Thursday, January 15, 2009

Birthday Wishes

On a cold cold day, back in 1996, after waiting and waiting and waiting for my sister's water to break, I went home, sure I would not have a little niece until much later. Not long after I left, my sister indeed went into labor and delivered a little girl, whom I got to meet three weeks later. Today that little girl is beginning the teen years. Having gone through it myself, and having watched my eldest niece go through the years of angst, my words of wisdom are: good luck to the rest of us. Lil B, you won't have any idea what you're doing until you've done it and can laugh about it years later when you finally have the age of wisdom about you, but we will watch you now, sometimes with awe, sometimes with abject horror, and yet at other times with annoyance, but know that your family loves you underneath it all. Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Embracing Fear

As I was recounting an argument had between family members to my Auntie Em, it dawned on me to go ahead and blog about it - fear.

What is fear? If you don't know, go look it up. This ain't Webster's Dictionary. And this is my blog, so don't go thinking that I'm going to give you the right answer. I'm giving you mine.

Fear, to me, is a motivator. Fear is practically my compass. That which I am afraid of, I know I must do. I don't have a fear of jumping out of airplanes, even though I've never done it. But since I don't fear it, I don't do it.

I feared leaving a stable, cushy job. So I knew I had to do it. I feared being a foreigner in a country where I didn't speak the language. That told me that that was the right decision for me. While I think I was a failure because I hardly picked up any of the language and I didn't go out very often by myself, at least I left the country for a time, which is a success.

I'm not saying I've done everything I'm afraid of. One great example is working out at a gym. I hate the gym. I went in KC for a period of time, but I can't say I enjoyed it. I always took the treadmills at the back so no one could see my rump bubbling underneath my sweats, and the weights? Forget it. So that's a fear that I have yet to reconcile long-term - I met it once, but right now, I exercise in the comfort of my own living room...kinda like you people with Wiis, but without the console. Hey, lookit that - I just justified not having to come to terms with my fear....

(Ahem, moving on.) What I find interesting is how people respond to fear. Change is constant, so you'd better get used to it, right? But what about fear? There's a lot of fear in the air these days. And how do people deal with it? A lot of people I see don't deal with it. If they're afraid to travel, they stay home. If they're afraid of their retirement (or lack thereof), they don't open up their brokerage statements. (And if you do, have a chair handy because you may faint from seeing your 401k turn into a 201k.)

I think if you aren't careful and can't deal with fear in a healthy way, it will consume you in ways you can't really see or don't notice. You may become depressed, or sleep too much, or develop ulcers. I suppose people don't deal with fear because it makes them uncomfortable, and why in the world would you want to make yourself uncomfortable, especially when you have a neighbor, a loved one, a boss, a movie, do it for you?

Because this is where growth comes from, people. When you face your fears, you build character. You stretch that courage muscle, and before long, that courage muscle will bulge because you've conquered your fears. There are some fears that you'll never get over. I will forever be a little wary of rain if I'm not on a hill ever since I lived unknowingly-but-intuitively in a flood zone. That doesn't mean I'll be living in a flood zone to face my fear. What it will mean is talking myself out of becoming worried when after 15 minutes, the water works still haven't shut off. That uncomfortable feeling will go away, but you have to acknowledge that you have it, and while you feel like heaving out your insides with a spade, rest assured that the feeling will pass. It could take awhile, but it will pass. And if you find that your fear is debilitating, for Cher's sake, go get professional help. Once I have my master's, you can come to me if you like! But don't stop living just because you're afraid. Take one step at a time to overcome your fear.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Post

In our household, New Year's was pretty low-key. We made food and had some friends over. At 11:46 or so, we turned on the TV, and our options were kinda limited: Carson Daly, Ryan Seacrest with Dick Clark, or Anderson Cooper with Kathy Griffin. We bounced between Ryan and Anderson.

Things I noticed:

Manhattan, KS, was shown on CNN at 2 am EST.

Apparently the 5 second delay isn't in effect anymore. Kathy Griffin got a little unruly and said something to the effect of taking a male appendage out of Anderson's mouth.

Dick Clark really shouldn't be on TV anymore. At all. He's just not the same after the stroke, and it was painful to watch.

Who the hell were all the people singing and dancing? I knew the Jonas Brothers and Fallout Boy. That was it. And what is up with fashion today, people? Solange, another singer I don't know, had this yellow crap over her eyes...looked like tape....wearing a dress that was fashioned from a garbage bag, with a green belt and blue shoes with clear stilletto heels. She looked like a train wreck. If this is what the kids are listening to, and looking up to, I never want to hear another bad word about the grunge look. At least the shirts matched the shoes.

And now, a little advice. Make a couple of goals and work on them slowly. Don't do the resolutions - you know you will break them by the end of the month. But with a goal, you can work on that and even if you take a wrong turn, it's ok because that's what happens with goals. It's easier to see when you've gone astray and then how to fix it without beating yourself up. Good luck!