I love me some good people

Ah good people. I love me some good people. Do you know when you have those times when you have the opportunity to be surrounded by someone (or sometimes more than one someone) who is just so present, so clear in their thinking, and listens so intently that you feel completely heard, inspired, and appreciative of what they bring into the world?

Last night I had one of those times. Maybe it happens often for you (yes I feel that way in the presence of Chris). It also nice when it is a good friend, who maybe you have not seen in years, and you feel the conversation flows so easily from one thing to the next. This friend lives on the other coast from me and I do not see him and his wife often, but I am always grateful for the time we get to spend with each other.

I also think it can sometimes be rare to have these individuals in your life. The ones who are so attentive and care so much for what is coming out of your mouth. It is a give and take, a flow of ideas, it is a collaboration of sorts. A banter between minds that are constantly evolving and thinking. Looking together at how to grow and be better individuals.

For those of you in my life reading this, who do this in my life and in the life of others, I thank you. I really do. These are the kinds of conversations I want to have. I want to grow and learn with you. I want to be challenged. I want to try my best to make each individual encounter in my life make things better for others. Regardless of how you receive me, (my directness and transparency might make you uncomfortable), I do it for the bigger picture. I do it for all the good people out there who are present.

Ah, I love me some good people.

Do you have it all?

Recently I read this Daily Om titled: “Having It Easy.” It made me think — how often have I thought about people in my life that from the outside look to have it easy? This idea made me think:

“Some people’s lives seem to magically fall into place. We can see the blessings they have received, the ease with which they have attained their desires, their unwavering confidence, and their wealth. But, because we can never see the story of their lives as a whole, it is important that we refrain from passing judgment or becoming envious.”

I wonder at times, do I judge others? Do I wish to have what they have? Maybe my perception of their world is actually completely off. I ultimately am not walking in their shoes so I have no idea what it takes to live their life. I have no idea how easy or hard things are for them. They might have been through hell and back. Loss, health challenges, relationship issues, the list can go on. From the outside they might look like they have it all, but maybe what we really see is the confidence they exude based on all the curve balls they have caught.

I think about it in my own life. Chris and I have worked very hard for what we have and we still continue to work hard. Sometimes I wonder what others think (even if it does not really matter what they think). Everything is relative. I can look at a friend and be in awe of their confidence, and yet they might feel not the slightest bit confident. I can think that someone is wealthy by looking at the car they drive, their house, or other possessions, and yet maybe they cannot afford it. Appearances are interesting. They lead to assumptions, and often assumptions are wrong.

This was a reminder to me to not judge others and rather think about the bigger picture. We all have everything we need. We have blessings, confidence, and wealth. Rather than judge others look at their story, and be grateful for your own unique story too.

Doing too much?

I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday about how we all end up doing so much — to the point of are we doing too much?

We probably are, and I am definitely one that falls into that camp. I like to help, I like to solve problems, I like to make things happen. Sometimes when you have your hands in too many pots, what suffers most is your own personal life. I mentioned how I love the weekends because somehow I feel like a person again. It is my time to recharge, refresh, and relook at the world in new ways. Yet, I wonder if I really should be doing that every day? My first inclination is to say: “Who has the time?” Partly that is true, and partly it is about making the time.

One of the ways that I do that is in the morning. I am not a morning person. I would rather drag out starting my day in more ways than one. I usually leave for work two hours after I get up in the morning. Unless of course I have an early meeting in which I either have to get up crazy early, or I have to give up my me time. I like to slowly get out of bed (you know, have the alarm go off a zillion times and hit snooze each time) rather than wake up by immediately taking a shower. Chris (the amazing husband that he is) makes our morning green smoothie while I shower, then I take my time drinking it while catching up on personal emails, articles, and maybe a dabbling of Facebook. That quiet time can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and I generally push it as long as I can. It is my “me” time.

Eventually he drops hints that it is time for me to get ready for work. I do, but often want to just finish that next thing or to hold those last few moments for me before I give myself over to a day of back-to-back meetings often without even time for lunch. When I get home, if I am not incredibly wiped out, my hope is that I get one more hour back to me for my run and to catch up on the book that I am reading. Then dinner, catch up on more work, and finally some blogging. Not much time in the day for much else.

Chris and I had the conversation over the weekend — if I was going to cut something out, what would it be? A tough decision. I want to do it all. I want to love it all. I want more hours in the day. Since that is not possible it often means less sleep, which is also not always the best answer.

What do you do when you are doing too much and you either do not want to edit or you do not know where to edit?

Letting go and controlling how we react

I am not sure my parents really prepared me for all the curveballs that life has thrown at me starting at an early age. In some ways the curveballs have made me incredibly agile to which way to swing, when to duck, and when to let the ball pass right by me. That does not mean that all that movement and reaction is not exhausting, and it also does not mean that I have always reacted, or presented myself in the best of ways. I have high standards and expectations at work and in my personal life. Maybe my dad overly ingrained in my head: “Do it right the first time.” Now to me that does not mean only try once and get it right the first time. What it means in my mind is give it your all and keep at it until you get to where you are going.

A recent book I finished began with a quote that to me speaks to the truth about the curveballs in life. The book is called: “The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do” by Jeff Goins.

“We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us. To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we could have imagined.” Page xxvii

The part I love about the above quote is about letting go and letting ourselves be lead to something better than we could have imagined. While I have high standards I also have witnessed how taking a step back and listening to intuition allows for life to sometimes fall into place.

I will give you a tiny morsel from my day on Monday. All morning things kept changing — meetings moved, deadlines shifted, and when I tried to unravel it all it was just horribly frustrating and time-consuming. I kept (as often happens) getting pulled into other things and dealing with requests and the thought that came to me during it all was: ‘Let it go. you will figure it out later… as messed up as it all happens to feel right now.’ Later in the day when I had a moment to look at the mess, each conflict and deadline had actually all moved again and all the things I would have had to unravel were put in a place that worked out. I did not have to do anything other than respond to a few emails and accept moved meetings. No rearranging needed. Now — that does not mean that I think you should procrastinate or that my morsel of happenstance from Monday will occur all the time. What I honed in on from Monday is that I listened to my intuition to let it go for that time and it all worked out.

That is just a small moment in time. Think about what can happen if we let go more often, for the small and the large events in life, and let things naturally be designed in front of us. Somehow the universe has a way of bringing color, hope, and a graceful design that often surpasses what we can imagine for ourselves.

For more on this same topic, you might like: “Better than you ever imagined.”

Your financial role model?

Did you ever have a financial role model growing up? I did not. I had “learn-from-my-mistakes” role models, in that I decided I never wanted to live in the way that I grew up and made a voracious effort to work my ass off and live frugally in order for that to never happen. Some days Chris asks me if I am still on that road and if I will ever slow down and realize I can chill a bit.

It is an interesting conversation (well maybe to me). Who impacted how you view money? Did you ever have a financial role model? Did you grow up watching Suze Orman on TV telling you when you might be DENIED? Were you given everything, and never taught that money does not grow on trees, and that there are consequences to racking up a crazy amount of credit card debt in the tune of never freeing yourself from the monthly payments? Or, did you learn how to know about your net worth, an emergency fund, and the importance of your credit score? Additionally, that your credit score can also be a causing factor in getting a job or not?

Money and finances are a reoccurring blog topic for me. Somehow over time money and sex seem to be taboo topics. No one really wants to talk about either. And, yet “Fifty Shades of Grey” became a mainstream movie (not without some backlash) what will be the movie about money that potentially starts the conversation amongst us? Somehow I think that movie will not be of much interest to the masses. Yet, how do we actually shift the world to start taking care of itself?

This recent Daily Worth article shares one woman’s experience and what she learned from her dad, or…like me what she learned not to do. Her dad is now retired and has to live on a fixed income. The potential for many who do not plan accordingly for the future, save, and approach retirement in a way that allows you to really “retire.” Chris and I look at today and what we save as a way to prepare for our future. For a time when we hope to have been savvy enough to find a point in time when we can make the choice for ourselves rather than be forced to work past relevancy. That way we can pamper our family and truly enjoy life.

We all have to start somewhere, but somehow I think many just never start. Or maybe it starts with who our financial role models are and what they teach us about today, tomorrow, and the future.