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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Counting Down…

137 days left.

I have to get myself on some kind of plan, or I’m going to be quite disappointed when I reach age 50 in December. Right now, I weigh the most I have since right before my hysterectomy at age 38. Actually, if the scales are telling the truth (which, unfortunately, they usually are), I weigh more.

Ugh.

So, it’s time to get a game plan going here. I need an overhaul. A complete overhaul — mind, body, and spirit. That means, I’m going to have to get serious and focus, which is often hard to do because there are so many shiny, neat things out there to distract me from my purpose. And ice cream. And comfy couches. And exciting new projects.

This is going to be a challenge, and I’m going to need some support. And some ass-kicking. I’m going to have to make some decisions that require me to let go of some things I had wanted to take on as projects – it’s time to figure out which of those will best serve my goal… and which need to be packed away for another time.

I’m a bit unsettled about this but know it needs to be done. My life and my health in this next chapter of life depend on it.

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Besides, when December 10 rolls around, I want to be able to KICK… STRETCH…and KICK, just like Sally O’Malley. Hell, I might even buy myself an outfit and purse just like hers to wear that day.

She’s my heroine. I just love her so. 

 

Project 1 – KickAss Questions

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Okay. So here’s our first project. Let’s answer some kickass questions about life. Answer them from your heart–not based on what you think others might want to hear. Some of these questions might be easy. Others may cause you to think a bit. There might even be a few that you have difficulty answering right now. That’s okay. There are no pass/fail grades for this project. It’s what you want to make of it.

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Image courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

I’ll jump in here as well and answer a few of them, too.


What’s always on your mind? If you were in a bookstore, what section would you gravitate toward first?

I’m always thinking about creative projects. Something that gets me energized and using my brain. Colors, sounds, photos… When I go to the bookstore, I automatically head for the “self-help” and “bargain” sections. I love to look through books to see how they’re designed.

What are three things you care about most, other than family, friends, and meaningful relationships?

What positive things do people say about you? What do they thank you for most often?

Who inspires you? Who would you most like to be like? Heroes/heroines… role models?

I am inspired by Brené Brown, who talks about the courage to be vulnerable, Elizabeth Gilbert, who has an amazing gift of being able to write and a dry sense of humor, and Marie Forleo, who has managed to do what I’m trying to do here…but with MUCH more polish and style! Of course, I’d really love to have the joy of life and ability to tolerate others that my grandmothers had.

When you’re at your best, what does it look like?

When do you feel most powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, and inspired?

If you had a chance to be known for something special or unique, what would it be? What’s the legacy you want to leave behind when you depart this world?

What is your biggest fear? What’s the thing that scares you most in life?

Okay, I’ll jump back in on this one because it was one of the most difficult for me to answer. My biggest fear is that, in pursuing my writing and sharing my truth, it will hurt others. When I write, I like to be in my own space. Sometimes I feel that I’m being selfish by doing that. 

What scares me most in life? At this age, things like cancer and never being able to get out of debt keep me awake many nights. I am a master worrier. I need to get over that.

…and the big one?

What do you REALLY want for your life?


So… how was that? Do you notice anything in particular about your answers?

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Image courtesy of http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/

Do they provide you a glimpse of what you desire for your life at this point in your life…and in the future?

Which questions were hardest to answer and why?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the “comments” below if you feel comfortable. Let’s get a dialogue going here! 

Or… if you’d like to share your thoughts with me privately, please send them to blondesighted@gmail.com. 

 


Next week’s project?

Uncovering the layers of the past to reveal who you are today. (Yeah. Heavy stuff.)

We’ll look at experiences and events (positive and negative) that have impacted and affected you in some way. Then, we’ll take those events and create a “six-word story” about your life.

 

 

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!

New Writing Project!

UK 50mph photoHere’s a new project I’m starting up soon. It’s all about the stories of those of us who have already turned the corner at the half-century mark… and those of us who are almost there.

Wanna know more?

Want to share your story?

Check out my other blog: “Finding Fifty Project”.

Peace… and Happy Thanksgiving!

Sundays on the Front Porch: A Trial Run at Using Google Hangouts on Air

 

Better Late Than Never

A few months ago, I found my childhood journals. According to one of the entries, when I was a freshman in high school, it appears my dream was to be a journalist and go to UNC Chapel Hill to learn to become one.

Well, maybe there was one more dream – that the older boy up the street with the most beautiful smile full of braces who recently broke his writing arm while skateboarding would pay attention to me just the slightest bit.

But I digress.

I have no idea how or when the desire to become a journalist originated nor an explanation how, as a mere thirteen-year-old, I knew that UNC Chapel Hill was the place to go. Throughout childhood, writing and drawing were comforting things. Helped me to remember and to forget. Helped me to deal with the traumas of being a young girl with little to no confidence, whatsoever.

That's me, third in line, waiting to read my essay... and about to throw up.

(Millis Road Elementary – 6th grade graduation, 1978. That’s me, third in line, waiting to read my essay… and about to throw up.)

Throughout high school, the journal entries were peppered with adolescent angst. Weekends spent on major school projects, the hopeless crush on “unattainable popular boy ‘X’” who passed in the hall with his head cheerleader girlfriend, and the ever-present pressure of feeling that I was always in competition with the other kids in the senior class for that spot at Carolina.

I was an “A” student in English classes and loved any opportunity for creative expression. While teachers saw potential, and my report cards reflected the same, the thing that weighed against me the most was my lack of ability to recognize – and believe in – that potential as well. As classmates filed in the guidance office to meet with the counselor to discuss admission applications and essays, something in me resisted the effort. For weeks, the UNC application sat in my desk drawer at home, and while I would take it out from time to time, answer a few more questions, and mull over what I would write for the personal essay, it never made it to the guidance office for review. My SAT scores sucked (at least I thought they did), and I didn’t feel I measured up to all the other classmates who had submitted the same application and whose scores were obviously much better. So it went in the trash.

And thus ended my dream… or so I thought.

Thirty-two years later, that love of writing hasn’t faded. Not one bit. In fact, it has deepened. In those three decades, college happened – although not quite the same way or in the same location as I had dreamed it would back then. And a tremendous amount of trial and error, rejection and acceptance, tears and joy. “Life education,” as it’s referred to in the stories I write these days.

As I approach fifty and the possibility of retiring soon, I find myself back in that senior class, pondering the future – life after graduating from career. What is it that I want to do now that I’ve “paid my dues” and am ready to explore all the world has to offer?

Thanks to the influence of a few good teachers and fellow writers/mentors, some who are now among my closest of friends, again I find myself sitting in front of that UNC Chapel Hill admission application. This time, though, it’s online – the application to the graduate program in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. As I prepare to write the personal essay, life rewinds back to 1983, where I stare blankly at the space and wonder what I could possibly write there that would make me so special that the people making the decisions would grant my admission without any question.

And so I write from the heart. From life. Sharing that, not only do I feel the program would benefit me in the work I presently do to earn a paycheck, it would offer the opportunity to grow personally and artistically in the work I actually enjoy doing outside the 8 to 5 day and in retirement. It would also push me even closer to the goal of writing my first book. And yes, maybe it might even help me to feel a little more confident in general.

I stared at the essay for what seemed like days and eventually mustered the courage to hit “send.” Even if I received a rejection letter, at least I had made the attempt, right? Leaning back in the chair, I took a deep breath and patted myself on the shoulder. Thirty-two years – better late than never.

The other day, I received a letter from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

My acceptance letter.

Tears crept into the corners of my eyes as I read the first sentence over and over, aloud. The seventeen-year-old who never took a chance to pursue her dream finally had it.

So did I.

Learning never ends. Better late than never.
Apply yourself
, regardless of the outcome. You’ll be glad you did. — Me