And once again…

Ah, a job change again. This time I didn’t seek it out. I didn’t go home night after night, complaining about my mean boss or miserable coworkers. Nope, this one isn’t on me. My boss is very nice and my coworkers are easy to be around. Yet I’m moving on again.

For those who’ve known me for a while, the usual response is, “A new job? Again?” And given my pattern, this wouldn’t be an unreasonable reaction. However, this time I am blameless! Sadly, I contracted covid in late March. The first week I basically just stayed in bed, watching as the shadows from the window blinds moved across the ceiling. Happily, I gradually regained strength and after week three, returned to work where an unpleasant surprise was waiting. Our company had been sold and my position was being eliminated. My boss (you know, the nice one) assured me that we had sixty days until the office closed but encouraged me to start looking for a new job. That first day back was hell. Not only was I exhausted but I was reeling from the shock. A new job? I didn’t want to get a new job! I liked these people. I cried. I cried a lot but I saved the big breakdown for when I got home where I could really let it go. Man, did I ever. It helped and then I was able to start thinking about the future.

I whipped out my resume, updated it and quickly uploaded to various job boards. Surprisingly, the job market looked pretty strong so off the resume went. I managed to have two phone interviews on Wednesday by sneaking off to the warehouse. One company wanted to see me on Friday morning. The interview was good but over time, I’ve learned to not get overly excited because then I wouldn’t have so far to fall if the job offer didn’t come through. To my joy and shock, the job was offered to me by 5 pm that same day! I do believe that is my new record.

As I approach the end of my two week notice, I’m evaluating what I’ve learned about myself as an employee this time around and what I can take with me in order to succeed at the new place. The list is growing. I’ve changed. I’ve worked hard at being a better listener, not panicking when presented with a new project.

At the end of the next 3 days and 4 hours and 27 minutes left (who’s counting?), I can walk out of here, head held high, knowing I’ve done my best.

Change? Bring it on. I’m ready.

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It could happen

Over the years, oh hell, maybe all of my years, I’ve downplayed and buried my dreams. I’m far enough along in life now that I tend to think about what I can do with the time I have left as opposed to imagining limitless years stretching before me. This doesn’t mean that I sit around contemplating my demise. I swear that I don’t but let’s be realistic. At 62, if I want to get stuff done, I’d better get off my butt and do it. Soon. Today. Now. Often that thought can be paralyzing. It’s easy to make a list of why I can’t accomplish my goals. Too old, no time, mediocre talent, no training and so on. My favorite is if I haven’t already done it, it wasn’t meant to be. Ridiculous. I can reel off this list of why I’ll never do something so quickly that can only mean one thing. I’ve internalized it and engraved it in my brain why I can’t do “fill in the blank”. Why do I shortchange myself? While others encourage me, I quickly stamp out the flame of hope as soon as it ignites. What a waste of time!

Am I one of those who fear success? Seems like it. I wish I knew where I learned this self-limiting behavior. My parents were encouraging. My siblings cheer me on even now. Over the past five or so years, I’ve been fortunate to connect with some of the most amazing artists from all different fields. My life is infinitely richer because of them. Wouldn’t trade my experiences with them for anything in the world. Even they encourage me to chase my goals and believe me, I’m in awe of this talent pool.

Recently I came across a creative goal list I made two years ago. Easily checked off all of the items in less than a year. Perhaps it’s time to update it with new goals I have in mind. Instead of hiding the list away in a drawer, I’ll keep it where I can see it. Then every time my brain fires off the “why you will fail” message, I can review my accomplishments. Remind myself that I can and will do what I’m planning. Rewire my brain from discouragement to hope and certainty. Go from to “not possible” to “why the hell not.”

It could happen? No. It can and will happen.

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Seeking Change

Life has been extra busy the past two months. All good things but time has gotten away from me. In addition to a full time job so that I can stay out of the elements and eat on a regular basis, I performed in a fun little play, had one of my own plays produced and it’s the High Holy Day season. Oh, yes. I also participated in a storytelling program and am preparing for a Halloween program.

I know, I know. This sounds like a lot. It is but I love it all. I also love my husband so I try not to be out every night. Recently, there was an audition notice that caught my fancy. When I mentioned it to John, he told me that he hoped I’d like being single again. I’d say that’s a not-too-subtle hint that I need to take some time off.  With my wiggly brain, that’s not always easy.

Every year during the High Holy days (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), I try to examine the past year and see what behavior needs improving. I did change jobs this year and that was positive. I’m spending less time at my synagogue. That goes in the negative column. Distance has made it more difficult but I can work on that.  My relationships with my kids seem good.  At least I haven’t heard anything to the contrary. Another positive. I’ll take some quiet time and evaluate things. I know that I’m dealing with some resentment over something I want to do but can’t. It’s eating away at me and I’m letting it. I’m certainly spending way too much time thinking about all of the things I want but very little time focused on how I can help others. This may be the one area that needs the most work.

Change is good. Change is hard. Change can hurt. Change helps us grow.

Watch me grow!

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Sometimes the answer is no…

To put it bluntly, rejection sucks. I don’t know anyone who likes or looks forward to it.  One of my father’s frequent expressions when I worried about trying something new was “All they can say is no.” Even though this wasn’t always helpful, I understood it. I’d never know if I didn’t try. Being told “no” was the worst thing that would happen.  It was up to me how I reacted to it.  Although rejection stings for a while, I always get over it.  I recently auditioned for a show. I wasn’t feeling particularly positive. To tell the truth, I was terrified but I tried my best. When I received the expected rejection email, I shrugged it off.

It helped that I had just finished performing in a fun play AND gotten a wonderful acceptance of one of my plays that same day. My head was in the clouds.  One of my plays was performed a couple of years ago. There is nothing like the rush of excitement and wonder at watching characters you created speak words you wrote. It’s a little bizarre. it’s almost like having people read your thoughts. I’m thrilled to be able to experience it again. In between, I’ve submitted plays to other theaters and been turned down. I don’t let it stop me. I just keep writing and I’ll keep auditioning for shows.

So whatever your thing is, keep doing it. Sometimes people will love it and on different days, they’ll politely decline. If you love what you’re doing, that’s the most important approval of all.

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Pearls of Wisdom

It keeps happening and I can’t stop myself! I find myself dispensing unasked for advice more often than I like. The majority of my coworkers are under 30. That in itself is a novel experience and probably the source of my annoying behavior. I’m probably older than most of their parents and that seems to bring out my maternal side.  One of my goals is to work on my listening skills and not feel the need to jump in and fix things. Can you say failing, boys and girls? I mean, young adults. I leave my older coworkers alone. Granted, I’m the oldest one here but treat them as peers, not kids.

I’m pretty certain that I’m annoying the crap out of the young ones. They’re adults and have mothers of their own to nag them. They don’t need me giving sage advice on everything. I’m not really sure when it started.  Once I catch myself, I desperately try to back pedal but the harm is already done. No one is ever rude but I can feel the eye rolls behind my back. I try to remember what it was like in my twenties. Marriage, babies and work but most of it is a blur.  Any coworkers in their mid-thirties seemed ancient! One of my favorite people at work is all of 21 years old. The other day I realized that I’m forty one years older than her. It quite took my breath away. I had to go and sit down for a while and fan myself.  So much for being current.

Today was a perfect example. The 21 one year old is having her one year review at work today and was telling me how nervous she is and couldn’t sleep. Instead of just listening and making sympathetic noises, I made a speech about how it will be fine, don’t worry, blah blah blah. Ugh.  I’m going to try my damnedest to stop this behavior. Whenever I feel the need to mother people, I’ll call my own kids. They figured out how to ignore me years ago.

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I Must Be Dreaming

Ah, dreams. So many books have been written about them. Poets have waxed, well, poetically about them. When I googled songs with “dream” in the title, the list was enormous. I was surprised at how many I knew. If you hear me humming Aerosmith or the Mamas and Papas today, you’ll know why. I dream every night and manage to remember a piece of them each morning. The really interesting/puzzling ones stay with me the longest. The rest just fade away as I sip my morning coffee.

Growing up, my mother and I would recount our dreams at the breakfast table while my father grew impatient. He swore that he never remembered his dreams. Interestingly, John doesn’t either. Whenever I begin a sentence with “I had the strangest dream”, he rolls his eyes and cuts me off. “Aren’t they all strange?”, he asks. So he’s not much of an audience for my nighttime travels. When a dream is really complicated, I do one of two things. I look up the symbolism on a dream interpretation website or I call my friend Nancy. She’s usually the most accurate. Often, I wish that I could recall them with perfect clarity and write them down. In reality, they probably make little sense and wouldn’t work as a literary piece. I have a series of “lost” dreams. I’m stuck somewhere, can’t find the exit, can’t read the directions. You get the general idea.

Since I have a birthday right around the corner, I’ve been mulling over if I’ve actually fulfilled any of my childhood dreams.  Very early on I decided that I wanted to be an author. It took a while (a long while) but that one is coming along nicely. Later on, I aspired to be an attorney or college professor. I did start law school but motherhood took precedence and I never got back to it.  Even though I started grad school, I was worried about the whole professor thing because it would require getting published. I was certain that I had no real talent writing. Silly me. Interestingly, even though I’m enjoying getting involved in community theater, a life on the stage was never on the list.  It always seemed so cut throat and I don’t believe that lifestyle would have suited me.

Certainly, there were different dreams as I grew up. These changed on a regular basis. So do the ones I have now. If anyone had told me 15 years ago that I would be so immersed in a creative life at my age, I would have laughed. Surely, no one starts writing, composing and such so late in life. Sometimes it’s hard work while at others, it’s a breeze. Most importantly, it’s fun and I love it. People read my words, sing my songs and perform my characters. What a rush! It’s a shame that I still have to work but food and shelter are necessities. Now if I can just figure out what that dream from last night about a bullet in my right foot was about…


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I’m Just A Girl Who Can’t Say No

I know that some of you are singing (I am) and others are thinking unkind things about me.  Singers, have at it. The rest of you, now, now.  I’ve been a very good girl for a very long time. For those of you who knew me way back when, let’s keep those stories untold!  In truth, I’m working very hard at knowing when to decline a request and how to feel okay about it. Trust me, it’s taking some effort. I have the hardest time saying no to people I like but guess what? If they really like me, my refusing a position on a committee shouldn’t change it.

I’ve found that two emotions come into play when asked to join a committee, participate in a musical program or help out in general. First, I’m extremely flattered and my ego is inflated. Second, I feel guilty because I want to say no and am afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. I was saying yes more often than was feasible or even good for me. After the euphoria of being chosen for something, panic would set in. How in the world was I going to add one more thing to my already busy schedule? How many nights did I really want to be out after a full work day? How was I going to tell John that I committed to yet another activity without telling him first? On that, we have a deal. Before I say yes to anything, I run it by him. This isn’t for permission (Heaven forbid) but because it helps me see the big picture. I get so excited when asked to do seemingly fun things, I often forget to consider the time required.

I’m starting to see a change.  There are only so many available hours in my days. I have to work, sleep and spend quality time at home. Missing my gym time is no longer negotiable. If I commit to participating, I want to give it my best.  Right now choir rehearsals for High Holidays have begun along with ones for a short play I’m in and a storytelling program. This is plenty. By mid-October I’ll be wiped out. So if you ask me to be part of something, please know that I’m thrilled you asked and that it’s not easy for me to say no.  I often agonize over my decision. Please keep asking.  I just may say yes the next time.


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Midsummer Murmuring

Summer began officially on June 21st. It’s only the 2nd week of July but if you live in the Midwest, you know that it’s midsummer. Of course, if you reside in a southern or southwestern state like most of my family and friends, it’s the middle of “hot as hell with no relief in sight” season.  We take turns complaining about the weather. I bitch and moan  about ice, snow and below zero temperatures all winter long while they point fingers and mock me. “Come to Florida or Arizona (wherever), it’s so nice!” Not laughing now, are you, as you peel your seared flesh off the leather car seats?

The first sure sign of midsummer is the massive sales of all warm weather clothes. Even though we just started wearing shorts and sandals,  merchants need to make room for coats and sweaters. The Sunday papers are full of back to school supplies ads.  Although I no longer have to buy backpacks, new calculators or pens, as soon as I see these ads, I can feel the cold winds of winter creeping in. It’s probably just the a/c set too low but you get the idea.  Hell, I haven’t even gotten into my bathing suit yet. Don’t show me sweaters and coats! Too soon, too soon.

Perhaps we can work out a compromise. I’ll gladly buy shorts, tank tops and sandals at reduced prices but the warm clothes and boots will be hidden away, shown only to those who request them, sort of like those rooms small video stores used to have in the back behind a black curtain. Instead of “You must be 21 to enter”, the sign will say “You have given up on being warm and your soul is made of ice.” This way I can wallow in the illusion that winter will never come.  I raise my cold glass of iced tea in a toast. I’d rather sweat than shiver. Long live Summer!


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Get off my lawn!

I’m well aware that this isn’t exactly the middle of my life. Realistically, that was probably 20 years ago. However, since I intend to live to 120, I claim the middle years. I figure that if Moses could do it, so can I.  He was described as being clear eyed and full of vigor. Insert sexual innuendo there. Wink, wink. Hey, don’t blame me! I learned it in Torah study.  My favorite literature and cartoons promised time travel and flying cars. I’m not leaving until I get to experience both.

Lately, I’ve noticed that I’m engaging in some old person behavior. I yell at people driving too quickly in parking lots. I worry about strangers on motorcycles without helmets. Being around little kids makes me anxious.  I’m prepared to chase them if they dart into the street. More and more, the world is making me nervous. I can appreciate a quiet night at home. Large crowds freak me out. Worst of all, I make sure that I always have an umbrella with me. The other day I told a coworker that I’d rather have the umbrella and it not rain than get wet. Who am I and what the hell happened?

I suppose this is to be expected. According to Antiques Roadshow, I am mid-century Modern. That’s nice in houses and furniture but I’m not sure how I feel about it as a personal description. I still cringe when people call me ma’am and laugh when they call me miss. I’m older than I feel yet the upper middle-aged behavior is increasing daily.  My new guitar strap is embroidered and has a nice hippie vibe. There’s a cool contraption to dry herbs on it’s way. Perhaps I’m regressing a bit since I missed having a mid-life crisis. Don’t get me wrong. There were a lot of crises but none were fun.  I guess I could just let life happen and enjoy it. I’ll just make sure that I have an umbrella.

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I swear that it’s natural!

Ah, summer. It seemed as though it would never arrive in Chicagoland. It’s been raining for months and until this week, the temps never got past 83.  We had 30 degree temperature changes in a single day. And now the heat and humidity arrived. This means that the constant battle of “It’s not hot enough to turn on the a/c” and “Oh my God, I’m melting” has commenced. I bet you can guess which one is me.  Considering the fact that I grew up in South Florida, you’d think that summer would be a snap. Nope, it’s not. I want lots and lots of cool air blowing on me all day long.  I become one enormous sweaty thing while my other half sits there cool as a cucumber. How does he do it? Ice in his shoes? A fan secreted somewhere on his person? All I know is he never sweats while I’m gingerly peeling my flesh off the leather furniture.  I hate snow and cold but the extreme opposite is no picnic. The weather is nice for about 4 weeks a year.

Of course, the best (read “worst) part of summertime is my hair.  Like that character in the “Peanuts” comic strip, I have naturally curly hair.  During this time of year, I can actually feel it expand as it dries. I’ve tried every product that promised me to smooth it out, reduce the frizziness, give it a nice shine. Liars, all of them. Nothing helps.  I don’t wear hats unless I’m willing to walk around with a circular dent in my hair afterwards. I’m not. So here I am.  Wild hair, going in all directions, feeling messy. That’s usually when someone with shiny, smooth hair asks me if it’s natural. Why would I do this on purpose? That’s when confusion sets in. Do people still get perms? These straight haired women, as it’s rarely men, tell me they have wavy hair and would love hair like mine. I don’t believe they’re thinking this through. No more smooth ponytails, no more silky hair hanging down their backs. I’ve flat ironed my tresses a few times. While it’s looks nice and I can finally flip my hair around like those models in commercials, it just didn’t feel like me.

Since I’m not willing to get a buzz cut, I’ve learned to embrace my curls. They do what they want based on the weather and I go along for the ride. Don’t even get me started on my gray hair. That’s another conversation for a different time.  Letting my freak flag fly!

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