Archive | May, 2017

I Thought I was a Good Driver

31 May

I got an envelope in the mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles yesterday.  I figured it was my vehicle registration or license renewal since I’m close to my birthday.  I opened it up.

“What the hell is this?”  I asked myself.  “Operator Re-Training?”

It must be a mistake.  This morning I called the number on the bottom of the form. I waited on hold for 30 minutes.  Finally someone answered.  I gave her my license number and name.

“You have had 3 violations in the past 3 years.”

Impossible, I thought.  She must have me confused with someone else.  I asked what they were.

The first was September, 2014.  Oh.  I remember it distinctly.  I was driving from the gym to work one morning.  I had my protein shake in one hand and the phone in the other. I was sharing on a wisdom call.

“And, I asked my hairdresser if she could show me how to blow dry my hair.    I actually admitted I didn’t know how,………Wait, oh no, I’m being pulled over, …..gotta go.”   I hung up the phone.  Damn, I thought.  I really wanted to tell them the rest of the story.

“What’s going on?” I asked the officer, confused, after pulling off the road.

“You were holding your phone.  That’s illegal.”  He checked my license and registration.  I couldn’t find my insurance card.  I had filed for divorce and was trying to be independent.  This was one of the things my ex used to do.  SHIT, I thought.  I must not have put it in my car.

“I could take you right to jail for this,” the officer told me.  “But I am letting you go with just a ticket.”  He explained that holding my phone was illegal and that I should use my bluetooth or headphones in the future.

Next, I got a speeding ticket in Ridgefield.  I wasn’t going very fast.  I didn’t think it was fair, but, it was easier to just pay the ticket then go to court, so I just sent my money in.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was putting my weight watcher points into my app while at a red light.  The light changed, and I started driving.  I didn’t think the policeman standing in the middle of the road was motioning to me, but apparently he was.  I was surprised.  I wasn’t talking or texting, I was just calculating my points.

But, I didn’t argue.  I sat on the side of the road where the officer checked my credentials like a good little girl.  I didn’t even pick up my phone.  I wasn’t going to press my luck.

So I sat there waiting for him, hoping my credentials would be ok this time.  I remembered the past August when we were taking Haley, my daughter, to college for the first time.  I was already upset thinking about my little baby leaving home.  And, we had gotten a late start.  We stopped at a bank so she could deposit some cash she had saved.   I looked up and there was an officer coming over to my window.

“Oh, hi”  I said smiling, thinking he was just being friendly.

“Did you know you were speeding?”

“Ummmm, no,”  I answered, stunned.

“You sped right past me.”  he said.

“I DID?”  I put my head in my hands. The stress of the last few weeks overtook me.  We were emptying our house since it was being torn down to be rebuilt.   I was finally moving out of the house, two years after our divorce was final, and this morning, the last of my kids was moving out.   I burst into tears.

“I SHOULD NEVER HAVE WOKEN UP THIS MORNING,”  I said.   “I CAN’T TAKE THIS.  AND WE ARE SO LATE!!!”

“License and registration,”  he said, a little more gently.

I looked in the glove compartment, they weren’t there.  I started panicking.  I tore the whole thing apart and neither was there.  I knew I had insurance.   But I must have forgotten to put the new card in my car.  AGAIN.  And, I didn’t remember getting an updated registration either.  This was not good.

“I could compound your car for this,”  he said.  He shook his head.  And walked over to his car.

Thankfully he could see that the registration and the insurance were valid.

“You can’t drive to New Hampshire without the documents,”  he said.  “I will let you go, but do not go out of state.  Go home and get the papers.”   We spent another hour looking for them at home and then finally got on the road.

I had been lucky, I thought.  A couple of times.  And, thankfully, that afternoon in Bridgeport, my credentials checked out.  I got a ticket, paid it, and promptly forgot about it.

Until today.  This was serious.  I’ve had 3 violations within a 36 month period.

If I get one more in the next 36 months, I will lose my license for 30 days.  No second chances.  No classes to take like this time.  If I get another one after that, my license is suspended indefinitely.

My first thought was:  my life is ruined.  No more speeding.  No more recruiting calls while driving.  How am I going to live?

My second thought was:  it’s not cancer.  It’s not an illness.  Maybe this will save my life or someone else’s.  All I have to do is slow down and not hold my phone.

And, after a few hours to think, I realize I have been lucky.  I haven’t been driving like I tell my kids too.  I’ve been reckless and making jokes about my carelessness instead of taking it seriously.

This is a wake up call.  And, I will survive this.  I’ll just have to be careful.  I definitely won’t be getting to places as fast as I had been.  I’ll have to leave more time to get there.

And,……. maybe I’ll become the good driver I thought I was and be helping make the world a safer place in the process.

 

 

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Everyone Else Would Raise Their Hand, Too

29 May

I’ve been enjoying the three day Memorial Day weekend.  I think my mind needed to process everything I went through last week.  I kept thinking I should blog about something all weekend, but I just couldn’t think of anything to say.

Yesterday I took a break from my computer altogether and didn’t even turn it on.  I read out on my deck, cooked, worked out, took a long walk on the beach with my daughter, and had dinner with both kids.  It was really nice.

So here I am, trying to figure out what I need to say.  After my last post about needing an escape, I was about as messed up in my mind as I have ever been.  I couldn’t shake it.  I tried every technique I knew, but nothing worked.  I couldn’t even put it into words for the blog.  It was the funkiest funk I can ever remember.  Luckily, I had a coaching session scheduled for Friday at 4:00 PM.  It couldn’t have come been better timing.

I think I cried almost the whole hour.  I was upset with myself for being upset with my mom.  I know I should feel lucky to have her, and I don’t expect her to change, it’s just that I found all of her questions annoying.  At 57, I am not used to having to explain everything I want to do, am going to do, have done and why.  I don’t know what my kids ate for lunch or what they are doing every hour.  I trust that I raised them to make good decisions and that they can feed themselves when they are hungry.  They are 21 and 18.

So her questions about all of this just irritated the crap out of me since I didn’t know the answers and didn’t think I needed to know them.  And then she would get upset when I was annoyed.  And I felt terrible for not being nice to my mom.  I should be grateful to have her, and instead, I was just an annoyed bitch.

On the call, I went through my entire box of tissues, blowing my nose and talking.  My coach was awesome.  He just listened.  “Thank you.  Is there anything else?  And what is present now?” is what he would say.  Never interrupted.  Never gave his opinion.  Just “got it.”

At one point, I was present to such profound sadness that it hurt.  Underneath the annoyance and anger was just hard core sadness.  It was really hard to let it out.  It felt like I would just burst open and dissolve if I did.  And, I was on my last box of tissues so of course I had major “snot” concerns as well.  (I know, gross, TMI!!!)

My neighbor’s girlfriend kept coming out on the deck to fold her laundry.  She looked at me but I just kept my head down.  She was probably wondering what I was crying about but, as my friend Renee says, “Oh well.”  Guess she’ll never know.

At the end of the call, my coach, Owen, kept asking if there was anything else I needed to say.  I kept thinking I was done but more words kept coming out.

Finally at the end, I blurted out “I feel like I’m the only one who ever gets upset like this.”  I actually gulped the air in between sobs.   ” I think there is something really wrong with me because I get like this.  I hate it.  I don’t know what to do about it.”

Owen waited a few seconds.  He doesn’t usually make comments, but this time he said, “If you were in a seminar right now, this is the time when the leader would look around the room and ask if anyone else had ever felt this way.”

I knew where he was going……

“But since it’s just us, I can’t,”  he said, very gently.  “But guess how many people would have raised their hands?”

“All of them,”  I whispered, feeling a little bit of my heart ache lift.

“Yes,”  he said.

I finally smiled.  The clouds lifted and the sun came out.

“Thank you,”  I said.  “I really needed that.”

“Anytime,”  he said.

And my funk lifted.  I was just human, after all.  And, I guess I had needed a really good cry.  It was cathartic.  And exhausting.

And, sitting here on Monday, thinking I should be getting ready for tomorrow’s work day,  I just remembered why I hired my coach.  Because someone told me that this kind of coaching could “disappear” your issues.  Not analyze them, not talk about them, not work on them, but actually make them disappear.

It’s very powerful.  And, the truth is, I don’t even remember what I was talking about for that hour.  It’s just gone.  And, that’s pretty cool.  And, I’m going to have dinner with my mom and kids and I’m looking forward to it.  It’s a freaking miracle!!!!

Enjoy what’s left of Memorial Day!!

 

I Need An Escape Plan

25 May

Today I’m tired.  It’s rainy and damp and I just want to go to sleep.  I am invited for dinner to my mother’s.  My kids are there.  I “should” want to go to be with them, right?

But I’m tired.  I’m in my sweats and I don’t feel like moving.  And I think that’s wrong.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I’m probably on it but I’m too tired to care.

Maybe there’s something else going on.  It could be that I finally found out when I am moving.  June 15.  21 days from now.  I found out yesterday.  The good news is that I can keep some of my stuff in one of the rooms of my little cottage so I don’t have to move everything.

The other news – I won’t label it bad – is that I will be moving in with my mom.  It sounds like a really great idea in theory.  I am lucky to have her.  She’s alone now.  I won’t have a commute.  My stuff will all be in one place.  I won’t have to pay rent.   And, sometimes we get along really well.

But there’s the other times……..she asks a lot of questions.  (And so did my ex…..by the by).  And, once I tell them all that I know, there is nothing left for me to say…..but the questions keep coming anyway.  And, it feels like an attack.

You should have asked this.  You should have asked that.  Why didn’t you ask this.  What about that?

And, I get annoyed, then mad, then it turns ugly, then I just want to run the fuck away……..so, the thought of being stuck here 2.5 months really freaks me out.   (OK, so I am writing this at her house.  My ex came to visit the kids.  We were having a discussion and it was just very ugly.  I felt like I was getting ganged up on and I am steaming).

I was hoping that maybe I wouldn’t really have to move.  But, now I have the answer.  The “kids” of my landlords use the beach cottage in the summer.  So, I always knew I would probably have to move but the landlord had hinted maybe I wouldn’t, but, now I know for sure that I do.   So,……………….

But, in the last few minutes, I took an action.  I texted my friend, Renee, who had offered me a bedroom in her apartment for the summer.  She is renting a 2 bedroom and will charge me $500 a month.  I hadn’t given her an answer before, but just told her if it’s still available, to keep it for me.  Even though I may or may not use it, I think the $500 of knowing I would have another place to live will be worth it.  I don’t know if I can stay here without an escape plan.

My son and ex are much better and more patient with my mom.  I try.  I really do.  But, I can only take so much.  A breakthrough is needed.

I can’t expect her to change, so I am the one that will need to react in a different way.  I just have no clue right now.

Any suggestions?

Desperate in Connecticut

PS Now I know how it is for the other person when I am asking the questions.  ANNOYING!!!!!  Good to know.

PPS  A possible strategy:  It might help to know WHY they are asking the questions.  Once you know the motive (I worry if I don’t know if the kids are coming home, because I care about you, etc.), you can possibly have more compassion.

 

 

 

I am Amazing?

23 May

113 Posts

Above are my stats.  I was going for 25 posts and 25 comments by last night.   I guess I hit my milestone, but…………. 

Last night I had a seminar.  In the seminar we are working on Breakthrough Projects.  My seminar was the blog.  My possibility was Freedom.  I got up in the front of the room and told the people in my seminar that a week ago I had been ready to quit writing this blog.  I had decided it was just a dumb idea and I was NOT going to do it anymore.  And, if it hadn’t been for Omik, my group leader, I would have stopped.

But he called me on my crap.  He told me I was “on it.”  All I had to do was “get off it. ” I argued with him.  I was not interested in continuing.  But, finally I decided he was right.  I got off it.  It was like a physical change in my body.

I looked to see what I could do.  I promised to share my blog with 5 people a day.  I would text Omik at the end of each day telling him what I had done.

And look what happened in only a week.

I had 1738 views.  And, my “About” got 288 views.

“I guess that’s pretty good,”  I told the seminar last night.  “But I was going for 25 comments and I don’t think it really counts because some of them are just my replies,”  I added..

My seminar leader just looked at me.  “Are you serious?”

“Yes,”  I answered.

“Why don’t you get what you did?”  my seminar leader asked.

“I don’t know,” I said, wanting to argue.  I thought about it.  “I guess I always diminish my accomplishments.  It’s hard for me to see I did anything good.”

“Well, when are you going to stop doing that?” she asked.

“I don’t know,”  I said softly.

“Well,” she said looking straight into my eyes.  “What kind of person would get over 1700 views?  What would you call that person?”  she asked.

I couldn’t talk.  Tears came to my eyes.  “Amazing,”  I said,  the tears now streaming down my face.

“Well, can you get that you are amazing?” she asked.

“I’m not sure,”  I whispered.  “It’s hard.”

“Well, are you willing to give up your lousy opinion of yourself and get who you are?”

I just stared at her.

“Think about it.  ARE YOU WILLING TO GIVE UP THE DISEMPOWERING VERSION OF YOURSELF THAT IS IN YOUR MIND?”

Silence.  The whole seminar was watching me.  My mind argued against it.  I can’t say I’m amazing.  That’s conceited.  No one does that.  What if the stats are fake?  What if it’s not true?  What if it all disappears tomorrow?  But what was my choice, really?

“OK,”  I said, knowing that being disempowered is a lousy way to live.

“Tell the seminar.  Pick 5 people and tell them.”

I looked at a girl in the front row.  “I AM AMAZING” I yelled.  It felt kind of good.

I picked a guy on the other side.  “I AM AMAZING”  I screamed.  It felt really good.

I repeated it 3 more times.

The whole room started clapping.

“Thank you,” my seminar leader said.  “For being generous, authentic and brave.  That was a great demonstration for the whole seminar.”

“You’re welcome,”  I said, wiping my eyes.  I grabbed a tissue from the box and headed to my seat, high fiving everyone I passed.

Could I really stand for myself being amazing?  Why should that be so hard?  It’s the same way I felt on the plane when I argued with myself about whether to be happy.  (See Happy?  Me? blog post).

Why not?  I say imitating my new Mexican associate’s adorable accent.  Why the f—k not?

So, I guess I AM AMAZING!!!!!

And, if I am, then SO ARE YOU!!!!!!!

 

 

Happy? Who me?

22 May

And now, we are on the plane going home.  I have to keep stopping myself from going to the left even with all the fun I had.  It’s amazing how easy it is to have my “something’s wrong” brain (SWB) take me over.

My SWB woke me up a couple of nights in Cabo with my familiar panic, “what am I supposed to do?”  I looked around.  I’m on vacation, I thought.  There is nothing I need to do.  Chill, I would tell myself.  Why was that so hard for me?  Why was it so hard to relax?

On the way down my SWB was worrying about work.  My friends said, “Stop” you’re on vacation.  We’re not talking about work.  So we made a deal.  If I worried, I had to do a shot.  So, I didn’t worry.  (Well, at least not out loud).  That was a good trick to make me more conscious about it.

I seem to have some kind of block about being happy.  I don’t know what it is.  I enjoyed the vacation and being away and the beautiful scenery.  I loved being with my work friends and getting to know some of the people better than I had before.  I made new friends.  I worked out every day.  I relaxed on the beach and swam in the pool.

So what if I ate and drank more than I had wanted to?   So what if I didn’t have a guy?  It was great being able to do what I wanted to do whenever I wanted to.  I really feel the love for my fellow AFLAC people and I never thought I would say that.  They are a great bunch of people.  Doing what we do is hard work, so it takes a special person who won’t quit.

So what is the problem with me and Happy?

When my mother asked if I was having a good time, I cringed at my response.

“It’s good,” I said in a monotone voice.  “It’s nice.”

Why didn’t I scream and say “IT’S AMAZING!!  I LOVE IT!!!”?

I’ve been wondering about that.  I think it’s my critical voice.  It’s the part of me waiting to get disappointed.  Or if you get your hopes up you are stupid.  Or you aren’t 20 and don’t have a perfect body.  I have wrinkles.  My stomach isn’t firm like it had been two years ago.

My right side brain says “So the fuck what?”  Why am I letting my little voice of criticism ruin my good life?

(Ok.  We are having turbulence.  Luckily I took my motion sickness pills.  Throwing up is not my favorite thing to do.  I’m trying not to think about it.)

Back to the voice.   It tells me “you can’t be happy if…..

  • you’re up a few pounds
  • if your daughter is miserable back at home
  • You’re behind on your numbers
  • You don’t have a man
  • You don’t know where you will live after the rental
  • You get frustrated
  • You get bitchy
  • You are messy

And on and on and on……So I can never be happy if I listen to the voice.  Because something will always be slightly off.  So  I can allow it to ruin my vitality, energy, passion, etc. or just realize that maybe I am just “on it” And I can just get off it.  Like I did with the blog.

Well, how do you get off it?  I had asked an old mentor years ago.

“You get off it, and get off it and get off it, and get off it,……until you do.  You finally start laughing and your sense of humor comes back.  And you keep getting off it.

So, I guess I will get off it…….

And now I can see that  I HAD A GREAT TIME!!!

I am actually moved to tears over it right now.  Spending time with my son was great.  The place and friends I made were amazing.  And, I can’t wait to see my mom and daughter and tell them all about it.  AND BE EXCITED ABOUT IT!!!!

And that’s a breakthrough.

Guess I’m not too old to have fun

22 May

I am on the plane flying home from a 3 day 3 night stay in Cabo.  It is a beautiful place.  We stayed at the Grand Fiesta Americana.  There were 600 AFLAC associates and coordinators in the resort.  It was all inclusive which is a dangerous thing.  All the drinks and food were free.

I won the trip when I hit my numbers the last few quarters and I was allowed to bring a guest.  I brought my 21 year old son, Jesse.

I was happy to be on vacation, in a beautiful place with my son.  But I couldn’t escape this feeling of malaise.  Like something was wrong.   I was horrified at myself.  Everyone else seemed to be laughing and enjoying themselves.

We were sitting with some friends the second day for lunch.  One of the guys asked, “Are you having fun?”

My son said, “yes.”  He had stayed out until 3:00 in the morning with some of the other 20’ish children. He had a ball with them exploring the resort, drinking, and ordering free room service at 2:00 AM.

Then they looked at me.  “It’s nice.”

“Nice?”  they said, stunned.  “Why aren’t you having fun? What’s wrong with you, girl?”

I thought about it.  I didn’t know what the problem was.  Finally, tears filled my eyes and  I blurted out, “I think I’m too old to have fun.  Everyone here is so young.  I went to sleep last night at 10:00 PM.  I feel like I’m just too old and boring.”

“You’re not too old to have fun,” one of the guys said.  “That’s ridiculous.”  He looked me in the eyes.   ” We are going to have to do something about this.”

He and his friend left to go to the pool.  I started thinking.  Was I just living on the left?   I didn’t think it was possible on vacation.  I was horrified at myself but as I’ve learned, making myself wrong just makes whatever it is worse.  I was feeling old, and fat, and ugly and boring.  And I just looked forward to going to sleep and hiding from everyone.

All of a sudden I remembered our possibility from the trip.  Fun, free and fabulous.  Oh shit.  Oops, I had forgotten it.

The next day instead of staying by myself on the beach, I started hanging with other people.  I jumped into the pool where the fun guys were.  They were happy to see me and I felt like I definitely fit in.  Later I met another couple on the beach and had a great conversation with them.

Whenever my fat thoughts came into my head, I remembered a chapter from my “Thighs” book.  Guys don’t care about your body flaws.  They think women are ridiculous for making such a big deal about bodies.  They just love naked women.  Period.  They don’t have as many rods in their eyes so they don’t see as much details or something.   So what was I worrying about?

I started walking around proudly, strutting my stuff, my extra five pounds and all.  Well, why not?   There were plenty of bigger women all around me who didn’t look the least bit self-conscious.  I took a page from them.

And then, yesterday, instead of just staying at the resort like I usually do, I decided to branch out and give Jesse a little tour of the place.  Rather then spending more then I wanted on a six hour tour, I worked with the hotel travel guy and designed our own shuttle plus boat tour for $25 apiece.  I was proud of my resourcefulness, especially when our first option did not turn out.

We could see why it was so cheap when we were crammed into a van with 12 other people and then we had to wait 20 minutes to get going.  But we got what we paid for and enjoyed every minute of it.  We all laughed as we toured the cove with it’s beautiful rock formations, sea lions, and entry into the rough Pacific Ocean.  Sitting on the front of the boat, getting sun, laughing and looking at the beautiful scenery was the highlight of our trip.

After the boat ride we had an hour before going back to the resort.  We found the  Mango Deck, where we thought some of our friends might be.  There they were, hooting and hollering at a VIP table right by the stage.  We watched a dance contest for the men.  Next was the women’s contest.  The MC asked for female volunteers.  I boldly got up on stage with the 20 year old women and played a game of Simon Says.  We had to get different men out of the audience and get back fast with them.  It was like musical chairs and the last person back was out.  I found a white man and a Mexican, but couldn’t find a black man.   So I was out.  But it was fun and I was proud of myself for volunteering.

We bought souvenirs for the people at home with the $60 I found in my shorts pocket.  We took the shuttle back, and got ready for our dinner.  I wore my new black dress and was told I looked “sexy.”  I started dancing when they played some of my favorite 70’s songs.  I got the crowd going to Love Shack and Brick House.  I was in the moment and having a great time.

I guess I wasn’t too old to have fun after all!!!

 

Fun, Free and Fabulous

22 May

I won a trip through work to Cabo.  I get to take a guest so I invited my son, Jesse.  I asked him if we should take his sister along.

“No, she’s already gotten to go on a couple of trips with you.”

He’s right.  So we are going alone.  Right now we are on the first leg of the trip from Newark to Houston, Texas.

The night before last I woke up at 2:00 AM.  I could not sleep.

“What if Jesse gets drunk and gets lost?  What if I don’t know where he is?  How are we going to wake up at 1:00 AM to get to the airport for a 5:00 AM flight?   What am I going to wear?  What shoes? What will I eat?  What if I gain weight?………”

The questions did not stop and I never went back to sleep.

Yesterday I was on a noon call.  The name of it is Living the Created Life. It’s an hour call and I hadn’t been able to be on it for a while.  I got on and just started talking.  I told them what was happening with this blog, and that I was going on vacation and instead of being excited, I was worrying.

I compared it to my blog.  If I am just writing for the sheer joy of it, I am in the zone, present and alive.  When I worry about what people will think, how many freaking comments I’m getting, or whether this has value, I am over on the left side of life, upset and miserable.

It’s the same with my vacation.  I haven’t even allowed myself to enjoy the anticipation of the vacation.  I’ve even complained that we have to travel for two days and only have two days to be there.  Ugh.  I would say.  I’m worried about my son. I don’t know what to pack.

Worrying has stolen my joy.  This is a free paid for trip by work.  I earned it.  I worked my ass off to get this trip the first quarter.   So, as I’ve been saying a lot lately, WTF?

Right after my noon call, I got a call from Jesse.

“Let’s create a possibility for this trip,”  he said.

“What a great idea, “  I told him.  “Perfect timing.”

We tossed around a few words for the next couple of hours.  Fun was definitely part of it.

“Ok, I need to be free from worry,”  I said.  So we added free.

“I don’t want to be sitting by myself being unsociable like I have been the last few years,”  I said.  “I want to be part of the community, make friends, and possibly meet a great guy.”

We sorted through a bunch more words and ended up with Fabulous.   What could be better?  It seemed to encompass everything.

So our possibility is Fun, Free and Fabulous.

Normally when traveling, I get into bossy mother mode and I’m not a lot of fun to be around when I’m that way.  I started getting stressed out:

  • We weren’t leaving the house on time. I was getting anxious because they told us we had to get to the airport three hours early for our international flight
  • We kept making wrong turns and weren’t getting to the airport. My friend us while we were still lost to tell me they were already walking to the gate
  • My bag was overweight and we had to open it in the middle of the check-in area and take stuff out.

And I handled it all surprisingly well.  For me, that’s really great.  I wasn’t a bitch the whole time when my ex-husband was driving us there.  My daughter came with us, so the four of us drove to Newark, NJ at 1:30 AM.  And we laughed the whole time.  (That’s why we missed the turns).

I laughed in the airport while waiting for us to board.

I laughed with the guy next to me so far.  He is very funny.  I can’t remember when I last talked freely to the person next to me.

So, Fun, Free and Fabulous.  I am now looking forward to having fun this weekend instead of worrying.  What an amazing concept!!!!!!