Sometimes what you think is the worst is actually the best thing.

I remember getting laid off from a job some years ago. It was just before Christmas and I was not a happy camper. At the time I remember being hurt, frustrated, and a bit shocked. I remember Chris was traveling for work in Turkey at the time and communicating with the time difference was complicated. The fact of the matter is that I wanted out, yet I had not walked away on my own. When things do not go the way that we plan, we fight back, get down on ourselves, and often wonder “why me?”

Yet, with hindsight we can often see the world with different eyes. Hindsight might take a few years, a few months, and sometimes with the smaller things just a few days. What matters is that we are able to reflect and see that where we end up is often so much better than where we were and that we learn, grow, and change as a result of these events in life. For me it was a job. For some it might be a marriage or friendship. For others maybe it is a health challenge.

I often think how we act and react in the world determines what our experience will be. I will give you an example. When I got laid off and had a few months of severance I could have relaxed and just kicked back. Instead I started this blog, I looked for jobs, and after three months landed a great one. Looking back though, yes I was successful in my endeavor, but the caveat was I did not take that time as downtime to explore and cherish that quiet time as much as I should have at the time. I was worried I would not find a job, that our income would be lacking, you know the list of things we tell ourselves.

I recently wrote about the book: “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan. She writes about a job she herself lost and what her friend shared with her after the fact:

“’Your leaving was the best thing that could have happened, don’t you think?’ Walter asked. I looked at him in surprise, so he continued. ‘It didn’t make you happy at the time, but you would have been miserable staying there while he went off in all the wrong directions.’ Sometimes the simplest comment gives a new perspective.” Page 252

Kaplan is so right. Sometimes the smallest and largest things blow our life apart, and we are never the same, but often we are better for it. We just have to remember that sometimes life gets blown apart so it can be made even better.

Nostalgia of Girl Scout Cookies

I will always have fond memories of being a Girl Scout. I was pondering the impact it had on my elementary school days as I waited for Chris to break into our box of Samoas. You should have seen my face on Monday when I received my boxes of Girl Scout cookies. A huge smile, and pride for what those girls are hopefully learning about themselves, leadership, competition, friendship, and service.

There is a lot I do not remember, but I have tiny morsels of events from being a Brownie (pre-Girl Scout) and then the years I was a Girl Scout. I remember some of the ceremonies we had, that we each had to take turns bringing in the treat for our meetings each week, earning merit badges, and even dad and daughter campouts. I remember learning how to make blueberry muffins on an open fire by baking it in an orange peel. I know, strange that I remember that so vividly. I remember events my troop went to, prizes we won, and even scary moments, such as driving back from an event and almost getting hit by a drunk driver (seconds from impact).

However, what I remember most, and what was my absolute favorite month of the year was selling Girl Scout cookies. I was a fanatic. I lived, breathed, and slept with the idea of selling those sugar filled treasures. I mean, like Christmas, they only come once a year. Each year I attempted to sell more than the year before. I competed against myself and my own goals, the other girls in my troop, and the other girls in my county. See, I was a poor girl, and selling cookies not only benefited and gave funds back to my troop, but it meant winning prizes (such as tickets to a large amusement park, a TV, and a 12 speed bike). All things that were not in my realm or remotely accessible to me. So I sold, I charmed, I conquered. Want to see me in action?

I recently read this Fast Company article: “Lessons from Inside the $800 Million Girl Scout Cookie Selling Empire.” I agree with their five points discussing selling cookies, leadership, and entrepreneurship. It taught me a lot about what is mentioned in the article: money management (it felt like a lot of money to deal with at the time), overcoming shyness (that was never really an issue for me), business ethics (I sold ever single box, no help from the parents), setting goals (whatever the biggest prize was), and group decisions (not something I remember much about).

A message to little Girl Scouts out there: Make sure you make the sale and exchange the cash. Having your parents do it for you teaches you nada. While I am not one to encourage sugar indulgence, it is definitely hard to resist. Especially when you are walking into the grocery store. Go buy a box, and maybe let that girl creatively get you to buy two, three, or ten more.

How do you come across?

Do you ever wonder what others think of you? Do you ever wonder if others think about how they are coming across, or how they are portraying themselves? I recently finished the book: “Friendkeeping” by Julie Klam. She discusses all types of friendships in her life, which ones feed and fuel her and which ones suck the life out of her. A quote from her book made me think of friends, but it can also really apply to anyone in our life.

“A lot of times people don’t realize how they’re coming across, and sometimes you need to tell them.” page 192

It is an idea that I have thought about often. Have you ever been in an awkward situation with a friend where they are being rude or unkind and you know in your heart that you have to tell them? Or, maybe they are sad and depressed all the time and they do not realize that is the energy they have brought to an experience with others. Another scenario might be where they often plow over you and are thinking only about their situation and completely disregard you or think not a second about your feelings. These are the times when we have to be honest and upfront.

Yet, that can be hard. Why is it that so often we hold back with our closest friends and do not tell them what we think they should hear? Do we think they are not ready for it? Do we think they cannot handle it? Or, is it more that we are concerned that our honesty will drive them away from us, and while they might agree, they are not ready to deal with our honesty? It is a tough position to sometimes be in.

It can be a lot of work. Friends are supposed to be the ones that tell it like it is, where we can be completely transparent and state exactly what is on our mind, but is that always really true? Is it sometimes easier to just not say anything at all and keep it to ourselves? Often the other person is stuck in their own world and cannot for the life of them see where you are coming from and that you have their best interest in mind. You are concerned because you love and care about them!

Extreme level of positivity…

It has been a full week. In the end, news that might have been taken as bad news ended up being just the news I needed to hear. Which makes me grateful. It will allow me to breathe, stretch, and refocus. It is always funny to me when bad news can actually be good news. Just not always in the way we expect it.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to see a good friend that I had not seen in more than a year. We talk almost weekly, and I feel so privileged that she came to visit us in our new home. Her visit was an inspiration. She wanted to come out and help us pack and move and we were adamant that if she came to visit it was ONLY to hang out and play in Portland.

I wanted to share my admiration about my friend. She always looks at the glass on the table as FULL. Not half full. Not half empty. Always full. She is always positive. It is an inspiration, as I often can nit pick and find the crappy part of an experience. I like to pull things apart and try to better understand why individuals do certain things. In that process I sometimes get frustrated for why things have not been handled in a certain way. I quickly notice how things could be handled better. I see ways others could treat me or those around me better.

She sees the good regardless of the bad. That is not a quality I know of in many people. Her extreme level of positivity is contagious. It reminds me to take a step back and see things differently. The funny thing is that you might think: “extreme level of positivity” means that she is a Pollyanna. She is not. It is real and genuine. She truly sees so much good in others. She gives them the benefit of the doubt. She trusts more.

Thank you, dear friend. You are an inspiration to me. You always want to help and are not picky about how we spend time together. You are always so happy and content with your surroundings and yourself. I appreciate you and am grateful for what you bring to my life.

Happy Friday!