Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finding the time.

Lately I have been feeling like I am in a constant time crunch!! I know that everyone wishes there were more hours in the day – even if just to sleep more, but seriously there has to be a way to juggle it all with in the 24 hours that the good Lord gave us. Over the past 5 years I have worked my face off in search of a balanced life (yes, I know that working one’s face off for balance is tad contradictory, but stay with me here). I’ve spent most of my life living the opposite of balanced; in fact some might say it was insanity – living on the edge of 2 extremes: deep depression, sleeping 18 hours a day, only facing people when it was absolutely necessary and all things un-pretty to being up for days at a time, being the life of the party, making obsessive lists, seemingly getting lots done, meetings, jazz hands, out every night, martini, martini, martini, talking a million miles a minute, more jazz hands, being the girl that everyone loves who is taking over the world with a smile on her face and Gucci shoes on her feet (!!!!!) [pause for breath], all the while not even acknowledging that there is even the possibility of a middle in between. That middle where the magical state of balance resides. “Balance” was elusive to me, an urban myth that only existed on the pages self-help books and on occasional episodes of Oprah (although lets be honest, most of those ladies were probably making it up).

I will say that I am at a place where I am as close balanced as I ever have been and believe me, that is quite an accomplishment considering where I have come from. That being said, I still struggle with fitting it all in. I am sure you are thinking: ‘learn to say NO’, but it is not even that kind of stuff. Its stuff that I want to fit into my life because it is important to me. Things like (in no particular order):

Working out.
8 hours of sleep (at least).
Working hard at my really amazing job.
Being a good girlfriend to my really amazing boyfriend.
Being a good friend to all my really amazing friends.
Being a good daughter/sister/granddaughter/cousin/niece/auntie.
Quiet time.
Grocery shopping. Cooking. Cleaning. Laundry.
Blogging and responding to comments (which I love, BTW – so please keep ‘em coming)
Writing thank you notes and just because notes and birthday cards.
Reading the 20 books that I really want to read.
A TV show (or 3).
Responding to emails (sorry to those who I always lag on, you know who you are).
Miscellaneous things that come up.

I am sure you can look at this list and find a few things to cross off, but that is not what I am interested in. I want to know how you do it? How do you fit everything that is important to you in? How do you prioritize? Where do you find the time? Have you found that magical place called balance?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ode to my mother.

I love this picture of my mom and me. It has always been one of my favorites. I am not sure how old I am here. I think it was one of my birthdays, or maybe my brothers (as evidenced by the awesome half empty gallon of stain-your-mouth-red punch in the background). I’m pretty sure was taken at the park near the house where I grew up in La Palma, CA. I don’t remember the circumstances when the photo was taken (clearly, I’m getting old), perhaps I was cold or fussy or tired – but the look in my eyes that of a child that is with her momma, safe and warm and going nowhere with anyone else any time soon.

Today is my mother’s birthday. For those of you who know me, you know just how incredibly amazing and fabulous my mother is. I truly am the luckiest little girl to have been blessed with such a mom. Of course she is great for all the reasons that moms are great – she loved and cared for us, she was selfless and giving, she’s smart and funny, she would cut the crust of my sandwiches, she was a career woman AND a great mom, she let me believe that I could sing until about the age of 10 [at which time she sat me down to tell me all the MANY (her words) talents that I had been blessed with, one of which was not singing. And thank God she did, or I may have ended up being one of those girls singing my heart out at an American Idol audition then ugly crying on camera because Simon said that I sucked], she threw me creative birthday parties (one of my favorites involved cabbage patch kids and a fashion show, duh.), she always told me how smart and beautiful and strong I was and that I could do or be anything that I ever wanted (well, with the exception of a singer) as long as I worked hard at it – that’s what moms do. They are awesome.

But more than all that, my mom is especially incredible because she afforded me the opportunities to really become who I am. When things got obviously hard beyond just being a teenager, she (and my dad too) was open minded enough to put me in therapy. When she asked the therapist how she could help me, the therapist suggested that she look at her own life and deal with her issues so she could be a good example for me and that is exactly what she did. She faced the hard stuff, so that I could do the same. And believe me it was hard, we had our ups and downs as every mom and daughter do, but it made each of us stronger. She was not at all perfect, but it was the way she chose to deal with that imperfection that will have a lasting impact on me as her daughter and one day as a mother of my own little ones. She is inspiring, brilliant, brave and beautiful.

Happy Birthday to you, my amazing mother! You had a direct hand in all things that are good about me and I will always be that little girl who needs her momma (lucky you!). Thank you for the example that you are! I am eternally grateful. I love you!

What about you?? Tell me something amazing thing about your mom!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bring Change 2 Mind

Recently I was watching something on hulu and this commercial was at the start of my program:

I had heard that Glenn Close had done some interviews on Good Morning America and The View, but had not seen the PSA. For some reason, I was taken back for a minute, but then watched it again and thought that it was so cool that whoever watched this program on hulu would be exposed to this PSA. No fast forwarding, just a 30 second opportunity to hopefully think for a moment about mental illness. Perhaps that is a naive thought, but a girl can hope.

She and others have started an organization called Bring Change 2 Mind, with the intention to put real human faces to mental illness. Not the faces that we see on the news when someone shoots people at a school or murders their spouse or abuses their children, but the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, friends, aunts, uncles, etc that live day to day with their mental illness. The people who have bravely faced themselves and found ways to live balanced and authentic lives. On the homepage of their website they have many videos of husbands and wives, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, etc being interviewed about their experiences. They are quite moving -- take a gander.

I say bravo to Glenn and Jessie (obvs!) for stepping out there to address this issue and stigma of mental health. What are your thoughts? Does it make you think? Do you relate on either side of the issue? Can we bring change to mind??

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I love my job.

For the better part of 8 years I ran my own business. It took many forms – graphic design, PR & marketing, advertising, interior design, and event planning [remember that one time I told you I was distracted easily??]

In October of 2008 I started volunteering for CoachArt, an organization that provides free art and athletics lessons to chronically ill children and their siblings. I was matched with 2 adorable children who I taught cooking lessons to. After our first 10 week session we took on art lessons. They are amazing. I love their whole family, they claimed me as a member of the family on day one and I looked forward to my time with them every week. [shameless plug alert: you should read about this organization and if you are in LA or the OC, become a volunteer -- it will change you, I promise! end of shameless plug].

During the middle of last year I was feeling really unsatisfied with my job (by this time I was doing event planning) – the stress was insane, I was working alone (which lead to me talking to myself a lot, turns out, I like talking…to people…a lot…so that was problematic), I was limited to what one human could do in 24 hours (lame) and most of all, I just started hating what I was doing. Something I began to realize was that I started this business in my early twenties - a time in my life when I was at the height of my uncontrolled crazy. I lived for the stress, I could stay up for weeks at a time, and the high I got from barely pulling it together at the last minute was addicting. But now, in my early thirties I finally have come to terms with the fact that I really need at least 8 hours of good quality sleep to function and all that stress was just going to make me look old, quickly. Turns out that a job that consists of constant high stress and little sleep is not at all conducive for a bipolar individual who is seeking to live a healthy and balanced life (double lame).

Well to make a long story short (or as short as a verbose individual can), I was approached with the opportunity to work for CoachArt at the end of last summer. The idea of leaving my business that I had spent the last 8 years building was scary – so many questions flooded my brain: Could I really walk away from my own business without feeling like a failure? Could I live on a non-profit salary? Could I work for someone else? Could I handle being in an office the same time all day, every day? Am I capable of interviewing and getting a job considering that I have not worked for a ‘real company’ since my retail job in college? Do I even know where my resume is? What will I wear on said interview? OMG it was never ending!!!

Ok, ok, back to the not-so-short(er) version of the story...When it was all said and done, I realized that the money did not matter – I just needed to be able to cover my expenses and the worst case scenario would be that I am incapable of working for someone else and I go back to running my company. Plus the idea of working for an organization that makes a difference in people’s lives was really exciting for me. I took the job last September and the transition was hard, but I finally feel like I am getting in my groove.

The reason that I have been thinking about this is because a few weeks ago I got an email from the mom of one of our students who is taking guitar lessons. This student happens to be a sibling of one of our former students, who sadly lost his battle to cancer at 6 years old last summer [as a side note: the passing of this little boy had a HUGE impact on me and was a big motivation for me to make this career change]. Since his brother’s passing he had not touched his guitar. We matched him with a guitar teacher a few weeks ago and he has learned to play one of the songs that was preformed at the memorial service of his little brother. Reading this email brought tears to my eyes and made my day all at the same time. It confirmed, yet again, that I made the right choice when I walked away from my business, when I decided to follow my passion and take a chance on change. And I am thankful everyday that I did.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Happy Half New Year!!!

***NOTE: it was just pointed out to me that it is not technically half way through the year until July 1st, but none-the-less it is still half new years to me -- just means more time to get things done!!***

So, it’s June 1st! When did that happen?! I don’t know about you, but around this time of year I start to have anxiety over the fact that the year is half done and I am not anywhere near accomplishing all that I have set out to do. My New Year resolutions (yes, I make them) are written down (and yes, I write them down) somewhere in my journal which I may or may not have opened in months. Every time I open my nightstand and see it sitting there I cringe. My normal response to this anxiety is to pretend it is not there, just busy myself with day to day things and hope it just goes away because it’s not like I have SIX MORE MONTHS to work on what ever it is that I “set out to do”. Hello?!?! When did I become a “glass half empty” kind of girl? The answer is NEVER. I can’t and I won’t.

So, June 1, 2010 will mark the beginning of a personal tradition for me – Half New Years!! A day when I schedule a block of time to look over the goals that I made for the year – give myself credit for the ones that I have worked on, remember and reevaluate the ones that I have not and then make changes or new commitments. There is no reason that I should beat myself up about not following through for another six months before starting the cycle again…that is silly and unproductive. Here are four of the things on my list:

  1. Start a consistent and realistic work out plan: at least 3 days a week. Bring workout clothes to work – I can pat myself on the back for this one!!! I started a bit later in the year that I wanted to, but as you know, I am doing a triathlon in September and have been doing bootcamp for the last month (you can read more about that here) and I start my next round of bootcamp this week!! I feel really good about this.
  2. Learn to make stuff from scratch, eat REAL/healthy food and try new things – started out good on this one at the beginning of the year, but then got insanely busy at work (blah blah blah) and my excitement for coming home and cooking a new and exciting meal disappeared. This is one that I am re-committing to. I know I can do it, it just takes planning, turns out that I am a planner – thanks for letting me chat that out. Done.
  3. Start a writing project: schedule writing time at least 3 times a week, be uninhibited, honest and real. Journal every night, even if just to write down 5 things I am thankful for that day – well, I certainly took my sweet ‘ol time on this one, but it is another one that I can celebrate. Not only have I started this blog, I am also writing a lot of ‘non blog’ things and that has been very cathartic for me. The one part I can work on is the journaling, it has been months, I re-commit to this for sure.
  4. Start learning SpanishNo esta bueno on this one. I have rosetta stone sitting in my office. I look at it every day. I do nothing about it every day. This has been a new year’s resolution of mine for ONE HUNDRED MILLION YEARS. I must make this happen. Time will be scheduled each week, even if just one day. I WILL MAKE THIS HAPPEN! (that’s me, pep-talking myself).

So there you have it – I feel better. I can easily do these things in the next six months. I see some serious jazz hands and high-fives between now and the end of 2010. It will be legendary – at least in my mind.

What about you? What is something that you want to recommit to? You can do it. I know you can.