Monday, July 11, 2016

Are You REALLY a Writer?

 How many times have you heard this statement from someone?

“My mother/friend/sister/groundhog in my backyard told me I should write a book.”

Well, maybe not the groundhog part (that would be a book in itself), but all of us at one point or another have been told that we should write a book.

And why?

Because we all have a story to tell.

One of the magnificent things about writing is that it is all-inclusive; you don’t have to have an advanced degree to be creative and you don’t have to be an expert in anything but your own mind.  You don’t have to pay employees or ask anyone else’s opinion about what you’re doing. 

Your thoughts and ideas are what drive the project, your determination is what gets it done.

But are you REALLY a writer?

We all know that it’s easy to come up with an idea for a book and probably everyone has at some point in their lives thought, “I should really write this down.”

The difference between you and those people who have that fleeting thought is that your idea is keeping you up at night.  It visits you during the day as you sit in meetings at work.  It’s like a nagging child that won’t leave you alone until you pay it some attention.

So...why don’t you?

So many people, when they’re told they should write a book, often answer with, “But I’m not a writer.”

I’ve got news for you.

If you’re one of those people who has an idea that just won’t let go of you…you already are.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Violence, Fear, and Crappy Leadership: My Proposal to Save the Country

So, I've come to a decision...and I think you'll like it.

Now, this has come about after thinking about the problems in the world and our country (mainly our country - the entire world is thinking about it, too).  I'm pretty sure that many people are asking themselves the same question I am:

How in the hell did we get to this point?

Violence, fear, crappy leadership...the list goes on and on.

I've actually wondered if my generation is to blame, but I don't think it is.


Sorry Mom and Dad, but it's your generation that's screwing us up right now (not specifically my mom and dad. Please don't send them hate mail).  It's mainly people your age running for office and making the rules.  We're dealing with the fallout of years of hatred because that was what was taught to people my age when they were kids.  And the cycle is just going to repeat itself.

A while back I was having a discussion with my kids about the presidential race.  I was pleased that they had collectively come to a decision about who they would vote for if they were allowed to.

"Will you vote for us?" they asked. 

How could I say no to that?

Back then it got me to thinking that we should lower the voting about 10 years old.  After all, it's this generation who is going to inherit all of our problems that will take forever to solve.Why not get started now?  Adults who reach a certain age will stop voting due to the new "you had your chance to make the world better and you blew it" law.  The kids should take over.

And in response to all that has happened recently, I have decided we should go a step further.

I think we should let our kids run the country.

Think about it:  Hopefully they will still be at an innocent point in their lives when the racism that's taught by the older generations hasn't quite taken hold yet.  They know that if you do something wrong, there will be consequences (unlike most adults).  They still have empathy for others, can't stand bullying, and can probably do math much better than most of the people we elect now.

To me this makes perfect sense.

I would much rather watch a speech by a kid who gets down to business rather than an adult who never actually answers a direct question.  Voting would get down to basics - no more big words we don't understand or hidden policies that mean we thought we were voting for one thing, but it turns out we voted for something else.  I bet music and art would be back in the schools within a matter of weeks.  The air would be cleaner because no one is more afraid of Global Warming than our kids.

I'm ready for leadership that has to use a stool to reach the podium, who ends each day with a root beer float, and sleeps with a teddy bear.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The 20th Wedding Anniversary: Would We be Happy?

 So, 40 has now come and gone.

I've had so many people ask me how I feel about turning 40 and, frankly, I'm kind of tired of the question.  I know there are some out there who don't handle it well and I guess I get it a little.  But for the most part, it's awesome.  I'm very excited to be able to say I'm 40 and not almost 40.  And if you really want to get down to it, it's pretty great to say that I'm in my early 40s and not my late 30s.

Glass half full, people.

It's all about perspective.  I was sitting at a funeral with my sister, a financial planner, and a friend who works in hospice.  The hospice nurse said she was sad to be 50 years old because she only had 20 years left.  My sister looked at her like she was crazy.

"What are you talking about?" she said.

"If you see what I see every day, you'd know we only live until we're around 70," my friend replied.

"Well, if you see what I see every day you should know you should plan to live until you're 95," my sister said.

Again.  Perspective.


This is actually a big milestone year for me.  Not only did I turn 40, my 20th wedding anniversary is coming up (and in the middle of that, the nine year anniversary of my husband's death).

I didn't realize how brilliant I was back when I was 20 to get married that same year.  It makes it so easy to figure out which anniversary it is.  For someone who hates to do math, this is a big deal.  If he really wanted to make it easy on me, he would have picked a more even year to die - as the years go on that's going to be harder and harder for me to figure out.

Anyway.  Twenty years.  

I don't know if other widows do this, but I truly wonder where we would be right now.  I feel kind of alone in this thought because most of what I see on social media are the highlight reels of relationships.  I see a lot of how perfect someone was or how amazing their relationship was.
When I had...well...a marriage.

It wasn't perfect.  Actually, maybe in its own way it was.  I've tried to redefine my definition of perfect - I don't think that means 100% happiness or fulfillment.  It might just mean that the ups and downs we encounter are what we are supposed to experience.

And in that's perfect.

But I do wonder - would we be happy if he was still here?  What growing pains would we have gone through?  And the scariest thought - would we still be together?

I know that's a little dramatic, but haven't we all experienced moments in our marriages when we wonder if it's worth it?

I know I did.

There are moments when all I can think of is how completely happy we were as a family.  Then there are moments when I want him right in front of me so that I can apologize for all of the times I drove him crazy.  The moments when I wish he could apologize to me are fewer because I'm easier to blame.

After all.  I'm still here.

I don't know why it bothers me so much.  I just wish I could know, don't you?  Like some sort of parallel universe where we could get a glimpse of what things would be like if our spouses were still here. Would it make us feel better to know that we would have been unhappy?  Better to know that we would have gotten through all of the bumps of the first 20 years of marriage only to emerge stronger and more in love?

I don't know.

I guess it's probably better that I don't.  What good would it do me in this life, the one I'm living right now?  All I can do is move forward with the knowledge that I had a good/bad/imperfect/perfect marriage for 11 years.

That is, until we meet again and he has a chance to tell me otherwise.

Can you hold a grudge in the afterlife?