Author Archives: Kathy

How Lucky Am I?

HowluckyamiI often tell people that I’ve been lucky in my career, lucky in love, lucky with how awesome my children and grandchildren are, and lucky in life generally. The last time I was talking to someone about my job and said that I had been really lucky, I stopped myself. While I have sometimes been lucky to be in the right place at the right time, I have worked my ass off to get where I am in my career. Luck? Nope. Hard work, dedication, respect, self-improvement, learning constantly–those are the things that have put me where I am in my career. Well, maybe now that I think about it I was lucky that I was fired from a job I held for 15 years and ended up floundering a bit until I took a temporary job at an international law firm in the word processing department, which turned into being a floater secretary, which turned into ending up at my female attorney’s desk when her secretary had extended jury duty and then was promoted to another position, leaving me assigned to her and working in a permanent position at the law firm. Maybe I was lucky that she was patient enough to teach me what I needed to know about litigation since I had spent the first 15 years of my career doing probate, estate planning, and corporate law. Maybe I was lucky that our personalities mesh so that we work well together. Maybe I was lucky that I accepted a huge cut in my salary just to work full time and learn a new specialty. Maybe I was lucky to love the thrill of litigation. Maybe I was lucky that she went to bat for me to get my salary up to where it should be. Maybe I was lucky that when she moved to new law firms, she asked me to go with her. And that could be where luck ends. From there, I worked hard to learn all I could about litigation, court filings, etc. so that I could do a good job. I worked hard to figure out my boss’s idiosyncrasies so that we could continue to work better together (and now it is 23 years later!). I worked hard to do the best job I could do with attorneys whom I respect and who respect me back and to continue learning and improving every day. I worked hard to be the best legal support professional I could be, including going to night school to get a paralegal degree, taking and passing several legal certification exams, continuing to attend CLE courses to keep learning ways to help me and my firm, joining professional associations (and being active) so that I could make valuable connections in the legal community, and showing up every day and busting my butt to do a good job.

Lucky in love? Maybe it was lucky that I went on my very first date with a boy from church and we double dated with an even cuter boy and his date. Maybe it was lucky that the cute boy actually liked me and eventually asked me out. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t go to the same high school since our academic careers were very different. But, no, it wasn’t luck that has kept us together for 44 years–it is hard work and dedication to our marriage. It is ignoring the small annoyances and being thankful for the small things he does right. It is loving every single day–whether that means a quick peck when he comes home, cooking dinner every night (gluten free mind you!), putting dishes away, loading the dishwasher, washing the windshield of my car, checking tire pressures, whatever thing needs to be done for one person that the other person does.

Lucky with how my children and grandchildren are turning out? Maybe it was lucky that I didn’t go to jail for child abuse when my children were teenagers. Maybe it was lucky that we didn’t have much money, so I learned to give them time once in a while instead of things. Maybe it was lucky that my husband worked from home when they were in school. But, no, I worked hard to show my children that I loved them–no matter what. I worked hard to take a day off of work around their birthday to spend an entire day focused on them and doing things they were interested in (and have continued that tradition with my grandchildren). I worked hard to keep holiday traditions alive in our family including Santa footprints and timing multiple extended family celebrations.

So have I been lucky in life? Absolutely! But I’ve worked hard for what I have as well, it hasn’t been handed to me. Except by my husband–I’ve been pretty lucky there. But this life is hard work if you want it to be a good one. As they say, life is not a spectator sport. It is something to get up off the couch and enjoy. Do things that scare you. Do things that stretch you. Do the things that those you love want to do. Then, just maybe, you’ll be as lucky as I am.

Our Normal Is Someone Else’s Perfect

Our Normal Is Someone Else's PerfectI recently spent some time in Sedona, Arizona, with one of my granddaughters. While driving around, I saw beautiful houses in this gorgeous area full of red rocks, rock formations, and vortices. Then I saw some of those beautiful homes with campers or trailers in the back yard. My first thought was why in the world would someone want to leave this gorgeous area to go somewhere else? Then I thought that perhaps my “perfect” is just someone else’s normal.

That theory trickles down. You may have a better house, better car, better view, or better job than someone else and they are wondering why you’re complaining. Those things might be their “perfect” while it’s our “normal.” It’s those things we have and see every day. Perhaps we need to stop and look at what we have and do through someone else’s eyes. The house you’ve had for 10 years? It could seem like a mansion to someone else. The car that you dread getting into every day because the window sticks? Perhaps it’s better than walking for someone else.

Spend some time just surveying all that you have. It may not be better than someone else’s–in fact, chances are excellent that it is not–but your “normal” is still someone else’s “perfect.” Be satisfied with it. If you’re not happy with it, make it better. If you hate it, move or sell and buy something you are happy with. Something that is “perfect” for you–at least until it becomes your “normal.”

I just feel like I need to be grateful for what I have been blessed with. It’s certainly not the nicest house, car, etc. even in my own neighborhood, but it is perfect for me. It is my “normal” and I’m sure there are a lot of people who think it is their “perfect.” So I need to be better about realizing that it is my “perfect” and treat it that way.

It’s All About Perspective

I recently had dinner with a friend. Among our many topics of conversation were our respective blogs. I shared with her my goals and plans for my proofreading blog (proofthatblog.com) and how I saw it all coming together. She said something to the effect that if I did one piece first (the piece I was planning to do last because it is the biggest and scariest), then I have all the other pieces basically done. Seriously. Mind. Blown.

Sometimes, no matter how many times we play any scenario in our heads and feel like it makes total and complete sense, talking to someone else about it helps put things into alignment. It felt like my brain is a pinball machine and I keep hitting the paddles to move things around in there adding goals, dropping tasks, trying to keep everything moving. And all it took was one sentence to make those balls all roll into alignment. One sentence by someone with a totally different perspective than I have!

pinballs

We both have blogs that end up with similar topics. I have this one and she has one titled “Even Better Today” (https://evenbettertoday.wordpress.com/). We were discussing some blog post ideas we had each written down. Some were the same, some were very similar, and some were very different. Did I feel threatened about the topics that were the similar or the same? Heck no! We each have a different perspective on those topics so I’m pretty sure they will be entirely different posts.

I think we will spend much more time on our new “blog mastermind” that I’ve set up in my head (and I really need to share that with her). I always knew the value of her perspective, but I don’t think I had ever shared my real “plan.” Once I did, the BHAG (big hairy audacious goals) that I was putting off because they were scary seemed not quite so scary. It was a plan. A workable plan. Something I can start on TODAY!

Perspective is different for every person based on their life experiences, education, tribe, goals, and dreams. Whatever you do, don’t automatically dismiss someone else’s perspective on your goals and dreams. It reminds me of dealing with my mother-in-law when I was first married and having children. She was full of advice. Some of it was good and some of it not so much (like seriously, putting the pacifier in sugar or liquor before giving it back to the baby??). I listened to it all and then used it (or not) as I was making my way through new territories. If you are lucky enough to have people in your life who want to see you reach your goals and dreams and are smart enough to help you, take advantage of it. Listen to all of their thoughts. Take what you need from that and use it and leave the rest. Because this is our life, not theirs. It needs to have your spin on it, not theirs. But I’m a firm believer in gathering all the facts you can to make a good decision (but don’t get so mired in the fact-finding that you keep delaying a decision!). So find someone who is interested and knowledgeable in what you’re struggling with and LISTEN to them. And then have another conversation with them and LISTEN again. And keep listening and taking pieces that you need to make yourself better. Listening is a skill. You don’t have to act on every single piece of information you hear, but take what you need, morph other stuff into something you need, and either dismiss the rest or store it in case you need it later.

In other words, be open to another person’s perspective. You don’t have to adopt all of their ideas or try to live their life, but our lives are a conglomeration of experiences with all kinds of different people and situations. Just be open to more of these experiences and perspectives. That’s my plan!

Replay Thursday

Thursday-ReplayIt’s time for a review of recent blog posts just in case you’ve missed them. We call this Replay Thursday. Here are posts from Proof That proofreading blog and 60 Is The New 60 blog during the past week.

http://proofthatblog.com/2018/06/15/grammar-giggle-honary/

http://proofthatblog.com/2018/06/18/grammar-giggle-for-tour/

http://proofthatblog.com/2018/06/19/confusing-words-of-the-week-30/

http://60isthenew60blog.com/2018/06/20/im-not-too-old-for-that/

I’m NOT Too Old For That!

I'm NOT Too Old For That!I spent part of the past weekend at a work anniversary party. At the end of the night, I realized that several times that day I had said “I’m too old for that” to avoid things like dancing, walking fast and uphill, generally exerting any extra energy. Was I making excuses? You bet I was! Is it true that I’m too old for certain things? Of course I am! Things change as you get older, bodies change, bones hurt, it’s just not as easy as it was 20-30 years ago. But seriously, dancing? There’s ibuprofen for my arthritic knees. But the chances to dance to some great music with good people don’t happen for me every day.

Arizona is pretty flat, so the chance to walk uphill and see amazing parts of San Francisco also don’t happen for me every day. I need to spend more time and energy enjoying the things that aren’t my normal than complaining about being too old. By numbers, I’m pretty old. But I don’t have to embrace being old. Life is far too short to act old and be miserable. Every day is a gift and I need to make sure to treat them like that. I need to enjoy the bows and ribbons tying up every day. I need to enjoy the beauty of life and put my damn phone away and be present and pay attention to the beauty. There are bad and ugly things every day as well, and I need to look past those–while still looking at them–to the beauty that exists.  I need to stop using being “old” as an excuse for being tired, being lazy, and acting like a damn old lady.

I am not infirm–I have joint issues, but none that are completely debilitating. I need to move more to keep those joints remembering what it is they are supposed to be doing. And I just need to stop saying “I’m too old for that” because nothing will make that come true faster than telling my brain that over and over and over again.

F*@k Everyone

_$I just finished listening to another Mel Robbins’ work–Audible Original Kick Ass. It was amazing and I need to listen to it again (and again and again), but there were multiple things she said that made me think “wow, that’s totally me.” One of the most interesting things I got from it was that sometimes overeating (and smoking – but I don’t do that) is your way of saying “F*@k you” to the world. In my case, I actually have told a coach something similar. When I’m at work, other people are basically controlling my entire day, every day. When I’m at home, my husband is making some priorities for me–like making dinner, doing laundry, etc. (since left to me I would hire a nanny for us). The only time I feel like I have complete control over everything is by what I put into my mouth. So since I have exclusive control, my brain is screaming “F*@k you all! See what I’m eating? See how much I’m eating? I don’t care. I’m doing what I want because I have control over it!”

I’m not dumb enough to think that that is the most ridiculous thing you may have heard. It is the most ridiculous thing I have heard! I am doing horrible things to my health because I’m eating the wrong things and overeating. Most of my medical issues can be directly traced to being overweight. This has definitely been my way of saying “F*@k you, world!”

I have heard a lot on podcasts and in books lately about our inner child. I think I’ve shared before that mine is named Lucy–the Charlie Brown Lucy who acts like she’s helping and then pulls the football away at the last minute. Lucy is really, really mean to me. She says things that I wouldn’t say to my worst enemy. So overeating is also my way of saying “Shut up, Lucy.” But you know what? It doesn’t work. That bitch starts right up again as soon as the last bite is in my mouth. “You really didn’t need that last piece.” “You shouldn’t have eaten that.” “You’re not even hungry.” “What the hell are you doing?” “How fat do you want to be?”

Please don’t message me about whatever supplement you’re selling. I don’t want any. I need to learn a new way of eating NATURALLY. A way of eating what I NEED and not necessarily what I WANT. I’ve done this enough times that I know I don’t need to eat an entire dessert when one bite will suffice. Usually I read the description which sounds like the most delicious thing I’ve ever heard of (very good writers) but the first bite is enough to tell me while it may be good, it isn’t as great as I was expecting and it’s certainly not worth eating the entire thing but satisfies the craving. But those starving children in China from my childhood are always in there playing with Lucy while she pushes them to the front and reminds me not to be wasteful. But I would much rather throw away a little bit of food than add it to my myriad health problems.

So my 2018 word of the year–HEALTH–starts now . . . again. And I will keep starting it until I get it right. This time, I’m working with my primary care medical professional to make this happen and I am excited at the prospects. Whole food, calorie counting, water, and later we will add exercise. Anyone want to join me?

 

 

Knocking The Shout Out Of You

Knocking The Shout Out Of YouI was listening to Oprah’s Super Soul podcast with Tim Storey. One specific thing he said jumped out and hit me between the eyes–“Don’t let life knock the shout out of you.”

I believe we are all put here to make a difference in this world, to figure out why we are here, to live with passion for the good in life. That is our shout. Sometimes we forget our shout or we’ve been told to tone our shout down enough times that we actually do and it’s hard to dig deep and find it again. But find it we must! We are all born with a shout inside us that we use to make friends, find our passion, volunteer, experiment, travel–all the things we do as we’re finding our place in this world.

Some of us may have had the shout stuffed back down into us, beaten out of us, ignored, ridiculed, squashed, and basically had the development of our shout halted in mid-stream. If that happened to you, realize that it happened and then move forward. Bring your shout back into your heart and work on living your life shouting. Don’t stop working to find your shout and once you find it, shout as loud as you can for as long as you can until your shout feels free to do its thing and shout away even when you’re not thinking about it.

So starting today find that passion, dig deep and find your shout, and then SHOUT and don’t let life knock the shout of you again!

And

AND (1)I heard a podcast recently by Gary Vaynerchuk. I love listening to him although I always warn people that his language is “salty,” but that is definitely part of his charm. In this particular instance, he was talking about complaining. According to Gary, every time you complain about something, your next response should be “AND.” As in AND what are you going to do about it?

Complaining is so easy, but coming up with a solution is much harder. Perhaps if we cannot complain without having our “AND” ready, we won’t complain as much. I know that would work for me. I like to complain about things that are just bugging me without even considering what a solution might be. It probably isn’t hard or time consuming to come up with our “AND” to most complaints.

Even big complaints need their “AND.” Complaining just makes us feel bad. It reminds us of little annoyances that are currently making us unhappy. And it keeps reminding us. It makes much more sense to complain if you must, AND . . . come up with a solution so you can be done complaining and get on with the positivity in your life.

Even though I realize this about complaining, I still complain. It’s too easy. I can simply bitch about things that aren’t going quite the way I want them to without spending the time to work on solutions. Just complaining. For the sake of complaining. Without even considering solutions. That’s just dumb and it’s not at all a good idea to try to keep myself in a positive mode.

There have been many times in my life that I have been sucked into a vortex of complaining. Where one problem in life cycles into another cycles into another and until I actually recognize it and make an effort to stop it, it could go on forever and suck me into the deepest, darkest black hole imaginable. Who wants to live like that? I certainly don’t. I want to spend my time being a positive force in my life and the lives of others. It is so much easier and more beneficial than complaining.

So let’s make a pact. Starting today, we live every day in positive mode. Have to stop for gas on the way to work because you were too tired to stop on the way home last night and now you’ll be late to work? Is that just me? For me, this is an opportunity to take a little detour from my normal route and see different things. Or I can just complain about having to stop for gas and being late to work and be grumpy at work all day even though the people I work with had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my car needs gas and I didn’t fill up when I should have. Or I can complain about having to stop for gas AND . . . decide that next time I will stop on the way home. Positive mode sounds so much better to me. So if you simply must complain, don’t forget to AND it. It will make you and everyone you come in contact with much happier.

Surgery, Cancer, Love, and Life

My dad recently spent several days in the hospital after surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon and connect it back to his intestine. My dad is 83. He has had back surgeries, a quadruple bypass, and other medical issues throughout his life. He admits that he didn’t expect to live so long and his lifestyle didn’t do anything to change that expectation at all. But he is living this long and he is reasonably healthy for being on this earth for 83 years.

The surgery worried me because he was expected to get notes from his cardiologist and his pulmonologist allowing the surgery. I saw the note from his cardiologist and it said he “would be high risk for a major cardiovascular event” associated with this surgery. In my mind, I was sure they wouldn’t do the surgery. But the option was letting the cancer spread. Not a good option. All of his doctors said he was a strong guy and they knew he would do OK. I translate that to say that he’s a tough old bastard. And that he is.

We waited in the waiting room for something like three hours (it’s easy to lose track when you’re sitting for hours). Doing our part for the family and obviously signaling the surgeon that it was time to come talk to everyone, my sister and I went down to get coffee for everyone and the doctor came in so we missed him. The surgery had gone well and Dad was in recovery. He was there for another few hours until they moved him to ICU and we got to see him. He was so thirsty and eventually got some ice chips and made some crude (and hysterical) comments to my mom, so I knew for sure he had made it through and was on the way to recovery. He has had some other issues at the hospital (mostly from a lack of communication by hospital staff), but each time muscles through and keeps going.

The biggest lessons from this entire experience were:

  • My dry sense of humor is all compliments of my dad.
  • I love spending time with my siblings. We were probably laughing inappropriately for a hospital waiting room and ICU, but we are damn funny people.
  • My sister (the retired one I’ve complained about, I mean, mentioned before) is absolutely an amazing human being. She has pretty much single-handedly handled both staying with and advocating for my dad as much as she could in the hospital and taking care of my mom who is suffering from dementia. That task scares the crap out of me and she handles it like a pro. My other sister, brother, and I (the employed ones) have helped as we could, but she has carried the lion’s share of the load. I have no idea what my family would do without her.
  • I need to take care of myself. Family medical histories suck.  I have many health issues–most of which are caused by my excess weight (and some genetics). But I’m not doing anything right now to fix that. And that’s pretty much signing my own death warrant. I know better, I need to do better. And I will. I have too many things to do and too many grandbabies to watch grow into their own lives to screw this up.
  • Hospitals are not fun places. They tell you to rest and then come in every couple of hours to check vitals, give meds, draw blood, etc. But sometimes that’s where you need to be to get the help you need. A whole lot of the experience depends on the people working there. And it is the same in life. Just be nice! You could make a huge difference in someone’s life just by smiling at them, opening a door for them, or paying for their Starbucks in the drive thru lane. Be nice!
  • Love deeply and often and then tell people. In the blink of an eye, we could have lost my dad on the operating table, but we did not. I do not spend nearly enough time with my family and I want to remedy that. We often think that people know we love them and they do, but everyone likes to hear it. Unless you’re a creepy stalker, then don’t do that.
  • Life is indeed a blessing. Make the most of it–every day!