Friday, January 30, 2015

3 Life Lessons from a 3 Year Old

My godson turns 3 today. He is one of the funniest, smartest, most interesting kids I know. It has been an honor and a joy to be a part of his life and it happened almost by accident. I was out walking Snoopy late one night when I ran into the fabulous Miss S who was also walking her dog, well her boyfriend’s dog. We started chatting and the next thing I knew she and teeny tiny J Man were a part of my life and my heart. I have learned so much from the two of them and I thought I would share just a few of those lessons. 

Be kind to yourself.

I am my own worst critic and when things do not go the way I plan I have zero patience for myself. When I first met Miss S and J Man I was working from home and had up to 10 different projects going at a time. Every so often I would run into a snag or forget something like my keys, or to mail a check. My fall back in those moments was, “Sheesh, I’m losing my mind. Get it together Cas!” After hearing me say this more times than she cared to, Miss S pointed out to me that I was being too hard on myself. What really hit home was when she said, “What would you do if J Man said that about himself? Is this a habit you want him to learn from you?” Bam! That one hit me right between the eyes. From that day on I worked to change my response when I mess up and to try to remember to treat myself with the same kindness I try to show to others.

Remember to laugh as much as possible

J Man loves to laugh and have fun but more than that he loves to make other people laugh. He developed a sense of humor pretty early on and understands the power of laughter. We have sword fights with uncooked spaghetti noodles, build block towers and knock them over, and have tickle fests until we almost pee our pants. During some of the hardest days of my life he has made me laugh until the pain was bearable and reminded me that there is joy even in the hardest moments. 

Embrace the silliness of life

There is nothing like a child to remind you that being silly is awesome. J Man recently decided that a pair of toy binoculars looked like a camera and proceeded to make us all pose for picture after picture, “Say cheese ever’body”.  In his world toy dinosaurs really do roar, fire engines scream, Snoopy’s tail doubles as a block to make his train whistle, and crayons can be counted and stacked for hours on end when learning numbers and colors. In J’s world, even the most mundane object has the potential for fun. This has translated to my work life where I do my best to see the silly and absurd in the most frustrating situations. And when this doesn’t work I just spin around in my chair which is oddly therapeutic. 

Happy Birthday My Little Man. I love you with all my heart. Thank you so much for the gift that you are and for bringing your Mommy into my life. You are my family.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Is it fair to be mad at someone for their actions if they don’t know it bothers you?

We all have a list of things that bother us and it differs from person to person. Yes, we all have the basics like Don't Kill People, Don't Lie, Don't Kick Puppies, Be Kind to Others. After those come our personal irritants and deal breakers. At the top of my list are a lack of respect for other people, taking yourself too seriously and cruelty disguised as humor. Each person’s list varies and is based on their own personal experiences and needs. Since we don't walk around with our list printed on our shirts most people are blissfully unaware of the things that upset you.
So, is it fair to be mad at someone for their actions if they don’t know it will bother you? Not really.

When JB and I first started dating he would go for hours and sometimes an entire day without replying to text messages. I am one of those people who replies to texts within moments of receiving them. My friends all know that if they don’t hear from me within 2 hours they should call 911. So when JB was non-responsive I took it as disinterest and/or a sign of neglect. I was hurt and then frustrated and then mad with a side of "maybe he isn’t the guy for me". Funny thing is, he had no idea. Something that bothered me didn't even register for him. He was completely unaware that I was analyzing the deep meaning behind his lack of text response. 
He didn’t know it irritated me and definitely wasn’t doing it to hurt me so I really had no right to be upset. What's that you say? Being mad at him wasn't an option? Nope. It wasn't. Until I put on my big girl panties and communicated that there was an issue, the problem was all mine. You see, this wasn't one of the basic cornerstones of a relationship but a personal preference and need that I had. So expecting him to know this without telling him was monumentally unfair. It was up to me to communicate my list of irritants. 
Before you get mad at the people that matter to you, take a minute to share your list. They may have no idea that wearing socks with flip flops is personally offensive to you and a possible a deal breaker.

Happy Friday my friends. For more random stuff from my brain follow me on Facebook and Instagram. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Goals vs. Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! Anyone else tired of saying that?

I know that for many of you the New Year is a time of reflection and setting resolutions. My birthday has always been a bigger milestone and time for reflection/goal setting but regardless of the time of year, there are certain questions that I continuously ask myself when setting goals (not resolutions as those are made to be broken).

Have I met my goals for this year/quarter/month? These goals vary and have included starting this blog, adopting a healthier lifestyle, skydiving (still on the list) and getting out of debt. Some are long range goals and some are one time experiences but they are all part of the bigger goal – To live a full life. This isn’t something that just happens but requires thought, planning and status checks.  Which leads me to my next question…

Is my life continuing to move forward and progress? I have embraced the belief that middle age is relative to when your life truly begins so for me middle age is somewhere in my late 60s. This means I have a few more years to figure out what I want to be when I grow up and at least another 20 years before that mid-life crisis I hear so much about. Adulthood is no longer as settled as it used to be. While there are defining moments such as graduating from high school, graduating from college, marriage, etc.. but it is more and more typical for people to change course several times during adulthood.  So for me this phase of adulthood is about forward movement and growth. As long as I am working toward a goal or the next thing I want to conquer in life, I feel good about things. It is those times that I take stock and feel like I am standing still that I am frustrated.

When that is the case, I look at what changes I need to make in order to fix that. Is it as simple as taking a photography class to improve my blog posts or does it involve a bit more action such as finding ways to cut my monthly costs so I can save for a family vacation? The idea is to set long term and short term goals that are achievable and to map out the steps needed to accomplish those goals. Remember, we need to have healthy expectations and set healthy goals rather than set ourselves up for failure.