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The four letter word that makes the world go round …

No, it is not love. Close, but not quite.

If you are reading this, you are probably not in bed. You got up and showered and dressed and are ready to go. Okay, maybe not. You are groggy and grimy and slogging down coffee. Who knows, perhaps you are in bed, reading this while propped up by pillows. Nonetheless, the fact is you went online to do or find something and wound up here, so you must have some plans or goals or at least a spark of curiosity you wanted to follow up. You want something, you’re looking to change the status quo, you have hope.

If you have a desire and pursue it – even in a half-assed way – you have hope. Love is grand, but hope is actually what makes the world go round.

You see, love can make us happy and fulfilled, but it can also make us complacent. If we are hoping for something, we are not quite fulfilled and thus not complacent. (Even if you do feel that you have all you need, you may be hoping to keep it all going, so you cannot be complacent.)

Hope — to achieve something, to improve something, to experience something — can be what gets us out of bed in the morning. If not — we could just be hungry or thirsty — it does keep us up and going. We may drive to work and do our job because we need money in order to live indoors and eat on a regular basis, but hope that your work makes a different or gives you a bigger bed and better food is what makes you put your best into your job. When we anticipate something good coming from our actions — better grades when we study, bigger harvest when we irrigate, a bonus for more sales — we are hoping and that action of hoping is what keeps us trying and pursuing and working on a project. When people hope, they work for change, and while it’s gravitational pull that actually makes the world go round, hope is what makes it worth staying on for the ride.

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Is this what I ordered?

Many years ago, I went to dinner with two friends (who were brothers) and their father. We went to a fancy steakhouse somewhere in northern Indiana. I don’t recall our conversation or the occasion, but I remember that we all ordered steak. I probably ordered filet mignon (my go-to dish whenever I want steak), the older brother and father ordered porterhouse or New York strip or some other prime cut of beef, the younger brother ordered a dish that was the house specialty. When we got our meals, the steaks were as we expected — slabs of meat with potatoes on the side — but the younger brother’s meal was triangles of meat served in a bowl with juice. We all looked askance at this odd dish as he asked the waiter, “Is this what I ordered?” “Ah yes,” replied the waiter, “This is how we serve the meal.”

We ate our dinners and the younger brother later exclaimed that it was one of the juiciest, most tender cuts of meat he’d ever eaten. It was exactly what he’d ordered, just what he wanted, it just did not look as he had expected.

I studied to be a librarian. I loved my classes and loved performing research and providing resources that would help others answer questions, learn new skills, make decisions. I wanted to do that for a living. I wanted to be the gal that got you the info you needed so you could do whatever it is you wanted to do.

Working as a content manager, I create website content for marketing purposes. Such a position requires me to do extensive research in order to create written copy that assists others in building their businesses, generating sales, creating their brand. I am supplying companies, their current and prospective customers, and the populace at large with the information they seek. (I’d like to think that my copy also entertains folks.)

No, I am not working in a library, yet I got my wish. I help people of all walks, ages, and stages of life know where they can find the goods and services they are seeking. I create information resources that help people do whatever it is they want to do, whether it is to tow their car, get a tattoo, or travel to Africa.

So your life is not turning out as you’d expected, eh? Are you sure?  Is it possible that you got what you wanted but it came in an odd-shaped package?

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Let’s hear it for bad endings …

So the fat lady sang, eh? The pink slip came, the gavel fell, the movers left, and now you are crossing through that door that separates your life then with this life now. All those comforts and connections you had before are now a memory. Groan, grieve, and then be grateful. Bad endings can make for great beginnings.

When there is no chance to reconcile, renegotiate, rebuild, or go in reverse, you have no option but to go forward. Scrap it all. See this as the opportunity to start anew, reinvent yourself, revise the life story you’ve been living. You’ve lost it all anyway, why not lose your identity and get a new one?

Yes, yes, do remember that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Mull over your past in the wee small hours of the morning. Examine it, learn from it, beat yourself up if that’s what you need to do. Then put it away as you do a book on a shelf. It’s always there, easy to retrieve, a reference source that may influence the future, but should not guide the present. The schemes, schedules, and social circles that formerly clothed your life are shredded, and you cannot sew a coat from tatters. So shed that old costume and tailor a new one. Your new life may be quiet and cozy, wild and wandering, it might be a refined version of your old life or completely unrecognizable. It’s your call. And that’s important to remember — it is your call.

I am aware that some folks — actually most of us — cannot completely walk away from all of their past. There are remnants — bills to pay, kids to raise, sentences to serve — that still require our attention. Also, I sure as hell ain’t sayin’ that everyone will be skipping along and singing a tune while they rebuild their lives. What I am saying is that when events — divorce, losing a job, going to jail, going nuts — bring you to a point where you lose all structure in your life, realize that you have also lost stricture in your life. Take a look at the guidelines in your life. Have they become restrictions? Did the input and influence of others become interference? Do your goals and your dreams still get you out of bed in the morning? Is it time to blaze a new trail?

When the fat lady sings, stand up, cheer, exit, look ahead, go forward, find a fatter lady.