Five Minute Friday: INTENTIONAL

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: INTENTIONAL

“Professionals should be intentional about ……….”

In my morning freelance job, I summarize news articles. The goal is to be concise and straightforward.

One type of article I summarize is a professional practices article, such as “how to plan for organizational growth” or “how to prepare for retirement.”

Today, when summarizing one of those types of articles, I started typing “Attorneys should be intentional about their plans for retirement” and then I deleted that word choice.

Besides the fact that there were more concise ways to make the point, who am I to tell someone else a) what they should do and b) to be intentional?

So much of “intentional” comes from being internally motivated, with a lovely layer of strategic methodology on top (or woven through), and I would argue with a generous helping of heart.

As I communicated with someone about a job I had been pursuing today, I had to be honest (yet professional). I don’t know how this ties in with intentional (which is not how my career process has felt since Dad passed away in July and I gained the freedom to work outside of the home if I want to) but an internal voice said “just be honest (and patient).”

It is an ongoing challenge to wait and be patient for life to unfold as it should while remaining intentional about the choices that matter. 
Five Minute Friday

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Five Minute Friday: SIMPLIFY

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Five Minute Friday

Today’s prompt: SIMPLIFY

When I was within a few minutes of sitting down to write this post last night, squeezing the writing in before getting to bed early (because I had to be up for work at 5 a.m.), my husband called urgently from the guest bathroom ……… where he had discovered a half in inch of standing water.

So much for the simplicity of simply writing for five minutes.

I gave up on the blog post composition so I could get to bed as soon as we had the immediate problem resolved.

I’m still not, however, feeling the “simplicity” prompt.

I’m feeling ……… weighty ……… physically and emotionally. Maybe emotionally BECAUSE of the “physically” part.

I’ve been through the weight loss/gain cycle before (repeatedly) and find myself wondering how I got here, heavier than I was with either pregnancy and, frankly, avoiding socializing with people.

I know it seems simple to say “move more and eat less.”

When I met with my electrophysiologist Wednesday and explained that I had not had any arrhythmia episodes because I hadn’t exercised, he said “at all?” And I responded, “yes — pretty much.” (To his credit, he had good bedside manner when he said it — it could have been sarcastic but it wasn’t.)

I said to him, “I can barely remember the days when it was routine to go out and run ten miles.”

He, of course, reminded me that my medication does work (ahem) and to go at things gradually.

I’ll have to leave this one for this week with the complex issue of returning to simplicity.
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Five Minute Friday:MOTIVATE

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.

Today’s prompt: MOTIVATE

The first night we had Wayne Kevin home from the hospital, my mom held him, sitting in the recliner, I’m the dark, for hours so I could get a little sleep. I don’t know what she did to keep him calm. He was nursing so all she had was her patience, her love, and her motivation to help me by letting me get some sleep.

Over the past weeks, especially since Christmas Eve when she had a major health crisis and we weren’t sure she would survive, I have thought often of her patience with my son. Was it enough just to sit at her side while she couldn’t talk due to the breathing tube in her throat?

I thought about how many Sunday nights I had failed to call home (Sunday is our usual night) because I was more motivated to get to sleep. I thought about how desperately I want my children to want to call me.

After the crises of the last few weeks, I am motivated to do better.  I almost lost the chance.

(This post written all thumbs on my iPhone from the ICU.)
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Five Minute Friday: DIFFERENT

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: DIFFERENT

Five Minute Friday

I turned Spotify on to “Acoustic Covers” so that I would have music in the background as I composed this five-minute piece.

Rather than music only, I got voices. This was different than I expected. I suppose it’s acoustic as in “no electronics,” which is different than “no voices.”

“Different than what I expected” seems to be the status quo in my life lately.

(And in the case of the music I’m listening to, I end up at a different place or with a different product than I intended mainly because I didn’t pay attention in the first place.)

I’m not in one of those “ah differences are wonderful and sometimes lead us to something we like even better” moods. Not at all.

As we face the sale (hopefully — please realty gods) of this house, and continue to adjust to the empty nest, I’m struggling to reframe “different” as an “adventure” because right now it feels more like a precipice.

Our whole world seems stuck in the “yuck” of difference. We cling to what we know, feeling safe, rather than exploring (respectfully) what we don’t know (or agree with) because it just feels too scary.

Perhaps if I take a deep breath (and keep writing to sort it all out), the “different” of 2018 will transform into something positive.


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Five Minute Friday: ONLY

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: ONLY

Five Minute Friday

I have been feeling many “if only’s” lately.

(Caveat: I know this is raw writing but that’s the way I roll.)

If only I had done something more lucrative right out of school and built a bigger financial base (even if I didn’t love it).

If only I had made different choices about spending, debt, finances.

If only we hadn’t committed to such a huge  house that we now have to sell, as I sweat out being able to give my kids and family a modicum of a holiday.

**

I have been listening to “Well” — a book by Sarah Thebarge — about her several-month stint doing volunteer work as a physician’s assistant in Togo.

One day, after two of her patients had died of conditions that would most likely  not have been fatal in the US, she found herself at the end ….. she wrote:

“I was out of determination, out of energy, out of motivation … out of hope.” (Note of irony: she was volunteering at a place called the “Hospital of Hope.”

She went on to say:

“I was completely depleted, completely out of reasons to keep going.”

Although I know objectively HOW MUCH I have, I also know I face the consequences of the choices I made over the last decades.

They keep me from traveling as much as I would like to, from giving generously to the causes I love (one of the reasons I try to make up for it in time and energy), from giving the people I love the things I want to give them.

I have composed letters in my head to my kids “don’t let the lack of ‘stuff’ this year make you think you aren’t loved.” I probably won’t send them.

I only wish I could make peace with the choices I made years ago for which I am paying now.

Additional Note: Sarah is now providing medical training in Sudan. Please read more about her work here, pray for her, and consider donating to the cause.

 


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Five Minute Friday: NEAR

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: NEAR

Five Minute Friday

“Keep at least three feet away from her.”

The above sentence is one of roughly 15 bullet points on a “checklist for communicating” a trainer put together based on an assessment of me when I worked at Healthy Kids in 2011.

Y’all, it is the FIRST bullet point.

As if I don’t want anyone near me.

I remember the first time I read it, having a “NAH – NOT ME!” moment….

….and then I remember the letter I wrote a friend once telling her I was uncomfortable that she was SO touchy-feely (boy do I feel guilty about that all these years later — we were different about that kind of thing but it was just her way — and WHY did I presume to address it via a letter? We did resolve things (mostly) shortly after that (with me eating the extremely requisite humble pie).

But proximity is a weird thing. The report in general was QUITE accurate. Almost eerily accurate. I have to confess the “proximity thing”  probably does hold some truth.

Being a parent changed much of that. I’m pretty sure there’s a period when you have multiple young children in your life that there is ALWAYS someone touching you, either due to breastfeeding, or because little kids often just crave the closeness of a parent, or because they (ahem) refuse to walk and want to be carried instead.

I often reminisce about the days a kid would crawl in bed with us (they are so long ago).

To resurrect a word from last week, the familiarity of being in bed together as a family unit, sharing space and hearts, was precious time and space …. and nearness.

Even if some test confirms I want people to stay three feet away (three feet?)….

…the last thing I want is for anyone to think they can’t be near my heart.

Five Minute Friday

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Five Minute Friday: FAMILIAR

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: FAMILIAR

Five Minute Friday

Today’s Turkey Trot was all too familiar.

It took me one hour, twenty-eight minutes, and twenty-two seconds to walk the 3.1 miles/5 kilometers. 1:28:22. In previous years, I ran the 10K in less time than that.

It brought back my running life in 2009 when I started blogging (planning to always call the blog “The Last Banana Club” (how times change LOL!)). When I so frequently finished at the back of the pack and/or last.

Before I started improving, and thinking my goal of breaking 30:00 for a 5K was possible.

Before the implantable loop recorder, the EP study and subsequent decision not to do an ablation.

The familiar part(s) today?

The law enforcement saying to each other “we’ve got to be getting near the end.”

The water stations being dismantled.

The music ending.

The photographer not paying attention to me, walking along, as the 10K finishers streamed past me.

As I saw people who had finished their races returning to their cars/homes, I saw the medals around their necks. As many back-of-the-packers do, I wondered if there would be any left when I got to the finish line.

Because I was among the very last finishers of the 5K, the medal volunteers weren’t paying attention (because the 10K finishers were completing their races through an adjacent chute).

I approached one and asked “do I get a medal?”

She said, “you get a medal whether you ran an inch or 15 miles.”

And that is the spirit of the running community with which I am most familiar.

***Thoughts beyond five minutes. Although my five-minute clock has ended, I want to make sure to note how much I love the running community. I didn’t anticipate writing something quite so self-centered and relatively negative, especially on Thanksgiving after a day filled with family, plenty, friends, and safety, but I believe strongly in honest writing, and the prompt “familiar” sent me down a particular path that I found it important and a little cathartic to pursue. ~ pk***

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Five Minute Friday: EXCUSE

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: EXCUSE

Five Minute Friday

I don’t like excuses, not one bit.

I had a therapist briefly in college —- it was my first time having therapy of any kind. One of her big observations is “you make everything hard.” As in — you seem to find an excuse for everything not working out the way you want.

That particular conversation probably carries more weight in my head 35 years later than it really deserves.

Maybe it’s a chicken and egg thing. I think I’m the kind of person who embraces “hard” but I also know I make things unduly difficult.

One of my part-time jobs is very exacting (my kind of thing!). But as human beings do, I make errors sometimes. One thing this job has done (and the development of Dad’s passing had something to do with this too) is that it has made me be more diligent about getting to bed (I’m sure my coworker who “chatted” with me online when she was starting work in Jerusalem and I was “still” up/not in bed in the US at a previous job would chuckle at this.

It’s near impossible to be careful with language when you’re exhausted.

And the next step will be managing my time even better to fit in the things I want to do. To write, to submit to places that will pay me to write, to (gasp!) clean the house (well, given our soon-to-list status, to declutter the house).

Excuse me for a moment while I go make a plan….

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Five Minute Friday: SILENCE

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: SILENCE

Five Minute Friday

Do we ever get to the point that we overcome our tendency to silence when our mental wheels are flying and we actually do have something constructive to say?

I’m pretty familiar with all the research about introverts …. and the fact that we like to (need to?) process internally before speaking externally.

I don’t have any problem speaking spontaneously if given a topic. It’s one of the reasons I enjoyed Table Topics (2-minute impromptu speeches) at Toastmasters.

It’s when my rep is on the line, when I am being challenged for something I did or did not do, that I don’t speak up.

It’s probably why I like to write. It’s probably why I blog.

But silence in these situations does not equal power, sadly.

Contradicting most of what I wrote above (or maybe complementing it) is my constant filtering of how overly defensive I feel in any number of situations.

I will be silent instead of giving that defensiveness life or breath (except to people who know me really well, so thanks to you people with the patient ears and accepting psyches).

Silence is not weakness, exactly. It’s more of an atrophy of the impetus to take care of what we need to express. It’s like a drawbridge always stuck in the up position, keeping anything from crossing.

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Five Minute Friday: NEED

Welcome to this week’s Five Minute Friday. Our instructions, via creator Kate Motaung: “Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation.”

Today’s prompt: NEED

 

 

I already did a five-minute free write this week that included the word “need.” I thought about using it for today, but I am choosing not to.

It was a piece I wrote on Medium, which is where I write when I don’t feel the message is “ready” for my “real blog” or I just need to vent.

The issue? My frustration with a family member who feels differently than I do about our choice to have Dad live with us for three years until he died in July. The family member hasn’t told me this directly, but I have heard it through others.

It was getting me worked up.

The thing is ……. as many other pivotal situations in my life have demonstrated:

THAT FAMILY MEMBER’S OPINION IS ABOUT THAT FAMILY MEMBER, NOT ME.

In choosing to give it energy, I am making it about what I perceive I need out of the situation. That family member’s opinion is exactly that: one person’s opinion.

I was the one with the privilege of caring for Dad for three years, with the challenges and (small) victories of meeting his needs.

Why do we so often feel the compulsion to change others’ opinions when the fact that they express them publicly really isn’t a volley of any kind on their part. It is the equivalent of them firing a blank.

(But writing that piece on Medium was still catharatic, I must say!)

That’s really all that needs to be said.

Five Minute Friday

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