Meaningful connections

We’ve lived in our house for almost two years and yet we didn’t really know some nearby neighbors that we had wanted to know for a while. We hadn’t really gone out of our way to get to know them better. However a few weekends ago, we had a “neighborhood crawl” where a few couples got together and had drinks and food and hopped from house to house. I got to know our neighbors better and now feel like I wasted two years of my life where it would have been fun to have known them.

How often in life do we go through our normal routine and not take the moments out of our days to reach out to others? Do we resist the urge because it might feel like more work? Do we resist because we think the effort or energy will not be reciprocated? None of these thoughts ever crossed my mind about our neighbors, life is sometimes just too full and crazy. Our life needs to change and we need to make more room for more neighbors, friends, and community.

This recent “Daily Om” titled: “Links that Last” discusses meaningful connections and it was a topic we discussed with my sister over this past weekend. The idea of community, friendship, and forging bonds that matter to us in our life. It is interesting to think about how your mind shifts from professional life, to family life, to community in differing ways depending on where you are at in life. We are at a place where we want to live a more balanced life, with children (or one child) plus neighborhood children running around. I remember the kids I played with when I was a kid and I also remember how much I craved living in a neighborhood with more children my age. We live in a great neighborhood for kids, and for neighborhood friendships.

Here is to future opportunities and meaningful connections.

Perfect world mentality

Over the weekend, my sister and I were discussing a blog post, called: “Give me Gratitude or Give me Debt” that we recently saw on Facebook. It was about a woman who posted pictures of her kitchen on Facebook and received comments about all the things she could do to upgrade her kitchen. Never expecting the comments and pondering them further, she realized how grateful she was and shared more about what she had then what she was lacking. It was an eye opener for me. Think about the endless possibilities of comments that others can share with one – to many on Facebook. It can mean an amazing outpouring of love and support, and it can also mean and outpour of critical comments that might not been so helpful to you.

Her blog post was a reminder that we all have way more than we can ever imagine. Take my sister for example. She has a beautiful, extremely happy, brilliant (no I am not biased) daughter. A family that is just what she wants. She lives in California, loves the sun, and is about to embark on a new adventure in the next few weeks. What is not to love about that life? Of course, as with any change in life, there are many unanswered questions, but that is part of life right? I feel amazingly blessed. I enjoy my job, love my home, have an amazing husband, and hope that one day we too will grow our family so that our niece Charlie will have a little cousin to boss around. What is not to love about my life? Sure I work hard, sometimes am stressed out, and often do not allow enough time for myself. If I were to say I lacked anything in life, it would be: time.

I am grateful.

Back to that kitchen and the comments on Facebook. Those comments are ones that come from this “perfect world” mentality that surrounds us. It is definitely a “first world” problem, and I do not know if it is an American issue, or one for many affluent countries. We strive so strongly (and I am just as much to blame) to have this perfect world. We want everything to be just so. The kitchen with the updated refrigerator, stove, updated cabinets. The list can go on and on. We do just the same for our body, clothes, furniture, and other worldly possessions.

Yet, if we just start with what we already have, I think we’ll realize that we have so so so much more than we can ever imagine.

Barefoot at airport security

There is one place in the world that I absolutely detest. There is no way around it if you want to fly the friendly skies:

Airport security.

Yuck is all I can think of to describe it. Over the weekend we flew down to Oakland to see my sister, brother-in-law, and of course my 6 month old niece. Usually the plane that goes between Portland and Oakland is a turbo prop. I do not mind the turbo prop, but often it gets chilly down by your feet. I have no idea why that type of aircraft is so dang cold, but it means that I try to make sure I am not wearing my beloved flip-flops when flying for fear of frost bite on my toes.

Alas, it means I usually wear running shoes when I know I will be flying in a turbo prop, but sucks when going through security. Why is it that the place in the airport that they make you take off your shoes is also the filthiest, most disgusting place seemingly in the airport (well maybe second to most bathrooms)? I am a bit strange, I would rather go barefoot then keep my socks on. There is something about walking across the floor in my socks and then putting my socks in my shoes and transferring sock filth to the inside of my shoes. I guess sort of like walking through dog poop and then putting your shoes on directly afterwards. For some reason, I would rather be barefoot, and then walk across the floor on my tippy toes, sit down, wipe any dirt, stray hairs, and whatever random gunk off my bare feet before putting my socks and shoes back on. Strange I know, but that is how my mind works.

Why is it that the place they make you take your shoes off never looks like it has been vacuumed or cleaned? I have seen Macy’s dressing rooms with cleaner floors and that is not saying much. They usually close security down for a few hours a night, you would think the last people on the shift could vacuum and mop. Or, they could send in a cleaning crew. Or do they clean it each night and us humans shed that much grossness in a day?

Who knows. I still dread taking my shoes off going through security. Who knows what the person before you left behind. I shudder thinking about it, breathe deep, and release the thought of it until my next trip.

36-24-36

Recently Chris and I were talking about how easy it is for men to pick out clothes. Obviously there are many reasons, and you can yay or nay them based on the person or your personal opinion, but the most glaring or obvious to me is that for a man a size 34 is a size 34 is a size 34. No, those are not typos. I wrote in that way for emphasis. A woman’s size 8 is not a woman’s size 8. Even within the same company a women’s size 8 is vastly different, and from company to company it is grossly different.

Chris can go into a store, not try on a single item, make a purchase and be happy. I do not have that luxury. I have to try everything on and even then I am slightly (or maybe more than slightly) indecisive about making a purchase. Sometimes the day I try something on it fits fine and when I come home and try something on a day or so later it fits differently.

Alas, the dilemma of shopping as a woman. Our conversation about clothes, sizing, and fit made me think about Marilyn Monroe. I started wondering about her and what was considered beautiful in the 1950’s. After a bit of research, what I learned was a bit mind-boggling and I think that says something about our society. You can read full details here, but in the 1950’s Marilyn was a size 12-16. I know that is a big range, but as you look at pictures (or if you were around to remember her) you would think “she was not a 12-16.” As the article states in the 1980’s, the Department of Commerce changed our sizing (umm…can we say how vain we have gotten). A size 16-18 in the 1950’s is equivalent to a size 8 today. A big difference. The article even states:

“Those measurements were 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall; 35 inch bust; 22 inch waist (approximately 2-3 inches less than the average American woman in the 1950s and 12 inches less than average today); and 35 inch hips, with a bra size of 36D.”

Marilyn had a 22 inch waist, and the average today is 35 inches. Shocking. That is a crazy difference. Regardless of all the changes to sizing from the 1950’s to today, it is still a man’s world. Most of the time a woman cannot go into a store, grab her size, pay and leave. Is it time for a size revolution?

Fall in love with…

We might all answer this question differently. What do you fall in love with? Maybe you might answer it with the person you love in your life and you think about how each and every day you fall in love with them over and over again. You might answer it in relation to the work you do and what a badass you are, by delivering kick ass delivery of _____ (you fill in the blank). Whatever it is that you continue to fall in love with, I hope you are falling in love each and every day.

A recent Seth Godin blog titled: “Turning passion on its head” really resonated with me. The second paragraph says:

“If we can fall in love with serving people, creating value, solving problems, building valuable connections and doing work that matters, it makes it far more likely we’re going to do important work.”

Gosh, if more individuals could think about our work, our day-to-day jobs and think about solving problems, creating value, and building connections the world would be a better place. I feel that is what I try to do each and every day. Maybe I sorely miss the mark, and maybe I am peeling back a layer of the onion to make things better. Sometimes it is hard to know. What I do know is that there are a plethora of problems to solve, from vast to tiny. If each day we continue to solve the tiny problems, eventually the larger problems are solved.

I feel most successful, most happy, and most inspired when I solve problems, create value, and connect with others. That is what the world is truly about – making change through people, resolution and, in the end, making things better for all. What is it that makes you passionate? What is it that you fall in love with again and again? Those are the things that you should continue to do daily.

Did you fall in love today?