Revamp Monday: Don’t Fit In!

Do you ever feel like a square peg in a round hole?  While some people know early on what they are meant to do in life–the path is clear, the doors open–for others of us there is more uncertainty. I live with uncertainty, but occasionally I find myself among people smiling and talking to one another about the “work” they do and I listen as they go on with great certainty, as if it is their life, and I think…do I belong here? Is this work my life? Is this my life work? Square peg. Round hole.

Maybe you’ve been there? Unsure how your gifts and talents fit into the grand scheme of life and work? Those whose work is acceptable along traditional paths have no problems. If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a preacher or a teacher people approve and applaud you, but if you choose to be an artist, a musician or a writer people discourage you.  “You can’t make any money doing that” a family member scoffed at my young dream dashing it against the rocks of cynicism leaving me adrift in a sea of uncertainty.  Her words reflected the sentiment of so many others who are suspicious of those who choose untraditional paths. Yet what are we to do? Those of us who feel this pull to do something other than traditional work?

Tanzy says, be courageous! Put your gifts and talents to good use in spite of what others say. I think she’s right.

Happy Labor Day Monday!

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Monday Mayhem: People Watching!

Get Busy Living!

Get Busy Living!

My sister and I have the unique privilege of sharing our birthday month. Though several years apart, there are only two days between our birthdays, so every year we celebrate together. This year, however, she is celebrating a milestone birthday, which she would prefer I didn’t bring attention to. For some reason this birthday, in particular, has her feeling anxious and her trepidation over this birthday has me thinking about birthdays in general.  I must admit, the older I get, the less excited I am about my birthday too.  Unlike my children who look forward to growing older with great joy, pretty much after 30 growing older became less and less fun for me! Let’s face it, everyone wants to grow up, but no one wants to get old.  But, it’s going to happen to all of us whether we like it or not and as my husband pointed out, nobody wants the alternative either!

So, there has to be a more productive way to look at this birthday thing. If it’s inevitable we have to find a positive spin! I refuse to peer down the tunnel of my future as if it were a deep dark hole of despair! As Morgan Freeman’s character says in the movie Shawshank Redemption I only have two choices: I can either “get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’” and I don’t know about you, but I have a lot more living to do!

So, I see it like this. I’m going to assume that time is like money and I’m going to assume I have at least $100 to spend. I mean, no one knows just how much time they have, but why not plan for the best case scenario? If I’m 40 years old, then it’s like I have $60 left in my account. If I’m 60 years old it’s like I have $40 left. The question is, am I going to cry about the $60 or the $40 I spent already, or am I going to figure out a creative way to spend the money—or time—I  have left?

Get busy livin’ or get busy dyin’…

If you’ll excuse me, I have some time left and some shopping to do!

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Happy birthday to me (and my sis)!

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Monday Mayhem: STRETCH!

Hear the audio version of this on the WLRH Sundial Writer’s Corner!

I’ve always wanted to be a dancer.

It’s a truth that not many know about me! But there it is. In black and white now, for all the world to see. When I was a little girl my mom spoke often of putting me in ballet, but the cosmos did not align in my favor for many things that I wanted as a little girl.

Life happens.

You grow up. You tuck away your childhood dreams and go on.

I admired ballerinas from afar, attended Alvin Ailey performances and with my daughter watched the Nutcracker with awe and wonder.

Fortunately, when she expressed a desire to dance, I was able to enroll her in a little studio not far from our house and I’ve watched with awe and wonder as she’s developed grace and poise in a very short time. When I registered her for the summer the studio owner reminded me, again, that they offer “adult” classes and I told myself, again, that I’m “too old for this” now. My time has passed. I’m past my prime.

It would be a stretch to take ballet at my age…literally!

But, then I thought, why not stretch? Stretching is good! Physically, stretching increases range of motion, prevents injury and  improves balance, but psychologically? Emotionally? Professionally? Stretching can be scary. Reaching for goals that are not just beyond my reach, but beyond my zip code!  Extending myself to attempt things that are so far outside of my skillset that I have to do research before I can even start? No. My courage is a bit atrophied from decades of settling for tasks that fall safely within the parameters of my paygrade, from sticking with activities that lie limply under the canopy of my job description. So, the thought of crawling out from under that safe, yet confining space was frightening!

When atrophied muscles begin to move, the result is resistance. When we wander into unknown territory, the initial move is hard. To stretch beyond the comfort zone is to pull away from the familiar and to risk pain. That’s why it’s easier to stay where I am, to stick to what’s expected of me at my age, to settle, rather than to stretch.

But, there’s another reality:  if I do nothing I die! For years I’ve watched others do things I wished I could do. I’ve spent much of my life on the bench, observing from the sideline. At the end of my life will I be content to say, “boy it sure was fun to watch everyone else living their life!” No! It’s high time I get in the game and do some living myself!  Physically, if a person doesn’t move, they will deteriorate. Psychologically, emotionally and professionally the same is true too. Because anything that is not moving is declining; anything that isn’t living is dying!

The bottom line is, I have two choices. I can either get old or I can grow old.

If I get old I stay where I am, in my comfort zone, doing what’s safe, completing the easy tasks that I know I can do, never stretching myself to do any more or to try anything new. And every year I’ll get older.

Or I can step out of my comfort zone. Break away from what’s safe, challenge myself to tasks that seem too hard for me, stretch myself to do more than I think I’m capable of and to try new things that I never thought I could. And every year I’ll grow older.  I’ll stretch, I’ll change; hopefully I’ll be stronger and better for the effort and experience.

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So, what about you? Do you need to stretch? Have you settled into a safe space and allowed your literal or metaphorical muscles to atrophy? Maybe it’s time to peek out from under your canopy. In the meantime, if, you’ll excuse me, I have some stretching to do, my ballet class will be starting soon!

  • Learn more about the benefits of stretching from Prevention
  • Learn more about my favorite little dance studio Arabesque Dance Arts
  • Also, check out “Hi, I’m K” where I’ve uploaded pictures from my ballerina daughter’s birthday “spa” party!

*Want more Monday Mayhem? Click here!

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