Colorado Quiet

Winter has finally come to Chicago with a vengeance.  It’s been snowing off and on for several days.  It’s not really sticking because Lake Michigan is still pretty warm so the air temperature makes the snow melt.  We’ve been enjoying the global warming effect for the month of November.  Temps were in the upper 40’s-low 50’s the entire month.  Golfers were out in force on all the public courses well into December.  They’re wired a little different than the rest of us but it was pretty warm.

All this is coming to an end this week.  First the snow and then the wind and falling temps will come screaming in.  But the snow has been wonderful.  I’m always surprised at how much it quiets the world as it falls.  I’ve named it Colorado quiet because that was the first place I became aware of how magical the silence was.  And how calm and focused I have become in the quiet.  Winter has never been one of my favorite seasons because having to commute in it can really break your spirit.  But this year I’m working from home so no nasty commute or walking across the Michigan Avenue bridge in 35 MPH winds.  Maybe I’ll truly come to appreciate this season and it’s beauty.  I know I truly appreciate the silence.

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Tater Tots for breakfast

Yes you read that right.  I said Tater Tots for breakfast.  I’m out of eggs, having scrambled my last ones before I left for New York for the weekend.  I keep forgetting to stop at the store to pick up more.  I know what you’re thinking, “seriously, she can’t remember to go to the grocery store?!” so let me explain.  I live behind a grocery store.  Or at least I used to before they closed it to tear it down and rebuild it.  Just like Steve Austin, “we can rebuild him, make him better, stronger, faster”.  In just 18 short months, I’ll have a bionic grocery store.  Or 18 take forever months if you are trying to record on a very sensitive microphone and every beep and vibration from the big dig gets picked up for posterity.  But I digress.

Like I said, I’m out of eggs.  And because for 16 years, I’ve walked out my back door through the parking lot to my grocers, I can’t seem to remember to stop at the store.  I’m stuck in a rut, an old way of doing something and I haven’t made the conscious change in my mind.  That’s the step I’m missing, the conscious change part.  That’s the hardest step to take because we create shortcuts in our lives and brains to get through the myriad of tasks that need to be accomplished in any given day.  It’s the one thing that needs to happen to create any sort of self revolution.  Rather a dramatic statement.  Weren’t we just talking about eggs?

I’ll try to remember to stop tonight on my way home tonight.  But just in case I have more tater tots in the freezer.

Putting yourself out there

Ah, vulnerability.  The word just sounds nerve wracking.  Webster defines it as capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.  For the most part I think of it in the emotional sense.  Going out on a date with a new guy, plunging into a crowd not knowing anyone, submitting to a new agent, joining a group.  I’m pretty good at the initial stuff, the meeting and greeting.  Years of working in sales provided me with that skill.  It’s when you get past the first blush, the shiny new feeling, that it gets nerve wracking.  First dates (and I mean that in the broadest sense, not just the for real dating sense but that applies too) are pretty easy, it’s all about where you grew up, your family, college, experiences, recent travel.  The second date, if it gets to that, is where the hard part begins.  You’ve learned the surface info but don’t know the other person well enough to let down your guard.  You know you are still being evaluated, after all you are evaluating as well.  But the fact that someone is looking at you and scrutinizing you has a higher priority than what you are doing simultaneously.  You are laying it all out there hoping the other person will say “hey I like you, come join me for …”  Your emotions, weaknesses and frailties are on display for all to see.  And boy is it a palpable feeling of fear.  What if they don’t like what they see, what if the reaction is “meh”, what if I like them more than they like me?  What if?  That fear of rejection never goes away, we just get more capable of managing it.  We realize that if we give into that fear, we’ll miss out on some pretty amazing people and experiences.  Our lives then become a series of “what ifs” not incredible memories and great stories.  And we forget that no matter who the other person is, what success they’ve achieved in life, how confident they appear, they suffer from the same fear of being rejected and discarded.

Oh that sound you hear?  It’s my knees knocking and my heart pounding.  You too?

The problem is…

The will to get good at it.  You know how it is, you figure out something you want to do or learn, a new passion, skill or hobby.  You get all excited about the endeavor, researching it, buying stuff for it, getting it all set up.  Then finally you get started doing it.  And it’s fun for the first few days, maybe even a few weeks.  You are proud you’ve stuck with it, because didn’t you read somewhere that it takes 3 weeks of repeated behavior to create a new habit?  Pretty soon, you start to take it for granted.  A distraction presents itself and you think “I’ll get back to that later, I need to take care of this now”  Before you know it, later becomes tomorrow becomes next week becomes a few months.  And the momentum you worked so hard at establishing is gone, not to be recalled.  Oh sure, you can work at it again, but the excitement isn’t really there, it’s been replaced by embarrassment and disappointment at letting it go in the first place.  So getting back to that groove takes even more effort, because now you’ve added some baggage to the journey.

You have to want to get good at it, not just try to get good at it.  The wanting will sustain you when the newness has worn off and the mundane has set in.  I’d forgotten that in this process of blogging, fortunately someone kindly reminded me.