Fifteen Years

Me:  Hey, y’all, I’m back!

You:  [crickets]

Me:  Excuse me, I guess I should have said “yinz”. Yinz, I’m back with a blog post.

The World: [zzzzzz]

Me:  Fine. Be tha tway.

So I’ve broken that cardinal rule of blogging – write frequently enough for your readers (even your mom) to give a hoot – but I’m realizing in middle age that humans are not born to multitask, after all.

Is something outside my window? Squirrel!

Humor me for a moment while I do the obligatory, guilt-ridden blathering about how busy life has been in the last 3 weeks EXCEPT TO BLOG:  getting back to school; celebrating the kids’ birthdays, my birthday, my parents’ anniversary, my work anniversary; restarting taekwondo classes (sijak!); taking a trip out of town; restarting my 2013 resolutions before the year is over, entering yet another stage of self-reflection and hair coloring. Blather. Blather…

Thank you and sorry.

Funny thing is that in the jumble above one milestone sticks out in my mind and connects many of the others to each other:  my work anniversary. Fifteen years at the same company. Quite frankly, I never thought my tenure would go past five.

I’ve written about my midlife “what do I want to do with my life” crisis before. I’ve resolved my feelings about it for now, for the most part. I’ve spent the last 15 years generally doing things I like to do, working with more good people than not and have been given the chance to grow and learn. Not always when I would like, or necessarily in an industry I’d choose again, but I’ve asked for opportunities and given new challenges. Part of that I will take credit for; part of it rests with the people I work for. The thing that has struck me the most about “15,” though, is what has happened in my personal life in that time.

My first husband and I celebrating our first Christmas in our new house.

Our first baby.

Our second baby.

Our divorce.

My townhouse, the first house I purchased on my own.

Lots of painting (and wearing paint on me). Developing a few DIY skills along the way.

New neighbors and friends.

Many dates.

Many misses.

My first blog.

Writing and pitching my novel.

Putting my novel away, proud of what I accomplished but ready to move on.

Discovering who I really am, what I want and what I won’t settle for.

Bringing the rest of my immediate family to this area.

Meeting my husband.

Jumping out of a plane.

Planning a wedding.

Getting married again.

Our Hawaiian honeymoon!

My last pregnancy.

My only miscarriage.

Buying our house.

A new, loving extended family.

Lots more painting and home projects – now at two houses, my in-laws’, and our own.

Learning, learning..

My second blog. (This one!)

More Christmas and Irish/St. Patrick’s Day decorations than I ever thought I would own.

More figuring it out as I go along.

Whether I’m still working here or not down the road, it will be interesting to see what the next 15 years bring.

Balance, Enlightenment and Other Unholy Grails

A few weeks ago I noticed there was some serious bad juju going on around me. One example: a former co-worker suffered a near-fatal heart attack. Forty years-old, a mother of two or three; someone who eats right, works out faithfully and was just commenting to another co-worker how happy and stress-free her life had been since she was able to quit work and stay at home. I didn’t know her well, but have worked with her sister for about 5 years. It turns out lifestyle was not the cause of her heart attack, but let me tell you it got this chick thinking about her life and what she might do a little differently.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I often throw myself from one project – or exercise regimen or activity or issue or person or issue of a person – to another, moving in fits and starts. I get an idea in my head and it’s hard for me to get it out until I’ve done whatever it is I set out to do. I stay up late cranking through a task only to find I’m dragging by the end of the week because I didn’t get enough sleep. I might do something like read The Power of Now, but end up flipping through the chapters to get to the end…because I’m impatient. (Purely hypothetical, of course.) Or I’ll find myself plowing ahead with an irritating but sometimes blog-worthy stubbornness of not knowing when to quit like the Black Knight in Monty Python and The Holy Grail.

Having drive and determination isn’t bad; in fact, it comes in quite handy. But Little Miss Zenshine over here is starting to think moderation, focus and maybe some downtime among all this multitasking madness would help.

I’m a smart girl. I’ve read countless magazines/books and listened to all the positive stories, horror stories, advice and insights from friends, family, and even Oprah. (Yes, I’ve poked fun of her here and here, but she has the right idea.) I just don’t always do what I should. Maybe I’m wondering about this again because I’m turning 40 soon. Maybe it’s because of what happened to my former coworker or Tim Russert. I’d say it was because of indigestion — except that I haven’t eaten dinner yet because I’m not balanced. Who knows?

I have some fun and/or relaxing things planned in the coming weeks, which I’m psyched about; I’ll blog about those soon. I’m also open to spontaneous activities, even if I can’t always partake in them. In the meantime, maybe writing this post about juggling on a blog about juggling is enough of a start.

All right, because I can’t resist — and it’s always good to balance all this soul-searching crap with some humor — I offer you this:

All right, we’ll call it a draw!

Today’s Special: Chicken Soup

Do you know a working mother who might like a little boost after an extra chaotic day? Are you one of these fantastic women*?

Chicken Soup for Working Mom's SoulIf you answered yes, then pick up a copy of Chicken Soup for the Working Mom’s Soul, a collection of thoughtful and humorous essays about the challenges of juggling family, careers and that little thing called life. The book happens to include my essay — my first published credit. Yeah!

Hey, and that whole juggling concept isn’t a bad idea – perhaps I should start a blog about it. Or write a novel using it. Or…

*All of us multi-tasking mamas are working moms — and fantastic ones, too. But you already knew that, didn’t you?