Thursday, June 8, 2017

Life Moves On

It's been 362 days since we watched our youngest walk across the stage at graduation.  Anyone who knows me watched me count down nearly his entire senior year.  I know exactly what some of my friends are going through.  The baby is graduating, what will they do now?

After many tears and hundreds of pictures that day, I realized one thing.  That was the day we were waiting for.  We did what we could to raise him (and his brother before him) to be a good kid.  Work hard in school and he would be rewarded with a high GPA and scholarships to college.  Work hard in football and he would be rewarded with kudos on the field and an all conference nod and then have the opportunity to continue playing the sport he loves in college.  Work hard at your job and they will ask you to come back through college.

I struggled five years ago when our oldest was graduating high school.  It was such a surreal moment.  That kid you raised from birth was now an adult and you had to hope that you did everything (well most everything) right.  You know what I mean.  You have to hope you didn't raise them to be assholes...because, frankly, the world needs less assholes and more kids that are polite to their elders, hold doors for people when they walk through first, and know how to say please and thank you.

Last year, when our youngest graduated, I had an easier time.  It doesn't mean it meant less for him, it just means that we had been through it and knew what to expect.  So many friends have their oldest graduating this weekend, and I can see the panic in their posts.  The others that have been through it take it in stride.

After summer when our oldest headed back to school for one last semester, and our youngest headed to his first year at college, everything hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was just me and my husband for the first time in 23 years.  Having been so involved with not only our kids schooling, but their sports, we found ourselves not knowing what to do.  We were so involved with both, to me it felt like a little part of us died.  That's pretty sad when you think about it.  We spent the majority of ten years involved in the football programs they were part of. I spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months, planning, plotting and executing, along with some of my favorite people.  I've taken tens of thousands of pictures not only of my boys playing football, but baseball and track as well.  I've taken pictures of kids that I could recognize when in full gear, but when they walk down the sidewalk in street clothes, I might not know who they are.  I made many, many friends, and reconnected with some I hadn't seen since high school.  Thankfully, last summer I was asked to still be involved in the sport I so love.  

I often wondered why parents who no longer had kids in programs stuck around and helped out.  It was a foreign concept to me until I no longer had kids in the program.  Those programs and school become your life.  You spend all of your energy jockeying your kids from school to practice to games to sleepovers. You handle snack days. You share interests with dozens of other parents. You sit in the stands and get excited when someone who isn't your kid throws the winning touchdown or hits one out of the park, because your kid is part of the team.  You beam with pride when fans are screaming your kids name when they score the winning touchdown or tackles two lineman to have the game turn in your favor after a linebacker tackles the QB and causes a fumble.  There is such a passion that parents hold for their kids teams, and when it's over, it's humbling.

The one thing I wasn't prepared for was losing friends.  You get so used to seeing people day after day at practice, or week after week at games, and then life gets in the way and you lose touch.  Sure there is Facebook and you can see what they are doing or what their kids are doing, but it isn't the same.   I miss it.  I miss them.  Life moves on.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Here's to 47

Over the last eight months, I have gone through an emotional roller coaster.  Finding out you are no longer needed, and having to start over again has frankly been a nightmare.  I landed something I think will be ok, albeit, went through some uncertainty during the first couple of weeks, but has since changed for the better (check with me again next week).

My mindset has ranged from feelings of despair and thinking I'm not good at what I do, to trying to be positive to make things go my way.  My support system at home has been a Godsend.  I know I have been less than stellar to live with, and for that I am sorry.  Couple all of this with knowing full well I'm at the age where menopause has gotten his claws in me (yes, menopause is female would ever do this to another female) and has firmly taken control over my body. 

Yesterday I had a doctors appointment for a follow up on my underactive thyroid.  I went in knowing full well I have been feeling off, which I attributed to life and what was thrown at me in the last year.  I hadn't expected the nurse to ask me if I'm feeling depressed.  Hmmm, I hadn't really thought about it, but maybe.  I don't know.  I know I've felt like I've been served shit sandwich for months on end.  I know my bones ache.  I know that I question 'Why Me?' more often than I should.  I know at any given moment I will break out into a sweat, while crying watching a tv show or action movie, only to have a blanket draped over my lap because in two seconds I'll be cold.

After having a heart-to-heart with my doctor (we've seen him for 16+ years), I was feeling a little better.  My thyroid is still off and I know I need to change my diet, so I'm glad I went in to see him.  He also reminded me I have a mammogram to schedule and oh yeah, let's schedule a colonoscopy too.  Why am I telling you this?  I don't want to schedule them.  I don't want to be squished, or poked and prodded.  Someone I love dearly went through a colonoscopy and was put under during the procedure. They came to after it, and said 'Damnit - I know someone was in there!'  Well, if that isn't a visual I don't know what is. I think I'll pass.

I'm writing this just a couple of weeks before my 47th birthday.  Forty Seven. Four decades and seven years.   Shit.  4 F'ing 7.  What happened to 35?  Or 40?  Or even 45?  Next year will be my 30th high school reunion.  When the hell did I get old?  

I guess I need to stop thinking about my age and start embracing the freedom I have as almost-empty-nester.  That doesn't mean I'm going to start acting like a teenager, or even college student...I know enough people that do that already.  Hey, whatever floats your boat.  I know at any given moment, my husband and I can hop in the truck and go away fr the weekend.  Boys, feed yourselves.

I'm going to think about what I wanted to accomplish this year and actually accomplish it. I figure with seven months left in the year, I should finish up my 2017 to-do's right around December 31st, 2025.

Here's to 47.  Here's to thyroids put on the right track.  And to squishy boobs and alien invasions.  And a better eight months than the last.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Rejects Unite

So many emotions are running through me right now.  After a long search, and what seems like hundreds of resumes sent, countless phone and in person interviews, some that felt promising, some that felt like duds, and a couple of offers, I have decided my next move.  I'm happy to say that I have happily accepted a position with a great company, and will be starting my new position in just a few days and I cannot wait to see what I can do with it.

It's been a difficult search this time around.  What used to be easy, became a weekly and often daily chore to send resumes, all while working at a temporary position that I simply dreaded.  Over the last few months, several friends found themselves in the same boat.  Being 46, almost 47, I have wondered if that was limiting securing a new position.  The friends that have lost their positions are close in age, and are experiencing the same rejection.  They've sent out countless resumes and have hit the same hurdles and lack of communication from prospective employers I have experienced.

Not everything has been negative over the last few months.  It gave me the opportunity to really think about what I want to do, and if my chosen field is really for me.  In a perfect world, my husband and I would live far away from the city, I would be a successful author, blogger and photographer and his home based business would be thriving.  We'd live close to, but not on a lake, near the snowmobile trails, and not be able to see our closest neighbor.  I have had time to work less than forty hours a week so I could focus on my job search, and was able to take weekend trips to our home away from home.

As for my friends who have either left on their own, been downsized or even shit-canned, their lives have been filled with engagements and marriages, grandchildren and graduations, impromptu cross-country trips, new home-based business opportunities, and time to decompress.  Some days I think I should start a club of all of us rejects.  I don't mean that in a negative way.  Being a reject has given me the chance to find a company that finds value in me, my experience and education, instead of going into work every day and dreading reporting up to a boss that had no clue.  Being a reject has given a friend the opportunity to spend time making lives better for those around them.  Being a reject has given another friend the chance to find true love.  Being a reject has allowed a friend the opportunity to visit their old stomping grounds, without the need to ask for time off or to worry about unanswered emails.

Today I spent part of the day cleaning our bedroom closet.  It was more of a purge than anything.  Out with the old, and make room for the new.  Tomorrow I'll spend time unsubscribing from dozens of job search sites to free up the clutter.  This weekend I'll spend time with my husband and oldest, and take a road trip to support our youngest and his fraternity brothers raise money for the local fire department.

Sunday night I'll get to bed early (who am I kidding, I'll probably be more excited than a six year old going to Disney).  And finally Monday morning, I'll set off on a new venture.  I've only told a few close friends and family where I have landed, superstitions are pushing me back from announcing it to the world.  But once I step foot in the door, I will let everyone know. I'm hoping you'll be as excited for me, as I am for the move.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The introvert in me

When I was a little girl, I cried.  A lot.  I grew up in a house full of kids, that were quite a bit older than me.  I was affectionately known as the seven year itch.  My mom once told me they didn't know they wanted me until they had me. Pretty horrific stuff to find out at 12 or 13.  I barely know my oldest brother.  The others pretty much tortured me and called me a rug rat for years.  I slept on the couch for an entire year because my parents didn't want to deal with my sister and I sharing a room - she is 10 years older than me.  (Side note, I have a great relationship with her now).

At 18 cried when my mom slapped me across the face my first day of college.  We got into a fight and she slapped me and left me alone.

I cried when my boyfriend (now husband) broke up with me.

I cried the day I got married.  Happy tears none the less, but still tears.

I cried when our first son was born and then the second.

And I cried when I lost my dad.  And then my father in law.

Fast forward to today and I still cry, a lot.  I try to blame it on menopause, or what is likely the start of menopause, but since I lost my job, I think it's all the rejection.  I can't even tell you how many interviews I've had (actually I could since I have all the records), but I won't because you'll probably want to cry.

For the last ten or so years, I thought I was a pretty strong person.  I was actively involved in my kids schooling and sports lives, and was often at the helm of activity.   I was never afraid to voice my opinion or answer questions of parents who were afraid to go to coaches or teachers.  At work, I excelled.  Tradeshows went off without a hitch, budgets were managed and I got along with just about everyone, even the less than stellar bosses I've been graced with.

In the last six months, I think that it's been stripped away.  I've never had a problem finding a job before, but now it feels like a black cloud is over me.  I ask the right questions, and answer honestly, only to have positions slip through my fingers.  I'm not happy at my temp job,  because I don't feel valued, and often bring that home.  I hate doing that to my family.  My husband has been my rock through all of this, and he's the one that has to deal with me.

I used to think of myself as an extrovert, but truth be told, I'm more comfortable with myself or a few people, than the group's I was often part of.  I'm happiest when I'm curled up with a book, riding my snowmobile with my helmet on, or behind the camera lens.  Let's not even get started on how few pictures there are of me.  Even in high school I was the shy one, often ignored, and likely an outsider.

My inner circle is really my family.  I have a few close friends that frankly I interact more with on social media than in person.  That actually makes me want to cry too.  It's funny how many introverts I've come across of late.

I'm anxiously searching for a new position, and will have to break out of my shell once again and meet new people.  I don't know if that scares me or excites me.  Maybe a little of both. Maybe it's the extrovert in me coming out of my introvert shell.  All I know is I'll probably cry.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Next Steps

Yesterday I found out that I didn't get the job I really wanted.  I actually cried when I found out.  Blame it on menopause; blame it on frustration; blame it on depression... Blame it on the lack of communication on why I didn't get it.  All I know is I felt really down all day.  I struggled through work, even when my husband sent me funny texts.  When I looked at myself in the mirror, I kept thinking there was something wrong with me.  Did I offend someone in the eight hours of interviews?  Did I ask for too much money?  Did I laugh, when I should have kept it in?  What did I do wrong?

I am working currently at a position that is helping hold down the fort, but it isn't my forever home.  It's a place to go every morning, but there are things I don't like about it.

I can count on two fingers how many people I talk to from my last job.  I thought I had good relationships with my colleagues, and truly thought we were friends.  But I've become a pro at relationships ending when moving from job to job.   From 2006 - 2010 I worked a job where I made many friends.  After I left there, 75% of those friendships stayed in tact.  That job is where I learned to juggle multiple priorities, deal with multiple personalities, and traveled to some great cities in the US, Canada and Mexico.  I'll be honest, I loved that job.  I hated my boss; and my bosses boss, only one of which is still there today.  After that job, I had a job where I thought I could make a difference, but my vision was stifled and I found myself looking again.

I landed at a very cool experiential marketing company, where I rekindled high school friendships and met some great people.  In my mind, I felt like I was a dinosaur among all the 20-something, fresh out of college newbies.  They loved the work hard, play harder, mentality.  Drinking on the job was the norm.  I guess that just wasn't me.  I worked for a very tough client, and the job challenged me in ways I didn't think possible...but I missed my old life.  I missed marketing.

Maybe it's the career path I've chosen and the uncertainty in the market as to why I haven't had a 20-year career at a single company.  As I've moved from company to company, I fell in love with writing, social media and photography.  What I have seen in my 20++++ years of working, the jobs I want to do are often taken up by those 20-something, fresh out-of-college newbies.  Sadly, they don't pay what I'm worth.  How can I say that?  I know I'm good at what I do.

So, leading into 2017, here's my wish list of things I want to accomplish:

Rewrite my resume.  Again. And again.  Find that the place that fits me best, not me fitting there.  When I interview, change it around and find out why the company should be right for me, not why I should be right for the company.

Write every day.  Blogs; posts; journal entries; my second crack at a book.  Anything to keep my mind occupied.

Take pictures and book shoots.  Sports, senior, families, wedding, babies, nature.  You name it.

Refresh on Adobe applications.  Actually take time to sit down and learn new tips in the programs.

Keep up on social.  Yes, you'll see more random crap, but I also want to make people think.  I love it when I post something and people laugh, or they comment, and even when they debate.  

Get more followers on all my pages, but don't become white noise.  Get a following.  Easier said than done.

Now that I've had time to think about that great job I wanted so badly, I can honestly say fuck 'em.  They lost out on someone who would have rocked that job.  Here's to hitting the ground running 2017.  This year your gonna be my bitch.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Leaving 2016 Behind

It's the eve of the last day of 2016.  This has been by far one of the happiest and most challenging years of my life.  As I'm nestled under a blanket and wanting to get back to writing, I knew that I needed to reflect on 2016 before hitting the ground running in 2017.

First, the good.  I published a book... I did it for myself, to prove I could do it, and am happy that some people wanted to read it.  My youngest got into the college of his choice, graduated high school in the top 15% of his class, and played in multiple college football games.  My oldest graduated college, and yes I cried at graduation.  My husband and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary and our 28th first date anniversary.  I had a great summer and fall taking senior pictures, and was able to take a season full of football pictures too.  We are on the end of our holiday vacation and we were able to ride nearly every day, with our whole family.

Now, the bad. My job was outsourced and I took a temporary position until I find something perfect and permanent.  My  mom's health forced her into a surgery that was unexpected, and a recovery that has been less than stellar, putting stress not only on her, but on the relationship with her children that do talk to her.  I've had to delete and block family from my social feeds because they find it necessary to spread info about me and my family.  Yes, I know when you post it on social that it's free game, but it hurts that instead of just asking a question about my life, info gets spun into something more. As both my husband and I get older, life gets harder and harder to do the normal day to day things. Knees creak a little more, elbows are sore at the end of the day and backs just aren't 25 years old anymore.

And then we have the bad that has or will turn out good.  My MIL moved from her home into an apartment where she has made new friends and began a new normal.  I had a fabulous series of interviews ten days ago that will hopefully turn into that perfect position.  My husbands home inspection business has traction, and we know some day that will be his career.  I started thinking about what I should write next, and if it is what I anticipate, I hope those I write about forgive me.  On the flip side, there is a novel brewing and I know it will be a best seller.

As 2016 rolls into 2017, life will get better.  They say that life is what you make it.  So I made a conscious effort a couple of months ago to think positive, to see the things I want and know that they will be mine.  To know that the law of attraction will bring more home inspections for my husband, a great job for myself, a teaching license for my oldest, and a great job to boot.  A successful college experience for my youngest.  A novel that makes people laugh, or cry or just think about life and how it makes them happy.  A blog that gets written at least a day a week, but more likely double that.  Family that worries more about their own lives than that of mine and my family.  Photography jobs that help launch a true career.  Health that turns the bend to be better.  Great getaway weekends that help refresh us.  A long snowmobile season. A reading list that gets successfully tackled. A spring, summer and fall of great weather.  A successful football season.  And health, wealth and happiness for us and all of our family and friends.

To any and all that read this.  I'm pleading with you.  Think positive.  I have a friend that swears by the law of attraction, so much that she no longer parks anywhere further than a few parking spots away from a door...even when fighting the holiday crowds.  I have a friend that built a new life after leaving corporate America, and now not only works from home, but travels and gets to see her kids more than she ever saw co-workers.  We all need to think more positive.  Life is too short to bring negativity into it.  I'm not saying its all going to be wine and roses, and unicorns and lollipops.  I'm saying that if I want to get that perfect job, I will have the perfect interview, write the perfect follow up note, and get after it, because I DESERVE IT.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Three Months Later....

Three months ago I posted this blog:  Three Weeks Later

It was the story of a couple that had become empty nesters and how they were handling life.  All in all it was quite a change.

Here we are three months later and things are decidedly different.  Sure, we spent Friday nights at the football field, both home and away, watching our boys team.  It was surreal because we didn't have a vested interest in the players.  Saturday's we traveled to our boys' college and away sites, to watch our youngest and his new team play.   We've adjusted to dinners being small and intimate, and I've learned to cook for two instead of four (I'm not happy about that!).  We have shared time with our oldest's schedule, when he hadn't been home for months.  I'm thankful for those few fleeting minutes in a restaurant after a Saturday game.  Laundry goes fast, dishes can be done in five minutes, and we never seem to run out of anything in the fridge or toilet paper in the bathroom.

The last two weekends have been something special.  The first weekend my husband and boys were at their annual bonding session at deer camp.  He was lucky enough to have both boys for nearly three days straight.  This weekend, we had both for Thanksgiving, albeit not at home, and then had our youngest with us at our cottage nearly four days.   Both are nestled back at school in their dorm rooms, and soon enough they will be home for Christmas.

We will never take for granted the amount of time we get to spend with our children, because before we know it, they will both be on their own, and sadly probably not five minutes from home.  I never realized how much I cherish those nights when I get a "love you momma" text, or they say goodnight without getting prompted with a text from me.

Leading into Christmas, I'm looking forward to our annual trip to the cottage to snowmobile (fingers crossed Mother Nature cooperates).  We've been doing it for about eight years.  If the weather doesn't go as planned, our getaway might change, and we'll spend time doing something else.  All I know is I'll have my boys with me...and that is present enough for me.