Experiences

This tag is associated with 7 posts

“You Raised the Monster….”

“You raised the monster….”

I worked for two years at a company where the mom was the CEO and the son was the V.P. of Sales. That line was a common refrain when co-workers would gripe about their epic verbal assaults on each other. We had no sympathy for the CEO when her son started trying to oust her. After all, she had raised him that way. His personality didn’t sprout up overnight. He suffered from a severe case of feeling entitled, because he was spoiled his whole life. She taught him to get what he wanted, regardless of whom he had to step on to get it. And, one day, she was just one more rung on the ladder that was his climb to his own little empire.

See, here’s the truth, people. You raise your children. Your children are your responsibility. One of your main responsibilities as a parent is to provide your children with the life skills to become established adults. I’ve seen it far too often in the last decade or so, helicopter parents who can’t (or won’t) allow their children to grow up, but then complain when they don’t move their asses out of the house and become self-sufficient.

Seriously! That’s not a fail on the part of the child, it’s a failure on the part of the parent. Children need room to grow and chances to screw up (or succeed). Asking a thirteen year old to schedule a routine doctor’s appointment is (ohmigod!) reasonable. Giving a child over 5 chores is reasonable. Not commiserating with your kid when the teacher is being “mean” is a good life lesson. Mean people exist in the world, whether or not the teacher is mean is almost moot, because either way, your kid will eventually need to learn how to deal with people of all types.

You can’t cave in to every whine your child makes. You can’t do everything for them. You have to be able to recognize what your child is already capable of and take steps to build on that. You have to introduce new skills to their current set. Think of the things you handle on a daily basis as an adult and try to incorporate little life lessons that your child can benefit from.

You also can’t shield them from life. I remember when finances were bad in my house growing up. My mother and father wouldn’t hide it from me. They didn’t give me all the gory details, but they were honest about when we could and could not afford something. When I was seven I was already conscious of what things cost. I would ask for a treat at the store and my mother would set a limit (say, a dollar). I would choose something, but then I’d see something else I liked. I would be forced to choose between them. I would always choose the one that was less expensive. Usually, this resulted in numerous exchanges for lesser costing items until I settled on a dried fruit leather strip that cost $0.17.

It was a life lesson that I’ve carried into adulthood. Not just of tradeoffs, but also that you can usually find something to brighten your day when you need a “treat” that’s still well within your budget.

As I got older, I got more details. More information. What my parents shared with me changed as my capacity to understand and reason changed. I learned to ask questions; to gather as much information as I could before making a decision.  I learned the power of critical thinking. I learned the power of thinking for myself.

You have to teach your children kindness, respect for others, self-respect. You have to teach them to dream big and be accepting of different people. You have to teach them to be committed to their goals, to be strong in the face of adversity, but still considerate of all parties involved. Teach them manners and courtesy. Teach them humility and humor. Teach them to be responsible and trust worthy, but don’t raise them to be gullible. Present them with information and critical thinking skills and let them make their own decisions.

Sure, I wasn’t an ideal kid… but I was responsible. I knew what was expected of me. And I became a reliable, established, responsible adult. My parents raised me before the age of the helicopter parents and for that I am thankful.

I hope I can do half as good of a job with my son because I certainly don’t want to have to deal with a monster later on in life. It bears repeating that I don’t think you have a right to complain about where your child ends up unless you’re really certain you’re not the reason they turned out that way!

 Just another thought of the day.

 

Social Welfare – A Lesson in Perspective

I try to keep my posts lighthearted when I can. I also try to keep the subject material as non-controversial as possible. Today, however, is not one of those days. Today I would like to write about a very difficult time in my life and how grateful I was for all of the assistance I received. It’s another lesson in perspective that I hope my readers will listen to with an open mind.

I’ve taken a great sense of pride in my independence over the years. As an adult I had always supported myself, paid my bills, and, to the best of my ability, been a solid citizen. When the recession hit, I was in the process of getting laid off from a very lucrative job that I absolutely loved. Within a matter of two weeks every promising job interview I had dried up. Those positions didn’t get filled by other candidates. They simply went unfilled or the positions were eliminated. I’d been between jobs before and unemployment wasn’t ever something I wanted to stay on. It was something to tide me over until I could find another position. It never took more than a couple of months. In fact, I was so convinced that I would find a job quickly that I didn’t even apply for my unemployment until three months after I lost my job.

But 2008 was something for the record books. I applied for every single job that came up that I was qualified for, every single job that I was overqualified for, and even tossed my hat in the ring for jobs I had no chance of ever obtaining. I was averaging 100+ job applications a month. And my phone wasn’t ringing at all. When I found out I was pregnant with my darling baby boy, I contemplated terminating the pregnancy. But, being the optimist that I am, I decided that it was time in my life (I was approaching 30) and that I really wanted my child. The decision wasn’t easy. I’ve always been a believer that you shouldn’t bring a child into this world if you can’t support it. But I was willing to work at Wal-Mart if that’s what it took. (Wal-Mart never called me in for an interview either.)

My doctor helped me apply for state medical, so that I could have quality pre-natal care. And the months continued passing. My unemployment covered the basics for nearly two years, even though I constantly had to fight to get it due to a clerical error when my file was opened. I want to make it very clear that I never sat back and said “well, I’m seven months pregnant, so I should just give up on looking for a job until after the baby comes.” I have literally thousands of electronic application confirmations from those two years. I was always sure that a new job was just a week or two away. I interviewed pregnant and did my best to hide my growing belly.

I swear my son knew my concerns even before he was born, because I went into labor on a Friday night. He was born on a Saturday morning and I was back to applying to jobs on Monday. But there was nothing. Thousands of job applications with my extremely impressive resume resulted in a total of 4 interviews over two years.

State Medical was one thing to me. A perfectly acceptable social security net to bridge the gap for people who don’t have employer based coverage. But reality came really crashing in on me when my unemployment benefits were exhausted; I had no money coming in and an 8 month old baby boy at home. I had desperately wanted to breastfeed my son. He, however, had other plans. From birth he had serious latching issues. Nothing the nurses did seemed to help. I worked with him for two weeks, but he kept losing weight. There were many, many tears shed, and I felt like a failure. I pumped, but… between supplemental formula feedings and the stress I was under, there just wasn’t much to be done. So, what do you do, when your son needs specialized formula (he had milk protein intolerance) and you have no money to buy it? What do you do when there just isn’t a job to be had?

You turn to a social safety net. In my case, this was the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). There was nothing else to be done. I had exhausted my financial reserves, my 401k refund, and my savings accounts. I walked into the Department of Human Services office and wanted to cry. It was the most desolate place I ever remember being in. The tenor of the office is depressing and the individuals there just have an air of being completely beaten, downtrodden. There were crying children, exhausted parents, and elderly people… everyone just looked miserable. I felt a deep, searing pain in my stomach, just being there. Oh, how the mighty fall.

The first time I used my Link (benefit) card, which was only for groceries mind you, I had to fight back the tears. The reality of my situation was just unbearable. I tried to tell myself that I paid taxes into this system for years, but it didn’t help. I felt ashamed. I felt like less of a person.

I was only on the SNAP program for two months, because a job finally came through in July 2010. It was part time, for much less than my previous salary, but it was work and it enabled me to get off the SNAP program. I was elated the first time I bought groceries with my debit card again. I felt saved. I felt human again.

I’m off public health insurance (even though I have no employer coverage so I have NO coverage) but my son still gets health care through the state. I’m grateful every day for my less than ideal job and that, somehow, I managed to retain my optimism through everything that went wrong those two years (because there’s a lot more that I’m not sharing here). And I am extremely grateful to know that there is a safety net out there for people like me. As much as I hope never to have to use it again I sleep better at night knowing that the system is there for those who need it.

The lesson in perspective is this:

If you’ve never had to utilize a social safety net, you don’t get to judge those that do. I’m sorry, but you haven’t been in their shoes. The 80’s mythology of the “welfare” recipient who drives her brand new Cadillac to the welfare office is just that – a myth. The majority of people who utilize the benefits are just like me, people who had no other option. They are people who would like to get off the benefits as soon as flipping possible. Of course, there will always be the few people who manage to game the system. But those few people aren’t the norm. I am the norm. And I can tell you firsthand just how degrading and dehumanizing that experience really was. I challenge you, any of you, who believe that I’m exaggerating, or out of the “norm” to go sit at a social services office for an hour or so and observe the degradation first hand.

After you’ve gone home and washed the lingering feel of depression and desperation off yourself, you might find that your perspective has completely changed.

Longing for the days when school was my only “job”.

Three more days of glorious freedom. It’s such a short time to accomplish all of the left over items that got moved to the back burner the last few months. There’s furniture to be moved, organization to be done, and a desk that somehow got completely buried in paperwork to dig out before classes resume next Monday. It’s going to be a rough semester, I can tell already, and all I can really do is breathe slowly and hope that all turns out well.

Going back to school as an adult is difficult enough to make me really wish I’d done it when I was young and didn’t have to worry about things like electric bills, car payments, and retirement plan contributions. I long for carefree days and nights of getting rowdy with my friends. At 22 you feel you have the world on a string, studying can be reserved for last minute cram sessions and nothing seems to be more important than enjoying life. Education is important, sure, but aren’t we here to live?

I’ll admit a minor twinge of nearly-middle-age jealousy when I hear tales of young adults in school and partying on campus. In your thirties your outlook on school is completely different (or at least it should be) and you’re trying to balance a job, a home, and a family while juggling your school work. When I hear a “normal” aged college student gripe about having too much to do while living in campus housing and NOT holding down a job as well I have to refrain from smacking that person upside the head. At the same time I want to congratulate them for doing the smart thing and getting school out of the way before the real world can intrude.

I can honestly say I appreciate school more at my age… everything but Algebra. Honestly? When was the last time anyone factored a polynomial in their day to day life. How could that possibly help me in real life? But, I digress. I am a student. I’m a student in name, registered to an institution of higher learning, and I am a student of the world. I soak up information from everything that surrounds me and attempt to navigate a complicated world with the knowledge I’ve gained.

My interests are as diverse as the day is long and, I fear, that I’ll never decide what I want to be when I “Grow up”; except maybe young again. I’ve settled on Business Management again for now, simply because it’s a field I’m already experience in and it’s the one degree that won’t eat up too much of my real life time. Changing majors would require a level of dedication and time commitment that I’m just not willing to make right now.

I’ve never believed that a person’s job has to be something that they absolutely love. Sure, it should be something you don’t loathe, but it doesn’t have to be a perfect match either. I’m of the solid mindset that your job is your gateway to enjoying and appreciating your real life more. It makes the money that pays for you to be able to pursue your passion through hobbies and leisure activities. I would never want to take something I love and turn it into work.  That’s just a personal opinion and I know it’s one that’s not shared by many.

I don’t regret my choice of major – it’s something I’m good at and there are opportunities in my future for it to challenge me, which I feel is very important. For now my only regret is not getting the education out of the way when I might have had the ability to enjoy it more. Or at least not take it quite as seriously as I do now. Oh, but sometimes I long for the days when going to school was my job and main responsibility. Here’s the life lesson kids: Stay in School – because it only gets more difficult to stick with it as you get older. Oh, and try to pick a major that doesn’t suck but at the same time don’t let your choice of career path be your end all-be all.

I Am Woman! (or: I Cry Over the Darnedest Things Sometimes)

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with my semester winding down and finals to survive. I had wanted to post this particular topic much earlier in the week, but sadly, just couldn’t find a spare few minutes to sit still and write it out. But, late is still better than never.

As a woman I often feel like the very things that set me apart from the opposite sex are the things I get crucified for. If I cry I’m too emotional. If I’m quiet when I need to think I’m cold or angry. If I’m strong then I don’t need a partner. If I’m weak then I’m needy. All of this leads to an extreme amount of confusion and guilt that I try very hard not to cave in to. I am me and I’m good with that.

But every once in a while, my own emotions catch me by surprise and confuse me even more. I’ll start with the most recent time (there are two that I want to cover here).

On Wednesday, I arrived home from work to find my little one sick with a fever. He was lethargic and generally miserable, with no apparent cause. I cuddled him, kept on him to drink water, and finally gave him some Tylenol to bring down his temperature. I don’t panic over these things but I don’t feel guilty for that, because I have such a large number of kids in my family that I know when to panic and when not to worry. But as 5:00pm rolled around, I started worrying. See, I have a spin class on Wednesdays. I paid for it. I didn’t want to miss it but at the same time, I felt like a bad mother for abandoning my little one when he was sick.

It’s not like I was going to leave him in the care of a stranger or someone incapable of cuddling him with the same amount of love I give him. He was staying with his Nana (my mother) and I would be home in an hour. But as I was settling him in and taking care of the last-minute details I suddenly felt like a horrible mother. Despite the fact that I knew he would be okay and well taken care of, despite knowing that he didn’t have anything serious, I felt terrible.

This ties back in to my habit of feeling guilty whenever I take time to myself but it was obviously amplified by the fact that my son wasn’t feeling well. A brief discussion with my mother reassured me that he would be fine, that she would call me if anything happened – no matter how small, and I left for class. Class is a whole three minutes away from home (five if I get caught at a red light) but I cringed the whole way there, because there was a small part of me that was really happy to not be missing it.

I fell into my usual groove at class and for a good half an hour I actually forgot about work, money, relationship problems, and … my sick little man, cuddling at home with his Nana, waiting for me to come back. As I walked back to my car my shoulders slumped and my drive home was a study in guilt and anxiety. But when I got home, my little one was passed out comfortably on the couch in his little diaper, his Nana diligently standing guard and rubbing his little back. His fever was coming down and he was just tuckered out now.

My heart lightened as I gathered him in my arms and he touched my face for a moment and whispered “Mommy… Hi Mommy” before sleepily burying his face in my shoulder and returning to a restorative slumber. The guilt washed out of me as I realized that part of being a mommy is being able to pick responsible caregivers for my child. I trust his father. I trust my mother. I trust my sister. These are the people who care for my little one the most often and I know that they have me covered if I have to work, study for school, or even just attend a fitness class I paid for in advance.

That night I read a news story about a woman who killed her 22 month old son for interrupting her Farmville game. I was horrified and saddened, but instantly glad that I’m the kind of mommy who feels guilty for leaving her ill son with a loving caregiver for a fitness class.

**As an aside for those of you wondering, my little one was back to his perfectly happy adorable self by the next morning.**

The other event I wanted to write about occurred a week ago. Having noticed that none of my workout pants were fitting properly anymore (and therefore no longer suited to working out in because they kept trying to fall off me when I run) I took my mother and the little one with me for a quick run to JC Penney last Thursday during our usually weekly errand run. I grabbed three new pairs of running pants, a couple new shirts,  checked out and we left. My mother has mobility issues, so we had “rock star” (read:  Handicapped) parking.

As we were walking to the car an elderly gentleman approached me from his van and asked me in a thickly accented voice “could you please give me a boost?” It took my brain a moment to process the scene… Me, my little one in my arms, my mother, this elderly gentleman standing next to a van with out-of-state license plates in the handicapped parking place next to us… Well, to put it simply, where I live I’m more accustomed to being approached by someone panhandling. Also, “boost” isn’t the commonly used term in my region.

Of course, once my brain (a little slow because Thursdays are my day off and I’m usually rushing around without thought) finally caught up I replied “Absolutely, of course!”

This elderly gentleman looked unbelievably appreciative as I got my mother and son settled in the car. He looked a little anxious as I backed my car out, but then relieved as I simply pulled in closer to his van so the cables would reach easily.

We fumbled for the hood release on my car – in my defense I’m not unversed in general vehicle maintenance, but my car is brand new and I’ve never had to pop the hood yet – got the jumper cables hooked up and his van started with very little fuss.

I smiled to his equally elderly wife, who remained seated in the van, as I closed the hood of my car. But as I tried to walk away I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder.

“Please,” he said as he stopped me, “For your time and trouble” as he tried to hand me four dollars that his wife had apparently fished out of her purse.

I was mortified. A kind deed should be its own reward. This couple was likely someone’s grandparents, I thought, as my mother and her grandson sat in my car.

“No, really, it was nothing. I’m glad I could help. Please, have a safe trip” I said as I held my hand up in a gesture of refusal.

It took a few minutes of assuring him that I wouldn’t accept his money, and then my mother refusing to take the money for my son through the window when he tried another angle, for him to realize that we really wouldn’t accept his money.

He said “thank you” one more time as we pulled out of the parking space, a look of gratitude on his face. I’m pretty sure it was that look that was my undoing because as we drove away I started crying. I simply couldn’t help it. The tears came out of nowhere and I’m still not quite sure of the cause. Was it that if that had been my grandmother (rest her soul) or even my mother, I would hope they would find someone to help that would refuse the little cash they had available? Was it simply tears of being glad I could help someone out? Was it the example I was setting for my child who, still too young to understand, that the deed is its own reward? Or was it that I suddenly thought “Oh dear, I hope I didn’t insult him by not taking his offer of compensation for my time!”

So there you have it. Women are emotional creatures. It is part of what makes us such appealing creatures. We’re emotional yet strong enough to endure almost anything. We’re loving but sometimes need time to process without being thought of as cold. We laugh when we should be crying and sometimes cry when we should smile. We have tough exteriors but are easily wounded. We’ll forgive easily but not trust without time and proof. And whether you realize it or not, we tend to feel guilty for taking time for ourselves, which is why we do it so rarely… Love us for these qualities and we’ll never fail you. But please, please, don’t say things like “you’re so emotional” like it’s a bad thing, because it makes us feel like there’s something wrong with us when really, it’s perfectly natural for us to be that way.

A Dream That Lingers Like the Scent of Fresh Baked Bread

dreams and wishes. 62/365

dreams and wishes. 62/365 (Photo credit: nicole.pierce.photography ♥)

“I have a dream” … such simple words that are rarely voiced out loud anymore. I wonder if dreaming is a dying art form in a world filled with instant gratification. Does anyone truly dream anymore? Or am I the only one? I have no fear of sharing my dream with the world, I’d shout it from the Sears tower if I thought anyone cared. It’s been the same for quite a while now.

I dream of a house – cottage like in its charm – in an almost rural town. In this town I know my neighbors, I’m on the PTA, and I volunteer often at my children’s school. In my cottage home there is a sense of organized chaos and a feeling of love. In my yellow kitchen I stand after a day of work, cooking dinner while my son and daughter play in the large back yard. The sounds of laughter and dogs barking gleefully drift in the window to blend with the happy smell of supper. Behind me a pair of arms slip around my waist and a gentle kiss is planted on my neck from the man who holds the other half of my soul. Dinner is a time where the whole family gathers around the table and discusses their day, where my son is admonished for sharing scraps with the dogs and my daughter giggles gleefully over the adoring attention from her daddy.

I’ve had this dream called “boring”, ‘cliché”, “unimaginative”, and, my personal favorite “an affront to women’s rights”. But it’s still the same dream and I honestly couldn’t care less what others think of it.

My dream focuses around family, always has. It doesn’t matter my career, or his career, or our combined annual gross income. What matters is that home and family are the haven within which true happiness lies.

I want my children to have the childhood I had. One where they could play safely around the neighborhood until the street lights came on. Where you knew your neighbors and if your kids misbehaved it was relayed to you before your kids even made it back to the front door. Where the teachers in the schools know and care about each student individually. Where recreation time doesn’t consist of sitting down in front of the TV, Wii, or computer for hours on end! I want a community that’s close to the water (river, creek, ocean, lake, whatever!) so I can teach my kids to fish and row a boat.

Most of all I want my kids to be kids. Exercise should still be play for them (and me!) instead of work. They should be able to explore and get dirty without me worrying about something horrifying happening to them. They should be able to test (and, subsequently, learn) their boundaries so that they can become smart, respectful, and well-rounded adults someday.  They should be allowed to challenge authority in a safe environment, because they’re going to do it regardless.

This is my dream. A safe, secure, loving home where I can let my kids enjoy being kids. A home where they can spend their entire lives, where I can retire and finish out my years on this planet…

… and it should always smell like fresh baked bread.

“To live is to choose…”

Tonight I felt like I had driven the same stretch of road with the same sad song and same heavy heart a million times in the last few years of my life. For a moment, I felt like time had stopped; paused in a moment that could crush the soul. Driving away from some of the most important things in my life with the vibrant light of dreams and love fading sharply in my rear view mirror.

But life is about choices. The choices we make as well as the choices that are made for us. We can make the choice not to wallow. We can make the choice to acknowledge the pain of choices that don’t make us happy and then make the choice to make new choices.  Tonight I chose to change the music, open the window, take a deep breath and let the pain of the pass float away on the evening air.

It may be trite and over stated, but you really do only get this one life. You get one chance to live. I choose not to waste my life complaining about what’s been done to me, how I’ve been wronged, or how the world has screwed me over. I choose to take responsibility for my choices, to own them and, even when I’ve been wrong, to be proud that I can acknowledge my poor choices and do something to even them out.

I’ve made choices that could have ruined my life… if I were the type to wallow or blame everyone else for my unhappiness or hardships. I’m thankful that I wasn’t raised that way. At sixteen I made the choice to drop out of high school. I own that decision. That choice was just one of many over the years that have made me who I am. It didn’t ruin my life. I didn’t let it. I’ve had horrible things happen to me. I’ve had uncontrollable events throw me into a tailspin. But I choose not to let every bad event, every broken heart, every rejection, every plan that doesn’t work out, I CHOOSE not to let those things bring me down. I choose to actively take part in my life.

I wanted to wallow the last few months. I wanted to cry and rail at the world. I wanted to blame the person who hurt me for destroying every dream I had. I wanted to sit down with pint after pint of Ben and Jerry’s and get horribly fat and complain about how it was something that was done TO me, not by me. We all have our moments. It’s how we react to the events in our life that define us.

Instead I chose to return to my adventurous roots. I put on my big girl panties and started looking for new adventures, new opportunities, new friends, and new choices that could improve my life. I chose to let go of the superficial things in my life and the repetitive stagnation of living on auto pilot. I chose to stop eating at the same old restaurants every time I wanted to go out. I chose to try new foods and new restaurants. Saturday night I ate octopus at a sushi bar… It was good!  A couple weeks ago I chose to let down my hair, trust the people I love to take care of my son, and dance. Just dance. Like no one was watching. I haven’t felt that free in a long time.

Dim Sum in China Town. Moroccan cuisine in boystown. A walk on the riverfront or training for a mud run. A painful experience with an esthetician and a bottle of wax. New events, new experiences, these are the memories I want to take with me forever. Not the misery of a broken heart or a bad economy. The knowledge that I was strong enough to make the choice to explore my own horizons. I do these things for me. I do these things and make these choices because I want my child to enjoy the world around him without fear of what others think.

People ask me how I can be so optimistic when things are going so wrong in the world. The news is horrible every evening and everything seems to be “going to hell in a handbag”. I’m not ignorant of the problems in the world. I pay attention to the news. I give it a respectable amount of thought, I mull it over, and then I choose not to let it ruin my day. I choose not to let it ruin even a minute of my life.  I meet people with different viewpoints, different beliefs, different thought processes and I accept them as they are. I don’t argue with them or try to get them to see things from my perspective. Acceptance is a powerful tool in this life and I choose to use it to make my little corner of the world a better place to live.

I choose to live every day with my heart on my sleeve, an open book whenever possible, an honest opinion and spoken truth. I’ll put myself out there every day even if it means I get wounded a million times over. Because each choice that’s made for me. Every dream that appears to be shattered. Every bad day that I cannot control… I can still control how I respond to life. I can choose to change my dreams as opposed to giving up on them. I can choose to breathe in and let go of frustration on a bad day. I can choose to accept that the choices of others will affect me but that I can also choose not to let them bring me down.

I choose to live each and every day. Because this is the only life I have to live and I would rather choose to live with upbeat music, driving towards a new future, than to box myself into the belief that my best days are behind me in the rearview mirror.

Tonight I will choose to enjoy the silence and calm. In the morning, I will choose to wake up with a smile despite the pain from my current tonsil infection and I will go to work and choose to try to brighten the lives of others by being my usual optimistic, cheerful self and hope it spreads like a virus.  (The optimism… not the tonsil infection. Just so we’re clear.  )

On Optimism

Optimism

noun 

1. a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.

2. the belief that good ultimately predominates over evil in the world.

 I’m an optimist. I’m a big believer in the power of positive thinking. I may get stressed and tired and frustrated, but I always know that it will work out. That these feelings will pass. I’m stubborn in the way that I don’t give up on people, challenges, or the world. There is always a bright side, there is always a solution, and there is always hope.

Optimists have the power to change the world. Because we are always looking for ways to make the better futures that we see. We look for color in the darkness and we see the true beauty in everything. We tend to not be shallow or superficial and sometimes we’re too honest, open, and vulnerable.

This means that we get hurt deeply when the people or things that we believe in fail us. We open our hearts in the hopes that others will do the same. We share our deepest secrets and speak from the heart. We are also thoughtful and tend to look for ways to improve ourselves.

 Even when everything seems to have gone wrong for others, when I look back I remember the good things more sharply than the bad. I’ll remember the happiness and smiles and laughter. The successes and triumphs as opposed to the heartaches and pains. I see the way negatives can affect people, the way situations can make life difficult, but I always believe there can be a resolution.

 So – When we’re hurt deeply, shattered to our core, do we give up trusting and having faith that things will work out? Absolutely not.

 We retreat, we lick our wounds, and we focus on a better tomorrow.

 But why would we continue to leave ourselves open to pain and hurt, you might ask?

 Because a true optimist believes that it is better to suffer an occasional hurt (or even an earth shattering agony) than to walk through life believing in the bad, ultimately turning cynical and, in turn, miserable. I don’t know about you, but I’ve yet to meet a cynical, jaded person who is truly happy with themselves or the world.

I choose to be an optimist. I choose not to let events of circumstance or other people get me down for long. When I get knocked down, I get back up. And I’m damn proud of it.

 -LDd

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Judgement Day

Warrior DashJune 17th, 2012
Judgement Day: A day to push past my limits, cavort in the mud, and celebrate with a beer!
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