of the line asking to come home *cough cough*.

“Okay I’ll come and pick you up but that means you won’t be going to dance this afternoon.”

Miraculously she overcame and decided that she could tough it it for the hour and a half left in the school day. Smoke and mirrors?

While I am by no means comparing my daughter to a certain politician…..okay, maybe I am.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Maybe nobody ever called him on his smoke and mirrors as a child.  Maybe somebody should have.

The Best Thing in Life is solving the days issues in 150 words.

January 16, 2017

Did you ever look through a kaleidoscope when you were a kid? The colors and shapes moving and changing as you turned the blue plastic tube? Pretty right?

Yes, when you are a kid it can be very entertaining.

But what about when you close your eyes as an adult and that’s what you see.

Without a blue plastic tube.

Lately I have felt like that when I’ve closed my eyes? Like pieces of my life are moving and changing but somebody else is turning the tube. It out of my control. It’s not pretty and it’s not fun. It’s scary.

I’m a list person. A schedule person. A calendar person. Plans are what I live for and thrive on. Uncertainty and change are…….unknowns.

But that is what my life is right now and I am going to have to find a way to stop the colors and shapes from distracting me. I need to find a way to make them work for me. A way to make best of them.

Oh to be a kid again.

January 11, 2017

A few years ago I read Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project.

I enjoyed it immensely and still go back and re-read sections when I need a reminder on how to handle certain situations in life. It is truly the only “self help” book I have ever finished.

Today I found myself back on her web page and taking her quiz to determine what type of person I am when it comes to handling inner and external expectations. Things like work deadlines, New Years resolutions, life altering decisions.

Try it yourself here.

The four categories, or types, are Upholder, Questioner, Rebel and Obliger. She has developed a quick quiz to help you determine which category you fall into. It was quite interesting. The questions seemed a bit random but the results were bang on for me.

I am a questioner. I have a tendency to question everything before I will move ahead with a project or decision.

The fact that I even took the quiz proves that I needed to know what type I was before I could move on with my day.

Oh My God I’m An 18 Year Old Boy!

Me and Everett June 2104

In my ongoing search for my “thing” in life I have come to a startling realization. I am way more like my eighteen year old son than I ever thought. Last June he graduated from high school and has spent the past nine months working. He has three jobs right now, all in different fields. He got all three jobs on his own and has been incredibly responsible in keeping track of his schedule and being on time. Mostly. He is not sure, however, of his next steps. He has looked at some university programs but isn’t 100% committed. I left my job a year ago and have spent the last twelve months keeping track of my traveling husband and my active seven-year old. Oh, and writing this blog. Where are the next few years going to take me? I don’t really know, but I do feel a need to find something to set my sights on.

So, how are we alike?

1. We both feel, deep down, that we have some unique, creative thing to offer the world but we just don’t know what it is or how to get it out there. While writing this blog has been great and I continue to enjoy the process and the opportunity it has given me to reconnect with old friends, I can’t help but feel unsure of where I am heading with it. My son had thought that he might pursue a career in video game design and animation. He took a number of courses in high school and looked at continuing that into college. As its turns out, it is really more of an interest than something he felt he wanted do as a career. I think that this was largely because he is not a strong drawer. Being creative means being judged subjectively and we are both wary of that.

2.  We both gravitate towards things that offer us instant (or close to it) gratification. Probably why I never went back to school. I have, for many years, berated my poor son on his ability to sit at the computer for hours playing video games. Not the shoot ’em up kind but the multi player on-line battles like Defense of the Ancients. (go look it up) When I asked him why he loves them so much he said it was because they gave him instant gratification. Honestly, I rolled my eyes and sighed but I am now slightly embarrassed to say that I get it. I think that I too look for things in my life that give me regular reinforcement and encouraging pats on the back. I think it’s why I enjoy running so much. I can do it and instantly know exactly how far and fast I have gone. If we can’t see the goal we lose sight of the meaning.

3.  We are social but not social butterflies. I love a good party and feel that friends are an immensely important part of anybody’s life. I am also quite comfortable being alone and have been known to pass on social invitations in favor of my jammies. While my jammies are comfortable and all, I have been burnt and some times I use them as an excuse to close myself off a bit. My son has never had a large circle of friends and I often felt that he needed to be more assertive in going out and creating relationships. Now I see that he is also okay being on his own. In the past few months, through his new jobs, he has developed some friendships which is great. But I also see him holding back a bit. Not wanting to dive in too deep. Just in case.

4.  We are more than willing to work hard so long as what we need to do is clearly mapped out in front of us. Or organized. Love a well-organized project. You tell me what to do and I will work my ass off until it is done. Conversely, If I don’t have a set plan I tend to wander off and end up being unproductive. The past year has shown me that in spades. If I am being 100% honest with this I need to say that for my part,this is probably due to a of lack of confidence. In high school if my son had a project assigned to him he tended to leave it until the last-minute and then panic. Not because he didn’t want to do the work but because he often didn’t know how to get started. He is, however, happily holding down three jobs with not one complaint. In fact he has never been happier to be told what to do and get paid for it.

As I read this back to myself some things become clearer while other are still unresolved. Have I managed to make it to fifty without ever really growing up? How can I expect him to know where he is going when I don’t? Have I done enough to foster a feeling of confidence in my son?

How can I move past what is holding me back and in turn show him the way?

The Best Thing in Life is that learning never ends.

Still Looking

It’s been almost a year since I first started this blog.  I thought that it might be a good time to look back at WHY.path

I recently left my job. I had worked for the same company for eleven years and while I liked the company and the people, I didn’t really like my job. Sales was never really some thing I was good at or aspired to get better at. My oldest child is graduating from high school this year and getting ready for college (fingers crossed), my youngest is navigating the grade one playground and exploring every activity we will allow her and my husband travels a lot. And I mean a lot. So when the opportunity presented itself I decided that this was just the right thing for me to do at this point in my life.

I had been thinking about what I would do with my time now that I am a lady of leisure. I’m almost fifty and with the kids in school I have a few hours every day to fill. While running and yoga will be high on my daily list of things to do, I feel that having another focus might be a good idea. So I thought that I would join the thousands of others out there and create a blog. Only problem is I wasn’t sure what to write about.

I don’t really have a “thing”. I’ve often wondered what my “passion” is. Never found my “niche”. Getting the picture?  I do, however, have an abundance of friends who do have a thing. From high school friends to mom friends to family acquaintance; I seem to know a lot of people who do really cool things. If ever I need advice, products or just a connection to another friend I know exactly where to go. The majority of these people have managed to create a business from their passions and are thriving in life. Whether creative or practical they are doing what they love with amazing dedication.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me with a wealth of stories and connections for great people and cool jobs, hobbies and passions. So here’s what I’m thinking. I’m going to spend the next few months (maybe years) exploring those connections and those people. This may involve lengthy conversations over coffee or on the running trails or may even involve some wine. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to find out how they knew what their thing was and where it’s taken them. Maybe they didn’t know right away and have some cool back story about the day they discovered it. Then I’m going to share it with you.

I’m also going to try and discover what my “thing” may be by exploring all that life has to offer.  New experiences with family and friends are definitely in my future and, of course, will be well documented right here.

Here’s to discovering what the best things in life are

P.S. I would love your feedback and comments.

Experience Life Untethered

walking away

Last weekend my eighteen year old son told me he wants to go to Australia this summer. By himself. Alone. Many thousands of miles away. Without me. “That’s great” I squeaked out. In the same moment I was both proud and terrified. Proud that I had raised a son who felt confident enough to travel half way around the world by himself. Terrified that he would indeed go half way around the world by himself. You work for eighteen years to prepare them for something like this and then when it happens you just want to yell “No, not yet. You’re not ready.” Or are they?

I remember the first time I let him go into a public washroom by himself. It was at the outdoor pool during the summer that he was seven years old. I wasn’t sure he, or should I say I, was ready for this. After he went in I stood at the entrance and waited a few minutes trying to calculate in my head how long it would take for him to do his business. Why was he taking so long? Had somebody gone in and was talking to him? My heart started to race. Should I go in? Could I ask that man to check on him? What if that man was a pedophile? Just as I was getting to the point where I was going to walk into the washroom myself, my son walked out. I think I hugged him. I think he pushed me away and looked at my like I was crazy. He was fine. Of course he was fine. Why had I been so worried?

older walking away

When he was seventeen he got his driver’s license. In the early learning days I tried really hard not to take the wheel from him just to make a small adjustment, so we didn’t hit the curb. Eventually the times I had to bite my tongue and not scream “SLOW DOWN” got less and less. He ended up taking lessons and doing many hours in-car with a real instructor. He passed on the first try.  I was so proud. And so terrified. For the first ten months (at least) when he was out at night with the car I would lay awake waiting for the sound of the front door to open. If you have a new driver and you can say that you haven’t worried about them being involved in an accident, you are a huge liar. I do have faith in his driving ability but you have no control over all the other crazies out there and well, he is still a teenager. Yet now, a year later I don’t worry so much. Liar.

What was I doing when I was his age? Oh god, what wasn’t I doing? A few months shy of eighteen I boarded a train for Banff, Alberta. I had a job to go to and would be living in the staff residence, but I didn’t know anybody there and had never traveled or lived on my own. Keep in mind that I had graduated only three months earlier from an all girls private school. I was the youngest employee at the hotel and was told by human resources not to tell anybody that I wasn’t actually eighteen yet. Imagine two or three hundred eighteen to twenty-five year olds (male and female) living in a building behind the hotel. Sure, we were working at the hotel, but when we weren’t working we were….well, we weren’t going to bible study that’s for sure. You name it and I probably saw it or tried it and yet I’m still here to tell about it. I wonder what my parents were thinking? Were they worrying about me? If they were, they certainly didn’t show it or say anything.  In fact I don’t remember speaking to them much that year.

It’s has just dawned on me that the fact that they didn’t show me or tell me that they were worried about me is probably why I was able to do this on my own. I never questioned whether or not I was capable or scared or nervous. It never occurred to me that I was in any danger or that if I was, that I wouldn’t be okay. If they had been calling me every day to check on me, not only would I be annoyed, but I may have started to think that there was something to be concerned about. By letting me go and experience life untethered they taught me that I could be independent and make wise choices. Thank God I wrote this or my poor son would never make it to the airport.

The Best Thing in Life is learning to let go.

jumping for joy

MY DARKEST TIME

dark and scary

Life is pretty good these days. No, actually it’s great. It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time, about thirteen years ago, when my life was a complete mess. Wait, that’s not true. My life wasn’t a mess. I was a mess. A complete disaster actually. My life was complicated and things hadn’t been going my way. Not small things either. Major life things.

Having bounced back from an ugly divorce, I had remarried a wonderful man, my son was in his first year of school and I had a great job. All was good. Then the other shoe dropped. The day after we got married in Hawaii, the company that my husband worked for relocated to Memphis, Tennessee. A great opportunity to move ahead in his career,this wasn’t something he could turn down. We made the decision that he would go ahead and take the relocation and I would approach my ex-husband on the subject of me taking my son to live there as well. Unfortunately, he didn’t agree, neither did a judge….or an appeal judge for that matter. In hindsight they were right, but at the time I was devastated. I just wanted to put the past behind me and start a new life.

So there I was, living in a rental home and sharing custody of my son with a man who not only resented me for trying to take his son away but was bound and determined to share all of that information with my son. As much as we hated being apart, the company had offered my husband an amazing position and even though it did have a finite time frame attached to it (four years) we were newlyweds who only saw each other once a month if we were lucky. I hated being alone and it wasn’t any easier for him. We had sold our townhouse in hopes of being able to make a quick move so half of our belongings were in storage. It was a nice enough place but it wasn’t home. On the outside I had it all under control. Taking my son to school, going through the motions of life but underneath I was floundering in depression, sleep deprivation and anxiety over my relationship with my son and my new husband.

dark and scary 2

At the worst of it I would lie in bed at night in the empty house and imagine that gang members were creeping down the dark driveway to break into the house and attack me. It was so dark, so specific, so violent.  Yet so real to me. I would open my eyes and tell myself how ridiculous it was. I would go downstairs and turn on all the lights, look out the window and re-assure myself that everything was okay. The coast was clear. Back up to bed I would go. Close my eyes and the exact same thoughts would invade my mind. Just as I got close to sleep I would hear a tiny creak and my eyes would fly open and my mind would be all in a whirl again. It didn’t seem to matter how tired I was, I couldn’t get the images out of my head.

I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep or the depression but my decision-making abilities were all but gone. One day I needed to go to the grocery store for dinner. I wandered around for almost an hour trying to decide if we should have burgers or pasta. Did I want something healthy or tasty and quick. I didn’t want to have to cook so maybe should just get something frozen.

I left the store with a loaf of bread.

Half way to the car I thought this is stupid and I should go back and just buy something. I turned around and headed back to the store. Half way to the store I turned around again and headed back to the car. Sitting in the car I silently cried. It’s just dinner. Why is this so hard?

Believe it or not I didn’t go to the doctor for what was really bothering me. I can’t even remember why I was there but it must have been pretty obvious that I was a mess. After writing me a prescription for sleeping pills and an anti-depressant he suggested I go and talk to somebody. What? No, I’m fine. I just needed some sleep and everything will be good.

At that point I was still in denial.

I couldn’t even tell a man I had known for years what was going on. He was great. He said okay well just go see this friend of mine and if she says your okay then you can come back and tell me I was wrong.

It was just what I thought it would be. A couple of comfortable chairs, books on self-help and lots of candles. Close your eyes and calm your mind she said. I closed my eyes but all I saw was movement. Grey moving shapes flashed in front of me. My mind wouldn’t, couldn’t, stop moving. Try again she suggested. I closed my eyes again. No, still can’t get the world to stop spinning. Opening my eyes again I choked back tears and everything poured out. I explained the last year of my life and how I seemed to have lost any control over what was going on. I wish I could say that after spending an hour with her I had a better grasp on things but that would be a lie. It took us months to get me back on track. The sleeping pills helped. Along with antidepressants and a lot more appointments in the room with comfy chairs.

So why, when things are so good do I go back to that time?  It was dark and scary and out of control. I go back because it’s important for me to remember that all of the Best Things in My Life were with me through all of it.  And they still are.  I just couldn’t see them through all the grey swirling movement in my head.