DILIGAF?

(Apologies to those of you who don’t handle strong words… this post has them.)

Anyone who remembers the acronym in my title might be able to relate to what I’m about to discuss. Seems like, at this particular point in my life, I’m being pulled in so many different directions, being asked to “do this” or “donate my time and money to that” or “consider joining x, y, or z organization”, that I’m in serious need of prioritizing what deserves my time, attention, blood, sweat, tears…and money.

Sitting in my office during a lunch break a few months ago, I was going “into the wormhole” of YouTube and found a TED talk by a woman who seems to understand my predicament. Thing is, she knows how to handle these dilemmas much better than I do.

In a nutshell, she says when you look at all the things you’re being pulled to do, there are some you “give a f*ck” about and others you “don’t give a f*ck” about. Think of your “f*cks” as currency — either you are willing to spend them on something that is pig-896747_960_720meaningful to you (for me, that would be taking time to write or making a trip to a family graveyard for some genealogical research), or you are NOT willing to spend them on something (like going to a Pampered Chef party – I don’t cook like that!). Of course, there are some things you have to give some “f*cks” about – family obligations, etc., but for the most part, you have the choice on how you set up your “f*ck budget.”

Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Tonight, I’m going to watch her video again and re-do my “f*ck budget” because I’m almost broke. Need to reallocate my f*cks, stop spending them on the things that aren’t priority in my life, and maybe save a few for something really cool down the road.

DILIGAF? I’ll let you decide that a little later…

Here’s the TED talk by Sarah Knight, bestselling author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck” and “Get Your Sh*t Together”. Good stuff!

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A Fresh Coat of “Purpose”

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So, here’s my logo for the little thing* I’m doing for the next couple of weeks. It’s an experiment right now, so bear with me, please.

A month ago, I completed a “Life Design Catalyst” course. In short, it was a week’s worth of discussions, self-introspection, drawing, writing, and meditating on what it is that defines who we are and who we want to be. Identifying our purpose. It was time for me to jump into this, and I knew it the moment we started with the first exercise.

This training was primarily designed for people who work with students who are in the exploration phases of their college careers. But something told me I could find personal value in it. So there I sat, with a week of this stuff in front of me. For the most part, I detest group work, but this was different; I managed to find some people in the room who appeared equally as befuddled about their current lives as I was. They were there more for personal reasons. Naturally, I gravitated toward them. We formed a group and started talking and sharing our stories.

As I ended the week, I realized that many of the things we covered were things that would easily apply to those of us who are (ahem) well past the age of traditional college students. But regardless of our (ahem) ages, we may also find ourselves at a point of readiness for self “re-discovery”. Time to figure out what it is we want to do with our lives…from this point forward.

So, welcome to “Life. Repurposed.” I hope you’ll join me in the process of dusting off the layers of expectations that have defined us for most of our lives. We’ve been so many things for so many others for so long — isn’t it time that we gave ourselves a fresh coat of “purpose paint”?  I know, I know. That’s a bit corny. But I that’s one thing I re-discovered about myself that week. I’ve always been a cornball deep down inside, and now, I realize that’s perfectly fine.

Our first project will be the “Kick-Ass Questions about Life”. Are you ready? Good! Well, roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started.

* It’s a course? Workshop? Gathering? Heck, I’m not quite sure yet. That’s what’s so cool about it!

Decisions…decisions…

It’s the eve of my 49th birthday, and I’m sitting at home. I won’t tell you exactly WHERE I’m sitting, but safe to say it’s a location that we menopausal types visit FREQUENTLY, usually in the middle of the night.

Yes, I do some of my best thinking and writing there. If your stomach can’t handle this image, then kindly stop reading. 🙂

It’s been a week full of ups and downs – tentative job offer, verbal acceptance, dog injures leg, discovery that job isn’t quite what it was made out to be, gut starts talking (loudly), up all night, dog’s leg not better so off to vet, make the decision to decline job offer, feeling relieved about that, eat Chinese for dinner because it’s easy, dog won’t calm down and yelps when he tweaks leg again, I’m feeling panic start to build. Dinner gives me gas.

So, here I am. Safe within the walls of my Fortress of Porcelain Solitude. And I begin thinking…and writing what I’m thinking about.

It’s the eve of my 49th birthday. Twenty years ago, I’d be out on the town, keeping a good pace to make it to midnight to ring in the special day.

Right now, I’m sitting here debating whether to go hear some music and have a beer…

or pluck my latest chin hairs.

 

I Made It, Folks!

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They loved me… they REALLY loved me!

I’m honored and humbled to have landed a part in our university’s production of The Vagina Monologues. This is important to me on SO many different levels.

Just found out a few minutes ago… my work-focus is shot for the rest of the day. 🙂

Sundays on the Front Porch: Finding Your “Happy Place”

Here are some of mine, as promised in the video.

Hanging Rock House
The lake house at Hanging Rock State Park.
Hanging Rock Toes in Stream
Anywhere I can stick my toes in the water…
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When I’m lost in song (photo cred – Loretta Kohrs)
Front porch (go figure) at the Mountainaire Inn, Blowing Rock, NC.
Front porch (go figure) at the Mountainaire Inn, Blowing Rock, NC.
Anywhere there's sand, surf... and maybe a cold adult beverage.
Anywhere there’s sand, surf… and maybe a cold adult beverage.

Where are YOUR happy places? I’d like to know!

How Flossie Got Her Groove Back

The first time I saw her, she was hiding in the corner.

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Nobody puts Baby in the corner,” I whispered with a chuckle, walking over to greet her. The bargain hunters passed by as I stood there, making introductions.

A conversation with a second-hand desk.

She was middle-aged – born sometime in the late 1950s — and you could tell that she’d been through some “stuff.” But she spoke to me, as if to say, “Honey, you and I are much alike. We could be good friends, and, oh, the stories we could tell.”

For several months, I had been looking for a writing desk – THE writing desk – but no matter how many times I had convinced myself that I had found the right one, my purchase was stopped short. I either couldn’t see myself spending the money or time to fix it up, or I simply couldn’t imagine spending hours of time seated at it, writing the story that popped into my head at 2 a.m. No, the desk had to fit. It had to be the encouraging friend that was able to coax me out of the mental and physical rut in which I’d found myself of late. We had to understand each other.

I didn’t quite have the funds needed to purchase her that day, and honestly, that was an easy excuse to bring an end to our visit – and prolong my unwillingness to take a chance that she could, perhaps, be the one to help me. I patted her gently, not caring if the other browsers were watching our intimate encounter, and said my goodbye. This was becoming a pattern. A frustrating one at that.

Over the next month, I thought of her often, wondering if she, like several others, had been scooped up by someone who was more comfortable taking risks than I was. Had she been put on the back of a truck and driven to a new home where she had been shined up, only to become the latest item up for bid on eBay? Why had she been abandoned in the first place? She was beautiful – a bit older but still full of grace and class, standing tall on sturdy legs. Did her owner not see her youthful glow, hidden under the years of dust and fading stain, or did he grow tired of her as the years passed? The more I pondered, the more I wished I could visit her again.

Several weeks later, I learned that the antique shop was scheduled to close. Maybe… just maybe… she was still there. I walked slowly down the row of empty dealer booths, and there she was.

“Hi, Flossie,” I said without hesitation. She looked like a Flossie to me – I would call her “Flo” for short. Kinda’ made sense, you know? It sounded like “flow,” which was what I desperately needed to find in my writing.

So, the guys rolled her out front and helped load her in the car.  She looked tired and had cobwebs wrapped around her dented and small, but sturdy, legs. “Don’t worry, Flossie. I’m going to fix you up just right,” I said as we made our way home. She responded with a creak as I rounded a curve.

I put her in the garage – this would be her home for the next few days as the transformation took place. Sanding and repainting furniture was something new to me, so I was a bit nervous about taking the first step. My father suggested an 80-grit sandpaper to remove the old stain and coating. Couldn’t help but chuckle as I put on the dust mask and goggles, grabbed the palm sander, and made the first pass. It felt like I was giving poor Flossie a much-needed facial, scrubbing away the dirt and grime of the day – or in this case – of nearly 60 years.

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After two days of heavy sanding, accompanied by a few beers, some uplifting music, and a few rather “unladylike” words (impatience is a weakness), she was smooth and natural. She was beautiful just as she was, and I was considering nothing more than a light stain to enhance her natural features, but I had this overwhelming feeling that she was trying to say something to me. So, I put my ear close to her and listened.

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“Make me bold. Make me flashy. I’m ready for people to take notice. I want to feel sexy. No more hiding behind this boring old stain that has covered me for all these years. It’s not me. I want to do something risky. Please help me.

It was in that moment that I knew what she needed.  Red paint.

The young lady at the paint store grinned and clapped with excitement as I told her what I was wanting to do. She had recently repainted a desk the same color. Picking out the right shade made me a bit anxious – what if it was too “this” or not enough “that?”  When she handed me the sample card, and pointed at the square in the middle with a huge grin, I knew we were on to something.  The paint sample’s name was “Showstopper.” Perfect.

Her first coat went on, and I felt a bit sick. It was a bright Pepto-Bismol pink. My heart sank. I felt as if I had let her down (and there was no way in hell that a pink desk would look good in the space I had chosen). Second coat, and I noticed a transformation beginning to take place.  The pink was changing to a deeper red, and the gloss of the paint was starting to enhance the beautiful curves of her drawer handles. She was becoming exactly what the paint said she would – a showstopper.

For a bit of whimsy, my husband suggested painting her “legs” black. It made sense – every sassy lady who wears a red dress needs a good pair of black heels to complete the look.

Four coats of paint later, and she was transformed. No longer was she an overlooked antique shoved in the corner. Flossie was now a shiny, “new” desk – and the inspiration I needed.

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Sometimes all we need is a good buffing down to our “real selves” to see our potential. It can be a tiring, risky, stressful, dirty process, but the end result can be transformative.

The two of us understand that. We are in for some good times together.

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