55 springs and 55 summers gone now
Memories of past years held in faded photographs remind me how lucky I am.
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.
~ Joni Mitchell
Last year I stepped off the painted pony for a sojourn in Europe. Despite some initial apprehension I soon relaxed in the new environment and basked in exhilaration as the journey progressed. My fondest memories of this trip occurred when the beauty of mother nature exhilarated my senses allowing me to feel her power seep into my soul with the intensity of a defibrillator. It was then that I truly understood these words by Lao Tsu
Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind rest at peace.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the Self watches their return.
They grow and flourish and then return to the Source.
Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.
The way of Nature is unchanging.
~Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching
As I prepare to return to Europe people ask what I hope to see or buy but all I am thinking about is what I hope to feel.
It’s been bothering me that I’ve barely posted on my blog this year. I’m afraid I’m withdrawing and slipping away from the blogging community, which is not what I want. Each day I enjoy reading posts by bloggers I follow. I laugh, feel sad, agree, disagree and learn from the words and photos people post. I comment on posts and interact with bloggers who unreservedly accept me in their online community space.
When I created Jenna Dee blog three years ago I discovered that writing about repressed feelings is cathartic. After tentatively unlocking the courage I progressively gained confidence to acknowledge my feelings and move on from the past. For two years my life was optimistic and I felt more in sync with other people. I enthusiastically shared positive messages, words and stories and truly felt like a useful cog in society.
Lately my old feelings of alienation have been rearing their ugly head. After a few recent confidence kickers I’ve retreated back a few steps. Even though I am content filling my days I feel a necessity to embellish my life so it appears more interesting to others. I question the quality of my posts and struggle to think of things to write about. I compare myself to others who consistently share original thought-provoking posts every day of the week.
I have always had no hesitation sharing the joyous times of my life but today I promised myself I would be honest and admit to the insecure feelings that are lurking around me. Life has its ups and downs and I accept this.
Time marches on relentlessly, can you believe it is mid May already? This post focuses on the ups and downs of everyday life and celebrates my acceptance of letting life flow as it pleases.
Six weeks have passed since Game Over when I walked away from my city job feeling humiliated but very relieved to be out of the unfriendly environment. After that brief encounter everything at home seemed more appealing and I welcomed its comforting embrace.
How proud we were to attend the ceremony to see our youngest daughter graduate from University and receive the revered Vice-Chancellor’s award for her contribution to University life. Peter and I are in awe of the positive influence our daughter has on others, she is mesmerizing and a motivator to all. As Laura walked on to the stage to receive her awards I thought my heart would burst with joy.
One day I suddenly decided to track down my old school friend Libby through Facebook. We hadn’t seen each other for 30 years and met up to catch up on all the news on our lives. There is something special about old friends, they remember and see you as a younger person. The best mirror is an old friend.
Four weeks after the city office saga a former colleague invited me to return to work at the suburban campus for one day a week with further hours working from home. This offer suited me perfectly and I eagerly accepted. So for now I have the best of both worlds.
Every year I look forward to Mothers Day and cherish our family celebrations but this year was extra special when all three of my adult children joined Peter and I for a lovely homemade dinner. My children each gave me a card and wrote personal and heartfelt messages that I will treasure forever. These are the words people often say at funerals when it is too late for the person to hear. I’m so proud of the loving and sensitive nature my children exude. Being a mother is the most rewarding experience imaginable.
My poor old Dad had a setback recently. He stumbled and fell over while visiting my mother’s grave to lay red roses to honor her birthday . We later learned he had a heart attack, which restricted blood flow to his leg causing it to give way underneath him. He had surgery to dislodge the clot and his progress has been slow because he has lost strength in the leg. Next he is off to a rehabilitation hospital to help try to reinstate his independence. My Dad is old and tired and it breaks my heart to see him struggling to walk.
Peter and I have been talking about life being short and making the most of every day and have decided to return to Europe in September this year to discover more of Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland. Just like last time I’m a little tentative to leave my dog, my family and my home for seven weeks but I know how lucky I am to have the chance to see more of the world and grow with new experiences.
I tried, I really tried. I shook off self-doubt and left my comfortable homey life to work in a city office job. I joined the commuter crush to travel in close contact with people who rarely acknowledge each other’s existence. On arrival at work I rode in a mirrored packed with people avoiding eye contact to go up to my floor
Aside from an insincere ‘good morning’ from those sitting nearby my desk I was left to work alone while people chatted about their lives with their friends around me. Just like in a schoolyard they whispered in others ears while in my full view. Nobody took the time to make proper introductions leaving me to awkwardly introduce myself. People worked collaboratively but failed to provide enough information about the project or the names and roles of team members. I know I’m introverted and people say I’m quiet but I made every possible effort to fit in and work as part of the team. I smiled and tried to interact but my colleagues made it clear I was invisible. When I had questions about my work I felt I was an inconvenience for seeking clarification so I wasted time trying to figure things out myself.
After only four weeks I couldn’t face going back and I resigned. Perhaps I should have asked if there was a reason people acted unkindly toward me but the experience weakened my resolve and all I wanted to do was get away. I have no regrets for trying the new experience nor harsh feelings towards my former workmates. All I feel is hurt because I can’t understand how people can be so unkind for no obvious reason.
In my last post Working 9 to 5 I confidently quoted Mhar “You are confined by the boundaries you set yourself. The mind creates the cage. Set yourself free and move out of your comfort zone.” I took that advice but this time I ran straight back to my comfort zone and for now I’m happy I’m home.
Please be kind to others. I wish the people who treated me unkindly could appreciate my post Rekindle Kindness.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.
2015 is flashing by at breakneck speed and lately I have barely had time to draw breath, which explains why I haven’t posted on my blog for a while.
After returning home from our European adventure last year I was determined to do more with my existence. At 54 I knew I was too young to let the third act of my life go by uneventfully sitting quietly at home, so I set out to find something new.
When given an opportunity to return to the workforce I grabbed the chance to use my skills and feel like a contributing member of society. Getting used to the pace and methods of a new workplace was challenging at first but I quickly adjusted on the fly.
So here I am. I’ve gone from not having enough to occupy my days to almost being consumed by the pace of what needs to be done. It has been extremely rewarding to learn new things from others and feel appreciated for my input.
In the workplace I’ve encountered managers who throw childlike tantrums, bad-mannered people, people who use others to get something they need, as well as people who crumble under pressure when things go wrong. But for every person with negative traits I’ve met many kindhearted, welcoming and enthusiastic people who make it a pleasure to consider myself their colleague.
I am proud I chose to jump out of my comfort zone to return to work without fear or expectation of failure. When I reflect on where I was a couple of years ago I know I would never have taken such a chance back then.
My current position is a short-term contract due to finish at the end of March. I’m hoping it may lead to further work but if it doesn’t I will happily trek a different path with an open mind to whatever comes my way.
It’s been a while since I’ve written a personal blog post but now feels like the right time to share. I’m not the same person I was two years ago and continue to evolve every day. It is only now when I read my earlier blog posts that I fully comprehend the extent of the insecurity I lived with.
I thought changing my thoughts and attitudes would be easy as long as I was determined to change. I was wrong. Transformation is a slow process making it difficult to know change is taking place. For every step forward there are many backward and sidewards steps that sometimes become unexpected benefits and sometimes they are just setbacks. Some days I felt confused and wished I’d never rocked the boat. I thought I was losing my identity which it turns out was exactly what I was trying to do. For me the glass was always half empty and I’d convinced myself that was all it could ever be.
When I decided to change I wanted to generate a new mindset so I started reading daily blogs and Facebook inspirational pages about happiness, gratitude, positivity and peace. At first they seemed fanciful but I kept on reading them like using flashcards to teach children to read, hoping they would infiltrate my way of thinking. Every day I’d try to incorporate the tone of the messages into my life. At first it felt unnatural but I persisted until the words started making more sense and gradually made way for positive change within.
Any type of life change is difficult. Life is not a fairy tale with everything resolving at the end leaving everyone to live happily ever after. Life is interesting and complicated with a random mix of joys, obstacles and challenges. I’ve learned that it’s not what happens but how we react and deal with life that makes us who we are. Now I see opportunities where I once saw challenges. Instead of feeling hurt or intimidated by people who are rude and disrespectful I now pity them. I’ve learned to be honest with myself and live happily in my own skin. I trust my heart will guide me.
Anyone determined to make changes to their life should accept it is not easy but understand we are all capable of far more than we imagine.
Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right. ~ Henry Ford
The mind is everything. What you think you become ~ Buddha