The Show Must Go On…

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The past few weeks, I have been feverishly preparing for a fairly major work event…and we’re not ready.

The event kicks off this week, and we are still working on some of the major details: agenda, presentations, etc.

Now, I’m not new to business or to these kinds of events…there are always last-minute changes, and updates. And that’s fine. But this time I’m feeling completely unprepared and incredibly anxious about the glass balls in the air that will shatter when they hit the ground. (I’m less concerned with the rubber ones that will bounce, and I can catch on the way back up.)

My regular readers (translation – my sister) know that this is my first major project in my recently started new job. Maybe that’s why I’m feeling unprepared? Not really. These kinds of events are really pretty common within business, and while the content may change slightly from corporation to corporation, the nuts and bolts are pretty consistent.

But the whole thing got me thinking…how often I feel discombobulated in many aspects of my life. I enjoying trying new things, because it’s the new that makes life interesting. But I’m a girl who like to have a plan. When I try something new, there is always a little voice in my head that says, “Wait…what’s next? What haven’t I planned for?”

Now I’m sure this event will all work out, like it usually does. And while I have tried to plan for every eventuality, if something happens, we’ll do what we can and what’s needed to fix it. At some point in all this, I’ve realized – like in all parts of my life, the show must go on.

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Choices

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Life is all about choices.

Some choices are forced upon us. Say you have a disease that can be treated but the cure may be worse than the disease itself. Technically you have a choice, but in situations like this, the choice is often clear.

Some choices are made for us. If the government decides to pay for a new study – say a study of the health damage caused by peanut butter chip cookies – your tax dollars will pay for that, whether you believe peanut butter chip cookies have an inherent health risk or not. True, you have the option to protest or vote differently in the next election, but at the end of the day, somebody will get paid to outlaw peanut butter chip cookies, and you will have another choice to make: remain a law-abiding citizen or go to the black market for peanut butter chips.

Some choices can be strongly influenced by your friends. If your entire group of friends is going to a party, chances are that you will end up going too. Yes, you can absolutely choose not to go, if you are cool with hanging out alone Saturday night, binge-watching “New Girl” on Netflix.

But it’s the choices that you – and you alone – have to make that can be the most challenging. I’m not referring to “Do I wear my black shirt or blue tank top…” or “Should I paint the kitchen yellow or white?” kinds of choices. I’m talking about the bigger ones. The life-altering changes like, “Do I quit my job?” or “Should I leave my wife?” or “Should I have a child?” or “Should I pick up and move cross-country on a whim?”

I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way to make these decisions. Some people pray for answers, some people draw up lists of pros and cons, some people flip a coin. I personally am a “researcher.” I try to gather as much information as I possibly can, play out all the possible (and sometimes even the improbable) outcomes in my head, get input from those I trust on the topic, then make a considered decision, making what I think is the best choice, based on what I know at that time.

Sometimes I’m right; other times I’m wrong. And still other times – happily few and far between, thanks to a little luck – I’m REALLY wrong. But in the end, the challenge of choice is the price you pay for freedom. I’m glad that I have as many choices in life as I do, and I will live with the consequences, good and bad.

 

Rainy Days and Mondays

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“Rainy days and Mondays, always get me down…”

As stated by the Carpenters, and more recently by Emmy Rossum, rainy days can have a negative impact on your attitude.

But I have to admit, more often than not, I like a good rainy day.
During the winter, a nice rainy day to me signifies that spring is coming. And given the winter this year here in Chi-beria (AKA Chicago), that first little hint of a thaw is enough to get me through…at least through today. A nice gentle rain in the spring gets us even closer to green grass and early, spring flowers. There is nothing as peaceful and at the same time exciting to me as a good, old-fashioned summer storm, complete with a lightening show and house-rattling thunder. And rain in the fall reminds me that we’re coming full circle back to winter and the holidays.

But beyond the changing seasons, a rainy day often gives me the chance to think. My creative juices seem to fill me up like the puddles outside. I’m more focused on a rainy day, since there isn’t anything outside to tempt me. And when you have the opportunity to curl up and watch movies with the one(s) you love on a rainy day, under a cozy blanket with popcorn close at hand? Well, that just makes for a great moment to be truly enjoyed…and a fond memory.

With all due respect to both the Carpenters and Emmy Rossum, I agree on the “Mondays” thing, but I kind of like a rainy day.

What about you?

 

Taking a Chance

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When I was young, I rarely thought about risk.

That’s not to say that I took unnecessary risks. I thought about the possible outcomes, and then decided if it was worth it or not. And usually, it was.

Sadly, I recently noticed that as the years pile on, I second guess myself more and more. It makes sense. As we get older – and more experienced – we realize that the risks might be greater than we thought. And as we get older, we generally have more responsibilities…spouse, kids, extended family and friends…that we don’t want to disappoint. A mortgage, student loans or college funds…bills we literally can’t afford to default on. Expectations, a reputation, personal standards…that we don’t want to compromise.

And as time go on, we also take on the input of the world around us. The boss that constantly criticizes, the friends that question our choices, the family that “lovingly” worry out loud if that’s “really a good idea.”

In fact, it has gotten so bad for me that I even second guess myself on simple decisions…should I add salt or salt substitute to the pork chops. And that literally was the moment of my epiphany: I need to stop overthinking. If the chops are too salty, we have at least three pizza joints on speed dial.

My tip of the day? Stop worrying so much. Most mistakes are not so dire that they can’t be fixed. Most decisions are not so irrevocable that they cannot be reversed. And most of the time, I’ve found, that I’ve learned good lessons in bad situations.

This – my inaugural blog – is the perfect example. I have these “thought pops” in my head – things that I want to share. And it feel like the right thing for me to do. So welcome to my little corner of the world.

I know it’s a chance, but I’m taking it.