Pain is Pain…diminishing it does not make it disappear

“There’s no hierarchy of pain. Suffering should not be ranked, because pain is not a contest. …by diminishing my problems, I was judging myself and everyone else whose problems I had placed lower down on the hierarchy of pain. You can’t get through your pain by diminishing it.”

Lori Gottlieb “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone”

Great quote and thought-provoking indeed. It elicited the following thoughts and questions. Somebody always has it worse and someone else will always have it better. It is not about somebody or someone else it is about you. It is about how you are affected by your life. Does your life serve you? Despite the past are you moving beyond what “was” to what “is”? Is this really about validation? Is it only “real” if someone else acknowledges how bad, how good, or how unremarkable “it” is?

Your normal is all you know and is your baseline for all definitions. My pain is my pain and better not defined as a comparison of yours. So often we diminish what we are going through because someone else has it worse. However, that we are acknowledging that someone else has it worse is again only defined by our own baseline, and in reality not real.

I have had to explore this concept in my life as I attempted to “fix” my own concept of normal, pain, and pleasure. This is the foundation of self-care. There are so many people that do not care for themselves and do not put the work in because they blow it off through the ideal that somebody else always has it worse or that their experience is less than another’s. Ultimately your experience is the only one that matters and diminishing it, pain or pleasure takes something away from you. It robs you of the full experience. I think about this in terms of both sides; perspective is my drug. Come along with me while I go down in “it” for a moment!

Pleasure…

Let’s start with pleasure as it is less “one-upped” than pain. It is simply not as often that someone will take away your pleasure through their own grander experience as it does not serve them to be a braggart as easily as it does to be the victim.

My experiences are not worldly as I have never traveled outside of this country. While I do not know the pleasure of seeing the Louvre or sailing on the Mediterranean, I do know the absolute elation of sitting in front of the ocean, 40 miles outside my door, smelling the salty air, hearing the crashing waves and feeling that all is right with the world. While I have never known the pleasure of owning a million-dollar mansion I know what it feels like to have owned a modest home in the middle of the woods that I have created and adore and respect for all of the things it gives to me. This is a pleasure as I define it and can never be made less for those things that I only know, as better, because of someone else’s “one-up”.

Pain…

Tough as it is to swallow there is indeed someone that always has it worse than you. For the ultimate “worse” is death; or is it? (That is a topic for another blog.) Pain, physically and mentally, seems to be the ultimate test of one-upmanship. I think it can best be told as recited by my husband’s story during a recent “man-trip” with his friends and one “friend of a friend” that was invited to come along that unbeknownst to them was a “one-upper”. After a long day of driving my husband had remarked that his back was hurting and lamented that it was because of previously breaking his back from earlier-in-life “race-day’ injuries. While my husband was in no way attempting to elicit a response other than to lament on his own pain the “one-upper” immediately spoke up and said, “Well, I died!” …to which my husband laughed as if thinking this guy was trying to be funny. He wasn’t. He proceeded to bring photos out of him near-death with tubes running from him. An intensely dramatic response to someone’s simple lament of a backache. While this example is laughable the reality of physical or mental pain is not humorous at all and only made worse by the denial of treatment because you are diminishing your pain as not being as bad as another. Better said a “suck it up” approach. I attempted this approach for many years of my life and finally realized that sucking it up had gotten me to nearly 300 pounds. It was in finally reaching for both the mental and physical help that I needed that I would resolve this pain and live the life I was meant to live all along. Regardless of how bad someone else I knew had it. In truth, it was the idea that I did not have it “as bad” as others or had faired better that I allowed “it” to go on for so many years.

Diminished

I would be remiss to not include the one area of my life that has been affected by all of the one-ups that life has to offer. I have not struggled with pain or pleasure by my definition or yours; the defining moments of my life have always felt diminished by the “norm”. This is truly where growing older has been my therapy. I spent so much of my 20’s and 30’s feeling less-than all of those around me that had gone “off” to college and would speak of the tales of those college days. My college experience was much less about “tales” and far more about “torment”. I would work full-time, raise a child, and study in between it all to earn my education. I would hold back on reciting my alma mater as it would not be as revered as the Ivy League colleges that many of my colleagues had the benefit of attending. The greatest tale of this blog is that somewhere in my 40’s I realized…”Wait…I am sitting in the same boardroom, with the same or better title than “them”. Could it be that my small college education ended me in the same exact place without the sorority stories, without the tales from the dorms and ultimately without the expense of a fancy education? YES!!! It did! It was in this revelation and many more that I would realize that my life experiences were not “less than” and instead come to acknowledge that they were richer, they were grander and they ultimately were unlike anything you could pay for in therapy, education or experience.

I was thrust into this world diminished on the surface but defined on the inside. I would never be a product of my environment. I would never be diminished by the trailer I grew up in, the status of my parent’s dysfunctional relationship, or my teenage choices. I would, however, be defined by all of them proving to myself and anyone that cared to take notice that I was going to be greater because of it, not despite it. These are not one-up stories you tell to the masses, they are pulled out like the gems they are to lift others up that have “assumed” that you and your current state are “more than” theirs. It is in these moments that I revel in the story of “one-undering” someone by motivating them with the idea that “If I can do it you CAN too!” It is the ultimate opposite of “one-upping”.

I have to respect where I am at any moment in time and that means that I acknowledge my pain and my pleasure equally as I define it, I no longer diminish it. I am empathetic by nature and will always listen to others’ stories of worse or better however I will always keep in check that their journey is not mine and my journey is the one I am here to live and define as worth living. I know pain, I know the pleasure it is not learned or defined by any other standard than my own. Own it…I do.

Life as I define it – L.

Balanced…a lesson in boundaries and freedom of choice

I watched a TED Talk featuring Nigel Marsh on “How to make work-life balance work” and thought it was worth sharing as it inspired so many of my own thoughts and opinions on the topic.

Never has there been a time in our world where work and life have collided as millions of us are working from “home”. Gone are the days of punching in and out at the office as the office is now where we wake, where we eat our meals, where we live. It is fair to say that if you didn’t have balance before you are lacking it now…immensely.

As a leader I have preached work-life balance to my team and have worked hard to find it. I absolutely practice what I preach although not perfect I know the foundational points of the TED Talk are true and so I share them and my exponential thoughts on each with you.

  • If you don’t design your life someone else will design it for you and you may not like their idea of balance. #word
  • Never put the quality of your life into the hands of a commercial corporation. (It is not your companies responsibility to provide you balance. It is their responsibility to find the best candidate for the job to get it done efficiently.)
  • We have to be responsible for setting the boundaries we want in our life. #word
  • You have to elongate the time frame beyond a day; approach balance in a balanced way.
  • The small things matter.
  • The smallest investment in the right places can radically transform the quality of your relationships and life.

Six transformational statements, profound. This is what it is really all about. I have succeeded at some of the six and are learning how to solve where I have failed. The point is that I practice, I take a run at each of these on a daily basis.

The responsibility of having freedom is the act of choosing. Then why do we choose and then begrudge that choice? As if we can’t make yet another decision to change courses?

You decide, ultimately. If you don’t want to work in an office, don’t. If you don’t want to work weekends, don’t. If you don’t want to “drink the kool-aid”, don’t. Find what works for you. Don’t begrudge others that DO just because you don’t. You make everyone miserable when you DO what you DON’T want to…you decide for YOU.

It is YOUR life, YOUR journey, make sure you are getting more out of it then it is getting out of you. I give this career advice often. I believe that if you go about work, career or truly any task with this mindset everyone wins. If you are getting out of it what serves you best, you will serve the job better. If you are a slave to the job or task, nothing is achieved. You lose and so does the benefactor.

Last but not least is the idea of balance in your day, week, month…life. Decide what you want it to look like and then execute that vision. Understand that every day will not look the same and allow time to find the equilibrium. Sometimes in attempting to balance we realize that we have to remove from one side or another as all that we want is simply not possible. Again this is where choice is your responsibility. Right-side your ship to allow for smooth sailing.

I am reminded frequently by the wise duo that I call “The Aunts” that we all have the same 24 hours in a day; how we spend it is ours to decide. You will ALWAYS have the time however what you choose to do with it…well that is your responsibility. Own it.

Life as I balance it – L.

Epiphany

And just like that it occurs to me. That I have indeed manifested this, the life I always dreamed of without realizing I was heading right for it. It just occurred to me this morning as I was finishing a 12-week program via the “The Artist’s Way”, that everything that I have done for the last 49 years has prepared me for the next chapter. I always said that when I turned 50-years old that I wanted to teach, I wanted to transition into a new chapter; and while I struggled to see the forest for the trees along the route today I have walked out of that forest, at the end of that path and turned around and there it is…every single tree, every sapling, every seed that was ever planted is now the forest. It is a wealth of experiences, paths and journeys; thorns, bites and equal amounts of sun shining through that will catapult me into my dream. Wow, I am in awe as I write this and the realization shows itself clear as the day that is beginning.

The irony is that I realize now, in this moment, that all of the work in raising my children, cultivating a partnership and friendship that has served as my marriage to the very best partner for me and building a career that can sustain it all has brought me to this place that I can realize the next chapter that lies in front of me. All along I thought my dream would not come to pass because of my lack of realization that the additional education I thought i needed was being attained all along. I dreamed of being a Professor and yet I am. I thought it would be teaching hospitality however I have just realized that it is that and so much more. I thought it would require another degree and yet I realize that there is no more that I can be taught in a structured environment that I have not learned through experience. It is taking what I have learned on these paths that will now be my next chapter. I have learned how to share, I have learned from the masters and I am not afraid. For the reality is that I have earned a doctorate in life studies, learned in a classroom that has been my last 49 years of life.

The epiphany is so profound, the realization that it, all of it, that I have worked for has lifted me to the place that I dreamed of, the place I wished to be, and now it is my only task to take the next steps. So now I walk back through the paths that I have beaten and worn and now reminiscing those walks with eyes wide open, I am able to see in hindsight those things that were beneath the surface. I will feel those things all over again with renewed senses and the benefit of maturity. The only task left “to do” is to simply to release the constraints that I have allowed to weigh me down through my own imprisonment and realize that I am free to go, to soar, to realize this new life, reality and existence without obstacle.

This is real, this is how it occurred to me on this morning as I was doing my “Morning Pages” and had this immense realization and thought enough to capture the moment in my writing. There are so many themes in this realization that are worth pointing out to avoid anything going missed.

  • The epiphany is simply as defined, “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” I have been doing the work and through the work it suddenly appeared, my future, my dream in realization, in full color, right in front of me.
  • The power of manifestation as defined, “being able to harness your true destinies and desires in life, subconsciously put into vision, and then into reality. Everything you want of the universe is already yours the clearer your thoughts and thinking on the matter, the more timely and precise the delivery will come.” Put whatever it is out there, a goal, a FINISH LINE, a dream; whatever you want to call it simply put it out there and return to it often, doing the work along the way that you believe will bring you to that place…and it will be yours.
  • The faith as defined, “complete trust or confidence in something or someone.” If you believe in yourself and trust that what you want will be yours as long as you are willing to do the work, walk the path and have “faith” despite a guarantee that it will be, it will come, if you only believe.

I give this to you as my gift. A glimpse into my soul, my beliefs, my heart. I give back to myself the gift of documenting this moment to allow myself the privilege of revisiting this moment in all of its power. I look forward to the hindsight it will provide in ten years when I will be grateful that I took a chance on myself and willingness to share with YOU.

Life as I manifest it – L.

The Plight of 49

As I write this I am 72 hours from my 49th birthday or maybe better said, 72 hours from the completion of my 48th year on this earth. I am still searching for a lot of things but most ominous is the search for contentment.

There is something about the “9”s that get our attention as we recognize that it is the last year of a decade. It makes us think back about our 20’s, 30’s, or in my case my 40’s. What did you do? Who did you become? What changed? It also forces us to consider what is coming next. I am going to be 50 in exactly 368 days…what? 50! I am not even sure that I know what to feel, only that it is yet another place to start. Start what…well that is still to be determined because I first have to finish up the last three days of 48 and conquer 49. It is in these words that I find my greatest challenge. When will I stop conquering? When will I worry less about finishing and starting? In my mind this is likely where contentment lies; in the being and less in the doing.

I am reading “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss and in his concluding chapter he offers a passage from the “Zen in the Art of Archery”. It is wise so I offer it here…

I must only warn you of one thing. You have become a different person in the course of these years. For this is what the art of archery means: a profound and far-reaching contest of the archer with himself. Perhaps you have hardly noticed it yet, but you will feel it very strongly when you meet your friends and acquaintances again in your own country: things will no longer harmonize as before. You will see with other eyes and measure with other measures.

Tim Ferriss

I too have changed, but who doesn’t in 49 years. Some of those changes have been easy and adaptable and some I am still struggling with, but again who isn’t? This is likely where contentment lies. It lies in the release of the struggle, releasing the need to change and truly being content. Content with what you do, what you think, how you act and ultimately who you are…content because the only measure that you consider is your own.

I will always “seek to understand” as I am curious by nature. I will always study as I am hungry for knowledge. However to resolve what I know allows for the rest to be enjoyed and not labored. Reading, writing, running and all other things I do are not tasks that require deadlines and tracking. Instead understanding that they are what I do, when I want to do it, how I choose to do it. This applies to everything I do. This is what “49” will be about…releasing the “must do” discipline and replacing it with a more forgivable understanding of what I do because it is right, because it is me, because it fits. Wiser and content that is my goal for this year. Let’s do this thing!

Life as I have lived it for 49 years – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 16

Day 16 prompt:

What is your level-set? Why?

The prompt is a long-one this morning so I set the question above and offer the entire prompt here. Admittedly I do not like the way I originally wrote the prompt so I am revising as I rewrite it below. 🙂

  • Everyone’s normal is predicated on their upbringing. There is no “normal”, this is what we all come to realize early in life as we are introduced to people outside of our household. If you come from a wealthy family, your “normal” may already be planned for you, while if you are from a poor family, you may be working to leave that “normal” behind for you and your family.

My answer:

Based on how you were raised, you define your first concept of normal. This quickly becomes what you are used to and when you see examples of normal that our outside of what you “know” you are left with a condition to compare against. These early realizations occur when we are young. I remember realizing that what I knew as “normal” was very different than my friends in the neighborhood and in elementary school. At that point I did not know better from worse, I just knew it was different.

As I have become an adult I have come to realize that what may appear from the outside as a “better normal” is tested as when you look beneath the surface you come to realize that normal is not defined by wealth, health or relationship status. There were many years, especially through my 20’s, that I attempted to hide my “normal” as I felt it made me “less than” those around me. As I continued to evolve as an adult I was fortunate to realize that my childhood experiences served me extremely well in the varying environments I would experience throughout life. I was better equipped than those around me because of the early-experiences in my life.

To answer the specific prompt, “What is your level-set? Why?” My level-set or normal is very different than the way I was raised. This was a normal that was created intentionally as I was determined to live it different. It is hard to change your normal because the very act of changing what is normal in your life requires a path through uncharted territory. I had the courage to do it because I knew that what I experienced early-on was not the life I wanted to live as my “forever”. I knew this because I had the benefit of observing other lives that were more appealing and if I am being honest, less devastating.

I still work on this life that I now consider my normal, daily. It takes a great deal of discipline and sometimes that discipline feels like “force” because it is. I have a great deal of fortitude and summon it often. My weakness is where I am not able to control the environment because I rebel and am hesitant to follow. I revel in controlling my fate, which in itself is an oxymoron because the very definition of “fate” is “the development of events beyond a person’s control“.

This prompt created discord from the moment I read it. I didn’t like the way it was written, I didn’t like what it represented and ultimately it forced me to seriously contemplate. It is when I am pushed into a place that is uncomfortable that I find my reveal. I learn things and ultimately admit things about myself that I may not have readily seen previously. The example of this is in the last paragraph where I actually use the word “rebel” in describing myself. Many years ago when taking a Personality Test it described me as “rebellious” to which I was almost offended. When discussing it with those that had also taken the test I told them that the test was wrong as I was not “rebellious”. They quickly corrected me…ha! Over the years I have also come to realize and own my rebellion.

Rebellious is defined as:

“…showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention.” or “…(of a thing) not easily handled or kept in place.”

Yep…that is me…try to hold me down…but be ready for the fight…rebellious is my level-set/normal.

Life as I have lived it – Miami Gangster

Seeking Normal – Day 14

Day 14 prompt:

How do other people affect your normal? How do you control those affects? Do you choose who’s in your life and what role they play?

My answer:

Other people affect our lives in all roles we play. While we would like to believe that we can control everything, we know better, and in this case there are too many external factors that ultimately limit out ability to control who is in our lives. For example, you cannot choose your family, your coworkers, your neighbors or even the most remote of interactions like who gets behind you in line at the grocery store. For this reason the effort and practice that we need to deploy is about controlling how we react and what we tolerate.

In my life there are people that have and do ultimately affect me negatively however I have made a concerted effort to remove those people from my life. Where I don’t have the freedom to choose I have chosen to limit my interactions and ultimately to control my reaction. I have learned that people will show themselves without my assistance and my intervention can appear to be part of the problem versus a solve. I have also learned that saying nothing at all, or in this case not reacting, makes more of a statement than words ever could.

The reason this prompt is important in the discussion of “normal” is that if you do not take steps to control your reactions or continue to allow people in your life that do not serve you well, your reaction becomes your normal. A normal over time makes you a victim of those people. Becoming a “victim” in any sense of the word is never okay especially when you can control and deny the victimization.

The more I write about this topic and others the more I realize that the common denominator is ALWAYS your ability to DECIDE. You decide everything in life. You decide if you stay, if you go, who you go with, how you go…YOU DECIDE. It is the power of that decision that ultimately affects everything. This is a topic for another day but I must say that it is where I have seen people NOT decide for themselves that they play victim to their environment. NOT deciding is also a decision and if that is the choice you make, own it, don’t make excuses, don’t blame others, own it and where you don’t need to explain, don’t, just decide.

Life as I decide – L.

Seeking Normal – Day 10

Day 10 prompt:

Is crisis normal for you? Are you creating crisis in your own life? In the lives of others? Are others creating crisis in your life?

How do you begin to change that?

My answer:

Crisis is not normal for me. I am someone that has anxiety without crisis so to feed into it is counterproductive. When crisis hits in my life I find myself swimming deep in it. This is not a negative but more of an aggressive approach to dealing in it. I can handle crisis better than others as I naturally organize and use my resources optimally.

I do not create crisis in my own life nor in the lives of others. I am actually accused of solving for others; before they even know they need a solve. Again I think that is likely because of my fortitude. I have been through more “than the average bear” and have had to find resources to get where I am mentally and physically and therefore I want to pass that on to those that are standing on that START LINE where I have made it through.

On the last question, this is where I have the most to contribute. Yes, others try to create crisis in my life but the difference is that I no longer allow it. I have been tolerant for many reasons for too many years and I have finally gotten to a point in my life that I simply will not allow it. If I don’t want it then I am not going to tolerate it, not for the sake of anyone or anything. It’s a decision; everything is!

This is a great prompt for our days of COVID-19 because it has caused crisis. It is life or death, it is the most legit crisis we have ever known and I hope will ever know. How you deal with it, how you survive it will be your story, the memory of a time gone by that you will recount for years to come.

Imagine – L.

Something Sacred is at Stake

I have sat silent out of respect for the massive amount of loss all around us. Sickness, death, solitude, and desperation are everywhere. We are scared, tired, hopeless and terrified.

Time has lost all meaning; when does it end, how does it end…there are no answers. We have been given no choice but to sit, raw and vulnerable.
As I sat here tonight gutted from what I will one day remember as the hardest day in my career I found myself watching an at-home concert by one of my favorite musical artists of all time and there at exactly 25:00 minutes into his 32:49 minute set, there were the words; that I needed to hear. This is what I was supposed to offer to YOU my friends, family, and followers. My universe always delivers what I need exactly at the moment I need it and here were those words:

“All time is precious no matter where you are at; every moment something sacred is at stake.” – Gavin Rossdale

YES, this my friends is what it is all about!

I remember this very well as I sat by my mother’s bedside in her final days; time had no meaning and every single one of those final moments something sacred was indeed at stake. My bond to her, the bond that was breaking, attempting to leave me, prisoner, without a cell, bound by no one forevermore.

Today as I was moving through the moments there was not a moment that was not precious. This time it was not about life or death but it was an interruption of a partnership if only temporary…we are affected. A place in time where everything was changing for them and within me. In those moments, every reaction was sacred and we were reminded that while it is all business, it is always personal.

What we are going through will forever change us, as a society and personally. I will always remember those days next to my mother knowing what was at stake was the change in me and today as I attempted to meet myself where I was and be there, in the moment with colleagues that I revere and respect more than they can ever know, I knew then as I know now…

“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” – Maya Angelou

We as a society are being shaken, we are being tested and we are uncomfortable. However, ultimately remember that you STILL decide; you still have the same power you had yesterday, one week ago or even a year ago. You are still the YOU, you always were; everything around you will change but ultimately YOU decide.

With all of my love, adoration, and respect for anyone suffering through these uncertain times.

L.

Less IS More…if you are willing because now you ARE able

In my reading this morning I find myself searching for the “right thing” to write about in these very difficult moments. Our world has changed, regardless of the similarities each of us has experienced a monumental shift in the lives we were living two weeks ago. It is with this sensitivity that I find myself careful not to push but to continue to inspire, even when those I am speaking to likely cannot receive inspiration.

There were a number of topics that came to mind but one that I thought might be worth a weeks worth of attempt. It starts with this quote:

In a dark time, the eye begins to see. – Theodore Roether

I then follow with this quote:

We are always doing something, talking, reading, listening to the radio, planning what next. The mind is kept naggingly busy on some easy, unimportant external thing all day. – Brenda Ueland

Now I offer this excerpt from my reading this morning:

It is a paradox that by emptying our lives of distractions we are actually filling the well. Without distractions, we are once again thrust into the sensory world. With no newspaper to shield us, a train becomes a viewing gallery. With no novel to sink into (and no television to numb us out) an evening becomes a vast savannah in which furniture-and other assumptions-get rearranged.

The Artist’s Way – Pg. 96

Regardless of choice our lives have been thrust into “less than”. Less work, less traveling, less socializing…less. However in all of the “less” we can find “more”. More of what we never had the time or space to do previously. Space to do things we never even considered before or knew we had an interest. In this coming week I challenge you to turn off the news, you already know what it is going to say, and shift to a place you have not given the time. Is it reading, painting, redecorating, meditating, ______________ (fill in the blank).

In every environment life is changing, you are forced to do it different than you were doing it before, don’t fight it but instead flow with it. We have been forced to reduce the distractions through recommended self-isolation so honor yourself in it and don’t fill one void with another; fill that void with a new place that offers insight, appetite and room. Give yourself room to process it all and see what comes out on the other side. You may be surprised if you just take this time to explore a distraction-less world.

Life as I am living it – L.

Contentment…a rare find

I can probably count on one hand how many times in my life I have uttered the word “content”. It is not part of my vocabulary to note that “I am content” with anything or anyone. As you can imagine this makes it hard for those people that are committed to me and I to them. I am always pushing and while that is a personal choice for me, many times it means that those around me are also pushed without choice. For example, my husband is content, I am not and that makes it hard for him to maintain his contentment.

To really dive-in the proper definition is required:

con·tent1/kənˈtent/adjective

  1. in a state of peaceful happiness.
  2. satisfy (someone).
  3. a state of satisfaction.

I certainly experience various states of happiness and satisfaction but I don’t relate those states or moments as “content”. To be content, in my opinion, is to be happy or satisfied with the end result. Rarely am I ever truly “finished” or “content” with anything as I believe there is always something more that can be gained.

I was watching an interview with Bob Iger, CEO of Disney, this morning and he noted a new term I had not heard before, “Relentless Perfection”. As he explained it is about making “it” great, not accepting mediocrity and not giving up. He made clear to note that it is not about perfection at all. I related with this theory as I do not believe in perfectionism nor do I consider myself competitive. I am about making my world “great” but “perfect” is not something I subscribe. I am always striving. Striving for the next phase, next lesson, next milestone; never expecting to stop or in this case “be content”.

I am grappling with this theory of contentment as my therapist recently noted that you cannot ever truly be grateful with yourself until you are content. He has said it more than once and the more I think on it the more I realize the importance of this theory. Let me break this down…(Don’t you love it when I break it down into tiny over-analyzed granular particles of truth – ha!)

  • Let’s start with my marriage. (Oh boy, somewhere in the world Gary is sighing and saying “Here we go!”.) I have been married nearly 24 years. We have a great marriage, friendship and partnership but am I content? My instant reaction is “No” because I know we have to continue to work on it. We are in transition as our youngest is finishing up high school and has very little needs (outside of money) for us to do anything for him. What this means for us? We are soon-to-be-empty-nesters. Haven’t we waited 30 years of raising children to finally have an empty-nest? Gary would answer “YES!!!!” and I would say…”Well…our youngest is welcome to stay through college” to which Gary would say “NOOOOO!!”. Ha! My point here getting back to contentment is that my marriage is not in a state of contentment because we are in a state of transition. While everything around us is changing, so are we which leaves many couples at our age looking at each other and say “Who are you?”.
  • Let’s go to my career. This may be the one area I am closest to contentment. I have had to work on this state for a while now as it has been hard to get to “content”. The tough part of finding contentment has been in the “climb”. I spent YEARS getting “here” and once I realized that there was no more rungs on the ladder to climb; I had to get used to the idea of simply “being” here. I am still a bit restless and have to remind myself frequently that I have the title, the expertise, the company, the EVERYTHING I could want in this career and that is contentment.
  • Last, let me breakdown the area I spend the least time content and the most work on; ME. I am happy with myself and happier with my healthy-self yet I am always studying on how to be better. I think it is always important to invest in oneself but not to the point that everything is up for negotiation. While I love learning and revel in being a student of life I also recognize that there has to be a time when you relish being a master at something which allows you to appreciate where you are, knowing where you have been and the work you have done. Well look where we ended up…that my friends is GRATITUDE.

I am longing for more contentment in my life and less effort spent on making better things that are absolutely perfect in their current state.

  • I will continue to work on contentment in my career and simply enjoy the ride. It doesn’t mean that I won’t strive to make things great, it simply changes the state-of-mind that makes restless to “move on” to the next thing.
  • After my last few half marathons are complete this year I will stop training and start running based on how far I “feel” like going and not how far my training plan tells me I “have” to run. Running for pleasure is not something I have yet known.
  • I have already stopped tracking every single thing I eat understanding that I don’t have to “do the work” any more as my life of dieting is in the past. I am content with my weight, I am content with my health and I am GRATEFUL beyond words for this contentment.

In hindsight, I actually have contentment in various places in my life and am absolutely content with who I am admitting that I am not perfect but am also not afraid to fail. Most importantly I do have GRATITUDE l as I could be CONTENT in every part of my life TODAY without doing another thing.

Life as I see it – L.