Monday, April 5, 2010

Family Ties

Easter weekend has just passed and I spent it with the families of my fiance. No biggie right, you gotta do what you gotta do. My mom was sure I would be missing our family, but truth be told, I lived out in Edmonton and missed Thanksgiving and Easter for 3 years so I'm used to it. However, I was reading my sister's blog today and turns out she missed me a lot!

I am pretty great and while I could go on about that - I think it would be more productive to talk about the realities of "We to Me to We."

We to Me to We - (Yep, stole it from the me to we guys)

When we are first born we become part of a family, a group, a unit - the people, whomever they are that help to raise you, teach you and look after you through your childhood. Then at someone point you become a me, those people are all still around, but it instead of your life being dictated by the family interactions they become your own actions, desires and wants that guide you. Where do you want to go to University or College or Work, where do you want to live, what do you want to do. All this freedom comes with a lot of responsibility but also the ability to make decisions for yourself without worrying about how it will affect another person.

However, as humans many of us crave companionship. I never really did until recently and now I find myself in this whole new world We to Me to We. When Michael came into my life it was very difficult for me to accept that I now had another person to think about. The fact that I can no longer just think about what I want is, frankly, annoying at times. Maybe I want to eat out, or go shopping, maybe I would rather spend holidays with my family where I understand the traditions and my role in the family.

I'm almost 30 and taking on a whole new family has become daunting. My sister blogged about missing me and while I didn't miss my family, I did miss holiday's with my family. I missed being a part of something that is so old it never feels wrong. Even when it is a room full of fighting women. I wonder how long it will take for me to feel this way with my new extended family. I am learning a whole new set of ettiquette, rules and customs. This was a minor holiday, what will happen at Christmas? How will we manage 2 families-300 km apart, 5 days, one dog and a car full of gifts.

Our families are going to have to adapt, the way I am adapting to the toothpaste being squeezed in the middle and not at the bottom of the tube. We will have to make new traditions and accept new norms. In time I know I will feel just as at home with my new family as I do with my old, and the new traditions will become normal and that in time I'll start to forget the way it used to be. In the interest of me becoming we I will have to find middle ground and compromise and so will michael and his family. But honestly, I will still always enjoy the moments when it's just me, Beth, Mom and Dad.

I think that we aren't really ever prepared for this kind of change, how can you be. You deal with it, sometimes happily and sometimes not. You do it for another person and you are supposed to do it willingly and you do - but in the back of your head you wonder - what do I get? I spent some time thinking about that. In exchange for all this turbulence I get a we- a person that does all of these same things for me. A person that supports me and loves me unconditionally, buys me gifts and celebrates the me-ness that makes me, well me.

It turns out that when I think about it, being a we isn't that bad it just takes some getting used to, like it did when I became a me...that had growing pains to and they ended and so will these.


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pressures of Posting

Now that I am a blogger with two whole posts under my belt the reality is starting to sink in.

Will people read my blog? Will my dreams of being the next Julie Powell come true? What will I write about? Will people think I am clever and witty? Will people care? What am I allowed to blog about? Is there blogging etiquette? What if people don't like my blog? Will my blog be as good as my sister's blog? How will I keep up with this blogging, I'm no good at keeping a journal, why will I keep up with this? And finally....where will I find the time , I'm already so busy!!!

My pebble today is about the pressures of posting. Why do busy people take on more things when they are already overextended? I live with my fiance and while he is in school full time and working part time I take care of our home, cooking, wedding planning, work full time, walk with the dog, grocery shopping, gift shopping and the many other things that go along with being a supportive and caring partner. So the question is what was I thinking?

Is there something cathartic about writing where no one will see it, but everyone can see it? I think there is. It's the newest kind of risk available to us. It's my version of cliff jumping, (something I would never do, due to an extreme fear of heights) this gives me the same kind of rush. The idea that people will see what I have to say and might talk about it, spread the word, have conversations about it. That is risk to me putting your ideas out there to be judged by complete strangers.

Pebbles and Boulders is still new to me, I chose the name because I couldn't get Thinking about Blogging (Which would have been a take on my sister's blog). So now the question is what will Pebbles and Boulders be about? I think it's important to be intentional so my intentions are to write about things I believe are important. Information I want to share, articles, books and questions that get you thinking. Sometimes they will be small (pebbles) and sometimes they will be big (boulders) and hopefully they will inspire you to think about your jar and which ones you should fit in first.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quarter Life Crisis

For a good portion of my life I heard a lot of people talk about the mid-life crisis. In movies, books, on TV, in real life men bought cars, got new wives/girlfriends. Women went shopping, got plastic surgery and many other things. I few years ago I lived in Edmonton, I was working way to much and having zero life. Through a series of unfortunate events I had ended up managing a residence where I was in way over my head and part of a relationship I had no business ever starting in the first place. At the time, I remember reading this book about 20 Something 20 Everything by Christine Hassler. It introduced the idea of the Quarter Life Crisis to me. I have spent some time in the last couple of weeks with friends from University and college and it has struck me that the Quarter Life Crisis is just what my friends, family members and myself have been going through. I've always found it good practice to spend time doing self reflection and so I am hoping to share with you some of the things I have learned over the past few years.

1. Graduation doesn't equal smooth sailing.

From our early years there is this idea that when you graduate from university or college you will suddenly have the life you always wanted. You will emerge fresh faced from 23, 24, or in my case 25 years of school to face the world knowing exactly who you are, what you want and have the job you always dreamed of. Point in fact, this doesn't happen, some graduates emerge to work for a few years at a job they thought they wanted and it turns out that career in politics wasn't really what you wanted, you would prefer to spend time working one on one with people, helping them make it through their daily lives.

Graduation doesn't equal smooth sailing, graduation is actually a right of passage into a world that makes writing exams every four months seem like a vacation you would return to in an instance given the chance. Exiting academia is actually the entrance to the responsibilities of adulthood. Its your chance to begin to take ownership of your life, finances, choices, mistakes, successes. Its the opportunity to make some really huge mistakes, or find out about the ones you made in University even though you didn't really know at the time you were making a huge mistake (note to everyone - check your credit score and that will be your first real adult eye opener).

2. What You Study in School will not be your Career.

Do you know those 15 year old kids who think they are in love and will be together forever? That's kinda like your relationship with your major, its your first love. A fast a furious relationship with lots of ups and downs, plenty of passion and something you are sure you will want forever. If it works out for you congrats on an amazing stroke of luck. If not - don't panic! Take a deep breath and look at your whole University or college career. What else did you do, what did you enjoy doing consistently - figure that out and make a career out of it. It will take a leap of faith, a support system and strong will. You can find it even if that means going through a process of elimination.

3. If you Look Hard Enough - You will find Love.

I don't have many answers for you here. What I can tell you is that, I found love when I wasn't looking for it. I found love in a place I wouldn't have looked. Love found me and recognized me when I couldn't recognize myself. Love is hard everyday and there are no easy answers. Love for me as beautiful brown eyes and a smile I can't get enough of. Love has a actions of gold that are more important then words, looks and money will ever be.

4. You Haven't Really Earned Anything Yet

It has taken me some time to figure this out. I often get trapped in the mindset that I know everything and have done enough to earn the respect of everyone. In reality I have been working for 5 years and that isn't really enough to get respect from anyone, no matter how much I think it should. Lets be honest with ourselves here. The world of work really can be a dog eat dog place. It isn't fair, just or often professional. I might be the most qualified, hardworking and ethical person but if I don't know the right people I might not get what I feel I deserve. My choice is to to continue working hard, taking the high road and making connections without giving up my morals, values and beliefs. If I do this, I might retire a few positions lower on the totem pole then I wanted, but that probably won't mean my LIFE has less worth. Life is about doing a lot of things, new experiences and everything in moderation. I've learned life feels sick when it is all about work and climbing the ladder. Life feels better when it has balance.

5. Surround Yourself With People That Make You Feel Good

Don't waste time with people who make you feel bad, put you down and are generally a drag. Friendships don't last forever, they come and go and sometimes come back again. Don't burn bridges, but don't be afraid to say I'm done with you - any bad relationship isn't worth it. It will hold you back, it will make you upset and it when you constantly complain about it, people won't want to spend time with you.

I started this post off talking about the Quarter Life Crisis - so here it is. The world is moving faster, people in their 20's often feel this pressure to figure everything out - right now. We want the great jobs, the great money, the great houses, the great life. This creates an expectation and a pressure that would make even the strongest person want to get back into bed. Turns out, there is no grade for your 20's, other then the one you give yourself. Its your life, do what you want and not what someone tells you to do. Take time to stop listening to the "noise" and listen to your head, heart, body and soul. They won't lead you wrong, they will lead you to mistakes you need to make, successes you deserve to have and a life you will be proud of - a lot later in life.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pebbles and Boulders

I had a disturbing experience today, I was reading my sister's blog for the first time and I realized that she has a whole secret blog life that I didn't even know about. Ok, in fairness I knew about it but had never really been bored enough to read it until today. As I read, I realized maybe I should have a blog, not that I expect anyone to read it, but if you have happened upon this and are reading, WELCOME TO MY BLOG!

If you are my sister and reading this, your blog has inspired me to be a blogger as well (lets not talk about our blogging habits though, it might make people wonder why we don't just talk to each other)!

And in this we come to my pebble today - Should I really be able to learn more about my sister on a blog then I learn from my conversations with her?

My initial thought is no, I should call her, drive across the city and see her new kitchen that she is blogging about and maybe just maybe have an actual conversation. Then I was stunned to discover that she blogs about our family, her life, my dog! There is a picture of my dog on her blog, she didn't even ask if she could blog about him, she just did! Does anyone out there care about my dog? I do, my fiance does, it is his dog too, but other then that what interest could this possibly have for people?

Blogging, Facebooking is kind of like the new email. Remember email - now totally just for business use, it has no practical application in the current iWorld, why would we email when we can twitter, blog, and facebook among other things. All of these new ways to bring me closer together with people and yet I'm not really closer to them, I just know more about their random thoughts, daily doings and pet perks and peeves.

Now that this pebble is rolling, I'm beginning to think I like this, I can just write here and even if no one reads it, I'll have deposited a lot of useless jumble from my head onto paper and if one small favour it won't be in my head anymore. If you have been in my head you will agree that this is probably a good thing. But back to my original thought - It's a scary moment when you realize a person you have known your whole life has a secret blogger life that you knew nothing about. I shouldn't be able to learn more about my sister online then I do in real life, we should be less lazy, talk more to each other, maybe about her blog...I think I'll call her tonight.

Call someone you care tonight, then blog about it ~