Wednesday, January 30, 2013

365 questions: 281 - 291

281. Who has had the greatest impact on your life?

My parents. They raised me with the intention of shaping me into a respectable adult. For the most part, they've succeeded. 

282. Are you happy with where you are in your life?  Why?

Mostly, yes. I sometimes wish I had more to show for where I'm at, but I'm working toward that goal! 

283. In one year from today, how do you think your life will be different?

I will be a land-owner, and I will no longer be working at a job I loathe. 

284. How have you sabotaged yourself in the past five years?

I've switched my major yet again. (and again, and again.) I spent all my money in Europe because I planned poorly. And I have not seen the detriment that my communication habits truly were. 

285. Other than money, what else have you gained from your current job?

I have gained knowledge, experience, and coworkers that consider me family. 

286. Whom do you secretly envy?  Why?

Anyone who has their shit together more than I do. Sometimes I look back on my mom at my age, and think - she was married by the time she was 24. My parents had been millionaires, built their own home from the ground up, moved out of state, and started over - all by the time my mom was nearly 25. I feel like I should have experienced so much more by now, and I am envious of all my friends from high school who are no older than I, but are in such a different place in life. 

287. In twenty years, what do you want to remember?

I want to remember that, in the year I turned 25, I was happy, and people were proud of me. 

288. What are you most excited about in your life right now – today?

Um, I'm excited that I get paid on Friday and can pay down my credit card, since I used it too much last month. I'm excited that yesterday, I talked to my first loan officer. I'm excited to read the book he gave me, and I'm excited that I got two awesome messages offering work modeling yesterday. 

289. What experience from this past year do you appreciate the most?

Not so much an experience, but a realization - that I was sabotaging my relationships because of a fatal communication mistake. I'm so glad I realized that, so I can vow never to repeat it. 

290. What is the most enjoyable thing your family has done together in the last three years?

My little sister got married last month, and we had a good time. Other than that, one of my favorite memories is when Kyle and I took my mom to Sedona around Christmas, 2010. 

It was super cold, and I was not impressed.

291. How many hours of television do you watch in a week?  A month?  A year?

Conventional television? None whatsoever. I gave away my tv. Sometimes when I go to the gym (which is very rarely), I'll watch the cooking channel, or something moderately interesting. But I would say less than 20 hours of tv per year, overall. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Commitment: What does it mean to you?

I was driving down the road this morning when I had an 'aha!' moment about commitment. I had been thinking about different definitions and examples of commitment, and how problems can arise when you commit to something, but you're not on the same page as whomever you made that commitment to.

When I commit myself to my goals, I pick and choose. I don't deeply commit to everything, because then I'd be overwhelmed. But when I find a worthy goal of pouring my heart and soul into, I do it. Using the bed & breakfast as an example, I'm so committed I have already started purchasing art for my home... when I don't even have the land or the architect yet! I have been monitoring my credit for the last year, checking my score periodically and working to improve it. Lately, I've had any changes to my report/score sent to my email immediately, because I'm looking at purchasing soon, and updates are a much more pressing concern now.

As an example of a goal I haven't completely committed to, let's use my weight loss goal. I want to achieve my goal weight this year, which is about five pounds down from where I'm at currently. So far this year, I've attended one or two yoga classes, and not done anything else remotely resembling exercise. It is an important goal to me, but not one I'm putting the energy toward quite yet.

When I commit to doing something for someone else, the same rules apply. I keep secrets, I follow-through, and I show up when I say I will. When I commit, I keep those promises.

When I commit to a partner, I'm there. Body, mind, heart, soul - all that. A relationship commitment means that you are important to me and if I don't show you that every day, then I am failing. A relationship commitment is a commitment to meet your partner's needs, to constantly aim for growth, and to strive to make them happy - not just a commitment to keep your hands to yourself.

Thinking back over my dating experiences, I can see where my definition of commitment has varied from that of the men I've dated. I had one man who, after two dates with me, sent a text message to ask if I was interested in a relationship with him. To discuss commitment in such a casual way indicates that he has a different definition there than I do. I had another gentleman friend who tried to woo me with gifts - including a large tv - but wasn't committed to meeting my need for open, honest conversation. I therefore chose not to commit to him. Yet another suitor indicated a desire for a relationship with me, but sent all my calls to voicemail until he was in bed for the evening, because he wasn't ready to truly commit and tell his friends and roommates he was seeing someone.

Commitment. It's something to be done loudly and proudly. Commitment is an honorable thing. It's also important to make sure you know how your definition of commitment relates to that of your conversation partner. As my wise daddy always told me, "Agreements prevent disagreements."


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I'm still a bookworm.

I love having days off - or days where I work minimally, as was the case today. I went to class, turned in my first homework assignment (and had my first quiz!), had a tutoring session with Amy, and then had the rest of the day to myself.

And, as is the case usually when I have the afternoon free, I read. I finished two books today, in fact!

Something I've always struggled with, but perhaps more in the last few years, is watching parents display love for their children that I feel is conditional, or misplaced, or judging, or in some way harmful. I have always heard/read/been taught that the love between a parent and a child is the purest form of love that exists. However, not being a parent myself, it's hard for me to weigh in. Even if I were, it's almost never my place to say anything when I'm observing a situation like the one I mentioned, and when it is, my feedback generally wouldn't be well received.

One of the books I read today was a collection of essays written by parents of transgender children. Reading of their heartbreak, struggles, and yet (usually) unconditional love was so moving. There are many things that a parent would likely struggle with when raising a child, but none that are so life-changing for both parties as coming-out as transgender. For the more religious and conservative families, many of the parents question their parenting abilities and where they "went wrong." Yet the overwhelming theme in these essays was the happiness of their child, not the parents' individual stance on morality.
I had this beautiful baby given to me, and my one and only wish was for his happiness.             - Debi Russell

I have often wondered if I had a child who came out as gender-nonconforming or gay, how I would respond. I would certainly like to think it wouldn't bother me in the slightest. I have a lesbian aunt, several close gender-nonconforming friends, and queer customers I interact with on a nearly-daily basis. However, I think my conservative upbringing would lead me to react poorly at first.

It was so heart-warming to read that it's okay to not always say the right thing. That, even though your heart is in the right place and your love for your child is evident, you'll sometimes make mistakes along the way. The most important person in that relationship is not you; it is your child.
We signed up as parents to be the best guides for him that we can be, not for us, but for him.   - Cheryl Kilodavis

This book just reinforced everything I've been reading lately about love. I've really been struggling with the position I see from a lot of fundamental Christians, which is love within the constraints of their moral position and "guidance" if your actions are outside of their moral comfort zone, which doesn't typically look very loving.

So anyway, all that to say the book Transitions of the Heart: Stories of Love, Struggle, and Acceptance by Mothers of Transgender and Gender Variant Children is fabulous. It gives some beautiful examples of love if you need a pick-me-up, and allows for a glimpse into a world you probably wouldn't otherwise view.

Enjoy! xo

Friday, January 11, 2013

365 questions: 271 - 280!

271. What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?

Fear of failure has stopped me from a lot, probably. I'm fairly impulsive, but I always err on the side of caution. I'm afraid of taking risks and being embarrassed by the result. 

272. Who would you like to please the most?

I know that I am most important. I should care most about pleasing myself. But I think my answer here would have to be my dad. His acceptance and approval has always been important to me - perhaps because we are so incredibly alike. 

273. If you could go back in time and change things, what would you change about the week that just passed?

Not a thing. I had an amazing week. I had a breakfast date with a man who makes my heart happy, and was snuggled to sleep most nights. I accepted a new tutoring client, and met with another new client for the first time. I had an amazing opportunity presented to me. I'm more than happy with the week that just passed. 

274. When you meet someone for the very first time what do you want them to think about you?

Perhaps the insecure and yet still vain part of me wants them to think I am beautiful. But mostly I want them to think I am intelligent, kind, and wonderful. 

275. Who would you like to forgive?

There's really only one person I've had a hard time forgiving, and I don't waste any time on her anymore. So no one, really. I have current frustrations, but I don't trouble myself with old grudges. 

276. At what point during the last five years have you felt lost and alone?

I actually sent my best friend a text message a few years ago that said exactly that - "I have never felt so lonely." September, 2010. 

277. What is one opportunity you believe you missed out on when you were younger?

I don't really know that I missed out on a whole lot. I was pretty blessed in that I didn't want for much when I was growing up. I had piano lessons with the best teachers around, I traveled to Europe with my competitive choir, and I received the best education available. 

278. What do you want more of in your life?

Relaxation. That would require a little more money. 

279. What do you want less of in your life?

Stress, for sure. And less of the job I really dislike. 

280. Who depends on you?

No one, really. My coworkers, for knowledge on occasion. My bird, because she would die out of her cage. But I don't have anyone depending on me for care. I don't have kids. I live alone. While Kyle relies on me to meet many of his needs, he would be just fine on his own, too. And I kinda like it this way. I can make decisions that might affect others, but won't be life-changing for anyone else. 

Exciting things might be happening.

I have a super-fabulous coworker who is semi-retired. He decided he wanted a "fun" job, so he's working in wine.

Well apparently there's been talk of him accepting a job offer back in California, and it's everything he wants it to be - making 10x what he does where we're at now, super close to their grandbaby, back doing what he's done forever.......... and he mentioned taking me with him. He needs an analyst. I'm the perfect candidate. I have amazing customer service skills, client-relationship-building abilities, tons of experience in Powerpoint and Excel (what college student nowadays doesn't?), and I have a math background.

Did I mention it would start at six figures?

He will have made his decision on the formal offer in three weeks. I don't know when he's wanting me out there, but I'm hoping to finish up this semester first.

The Court of Masters has an introductory sommelier course in San Fran in mid-February. If things are more serious, I'm thinking I might go out there for a few days, take the course, and scope things out.

If I do this right, even if I don't move out there until June, I could have my Alaska student loans completely paid off by the end of this year. That kind of income would qualify me for a mortgage close to $500K, which opens up a lot more possibilities than I originally thought.

This might be my face currently.
I'm trying not to get too excited, but quite frankly, I'm thrilled out of my mind right now. This is a whole new world of possibilities. Land in a good spot in Sedona. Student loans paid off. Loan to Dad paid completely. Credit cards paid off. I would have a normal-person 8 to 5 job, and have weekends off. I could afford to go on vacation. I would be able to afford all those things on my 101-list I desperately want to do. I would be much closer to the "wine scene," and increase my knowledge - potentially landing a lucrative part-time job in wine. Potential business trips to other countries and continents. Huge opportunity for growth. I would have a manager I ADORE rather than one I loathe. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop and the downsides to appear.

One of my tutoring clients told me today that I'm not allowed to leave until May 14th, because that's the date of her final. I forgot how much I miss good, real appreciation at work until recently.

I'm crossing all my fingers and all my toes for the next month.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A day of rest.

In the last seventeen days, I have had one day off - Christmas Day. In that time, I have worked over 135 hours at my regular job, and worked more than 15 hours with tutoring clients. 150 hours in the last seventeen days.

I'm ready for a break.

Tomorrow, I have no tutoring clients. I don't have to go into work. I am taking a whole day for myself - sleeping in, going to yoga, cleaning my house, reading one of the (ten) new books I got at the library today, and going out to dinner. I have a million and one errands I need to run and things I need to do since I haven't had the chance lately, but those can wait.

Tomorrow, I'm following my goals this year and loving myself. I'm going to study for my TWP exams at work, because I could use the cash to pay down my student loans and up my chances for a better home loan rate. I'm going to clean my house, because it is overwhelming to come home after a long day's work to clutter. I'm going to sleep in, and read, and go to yoga because those are all things I enjoy, and I never get to do anymore.

Maybe I'll even cook. Or vacuum. Or get the paperwork completed that I need to do. But I'm not going to worry about any of those things because I come first. Not my tasks or responsibilities, but taking care of my health and emotions. And quite frankly, I need to be coddled.

Don't forget to take a "me day" every once in a while! Don't neglect the most important person in your life.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

December 101 update

For December, I said I would:

  • run 1 mile without stopping
  • get down to 130 lbs.
  • watch the Aurora Borealis
  • read four books
I crossed off two of 'em! My scale couldn't make up its mind today between 129.8 and 130.0, but either way, there was my weight goal. And I finished exactly four books, so there's another one down! 

I also made the following progress:
  • used $3 in coupons
  • finished four books! 
  • donated more rice
  • paid more in student loans
  • answered ten more questions!

I didn't complete any goals this month, but that's okay by me. I didn't have a whole lot of time between the little sister's wedding and working upwards of 60 hours some weeks. 

For January, I will:
  • go to the symphony! 
  • run one mile without stopping
  • read another four books
  • donate 20K+ grains of rice
I'm starting back to school, which means I'm cutting my hours back at work and going to need more time to focus on me. I think those goals are a good start. And while I'd love to spend all day on FreeRice catching up since I'm so far behind, my ancient computer makes that a struggle. My $3400 tuition bill due next Tuesday makes buying a new laptop a problem, so donating the rest of my rice is going to take a while. 

In late January or early February, I also plan on hosting a wine dinner for my coworkers! I am super excited about it, but don't want to make a goal for that to happen this month and then be disappointed in yet another goal not crossed off. 

I also have some little surprises in store for a few friends I haven't talked to in ages, and hopefully those will be going out this month! Again, I don't want to set myself up for failure, but I know I'll make progress on more than just what I set out to accomplish this month. 

I'm getting there!