The Here and Now and How I Got Here

I got really sick of blogging. I missed the feeling of community. I was feeling very “get off my lawn” and felt like I had to keep up with The Joneses to stay in the blogging community. I’m really terrible at keeping up with Joneses. So I’ve (accidentally) waited until NO ONE visits here until it feels ready to come back to it.

So here I am.

I make no proclamations. I don’t care about stats and page views and whatever the you kids are doing these days. I just feel like being here with my family and, yeah…what I’m up to PERSONALLY. Like old times.

* * * * *
I quit my job a month ago.

About two months ago to the day, I gave my one month notice to a company I had worked for nearly 19 years. And on August 5th, I closed up shop, packed up my last box, and actually mic dropped my way out the door.
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I felt like I had earned a mic drop.

And a margarita.

The “infamous” margarita picture that y’all thought was cleavage. Even though WE ALL KNOW I DON’T HAVE ANY.

 

I haven’t been super “HERE I AM” about my plans for what I’m doing now. And one of the biggest reasons I’ve been a little quiet is because my reasons had everything to do with my kids.

Especially Ramona.


(Yes. I’m still going to call her Ramona even though all 4 of you know her real name.)


My Ramona started high school the week after my last day of work. And not only do we know how fast time flies, but I also knew that she needed my time and my support in ways that I couldn’t give while working in the corporate world. The Dude and I knew that she needed me home each day after school.


So I jumped ship. With an incredible amount of faith. And an incredibly family with incredible love and support.

* * * * *

I’ve lived a lot of my adult making decisions based on fear. I joke around that I was young and dumb when we became parents and got married. In that order. But the truth of the matter is that we were soooooooooo young and still working on all the smarts that we had to grow up and grow into. We had a lot of life to leave and a lot of learning to do at each stage of life that we hadn’t even experienced yet. But decisions had to be made. And being terrified of knowing the right decision. Or fear of what was coming next. Yeah…that led to some dumb decisions. Or decisions that REALLY could’ve been better.

I’ve been…unsettled in my job for some time now. Looking back, it had nothing to do with the actual JOB of things and had everything to do with God getting me ready for what was coming up next. Even if I had no idea that He was.

* * * * *

One of my (former) co-workers asked me if I would do it all over again. Staying so long in one place. The decisions that I made. And without hesitation, I said yes. Even if the perfectionist in me would REALLY like a couple of do-overs, the realist knows that the person I am today is directly because of everything I’ve gone through and every strange or “wrong” decision. And I am really damn proud of all of it. I’m really damn proud of us and me and my family. All of it.

So here I am. A month later. Working on some things that make me really excited. And, yeah…really proud. It was time.

Motherhood, Dreams…and Everything in Between

We’ve become Olympic junkies.

It’s no secret that we love the Olympics, but even with the horrible prime time delay, we find ourselves completely hooked at all hours of the day and night. I may be ridiculously excited about Team USA hockey, and our favorite player being on the team, but I have watched every event they put in front of me. (We’ve even searched On-Demand for the ones that aren’t in prime time at all.) I usually can’t avoid any of the spoilers (I’d have to stay off the internet entirely) and I’m still tense watching the amazing flip, or wipe-out or jump or goal. There have even been times where I look FOR spoilers because my heart and my stress level just can’t take it anymore. (I’m looking at you, hockey.) But I have cheered and loved every minute of it.

As much as I’ve loved all things Olympics all the time, I wasn’t expecting to be so emotionally involved in the women’s skeleton events.

I had heard of Noelle Pikus-Pace long before the opening ceremonies. I vaguely remembered her name because of other Olympics or competitions. But she lives somewhat near a certain sibling of mine, so I heard a little more about her this time around. Plus, have you seen my favorite commercial???


Last Friday, I knew all the spoilers. I had been watching AND keeping up with the news of a few different athletes or teams. I knew what was coming. My family had gone from softball practice to lessons to running a couple of errands so I had a rare evening home alone. So of course I was watching the Olympics and reading and finishing up some work.

I knew what was coming! I knew that she medaled. I knew that she won silver. I knew these things! But I watched her last run. I saw her cross that finish line, craning her neck to see the first numbers to make sure that she had won. I saw her leap up and hug her coach. But even more, I saw her climb over fencing and barriers and scale the bleachers to reach and celebrate with her family. I heard her say over and over “we did it!” as she hugged and kissed her husband. And then she reached for her children and parents and all the family that was there supporting her.

I sat on my couch so very many miles away and I sobbed. Like, ugly crying. The kind of crying you’re glad NO ONE is witnessing. Yeah…I cried like THAT.

After they had moved on to the next event, I was still a wreck. I rolled my eyes at myself. “You don’t even know her” was a thought that crossed my mind.

It wasn’t until I was trying to explain to one of my brothers why I did care so much that I got it.

I do know her. No, not personally. But I know something about her that connects us in a very small way.

She’s a mom. She was an Olympic athlete before she was a mom, but she’s a mom. A bad-ass, hard working mom who has sacrificed A LOT to live and work toward her dreams.

I’m not saying I’m anything CLOSE to an Olympic athlete (I trip over my own feet) but I do know a little bit about being a working mom.

All moms work, and work hard, but there are some special challenges when you work outside the home. Whether that be in an office or even on a skeleton track, it’s not easy. I can’t even tell you how difficult it is to miss field trips and special classroom events because you can’t get the time off of work. (Or, you know, you’re out of the country training.) The guilt and the sadness aren’t things you get over. Not really. I can somewhat understand how hard this was on her.

But, amazingly, I also was completely inspired by her. She’s a mom, yes…but she’s also Noelle. She’s a person besides mommy. She’s living her dreams. She’s kicking ass and taking names. She’s winning Olympic medals, dammit.

I always thought that I had to give up my dreams because I came into motherhood a little unplanned and a LOT early. I (we) sacrificed a lot to make sure our little family survived. (And some of those sacrifices really sucked.) But it’s important to remember that I’m still Jill. Yes, I’m a mom and a wife and a sister-daughter-friend-cousin-whatever. But also, Jill.

I’m not saying I’m training for any Olympic events (remember, trips over own feet) but I am saying that it’s okay if I have dreams of  my own. No matter how big or how small, it’s okay to take a turn and try them on for size. If nothing else, I want to show those daughters of mine that their dreams are important, even after they become moms. Even if becoming a mom is the best dream ever realized.

Type – A Resolving

The other day, I read an article listing 16 signs that you might be a Type A personality. I thought I would see a lot of things on that list that I wasn’t. Instead, I found myself seeing so many things on that list that I so, totally am. To be honest, I was a little bit shocked.

I realize that I have my…THINGS. I know I have a perfectionism disease. And a people-pleasing disease. I always have to be doing something. (Even if it’s just reading a book or on social media…or writing) But when I hear people being described as a Type A personality…well, I’m not like those people. Am I? I always pictured Type A personalities brimming with confidence and bad-ass/can-do attitudes. I don’t really describe myself in those ways.

But as I’m reading this list, holy crap.

I’m not all of those things. But I’m most of those things. In some way or another or partly that way or another. (Except for the intolerance and career before relationships. And sometimes I really can be good at relaxing.)

On New Year’s Eve, I started to get nervous that I didn’t have a list of goals or resolutions I was going to make for 2014. I mean, making resolutions is just what I do. It is Type A list-making at its finest! Sure, I have big plans for my life with the family or work or Cap City Moms. I know there are things that I want to do. But I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments where I felt like if I defined what those goals were, I was limiting myself.

define

About 20 minutes before midnight, I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to make some sort of list. (Why I’ve never thought myself to be Type A, I’ll never know.) I had a couple of running events that I wanted to do, so I wrote those down. I put the College Bucket list on there because we need to keep crossing things off. But then I just wrote: BE BADASS.

And then I let it go.

I. Let. It. Go.

I didn’t make a list of resolutions that included how much weight I wanted to lose. Or how many miles I wanted to run. I didn’t make a list of all those things that would “make me a better person” in this New Year. For the first time in recent memory, I started this year feeling a lot more hopeful and, really, a lot better about myself than I ever had.

resolve

I like who I am. Right now. Without losing weight. Without running. Without whatever it is that I always seem to write on those damn lists.

It’s amazing how freeing acceptance is. It’s also helpful to, maybe, realize a few things about yourself that you didn’t know before. (Hello, closet Type A Jill.) With that acceptance and those realizations, I’ve come to see (again) how much I get in my own way. I am my own worst critic and my own obstacle standing between me and some of my biggest goals and dreams.

I’m not 100% sure how to get OUT of my own way, I will probably always have a wicked hatred for long lines, and a pretty to-do list will make me the happiest nerd on the planet. But knowing all this sure makes it a tiny bit easier to navigate around the crazy that I create for myself. It’s a start.

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Bucket List Dilemma

updated 10/1/13
updated 10/1/13

 

When I told my family I was making a College Bucket List, some of them were more helpful than others in coming up with ideas. The Dude offered “Trip to New York”.

 “I already have that one,” I said.

“Oh. Well, then I don’t know. I’m going to have to think about it.”

As far as I know, he’s still thinking.

Beezus had a couple of ideas. But they were mostly things that I had already put on the list, too.

Except for one thing.

My daughter wants to go on a shopping spree with me. For me. Because I don’t shop for myself. And I’m terrible at shopping. Not because I don’t like new things…but because I hate rifling through clearance racks and sale items. I would much rather have my shopping done for me. And since I can’t afford that style of shopping, I go without. Or avoid shopping all together. The idea of Bargain Shopping stresses me out, and so I don’t do it.

And my daughter wishes that I did. She wishes that I would go shopping with her.

It’s kinda adorable, really. Adorable and sweet and generous and cute. She’s all of those things…and it made me all verklempt that she wanted to add this shopping trip to our Bucket List. And not because she wanted it all for HER…she wanted to do this for ME. And then of course, “get a couple of things while we’re out and about.”

I mean, of course.

But as adorable as she is and this is, I felt guilty. I avoid this shopping stuff because it’s not a comfortable experience for me. It stresses ME out. So I avoid it. I don’t love my body shape. So I avoid it. I can’t afford to shop in the way that’s most comfortable for me. So I avoid it. (And, for the record, I hated shopping when I was practically a stick figure kind of skinny. I was a gangly teenager. Who wants to show THAT off?) (OMG I WOULD SO TOTALLY SHOW THAT OFF RIGHT NOW.)

My point in all this is that I need to find a way to be comfortable with myself if I’m going to teach my daughters how it’s done. If I can’t be an example of being comfortable in my own skin, why would expect them to be?

I don’t have an answers and I’m not really asking for them, either. I’m just trying to figure my shit out. Because you have no idea how important it is to me to cross these things off the Bucket List.

I mean, after I actually add that one onto the list, of course.