Luck

Throughout most of my life I’ve felt lucky. Lucky to be alive and healthy, lucky for my family and friends, and lucky for my job opportunities. I’d often experience events and wonder why fate, God, or the universe decided to bless me with such good fortune. It was especially notable when I witnessed the opposite  occurring for my older brother. He, it appeared, seemed to walk under a black cloud while I seemed to catch every ray of sunshine. Growing up, it seemed effortless, like serendipity…

  
Lately however, the events in my life have shifted. No longer do those rays of golden sun shine as brightly for me. Job opportunities have dwindled, friends and family are far away, and minor health issues have plagued me. So the question that’s been weighing on my mind is this:

Does a person’s luck run out? 

Some may say that luck has nothing to do with the events in our lives- that we create the life we seek. If we think positively, stay true to our passions, and do good in this world, we shall reap the rewards. And when troubles arise, we need only look for the positive. So the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Simple. 

I’m a firm believer that things in life happen for a reason. Up until now I’ve always found it easy to follow this mantra because every turn in my life’s journey seemed to lead me to a better place. But what happens when you take a turn on the road and no sunshine guides your feet on that path? You stumble along in darkness wondering where you’re headed, trying to find your way, thinking you should turn back. You tell yourself over and over to keep going, that there has to be a reason that you’re on this particular journey. Where you once walked with confidence and joy, you now tread with fear and doubt. Walking alone in the dark is not familiar to me. I don’t like it. I question my decisions. I long for a hand to reach out to me in the darkness. Some days I want to give up. 

But I don’t.

I’m working harder today than I ever have to find the light again. And believe me I’m searching every single day, because I can no longer leave my fate up to chance. I will fight to find my way out of the darkness, with or without luck on my side. 

 

The F Word

Patience. Optimism. Perserverance. I’ve written about all of these concepts in some form or another lately, but today I’m writing about a very different word. One that’s frowned upon in many of my professional circles. A forbidden word.

The F word.

Frustration. (I know I scared some of you for a second there). Anyone who has ever been unemployed, and had to job search knows the feelings that come with rejection. These feelings are part of the process, and should ultimately help you to become more driven, passionate and focused in regards to finding that perfect job. But today, after receiving yet another rejection notification, I’m not feeling motivated in the least. Instead, I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m sad. It’s left me feeling short on patience and confidence. In a word, I’m frustrated.


“Chin up, something will come along soon.” “Do what makes you happy.” “You are talented- you have so many options.” I’ve heard all the positive anecdotes from family, friends, and colleagues. I’ve sold many  such promises to myself over the past months in the hopes of reinforcing a positive outcome. And every single time I think I’ve finally found the perfect job – one that meshes with my experience and my passion; one that I know I’m perfectly suited for, you guessed it… I receive another rejection. I can only be left to wonder what other applicants put forth, and what I lack. My rejections are followed up with questions asking what I might have improved upon in order to increase my chances of getting hired next time, yet most companies rarely take the time to explicitly answer these requests.

I’m frustrated because no matter how much experience I have, how well read I am, or how many connections I make, the doors keep closing on every opportunity I seek to pursue. It makes me question my beliefs about myself, about who I am as a professional, my worth, my dreams… This process has left me feeling lost. Each time I pull myself back up, I get knocked back down, and can’t help but question why. I’m certainly not the first person to seek  new opportunities within a chosen field, yet my unsuccessful attempts make me wonder if such a move is in the cards for me. These doubts lead to the frustration of which I write about today. I don’t want to remain stuck, trapped, or without options, yet this is exactly how my circumstances have left me feeling.


I know that many of my friends who will read this piece will kindly reach out with words of encouragement. Rest assured that your advice has not fallen on deaf ears. I know I wouldn’t have survived these past months with your constant support, and I wonder daily how I will ever repay you. For those of you who think I’ve complained far too long about the whole relocating/ seeking a job ordeal, I agree. I’m tired of myself. I get it. It’s … frustrating. However, this post was not written as a means to garner pity, or to apologize. It was written simply for this writer to release some raw emotions. Out of frustration.

#OneWord – Peace

My #OneWord for 2016 has to be peace. With the events going on around the world lately, most of us think about peace in the sense of being free from war. While I do wish for peace on Earth, I’m selfishly hoping for my own slice of peace in 2016. I’ve recently written about patience, but I think for me, the New Year will be more about persevering in uncomfortable circumstances, about not giving up, and ultimately finding peace in that decision. 

The journey of my life in recent months has taken me far from the familiar path I once knew. I’ve had to navigate past several obstacles, and I’m still not certain that this new road I’m on is leading me in the proper direction. I fear I may have veered off course. It feels scary to be this lost. However, instead of staying stuck or running back to where I started, I know I need to keep moving forward despite the voices that are telling me to give up. And believe me, the voices are loud. They tempt and goad me when I’m at my weakest. 

So as 2016 commences I’m trying my hardest to push past the negative voices and be at peace with what lies ahead in the new year. I will persevere and keep moving forward no matter how easy it would be to just give up. I have to believe that finding tranquility will lead me back to the life I know I’m meant to live. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to the first few weeks of this new year because I know how difficult things are going to be. I know I’m going to have to dig deeper than ever before to find the quiet. 

  
Lucky for me, I have the constant love and support from family, friends and my PLN to keep me on course.

Happy PEACEFUL New Year

Hanging On

When you’re young and starting out you struggle to reach the truth about who you are, and your life’s ambition. With perseverance and perhaps a little luck, most do achieve success. You obtain your goal, the job you believe will make you happy. But life can be funny. Sometimes, just when you think you should be settled on the path you have set out for yourself, you find yourself at the top of that proverbial roller coaster. Hanging on for dear life.

Anxiously. Waiting. For. What. Happens. Next.

For what happens next? What happens when you reach a point in your life when the career you opted for back in your youth, is no longer enough to sustain you? What happens when you want to follow a different path? What happens when you are a person DRIVEN by passion, yet obstacles in your chosen career leave you feeling passionless?

You do a lot of soul searching. A LOT. You read. You pray. A LOT. You get connected. You redo your resume. A LOT. You network. You cry. You lose sleep. A LOT. You hang on for dear life.

But you cannot wait for what happens next. Waiting keeps you in an anxious place. Instead you must own it. You must embrace the ups, the downs, the twists, and the turns that you are about to face. You must be the thrill seeker of your own life’s journey. This is much easier said than done. Especially when you are a person who likes having his/her feet planted firmly on the ground. A person who does not like change, or the unknown. Hence the reason for the aforementioned soul searching, reading, praying, and crying.

Today I find myself sitting at the top of that roller coaster. Yes, I’m hanging on for dear life. But I’m ready to face all the twists and turns that life is throwing my way. How do I know? Because staying rooted in a passionless place feels so much worse.

Regrets

Is the measure of a successful life one without regrets? Is there really such a thing? We all have hopes, dreams, desires and goals. And while we may work really hard to turn them into reality, do we always succeed? Sometimes, aren’t there obstacles that make it impossible for our wishes to come to fruition? Does this in turn mean we have not lived fully?

I have a few regrets in the life I’ve lived thus far. Presently I am struggling with a huge one. Despite how badly I desired this event to transpire, there were obstacles that got in the way. Looking back, the choices I made, or failed to make, are weighing heavy on my heart. Looking back, the path that would have led me there now seems so clear. In that moment however, the path was muddled, scary, and seemingly out of reach.

So tonight I am left with feelings of sadness, self doubt, and yes, regret. I cannot keep my mind from thinking about what might have been. And it makes me think about these obstacles that get in the way. Are they obstacles that we ourselves create? Why would we intentionally sabotage our deepest desires? Why would we set up roadblocks instead of living out the life we really want? Do these roadblocks serve a purpose? Do they appear to show you a different path for your next journey? I wish I had the answers to these questions. I think most of us live with regrets, some more than others. Knowing we can’t go back, I guess we just move forward and learn from the bumps along the way. I’m not sure anyone can live a life free of regret. I would like to hope that a successful life is NOT one measured by regret, but instead in the way we handle ourselves when these obstacles do get in our way.

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A World Without Fear

How would my world would be different without fear? That’s a question/ statement I often think about. In fact I dwell on this topic because I think (rather I know) I live much of my life in a constant state of fear. No matter how I try to rid or calm myself of scary thoughts, the fears surrounding me always manage to find their way back home.

What is it that I fear? Well, here are the most common culprits that keep me from living peacefully:
•sickness
•death
•something happening to my daughters
•change
•controlling colleagues
•circumstances of my job
•planes, boats(other places where I can not easily escape)

What would my life be like without fear? I can’t imagine a world without it. Fear for me is a constant companion-it accompanies me everywhere. God knows I’ve tried to overcome my anxieties. I exercise, I write, I read, I have had counseling, I talk about it, ad nauseum, to anyone willing to listen. I have tried meditation, deep breathing. I look for inspirational quotes/messages to empower me. Sometimes these things do actually work… for a little while. Eventually though, the fears I try to run from find their way back.

I was once asked by a friend why I viewed my fears as a weakness. Through my tears I explained that I felt like a hypocrite for asking my daughters to live a fearless life, while I remain ruled by fear. She in turn simply stated that I needed to accept this part of me. Why fight something so hard? But isn’t acceptance – weakness? A cop out? Is it? Is it just part of who I am, part of my DNA? The way I’m wired? At times I tell myself yes, and at times I find myself enraged for being so afraid of the things that I cannot control.

So what would my life be like without fear? My fears are so ingrained that I can’t imagine it. Can you, reader, imagine your life without your hand or leg? For me, it feels the same- asking me to live without a part of myself that is me. I often wonder what things might I have accomplished in life had this part of me not existed. Would I be more successful, happier, popular? What other path would I have followed had fear not always been along for the ride to govern my every action? Some would argue that a life lived without fear leads to a life without regrets. All the quotes tell me this is so. Yet had I lived a life without my fears, would I have the precious life that surrounds me today? As I sit here gazing at my daughters and my husband I know that answer. I think I will take my fears, no matter how frustrating they can feel. They are part of me, but at this very moment- I won’t trade them for the life I see right in front of me.

Summergirl through and through

I’m convinced that I’m residing in the wrong part of the country. I’m not made for the cold. I’m a summer girl through and through. My body responds quite adversely when the temperature drops below 65 degrees. Every year as the summer comes to an end, and the nights grow colder, my extremities rebel. My fingers and toes turn blue, and I’m constantly feeling chilled. This usually lasts until the heat of the summer can thaw me enough so that socks and sweatshirts aren’t required attire. Sometimes this thaw occurs in June, but lately it seems that I can’t fully defrost until July.

As the weather begins to warm up here in the Northeast, I feel the summer calling to me. My flip flops beckon to me from the storage bins in my closet. Like the metamorphosis of the caterpillar, I am slowly beginning to find my way out of my winter cocoon. Little by little I am shedding the trappings of winter and looking forward to the rebirth that summer brings to me both mentally and physically.