Tuesday, July 22, 2014

E is for Emptying the Basket (or as I call it: Conversational Vomit)

Last week was interesting for me, and a lot has happened. However, when I got to my life coach appointment, I found myself spending a good portion of the start of our session talking about bullshit. Inconsequential tidbits that have no bearing on our session (or so I thought...wait for it). Ever do that? Get on the phone with someone or meet up with someone and just start rambling? Like you've been holding in this conversation sooooo long that you were about to burst if you didn't let it out?

Yup. Don't lie.

Well, guess what...there is a term for that. It's called "emptying the basket." And the funny thing is, we all do it yet it bothers us all (usually the world is a mirror...). Especially us Type A-ers whose patience wears thin when we can't check off what WE want to cover on the call (or in the conversation) because someone else is conversationally vomiting.

It really is a practice of patience to let someone else empty their basket. Another thing I have problems with. But, like everything else I am doing, or shall I say, relearning, I am working on it.

Here's a good example (I've tossed and turned on whether or not to use the person involved's real name but decided I love them too much to do it, so...). I speak to an old friend weekly. Sometimes bi-weekly. Every time I get on the phone with them I have to sit through some pretty mundane talk. Gossip mostly, or idle tidbits. I can not even connect with that kind of talk, especially because it's about people I don't even know. They go on and on. I zone out (how rude, I know). Then it's the grocery list or the daily errands. The whole beginning of our conversation I want to scream, or worse, hang up. I've talked about this with my Life Coach and she just laughed and said something to the effect of, "like you just did?" Touché Life Coach, touché. So, we worked on how to approach those weekly conversations. It's simple. WITH LOVE. I need to understand that we all do this. We all want to be heard. Want to be understood. When you approach this kind of situation with love and shift the way you converse, or rather listen, the other person shifts as well, and the conversation can be a beautiful thing. It makes me think of my recent post about being more like Maddie. I use less words. I keep it simple. I'm loyal and I listen. I still roll my eyes here and there but now I catch myself doing it (thank G-D this person does not use FaceTime of Skype). I let the others empty their basket and love them for it anyway. I don't cut them off anymore or say, "my turn" or think "what about me." I make it all about them, which shifts something in me.

So, next time someone vomits all over your phone call or happy hour meet-up, shift your perspective (and if they're really throwing up, shift your position) and let them empty the basket. Love them for it. You'll end up loving yourself for it, too.

Monday, July 7, 2014

K is for Keeping up with Cameron Diaz

There's nothing about Mary here. Just something personal and something life lesson-ish. You've been warned.

I'm 42. Fuck, I'm closer to 50 then I am to 30. Some say I should be freaking out. (Actually, that's putting it generally. People are actually asking me what I am going to do about having a baby as I get older. Chutzpah is not a lost art my friends.) But, I'm not. I'm actually quite calm about it. Maybe it's because I don't "feel" 42 (and I'm not sure what it's supposed to feel like) or look 42 (co-worker's words, not mine) or allow myself to believe that 42 is too old. Too old to marry, to have kids, to start a (newish) career, to start over. Well if you know me, you know I have something to say to people who say I am: FUCK YOU.

Well, at least that's what the old me would have said. These days, when people I have't seen in a while ask me inappropriate questions, I'm actually quite calm about it. I used to get upset and respond in a snarky way. Then I would go home and fixate on everything I wasn't accomplishing...according to other people's standards. I let the negative judgements roll over and over in my head until I was so far deep in the rabbit hole. It made for a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of failures in my head, and a lot of expectations to live up to—few of which were my very own.

So yes, this is something I am working on. My life coach gave me worksheets to help me visualize what I want for myself. In love, in work, in life. It's not a one-time worksheet deal. I add to it, I take away from it, I do it over. I get specific and sometimes allow myself to stay general. It's a WIP, just like me. But here's something I noticed while doing this: I've never done ANYTHING like this before. I've never visualized what I wanted. ME.

(if you want me to send you a blank worksheet and some directions on how to get it started, let me know. this is the BEST tool I have ever used)

See, I've never had a wedding planned out in my head. Never had the dream dress picked out for "when." I was playing with blocks and Lincoln Logs not Barbie and Ken go on a honeymoon and make babies. Maybe that had something to do with it, maybe it didn't, but I've never focused on wanting kids or not wanting kids. Being too old or past my prime. Seems I'm in good company...

"I like protecting people, but I was never drawn to being a mother. I have it much easier than any of them. That's just what it is. Doesn't mean life isn't sometimes hard. I'm just what I am. I work on what I am. Right now, I think, things are good for me. I've done a lot. And I don't care anymore." --Cameron Diaz 

Hammer, meet nail head. Thank you Cameron for making it ok to be right where we are at our age.

Right now, even as I figure what it is I want out of life (baby? marriage? career? another dog? all of it?) I'm also perfectly fucking happy right where I am. So, next time you see me, be happy for me. Maybe I don't have what you have but it's ok. There's nothing any of us should feel uncomfortable or unsuccessful about. And truth be told, there never should have been. I am also realizing that those projections were my own and no one else's.

So, I'm climbing out of that hole and I'm liking the view. It's bright here. Open. Endless. Brett Favre isn't courting me, but I'll live. Why? Because I am exactly where I want to be. And to that I say, FUCK YEAH!

(side note: Savannah Guthrie is having her first child at 42. Actually double side note: in my 'life' worksheet I actually have children—yes, plural— I am a very good mama to, and no, they're not the four legged kind ;) )