Wisdom in the Wilderness

I have been unemployed for about six weeks now. When I'm not looking for my next opportunity – I am getting outside of my comfort zone. Last weekend, I went on my very first backpacking trip with two girlfriends to the north side of Mount Hood. The scenery was beautiful, the hike was strenuous and the company was perfect. Unfortunately, it ended on a very scary note. Once safely back home, I spent last week reflecting on the lessons of the trip. Here's what I learned:

1) You discover a lot about yourself when you're scared
2) In a crisis, I am calm, level-headed and reliable – and that makes me proud
3) I am braver than I give myself credit for
4) I have a 100% success rate for making it through ever challenging time in my life and I should never forget that

Each of these lessons has changed my perspective on my unemployment. I may not have found a new career opportunity yet – but I know that I will. Out of this reflection, I am feeling excited about the unknown instead of stressed. I encourage you all to get outside of your comfort zones – that's where the real magic happens, it's where you see who you really are.

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Laid Off: A Tale of an Ego Check +a New Beginning

layoff erase

I was recently laid off. It’s not an uncommon story nowadays, but for me – it’s a rerun I’d rather not repeat. This is the third time I have been let go since 2012. I am realizing that even though this isn’t my first rodeo, I am going through the exact same emotional roller coaster each time. I go from self-pity, anxiety, depression, and fear. I am 38 and I have been through many challenging times in my life, but oddly enough when I’m in the thick of it, it’s near impossible to remember that I have a 100% success rate of making it through difficult situations. I am hoping that blogging will shorten the troughs on this most recent rollercoaster ride.

Layoffs are typically a result of failure (in my experience). It may be the failure of the company to create enough profits to sustain the business that forces a need to run leaner or sell. In this case, my company was in distress, was acquired and I became redundant.

Redundant means no longer needed – if your ego doesn’t get bruised, we should check for batteries.

Theoretically, I know this isn’t about me, it’s about business, but it still puts a chink in my armor.

Third times a charm is the cliche, so here’s what my hope is for this third time being laid off in the summer.

1) Respect the funk, but don’t stay in it

2) Listen to the universe, I am not doing the right amount of due diligence when choosing an employer (yes even if you’re unemployed – you’re choosing too) and finally

3) Try and enjoy the respite.

I’m still in the funk so I’ll need to revisit this topic to share how I’m doing on the other fronts in a few weeks. For now, I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts that are true for me, and possibly for you.

If you are proud, outgoing person who exudes confidence like me, I suspect you are also terrible at asking for help, like me. When you need a friend, an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on – ask for it! If you have been that person for someone, they are more than likely happy and able to return the favor – GIVE THEM THE CHANCE.

Don’t avoid the worry and depression you feel. Give it some respect, give it a time limit then move on. By not honoring those parts of yourself and your psyche you are just deferring. Life should be about lessons, not sentences. Use the fear, the anxiety to become the person you dreamed of…no matter how scary.

Finally, if you can – try your best to be present during the rough patches. They don’t last long no matter what if feels like. If you really feel it or journal while you’re in it, then you are able to gain some perspective and pride in your own strength.

As I said, I’m still in the funk but I know this a phase, this difficult time is not permanent, it’s a detour.

I leave you with a quote from my father:

“you are ultimately confident. Do what your spirit suggests”

Today, that means showing myself some compassion and believing that my strength is just under the surface.

Running is Hard


Why is running so hard? I didn’t start running until my early 30s. I actually love running – it makes me feel strong and proud of my body. I remember how good it felt the first time I ran 1, 3, 5, and 10 miles. I remember how hard my first half marathon was, but I ran it with a smile on my face because I never thought I’d run that far. There is a problem with running though – if you aren’t consistent your body forgets. It is a total mindf*ck that in the last 7 years, I’ve run several hundred miles, finished 3 half marathons but running 2 miles yesterday felt like torture. I have been really focusing on my health and fitness the last 6 weeks, but not seeing any physical results. I want to add running back in because I like the way I feel and look when I’m running regularly. There are 30 days in June. I want to commit to running at least 20 of those days. Goals are so much better when you’re held accountable and not doing them alone.

 

Personal Prohibition: 5 Things I Learned When I Stopped Drinking for a Month

no-alcohol-january_0I really enjoy drinking.

I love a  nice glass of wine with a great meal, a cold beer on a warm day and a well-made whiskey sour (the right way, with egg whites) at a cool bar. I’ve heard of sober months before, but never tried one. I know at times I drink more than I should, but I have never been concerned that I had a bad relationship with alcohol. 

The main reason I decided to take a month off from alcohol was to make sure that I could. I always assumed it would be effortless for me to abstain. The month is over and here is what I learned:

  1. I Have More Self-Control Than I Give Myself Credit For

    I’m kind of lazy. Not in a gross, I never shower, way. More in a – perpetual laundry chair, inconsistent vitamin taking, kind of way. I never played sports as a child/teen so I didn’t really learn the lesson of discipline or pushing myself to my limits. I wanted to take a month off of drinking to see if I could and I was surprised how easy it was. I think I can attribute the ease to my age. I’ve had enough wild nights and regrettable shots under my belt. When I go out for drinks, I am always mindful of the consequence of overdrinking. I don’t miss the feeling of sleeping with a few glasses of wine in my system or waking up with a hangover after an all-night party. I think it was easy because I started to enjoy how consistently good my body felt. Not drinking began to felt less like a challenge and more like a reward. (Yes, I know that sounds naive and sappy since it’s only been a month but I’m an optimist)

  2. Everything Is Easier When You Have a Healthy System

    So many elements of my life improved without alcohol. It felt easier to be consistently active. Going to bed at a reasonable hour and staying asleep was a breeze. Waking up in the morning for early yoga practice or to make breakfast for my kids felt so much easier. (Many days I never even hit the snooze…which is huge for me). My digestive tract normalized. I happily had daily BMs which is a blessing following years of GI issues. My skin cleared up. I never had awful skin or chronic acne just your average skin woes but for the most part those woes are no more. 

  3. My Libido Increased

    Boy oh boy, this might be my favorite result of my dry month. I am already a very touchy-feely affectionate person but with increased activity and no alcohol in my system what so ever…my libido shot through the roof. I am lucky that I am in a committed relationship with a man who I am insanely attracted to. Over the course of my dry month, I was insatiable. My boyfriend (fiance) and I have a very healthy sex life, but this month it really got kicked up a notch. Being close and pleasing each other is one of the best ways to spend my time on this earth. Being close when you’re sober feels truly present. To me, there is nothing sexier than wanting someone or feeling wanted without the distraction or excuse of alcohol.

  4. Nearly All of My Social Engagements Were Alcohol-Centric

    Before I even started my dry month, I tried to visualize situations that might be challenging. The only thing that came to mind was social events. Any type of social gathering usually involves drinking. I wasn’t sure how I would handle invitations for brunch with mimosas, lunch at a nearby pub, happy hour with friends, poker night, dinner parties, birthday BBQs or family dinners. I was a bit nervous about how difficult it might be to not drink in these settings. After the nerves subsided, I decided I would just give people a heads up to avoid any awkward exchanges. I let friends and family know I was doing a dry month but still wanted to spend time with them. Those interactions went much different than I expected. 

  5. My ‘Not Drinking’ Made People Uncomfortable

    Why should my decision not to drink affect my relationships?  It shouldn’t make me any less of a friend, colleague or family member…should it? Oddly enough, just as drinking is at the center of social events; sobriety, temporary or permanent, can make your social circles squirm. Nearly every single person I told I was doing a dry month had the same reaction – they asked why with a concerned face or tone. I told them I wanted to ‘take a month off to really focus on taking care of my body…because you know, alcohol isn’t good for you’. Many of them shrugged as if they were hoping for a jucier reason to my apparent sudden sobriety. Some went so far as to make jokes at my expense for not drinking, suggesting I wasn’t being fun or participating because I wasn’t drinking, that I was missing out on having a drink with someone like it’s the only way to really connect.  This was the hardest lesson to learn. I realized everyone who choses sobriety as the only means to live with alcholoism must go through this type of judgment a million times. In this realization I decided to never question or comment on why someone wasn’t drinking. It won’t change the world but if I can make a small change that will help someone going through sobriety (whatever the reason) feel at ease, it’s worth it. 

The month is over, so now what?

When I started my dry month, I envisioned having a celebratory drink at the end of the 30 days. Well, the end of the month has come and gone and I still haven’t had a drink. Something shifted for me mentally – I just don’t have the desire for a drink. There have been several opportunities after my goal date to have a glass of wine or beer with friends.  I feel like I’m doing a good think taking care of my body and being mindful of what I consume. I can’t remember a buzz that felt as good as I do after a 5:30 am yoga class, or enjoying an early breakfast with my kids, looking in the mirror to see a clear complexion or having a delicious and completely present lovemaking session with my guy. I’m not compelled to give any of that up or to test if I can have it with a few glasses here and there. So for now…I’m going to remain dry until I feel the urge.

Doing Stuff Like….starting a blog

Welcome to “Hey, I’m Doing Stuff” a personal blog. As you can tell from the name, I didn’t want to be bogged down with specifics. I am passionate, interested and frustrated by so many things – I figured why not address them all. The blog format will be weekly entries of the results of me ‘doing stuff’ – like trying new things, starting interesting conversations, abstaining from activities or attempting to achieve a goal. I hope you’ll join me…