Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Building Fences

I’ve always had a problem with boundaries. It’s not due to some traumatic event in my childhood. Rather, it’s a defective personality (so to speak). I am a people pleaser. And a perfectionist. So I not only want to make people happy, I want to make everyone happy, all the time.

I’ve grown up and I’ve realized that one person can’t possibly please everyone she meets. I’ve also decided it’s okay to say “no” to a lot of good things: projects, organizations, and ideas, when I don’t have the interest, time, or ability to see them through.

Now I’m in a situation where I’m really struggling to create or maintain boundaries as needed- mostly with myself! I work from home. I also manage the home. So, while I’m trying to work on a grant proposal or write a blog, that growing pile of laundry is nagging me. My daughter comes home from school and wants to talk. My husband can’t find his keys. My sister needs help with her kids.

While I am so glad to have a more flexible schedule so that I can better meet the needs of my family, I’m not sure how to protect my time so that I can get all my work done. Part of the problem is that my work is the kind that can easily take over. I enjoy it so much I could do it 10 to 12 hours a day if I didn’t have any other responsibilities.

I know that only I can make this work. I plan to start by designating a work space. Working in the bedroom or living room seems to be counter-productive. I have an office, but it’s also been a play room and storage area in the past. Boundaries. My next step will be designating work hours. They don’t have to be 9 to 5, and they don’t have to be rigid, but I need to make sure they’re there and that I communicate them to my family.

So, I suppose I should move to the office to write this blog. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Did NOT Eat All the Cookies

I sent out a silent plea to my bathroom scale to read under a certain number (a lady never tells).  The scale laughed at me.  "Yeah, right," she said.  (Of course it's a she.  I'm in my bathroom!)  "Aren't you the same person who ate half a box of Thin Mints last night?" 

"So?"  I asked, indignant that she would even bring up such a thing.  What I consume in the privacy of my own bedroom is my own business.  I got on the scale any way, and lo and behold, it was five pounds over my requested number.

What really stinks is that I had set a goal at the beginning of the year to be at my ideal weight by my birthday next month.  Alas, I still have 10 pounds to go.  I think that's where I started in the first place.

I'm not sure why I'm surprised.  I was supposed to start running again at the first of the month.  I don't like running outside in the cold and I haven't saved up for a treadmill yet.  So, I exercised... once this month?  My eating habits are atrocious- eating sporadically, grabbing whatever convenience food is available, and missing most of the fruits & veggies.

I know what I need to do. I even know how to do it. I'm just not motivated to change my current habits. I'm going to have to, though. Not because I want to lose weight, but because I want to be a better role model for my kids. How can I tell them that cookies are not for breakfast when I eat them for dinner (in the privacy of my own bedroom)? How can I encourage them to drink milk when I'm reaching for a can of pop? How can I tell them to go outside and play when most of my free time is spent on the computer?

So, tomorrow, if it's not too cold or dark or wet... I will go for a run.  I will eat oatmeal for breakfast.  I will take it one day at a time.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bailed Out

It is officially the first day of Spring and I am taking it on as my second New Year. Spring is supposed to be a time of new beginnings, of new growth and turning over new leaves. That is what I’m doing this year.

Three weeks ago tomorrow I was let go from my stressful job as an admissions representative for a nursing home. Today I am ready to write a thank you note to the person who gave me the “pink slip.” After the initial shock, I’ve done some evaluating and praying and really feel that God opened the door to a prison cell, and I am FREE! I now sleep better at night, have put away the anti-depressants, have fewer GI problems… Although I hated that job, I didn’t realize what it was doing to me. It was my security blanket, though, and I never would have let go if someone hadn’t wrenched it from my hands.

So, I am pursuing my dream as a self-employed, work-from-home, freelance writer. I have several projects in the works already, including a grant, three blogs, a press release, a newsletter, and have another proposal waiting for a response. I know it’s going to take some time to get used to the idea of being my own boss. “Procrastination” is my new dirty word- I can’t afford it anymore. Life is too short and my obligations to myself and my family too important.

I read a quote today while visiting one of my clients. It was something like “Do what you like. Like what you do.” That is my new life goal- not for selfish reasons but because I believe God creates us with purpose and passions, and the restlessness I’ve been experiencing over the past year lets me know that I wasn’t doing what I was really called to do. Yet, how could I have known the peace I know now if I hadn’t gone through that year?

So Spring is here. The birds are singing and leaves are beginning to bud. I can’t wait to see what develops!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Pink Slip

I haven't blogged for awhile.  At some point I decided that writing daily was never going to get me to the writing career I longed for. 

However, since I am recently unemployed (technically self-employed with a tiny paycheck), I thought maybe sharing my experiences in that category might be helpful to others.

I've always felt the most for those who have been laid off because there wasn't enough work, or there were budget cuts, or the position was eliminated.  No one feels sorry for the person who was fired.

That's me.  Fired, canned, terminated, given the pink slip.  I had been joking for years that I looked forward to that day.  It wasn't that great, after all.  Although I don't believe I deserved it, no one wants to hear that.  It doesn't matter that Indiana is an at-will employment state, and that my employer did just that- fired me without a good reason.  I didn't complete a project because I was working overtime with what I had always been told were the primary responsibilities of my job.  Insubordination.  Terminated.

I can still see the look on the face of the person who delivered the news.  Cold.  Unfeeling.  Even vengeful.  Even though I had long known the company I worked for cared little for the well-being of their staff, it hurt to be treated like a piece of useless garbage. 

I suspect that they needed a scapegoat- numbers were down and if it wasn't my fault it might be my supervisor's, or her boss- the one who gave the ax.  Or maybe eliminating me allowed them to free up some labor hours.  It sure seems strange they filled my position with a co-worker the same day.  

I tell everyone I'm doing okay.  I have some prospects.  I sent resumes to a dozen companies already.  I've talked with a few schools about additional certification.  The truth is I'm just doing it to do something worthwhile. 

I'm not okay.  I can't explain it.  It's not that I lost a piece of me- because I was not my job.  I never defined myself by my work.  It's not that I'm worried about money.  I probably should be, but I know we have a little from our tax return, and I should get some unemployment.  I just feel lost.  My time has been so structured- I never had to think- just go from one activity to the next.  And for some reason, now I can't keep track of one appointment a day. 

Is it depression setting in?  Maybe.  I haven't showered since "the event."  I'm wearing the same clothes now I wore yesterday.  I have some little blue pills I usually take in the winter, but I probably should get them out.  With my vitamins.  And I realize now I haven't eaten anything except what my husband puts in front of me- and he's at work today. 

I guess when it comes down to it, I'm torn.  My life's goal is to make a living through my writing, and now, when I have all the time in the world, I still don't think I can do it.  I'd rather make a go of it than go back to full-time work, but I'm so afraid of failure.  And I know I can't do enough to start with to support my family. 

If you're a praying person, and you're reading this, I'd appreciate your prayers.  My only salvation is that I am dedicated to being totally reliant on God.  I know He has a plan, even if I can't see the blueprint.  I trust that He will provide the opportunities, if I will be responsible with my time and resources.  Which probably means I should get my rear end out of bed.  :)