Awards, Recognition, Reality & Paying It Forward

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Sometimes life is funny and when you least expect it, it happens.  Whatever “it” is.

I was gifted with my first blog award by my friend Amber over at  Making The Moments Count.  To be honest, she completely blew me away with this!  She awarded me with The Sunshine Award.  She mentions in her post that I pose questions that make her think. I’m pleased that what I write resonates at some level with someone.  On a more personal and direct level, thank-you, Amber for letting me know in such an affirming and public way that my Random Musings means something to you.  Your appreciation means more to me than the award itself.  Thank you!

Reality

I’ve long desired to be recognized as a blogger, but I’ve also been realistic in my thinking.  I don’t have the time available to me each day to really do the kind of consistent search engine optimized writing every day that I need to be doing in order to really be an award winning blogger.  This post is likely a good example of what I’m talking about as I’m writing it at nearly 11 in the evening after a full day at work with kids and then a full evening at home with my own children. I won’t edit effectively, I know.  I get that I can’t devote all my time to blogging and it shows.   I’m also not so certain I am the next  J.K. Rowling or John Grisham of the blogging world.  So be it.  I have to write to please me instead of for other reasons at this time of my life.  I’d given up whatever fleeting hope I had of being recognized in the blogosphere.  And then…Amber.

I’m so honored that I was noticed and recognized by another bloggy friend in spite of the fact that I can only visit and comment sporadically on her posts (or anyone else’s for that matter these days).  I am especially amazed that I received it given that I don’t write daily and blogging is such an  “if you write it they will come” sort of endeavor. 

Recognition

Amber has given me the gift of a positive recognition for something I do that she appreciates.  When she gave out the award, she didn’t just say I was great or that she loved my stuff.  She specifically named what I did that meant something to her. 

Think kids or dogs are the only ones who appreciate some positive recognition and attention?  No way!  I’ve basked privately in this one for the last week (or has it been longer?) since she awarded it.  It means something to me. It means something to me to know that something I thought and took the effort to put in print resonated with someone else.  It especially means something to me that it resonated with Amber, because when I read her blog, I read myself, 19 years ago or maybe 17, with two young girls and I feel all the same things all over again.  Mostly the fatigue!  I’m so grateful I could impact her life positively if only to question, to challenge, to stimulate thinking, because I sure can’t help with babysitting, though, if we lived closer together, I’d certainly be glad to help! 

Paying It Forward

j0430681 Amber received something from my writing and she paid it forward by letting me know.  Now it is my turn to pay ten other bloggers the compliment.  I will be paying it forward in the next few days (I am preparing for a big presentation at a state conference while also preparing for a professional development class for educators next week so, please, be patient). 

Further, I’m going to encourage my readers to consider paying it forward positively as well.  Have you had someone do something or say something that mattered to you in the last week or month.  Has someone done something or demonstrated some quality or skill that you admire?  Has someone made your life better, easier, more joyful in some way?  I encourage you to take a moment and let them know.  It could be that the positive response from you is just the thing they need to hear at just the right moment. 

If it matters to you…if it resonated with you…if it made you think or impacted you …won’t you let the person know?  I’m certain they’d appreciate knowing that their contribution to this thing we call life didn’t go unnoticed.

Divorce Transitions or How To Slay a Dragon—Another Year Later

Costumes_Halloween_Lady_Dragons I wrote this last year at about this time of year over on my other blog. It is rather lengthy so I’ve broken it down into a series of several posts.  Those of you who have been through the divorce process and are trying to heal up after it, might have some very significant and quite possibly different perspectives to share.  If so, I hope you’ll leave a comment.  I certainly don’t profess to have the only valid experience.  I only share mine and what was helpful for me.  I love hearing what others found helpful.  I know my readers do too!

I spent most of my childhood growing up in rural eastern Oregon.  My family lived in the same home from the time I was in third grade till after I graduated from college.  We drove the same ’68 Chevy Camaro and never had another car.  My mother had the same job in the same office building across from the county library until she retired many years after I was grown and beginning my own family.  My grandparents lived across the river in Idaho, a mere six miles away.  They owned a department store in town where I spent my pre-school years hiding in the racks peeking out at customers from behind the clothes.  It was a stable, predictable, secure childhood.  Very little ever changed.  It was not the kind of beginning that exactly prepares one to deal with the transitions that come after a marriage ends.  But, if we are fortunate, and I was, we should not be preparing for such sad events.  There just weren’t that many dragons to slay back then…and…I guess that’s a good thing.

clocks-med Change is the only constant.  This is never more true than when going through a divorce, when emotions run high and everyone is running scared at some level.  Everyone, except the attorneys and the dragon.  They are running to the bank.  (Sometimes I think I am definitely in the wrong career.  Hmmmm, is it too late for a law degree?) Even so, I am grateful for a good attorney who helped me see the issues clearly and without emotion.  The dragon is bigger and has the fire-breathing capabilities.  You can easily determine where the dragon fits in your own analogy.  For me, it was a volatile and completely unstable partner who was an incredible con artist and who had everyone believing (including myself) that I was the crazy psychotic problem child.   

Phase 1–Acceptance

This is the first transition and probably the most difficult in divorce:  accepting that the marriage is over.  Accepting that one partner wants out badly enough  to formalize the dissolution legally can be a difficult and heartbreaking reality to grasp.  Whether you are the one initiating the divorce or the one having to accept that your partner is saying, "I’m out!",  the very first step is to accept that no matter what happens, when the dust settles you will in fact be divorced.  Nothing else but this will be certain as you head into the process of negotiating like you’ve probably never in your marriage or maybe your life negotiated before. It is not unlike dodging the fiery blasts of the dragon’s anger as you attempt to defend your kingdom. The finances, the assets, the kids, the child support, the alimony and the acrimony will all be undetermined until the judge raps his gavel or until the two of you sign out of court. Until then, you just don’t know how the dragon will move, twist, or turn.

BooksandGavelA_jpg When I walked in to see my attorney…a good two years before I actually retained her…she told me these words, "Look, I can’t assure you of anything except that by the end of this you will be divorced."  She was right, and despite what is oft said about attorneys, she was honest, direct, a great strategist and she advocated on my behalf.  She helped me negotiate the frightening web of legalities to ensure the best possible outcome for my children and I.  She was there to negotiate some of those transitions for me.

Plan on the transitions.  Expect them, anticipate them, negotiate them and then live them.  My attorney helped me plan and prepare for the first phase of transitions but I had to first face the reality that nothing I could do was going to change the eventual outcome.  Armed with this knowledge I was able to take a more active role in determining and shaping my own post-divorce world.

If you are at this place in your life and the inevitable is going down, I encourage you to begin doing your own research.  Find out what the laws are in your state or county.  Find out how property is usually divided and how the courts generally treat custody and parenting issues arrangements.  Your attorney can be a valuable resource in this area.  You can also do your own homework.  There are many great resources on the internet. 

It helped me to think of life in three categories: the things that were non-negotiable for me, the things that I could easily give up, and the things that fell in between these two extremes. It became a matter of prioritizing.  When it came to negotiating with the ex, I knew clearly what I had to barter with and what wasn’t up for negotiation from my perspective.  This ended up being irrelevant for me as my ex didn’t even show up for the hearing and the judge ruled everything as proposed by my attorney with some added stipulations making it more difficult for the ex should he seek to drag me back to court in the future. This, however, is extremely rare.  Expect a battle and arm yourself intelligently and thoughtfully for it.

 

Life Rocks! Don’t Give Up!

My day so rocked!  I mean I kicked it from beginning to end instead of it kicking me.  Me, kicking it, has become the norm lately instead of the sad state of affairs I was in last summer with no money, no transportation and, well, post-divorce realities staring me down like a mugger in a back alley at night. 

So all excited as I was, I spent 40 minutes writing this great post, at the end of which I realized no one was going to care about but me, so I drafted it instead of publishing it.  I hate when that happens!

Now I’ve used up most of my writing time for the evening on a post I can’t even go back and see that no one commented on, and, well, I hate when that happens too!

I also have so much to say and write about because, seriously?, right now, life is so on  for me that it is exciting and, well, almost as much fun as those days in my early 20’s when everything was colored with hope and possibility. 

Three months ago, I would never have believed (though I would have still hoped) that I could actually ever experience that optimism I experienced as a 20-something adult.  You know, the experience of waking up every day thinking it was an adventure, that the possibilities were endless and that you had your whole life ahead of you.  Do you remember those days?  The hope?  The optimism?  The confidence? 

Those days have returned to my life and I can’t tell you how good it feels to be back in the game again. 

And, look, if you’re out there thinking life’s passed you by or your winnings have been gambled and lost, think a-freaking-gen!  Life turns on a dime.  It might not look good now, but if you give up now it sure isn’t going to look any better than it does right now!  Keep putting one stupid, boring , unproductive, worthless (or seemingly so) foot in front of the other and guess what?  One day, that tunnel somehow seems a little brighter.  Then, a bit later on, you actually can discern a light at the end of said tunnel.  At that point, things get easier, you can see the light getting brighter and brighter and then suddenly everything for you begins to just go crazy in your favor.

The reality of life is this.  We are all going to have our rainy days.  Some of those days will accumulate into the longest freaking winter of our lives.  We’ll want to die, give up, cave in, drink or self-medicate.  We’ll feel like losers and that we screwed up and there is no hope.

But …

there is always hope.  There is always tomorrow.  There is always another chance to try again or to continue doing what we know we have to do to get out of the pit we dug for ourselves…or maybe…that someone else dug for us.

Today is not the day to give up. 

Today is the day to press on and keep going because there are better days ahead. 

Hang in there.  You’ll make it!

Life rocks!

(If it doesn’t now, give it a while, it will soon!)