Voracious desire to learn…

What I remember most about my mom was that she loved children and that she was a teacher. From before I even went to school, there were kids and babies underfoot in our house. When I was really little until about second grade, my mom ran a day care in our house. I had a love/hate relationship with her job. I loved the constant and instant access to playdates and friends. I can still remember the names of the children and some of our many adventures on our back porch, quasi above ground pool, outside riding bikes, etc. Even the time when one of the boys proposed to me and gave me a ring, (yes I guess courting starts young doesn’t it?) What I hated – was that I had to share my toys, my bedroom (babies sleeping), and my mom when I came home from school at the end of the day.

A few years later she moved to her main love, teaching elementary school. Again, I had a love/hate relationship. When I was in second grade, she was the secondary teacher in the “other” second grade classroom. For anyone who knows what it was like to have your mom teach in your school, or be highly involved in your school, there were times when you loved that they were nearby, and other times when you were going through growing pains, teased, or gaining your own independence, that you wished you were dropped off at school only to see them at the end of the day.

Either way, we do not get to pick what our parents do for a living or how they are present (or not) in our life. We do eventually have the opportunity to look in hindsight and see what we learn, or how these experiences evolve us into the people we are today. I am grateful to have had those years with my mom, watching her extreme patience (I wish I was granted with such patience). She valued education and learning and even now thinking about it, she got her masters in teaching in her forties, not an easy feat with three growing kids and a job. Maybe that is why I have such a voracious desire to constantly learn new things.

I am not a teacher. I absolutely love children, but I do not think I would have the patience to spend my day in a classroom and then come home sane to my family. I admire, commend, and appreciate each and every individual that teaches in a classroom. You shape the world for so many little (and not so little) beings each and every day. Thank you, mom, for teaching me to solve problems, crave ideas, and to continuously try new things. Miss you.

Be the glass half-full to someone’s glass half-empty

Sometimes you find the best damn quote and you just have to share it with others. Yes, this one could have a slightly negative connotation, depending on how you interpret the quote. 

I like to think of it as a reminder to live my best life. Maybe it does drive people batty to see that someone is so happy. I have definitely had my days when I wish someone would stop being such a Pollyanna. You know those days when you just want to bitch and moan about whatever happened to you that day? How you are a poor soul for what you had to experience? What if that was not your modus operandi? What if you played devil’s advocate to someone’s negative banter? Be the glass half-full to someone’s glass half-empty. Sure, we all need time to vent about our day, but have you become a broken record?

I can tell you right now that this blog is just as much for me as it is for you. It inspires me to think about going down the road to happiness and knowing that genuinely being happy (or having “a good fucking life”) benefits us all. Happiness, like a smile, is contagious. My hope is that if we think of being happy as revenge, that others will follow suit. Why not, right?

I hope you all bring on revenge of happiness. I want to be inspired by looking into your “good fucking life.” I want it to encourage me to see what is possible. “I can have that,” or “I want that.” Just as you may watch another individual’s relationship and think, “happiness is possible” or if they love their job, “I want to love my job.” Look around you today and see why your peer, sibling, or partner is happy and how it can encourage you to seek revenge. Get happy and drive others crazy today.

Head out of the clouds

We talk about random acts of kindness and how we do not always know the impact we have made on another’s life. We might pay for the coffee of the person behind us at Starbucks, or let someone go ahead of us in line at the grocery store. We may never see that individual again, and we never know if our small act has made an impact on their day. We don’t do it to say, “I did this.” Instead, we do it out of love, we do it to be selfless, we do it to lighten another’s load.

Often, I am deep in my thoughts, a zillion to-do lists cascading through my mind as I walk, drive, or scurry from point A to B. Yet, as I check items off the list, and add new items, I may miss opportunities to help another. I could always be more aware of what is happening around me. How often do you notice someone in need, and yet keep walking because you think, “I do not have time to stop.” or “I have too much to do to think about how to help.” I get it, as I am sure we all have those days, but has that become the norm that we are too busy to stop?

When I saw this video (in Thai, with subtitles), I immediately thought, if only we all could be more like this man, the world would be a better place. I know I often write about awareness, helping others, and gratitude, but each time I find a new idea I always want to share it. Repeating similar message in different ways allows us each to open our thoughts to new ways of thinking. Each are new reminders on how to lead better lives. My hope is the ideas that inspire me, will only then inspire others. So watch this man share of himself and hopefully be inspired.

We each could probably be better about keeping our head out of the clouds. Together lets notice more of what is happening around us. It might help us to see that all those lists are of small importance to what is happening around us.

Hug your security blanket…

I saw a photo yesterday that was of a little girl hugging the crap out of her teddy bear. It brought a smile to my face. It made me think about the things in our life that make us feel secure. When you are little it might be a blanket, or special toy. As you get older those security features might evolve and change, yet maybe they all have the same emotional connection for us. We just want to feel safe. Sometimes that happens with something that constantly reminds us of a specific smell or touch.

I remember a babysitter made me a pillow and blanket for when I was a baby. Somehow many years later (after never using the blanket or pillow) it was the pillow that I slept with each night. No one was to ever get between me and my pillow. It was what allowed me to feel cozy and go to sleep at night. It is funny to me that we often negatively call these items in our lives “security blankets.” For me, it was probably one of the constant things in my life. My sister and I shared a room, and since she was older, she often would stay up later than my bedtime. I would drape this small, thin pillow over my eyes and cover my ears so I could go to sleep at night, while she finished her homework.

The funny part? I remember my mom telling me later that her way to ween me off the pillow was to put it into the washing machine and hope that it would not make it through the wash. She was right. I was devastated. I later found a new pillow to take its place. The habit stuck with me and later I found a regular thin pillow and continued to sleep this way through boarding high school and college dorm life.

It was not until Chris and I moved in together that I broke the habit. Maybe I had a new security blanket sleeping right next to me. It was also a new concept for me to have a home where I did not have to block out the noise or the light each night. I know I will think differently about my future kid and their desire to have a security blanket. Maybe we need them for a given time or reason, and maybe over time those items of security evolve and change, but they make us feel safe, and allow us to relax and get the rest we need.

Hug your security blanket today, be it human or pillow.

Listen to what people do

Sometimes short and sweet makes an idea stick. I have been thinking about my actions and the actions of others. So often we are let down because of what others tell us they are going to do, and then they let us down. Maybe they do not follow through with what they told us they would do, (you know when it is just lip service). Or maybe it is the complete opposite, maybe they do not talk often but they show you their true being by what they did (or did not do). A recent blog post from Seth Godin, that was short and sweet really made me think:

“Two ways to listen

You can listen to what people say, sure.

But you will be far more effective if you listen to what people do.”

What if we started talking less (I am the first to say I need to do this) and watch our actions more? Does what we do matter more than what we say? Does showing someone we love them stick more than saying the words: “I love you”?

Do we really listen to what people do? What someone does shows intent and often leaves a lasting impact where words can sometimes be forgotten. It does not mean that words are completely lost, but what you experience with another is often hard to forget. It is why the phase: “actions speak louder than words” is so common to say, but do we often think about that when we take action? Probably not, but we should.

Listening to what people do is also an act of patience, so is listening to what people say. Listening to what people do just takes more conscious effort. When someone is standing before you there is more of an obligation to focus on them, make eye contact, and give them your time as you listen to them talk. There is no obligation to listen to what people do. That takes another layer of effort and care. You probably listen more to someone’s actions when you feel you have been wronged, but do you listen when they do something good? My hunch is that we all can do better to share our gratitude for others when we listen and see the good they have brought to our life.

Here is to a week of more active listening. Thank you, Seth.