Five Minute Friday: SUPPORT

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: SUPPORT.

 

Five Minute Friday

 

Support is sometimes (often) easier to give than it is to ask for (case in point: ME). I am reading the most interesting, compelling book right now – How to Get Run Over By A Truck.

The author describes laying there, in her hospital bed, with more broken bones and internal injuries than I can possibly describe …. when her friends are finally allowed to visit after she is moved from ICU. She says “I wanted to be the one supporting a patient, not the patient.” AMEN, sister, AMEN.

During one of my college jobs, I worked for someone I respected a great deal. I organized a retreat under her supervision, and things about the retreat didn’t go perfectly (it wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t a home run). I remember telling her afterwards that I had felt abandoned.

AND …… why didn’t I speak up when the “abandoned” feeling started to creep in?

Some of those same types of issues have crept up lately as I have hesitated to ask “small” questions, the answers to which *may* prevent *big* issues.

I have gotten better at it, at asking the little questions, but the flip side of that is being perceived as “that person who isn’t confident in her own answers, in her ability to solve problems on her own.”

Hurricane Irma probably demonstrated why we sometimes just need to overcome our hesitance and ASK. I think it’s easier to ask when it is on behalf of someone else’s welfare than our own sometimes, but aren’t we worth answer, solutions, support ourselves?

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: WORK

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: WORK.

 

Five Minute Friday

Work. SO weird that it ended up being the word of the week since I brought up my new part-time gig in the lead-up Twitter party.

I love working (usually) AND I also believe work is something much more broad than what we do for which we are paid.

Work was the effort, love and energy I put into raising my family.

Work was the three years I spent being caregiver for my father-in-law.

I do struggle with one concept (among others). I have always embraced the book title, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” However, there’s a popular self-help author who argues that “passion” and working to “fulfill your passion” is crazy. No wonder I disagree with him on other things too.

I struggle (look for the word “struggle” more than once in this five minutes!) with my work life. I loved Healthy Kids (where I worked almost 20 years) but never quite found the sweet spot of my skills and the organization’s goals.

My point: sometimes it isn’t enough to love a place if you aren’t a good fit.

I can beat myself up with the best of them and demand perfection of myself, but it’s such a balancing act to figure out how to best funnel your skills (and the new things you make a point to learn along the way) into a work situation where they are needed (and where you can keep growing simultaneously).

I made an error today at Part Time Job #1 and didn’t realize I had made it until the final came out (I am one in a series of writers who touch the material). I can either beat myself up for it or remind myself that tomorrow is a new day.

Seems like work again tomorrow, and a new opportunity to pursue that fit.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: NEIGHBOR

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: NEIGHBOR  .

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Mr. Rogers was onto something when he asked, “won’t you be my neighbor?”

When I learned the prompt for this week was “neighbor,” I was tempted to do what is a typical format for me: talk about my current experience of being a neighbor and having neighbors, and how I wish I could have done some things about that differently (in retrospect).

My mind, though, fell on a neighbor I had when I was in high school. Although we weren’t “technically” neighbors (we lived about a mile apart), it was a small enough town that everyone was sort of your neighbor.

I would drop in, unannounced, at her house, and she (busy working parent of three young boys) would always be gracious about it, always work my visit into whatever was going on anyway.

I remember one time when she was baking her son’s birthday cake.

I don’t really multi-task well like that (baking AND making conversation?!) but she did.

And she ended up being there for me during what was, to put it mildly, a “rough patch.”

I am grateful for her, and wonder what happened to neighbors whose doors are always open. I know myself well enough to know that, despite my childhood dreams of being “that house all the kids hang out at,” I am really an introvert with a pretty inflexible way of doing things and was never meant to be “that mom.”

BUT, hopefully I have been the neighbor that was needed (except for that “tall grass citation thing….).

And perhaps the cyber world gives me an opportunity to be neighborly in an equally important way.Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: GUIDE

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: GUIDE .

Five Minute Friday

Have you ever used Pablo, Buffer’s image system? It has little grid lines, one horizontal and one vertical, that help you make sure your image is perfectly centered.

I use PicMonkey too, and begged them several times to have guide lines too. They eventually did (but probably not because of me…). The funny thing is although the guide lines/grid marks were helpful, they also constrained my ability to move my image around (but I was still glad to have them!).

I almost didn’t write tonight. I have been battling a “bug” the last 48 hours and feel more low-energy than I have felt in a long time. I suspect it’s a combo of something physical, my son leaving home (hello empty nest), and all the financial questions we face with two kids in college and the fact that I just left one of my part-time jobs (here’s hoping my strategy there was on point!).

I think maybe I should be letting my body be my guide. It’s telling me something (rest? slow down? eat better?). It was HARD to cancel my obligation last night (to do a preview of a play for Broadway World, something I love doing). I really really really hate to let people down.

And I guess *maybe* what my body has been trying to tell me is that I have been letting myself down.

Time to cling to some effective  guidance and get centered again.

What will that look like? I know nutrition is a big part of it. Also, exercise. I have let my cardiac issues back me into a corner on that and it’s time to take control again, to prevail over the fear that comes with almost any workout lately.

I also hope my kids feel the effects of the guide I tried to be over the years of their childhoods. Now that they are out of the house, there’s no more micromanaging, no more constant face-to-face. I have to hope the guidance I gave took.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: SPEAK

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: SPEAK .

Five Minute Friday

When I decided to transition out of the part-time independent contractor job I have held for almost three years, I found it impossible to speak to my boss about it. She had sort of opened the door a few weeks prior as we had been talking about relief arrangements during my father-in-law’s illness, and she said, unprompted by me, “and also maybe for your permanent transition too.”

I’m not sure if she just sensed it or what

But after he passed away, it became apparent rapidly that I needed to find work where I can earn more and I’ve learned enough about myself these past three years to know I need more structure.

The thing is, I loved (still do) this place. As I said in my “job hunt” blog, it was more than a job.

Not every job has a Slack channel/Basecamp page strictly for Thanksgivings and Prayer Requests. Not that they all should, or have to, but it was  fit at this place and it made a difference.

I “requested transition” via an email.

Then several other email exchanges happened.

Then things got confusing.

Probably because we never did speak!

(We eventually did, and it was a closure type conversation, one that helped me come to some emotional conclusion and peace.) I keep thinking I should have found it in me to speak rather than mail from the beginning.

I prefer writing to speaking. She (in my opinion) prefers speaking to writing. Maybe that is the crux of the problem!

Speaking conveys things (emotion, body language) that writing can’t AND forces us to figure out our message right in the moment without constant revisions. SORT of like this Five Minute Friday exercise!

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: PLACE

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: PLACE .

Five Minute Friday

When I first started thinking through the prompt “place,” I began feeling sad about all of the wonderful places I haven’t been to recently. Of the fact that our limitations right now (budget, time) are going to keep us close to home.

I thought about the fact that I couldn’t say the last time I dipped my toes in the ocean, about the fact that I may not make it to my “happy place,” New York City, in 2017.

I said to myself, “gosh, you haven’t been anywhere beautiful.”

That’s not a pitiful intention —- but I love traveling and it fortifies me, thoroughly.

My husband and I did spend Sunday afternoon, however, at the coast (about a half hour south of Tallahassee). It was so short it was more of a tease but …. It WAS beautiful. Nature, sunshine, water, reeds, animals. Peace (and the yummy food was a plus too!).

I’m struggling, too, though with a deeper need for place. As I search for another part time  job, the first one that would be out of my house, I can barely visualize not being at my dining room table, at the laptop. Honestly, WHAT WOULD I WEAR? More to the point, how would I fit in? It’s easy to get used to talking mostly through my keyboard rather than to people, face-to-face. Conversely, I do miss the day-to-day of office life (even though it had its decided down points!!).

Place is elusive; staying centered calls on us to be confident and grounded.

I wonder where my kids will find their places as life goes on, especially with my daughter graduating from college next year.

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.

Five Minute Friday: Try

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: TRY.

Five Minute Friday

Even though it may violate the FMF principles just a tiny bit, when I read my friend Mark’s phrase: “You can’t walk ten miles into the forest and expect to get out in five” earlier this week in a piece about his addiction, I knew I had to try to make it a part of my Five Minute Friday piece.

“Trying” makes me think of the first therapist I had (I was in college). Her main takeaway about the way I told my story was, “you make everything sound so hard.” I have always, since then, wondered if I am overcomplicating things.

Another therapist I had in my 20s told me to think like Yoda (I may be messing this up a bit): “There is no ‘try,’ there is only ‘do.’”

As we struggle to find a way for me to shore up my income now that Dad is gone, I am struggling, trying to find a way to share my gifts that simultaneously provides for my family.

I wonder what Yoda would say. Well, okay, I know – DO. Don’t just try.

I’m ten miles into the forest of debt and I’m not going to get out in five.

Writing is so integral to who I am, I think part of the key lies in using my writing in whatever job I take on, whatever new responsibility.

I wish I could think of something Yoda-ish to close out this five minutes with, but I’m drawing a blank.

Maybe: “Write I will”?

I know I process the hardest things through writing about them. Maybe that is why this time has presented itself, with these challenges.

Five Minute Friday

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Five Minute Friday: Inspire

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: INSPIRE.

Five Minute Friday

My thoughts on inspiration tonight may be a bit on the “dark” side as opposed to the “shout it from the rooftops, I am so inspired by [identify inspirational person/thing/book/place/moment].”

It’s difficult to write about the specifics without revealing some fairly private musings and identifying the person involved.

There are inspirations in our family. People have overcome physical challenges. People have overcome the loss of siblings who, while not at all forgotten, do inspire us (or I guess I can only speak for me) to be better, to try not to leave important messages unsaid, to know tomorrow is never guaranteed.

There is one thread of inspiration running through our family’s story, and I now see that the way we have framed that may actually put one of the people at the center of the story in the most awkward of positions.

I don’t think that person wants to be the fulcrum on which our balance of inspirational material centers. I don’t know that an apology matters. I think they would understand why we framed things the way we did, why I personally blogged about it the way I did.

But I am left with the reminder that glorifying others, and telling them how inspirational they are, does not always make them feel good. Sometimes it creates more pressure than we intend.

I will think, harder, the next time I single someone out as an example, and try to be more sensitive to the way they process what I think is a positive. They may not want or need the attention. It may have the opposite effect of what I intend.

I do love a good inspirational story though!

Five Minute Friday

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup.