Status: In Progress

It has been a little over a month since starting this blog and I have to insert the cliche phrase, Where does the time go? I went back and re-read most of my entries and found myself reflecting on my reflections if that makes sense. For example, the dentist entry. Still one of the crappiest days I have had here, but also no longer held captive in my mind. In fact when I read it, I was laughing to myself about how crazy I looked that day and how much I made my mom laugh on the phone when we talked before and after the appointment. On the other side, when I read my entry on my life statement I was struck by the positivity that was present, which isn’t readily seen in other postings. If there is any better evidence of the ebb and flow of our thoughts, actions, and life events in general it’s through our documentation for sure.

But back to review. Here are some updates on jobs prospects/opportunities that I have referred to recently:

Volunteer marketing gig with development office – Done, and also no longer being pursued. I realized while doing the work that aside from not enjoying the person I was collaborating with, I also was not enjoying the work itself. I gracefully bowed out of the 2nd proposed marketing project and feel a sense of relief in doing so.

Designing a position that does not exist with the local high school – Started, and still in the works. I sent an e-mail to two connections at the school and was invited in for a face-to-face meeting with the Volunteer and Alumni Coordinator. I am currently shaping their alternative spring break trip (as a host school) and working to build a community among their growing list of mentors. To be continued…

Part timeย  retail job – Ongoing. I was approached by the general manager to interview for the acting assistant manager position. Didn’t get the gig and not losing sleep over it. I still get my discount. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coordinator of Center for Innovation – applied and waiting. As mentioned a few days ago, I sent in the application with what I feel was a strong representation of my skills, what I love to do, and hope to contribute to the college. I signed in to the online application system today to see what was going on, and my status still reads “In Progress.”

Not too bad if I do say so myself. In fact, it feels like leaps and bounds past where I saw myself before. Next week begins the first alternative spring break at the high school and I am looking forward to that experience.

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Being a frog while still being me

When I was getting ready to move last summer to Kansas City my sister sent me this card in the mail with this description of a frog:ย  “revered for its adaptability, knowledge, and power to inhabit diverse realms…” I honestly have read that card over 100 times since first receiving it and it wasn’t until recently that I read it from a new vantage point. You see in the past when I have pulled it out of my nightstand at whatever time of day, it has been to ease my anxious feelings, or because I wanted to talk to a friend but couldn’t reach anyone by phone, or because I simply love what she wrote to me at the time. And nine times out of ten I end up all weepy and blah blah blah you know the rest. Over the weekend my life coach had challenged me to write in my journal, Who is Aimee? I have been working so much on finding that career, identifying my role, etc. and she wanted to take a different approach. Here is what I wrote verbatim in my journal:

“Aimee is a wonderful, goofy, funny woman with a great sense of humor. She is smart. She is sensitive. She is a sister. She is a person who loves passionately, and loves romance. She is generous, loyal, and spontaneous. She is a dreamer. She is a good, good person. Kind. Delicate. (has lots of allergies) She is someone who can be scatterbrained and not pay attention to detail. She loves stories of triumph and achievement. She is scared of the devil. Has beautiful teeth.”

Throughout the week I would return to my journal and read this entry and found it to be my new comfort. It all started to sink in that despite whatever job I hold, or city I live in, or “role” I give to myself, I am still Aimee without any of those things. I have just started to ponder the experiences from the past several years and I am starting to see how I was so good at adapting to new surroundings that I wasn’t always myself, or maybe the correct wording is acknowledging myself. I think at times I may have actually turned into a frog! ๐Ÿ™‚ Being here now in another new city I can finally differentiate between adapting and losing myself. In Kansas City, adapting would be learning the 500 different highways that you MUST take to a friend’s house that is 10 miles away. Losing myself (in my eyes) would be eating at Applebee’s on Friday night and thinking there is something wrong with me if I didn’t order the sizzling BBQ wings, wearing clogs to a party, entertaining company that I really don’t care for but settling because I want to make friends….you get the idea.

I thank my sister for the card, and I hope she continues to be a frog in Alaska while staying true to her islander-self….

We interrupt this program for a special message…

The last thing I read before I went to bed last night was an email from a longtime college friend/former roommate who shared with our group of friends the tragic passing of his dad this past week, just a day after Valentine’s Day. This would make the 4th parent of a close college friend who has left the world all too soon. After reading it and sharing with my husband, I immediately thought of my own dad who had quadruple bypass surgery 11 years ago on Valentine’s Day and is still alive and with us now. I looked at my husband and said, “I am so blessed” quickly followed by “Life is too short.” Neither of us mentioned anything more about it after that, but as we were watching television later I noticed my husband was on the computer searching on Craigslist. I asked him what he was up to and it turns out he was searching for a group of musicians to possibly “jam” with in the near future. Now we all have these things we say we are going to do or want to do, and for my husband the top two on his list includes jamming with other people and wanting to get in shape. Up to this point the exercise bar has been stored beneath the bed and he has not ventured out of the comfort zone of our existing group of friends. When I asked him what made him start this search right now, he said it all kind of sunk in for him after learning about our friend’s dad and hearing me say “Life is too short.”

I wish sometimes I could be reminded of how blessed I am without the presence of a tragedy or crisis. What would happen if during an ordinary day I could feel that same deep, warm feeling of gratitude? It would be that much more intense I imagine. I have incorporated into my life steps towards feeling that way through my gratitude journal but perhaps there is something more. What if upon waking for the next week the first thing I say to myself is “I am blessed” instead of the usual “it’s going to be a long day today” or “I wonder if I will find a job today,” you get the idea. What if I said that every time I hung up the phone after laughing hysterically with my sister over some silly story, or after getting an unexpected card in the mail from a good friend? Being here now in a new city, between jobs, and searching for a purpose, I have to acknowledge the blessings: a healthy and loving family, a roof over my head with food on the table, amazing nieces and nephews, a husband who loves me, and the list goes on and on. Pair that with the attitude that Life is Too Short and who knows what one could accomplish?…

I will end this entry with a shout out to friends and family who have experienced true loss in their lives; they know all too well what it is like to overcome a difficult time. I pray that when that time comes for me and my own family, we will have been remembering all along how blessed we were and have done everything we could to live a full life. Amen!

 

Team Aimee

Over the weekend I was working to complete a job application for a position I am pretty excited about on many levels. Aside from the obvious (a full time position, good pay, stability, etc.) it is also something entirely different from my standard “marketing and communication” gigs I have held in the past.ย  The cover letter and resume were easy to adjust; it was the personal statement that had me stuck. Having kept a journal, maintaining this blog, and in general enjoying the writing process, I usually don’t have this problem. But I was seriously stuck! Stuck in a place of doubt, anxiety, and fear. What if I am not meant to get this job? What if I can’t do it? What if I really have no idea what I am talking about? I made several attempts at the personal statement before I got up, put on my coat, and drove to the store to mail my valentines day cards. When I got home I started to wash the dishes and in the middle of drying, I asked myself “What do you believe? What do you think you actually bring to this position?” And from there, I sat down and started to write. I wrote about the importance of being heard, and how I myself do that very well for others…

Once I had a working draft, I sought out feedback from my trusted sources. I like to call them Team Aimee. In addition to being extremely pleased with the end result, I was so humbled by their input. Not one person changed the heart of my statement; it was all suggestions on how to sell this thing the best way possible. I truly felt their support and encouragement, as if they were saying to me, yes, Aimee, this is you. I received an email back this morning from a former colleague I had approached to use as a reference and she was more than willing to support me. She ended her email with “miss you.” ๐Ÿ™‚

It might seem like a duh realization, but my personal statement was exactly that: personal. When I finally read the version that was going to be submitted, I became emotional at the last sentence: “Sometimes the most important first step toward innovation is being heard.” On some level I was interpreting it as the first step towards my own reinvention and becoming my own innovative self, and in that moment, hearing it. I think about the other members of Team Aimee in my life and how I have come to trust and rely on them to hear me. As vital as they are to me and my own persistence, I think it’s time to acknowledge the MVP on my team and that’s me. And maybe I will start to hear her more.

Self compassion

The past two days have been hard. My husband and I are going through the steps to work towards an agreement on having kids and it’s painful on many levels. The obvious ones are 1) I am not getting any younger, 2) we had once upon a time agreed upon having them, and 3) it’s his fears, not mine, that are holding us back.ย  As we begin to explore and try and find a new way to approach this, we of course have to dig up the existing data which ultimately leads to lots of tears from me, and more fear developing in his mind. At the end of the day, we are both exhausted mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Yesterday I spent most of the day riding the wave of emotions: anger, sadness, back to anger, more sadness, and then finally just had to say out loud to him: “I need a hug. From you.” His response: “I don’t know what you want me to say.” Me: “I need a hug from you. I need to be held.” More confusion until finally I said I can’t be more clear and specific than needing a hug. For some it might be confusing as to why on earth I would need a hug from the person who is part of so much pain and distress at this moment in time; well, because at the end of the day this is the person I married, the person I love with all my heart, and someone who I needed a hug from at the time. It was what I needed at the moment instead of more tears. What else was interesting was that in between the waves of emotion, there was also calmness.

Today I had a packed day laid out in front of me: Mentoring followed by a long shift at the part time job. I woke up after a full night’s sleep not feeling rested. More like emotionally hungover. I asked myself, what do you need today?..and the answers included a talk with my mom, and brainless work. I knew that I couldn’t give my student 100% if I was not feeling 100%, so I called in sick to the mentoring. I knew that she would be okay. Instead, I went to work for an earlier, shorter shift and spent the next 4 hours being silly and dancing and laughing with co-workers. Do I feel 100% now? Not necessarily. In fact, I am exhausted and laying in bed drinking tea. But I am thankful to myself for taking care to be gentle. And I also have the beginning of a different feeling that is starting to soothe the ones of anger and sadness, and it is love. Love for my family, love for myself, love for my husband, just love in general. I find the more I practice self-compassion, the more I am able to return to a place of love and gratitude, and ride the emotional waves that life brings. I am sure there will be many more…