The Trick about Treats

So they already have Halloween candy on sale, I think I first saw it a few weeks ago actually. I haven’t lived in a community where the children trick or treat in years, and to tell you the truth I’m not sure I miss it.

this is what your Halloween loot looks like if you went to the houses that give out the good candy.

I used to agonize over whether I should choose healthy treats or candy, or if I should get the good candy (that is amazingly expensive) or the less expensive mix with 5 different kinds of candy, but only 1 or 2 kinds that anyone actually likes (which is easier on the debit card).

Seeing some of my favorite seasonal candies appear on the shelves once again got me to thinking about how much of a hassle enjoying your favorite grown-up treats can be from time to time.

The candy eco pack. I'm sure the kids in my old neighborhood are probably glad I'm not giving out candy anymore.

Do you have a personal treat that you LOVE and that help you keep your sanity?

For me it’s massages. I try to treat myself to a massage every four to six weeks. When I was in graduate school it was more often, usually every three weeks I’d get a 60 or 90 minute massage or when things were tight I’d do a 30 minute massage every other week until or 15 minute every week, until I could splurge on some longer time on the table.

The thing is, it wasn’t really a splurge in the true sense, due to health problems and some intense stress during my graduate program I had to be pretty vigilant about my bodywork (acupuncture and massage), as well as my eating (as organic and natural that my tight budget could get) and yoga regime.

Much of what we read or hear nowadays urges us to prioritize self-care. I agree that consistently neglecting to take care of yourself is never a good lifestyle choice. I truly believe that if you don’t take great care of yourself, you won’t have much of anything to give to those who depend on you. However, we may very well be taking the care of ourselves to seriously.

For instance, my last massage was about a week ago, before that it had been months. Part of the reason was that my husband and I had some other summer budget priorities so it moved farther down the list of things we wanted to spend money on. The other reason was because I had some other priorities shift in my life. For one, living as a newlywed and making new girlfriends in my new city.

I’m an early bird, so it was nothing for me before I got married to rise an hour and a half early, go get a massage, fall asleep on the table, treat myself to a great breakfast then start writing or prepping lesson plans with little interruption to my to-do list or deadlines. That isn’t the case anymore. I’d much rather snuggle in bed with the hubs until the last minute or get up and make a fun breakfast, that is when I don’t indulge in some sleeping in – my husband’s sweet sleep often compels me to sneak in a few more Z’s myself.

I’m also making new friends and meeting new folks in my new city. Although a spa day with old girlfriends is great, when I’m making new friends I prefer interactive activities like shopping, eating, going to festivals or talking about books or ideas or teaching or politics over bubble tea. That has left me very little time to lay on table for hours at a time getting kneaded or stuck with pins, even if it is for my own well-being.

Over the last month as I’ve settled more into a routine and carved out some stable “me” time I’ve found it harder than I thought it would be to schedule an appointment for a massage or acupuncture treatment. In the past I would have become obsessive about it. I would have scheduled something weeks or months in advance just to be sure that I could get in. By the time the weeks passed and it was time for the appointment I’d find that something else had come up and I couldn’t make the appointment, or that I forgot about the appointment completely.

Or I would call everyday trying to see if an appointment had opened in a slot that fit my schedule. I’d drive myself crazy! If this was any other task, say trying to get in touch with my insurance company or a customer service rep at my cell phone provider, I would feel inconvenienced to have to call every day just to see if I might be able to get what I need. Yet to give myself a treat I condoned this obsessive behavior.

We can inadvertently decrease our joy if we focus on treats that don’t fit our lives and our priorities. Even if it’s meant to be enjoyable, if something becomes a hassle it might be best to just stop. Treats, whether big or small, are meant to make life enjoyable – as frequently as possible.

What about you? Do you have something that you lie to do for yourself that has become a hassle? Have you considered finding another treat that isn’t so labor intensive?

Or maybe you’re the opposite altogether, and don’t go through any trouble to treat yourself. Is it because you haven’t found something you love as a treat? Or does the idea just seem ridiculous to you?

I’d love for you to share below in the comments or follow me, @busi_B on twitter.

Mathematical Mythology

When I was a teenager, I loved math. In fact through out grade school I LOVED math. I even participated competitively in academic math competitions. My husband laughs at this fact now, as he is always more accurate in everyday situations that call for doing math in one’s head.

However, the reason I loved math was because it made me feel like I was really doing something. The love affair started with multiplication and increased with the introduction of long division and then later continued with algebra and geometry and calculus… To cover a page in numbers and apply formulas and take 3 pages to do one problem made me feel like I was really learning AND really smart!

There was a rule that I learned in math that I also applied to my life for many years.

I think I first learned it concerning fractions, then it was repeated in algebra and then later in calculus problem I did in physics & chemistry classes.

The rule is: what you do to one side you have to do to the other.

As good as that rule is for mathematics, it isn’t so go when applied to life.

When this rule is applied to life adult life it necessitates consistency. In the world of adulthood it’s a mathematical myth. Consistency has its place, just not in most equations for joy. In fact, it is often counterproductive to increasing joy.

*GASP*

I know, shocking. Ludacris! Let me explain.

Consistency can often lead to boredom. It can lead to dissatisfaction with your life that makes you feel like you are stuck in a rut. Consistency can also lead to increasing frustration related to problem solving because we remain in predictable patterns and habits that blind us to new perspectives or insights. None of this sounds joyful; it sounds frustrating.

So what is the solution to the problem created by exposing this mathematical myth?

The solution is to be responsive. Just like in math class, I’ll show you my work.

Responsive = being present = being attentive = balance = joy

Joy comes from having a balanced life. A balanced life comes from being attentive to the things that come your way; attentive to potential issues and problems so they can be confronted and dealt with quickly and completely AND attentive to opportunities that can bring positive growth and success. To be attentive calls for you to be completely present in every moment you are in, so that you don’t miss opportunities or potential problems. If you are present then you will be appropriately responsive  so that you can communicate your love, your compassion, even your indignation to right a wrong. When you can be appropriately responsive you feel joy from the satisfaction of doing so.

So it is responsiveness, the ability to do what is necessary, not consistency, the ability to do what one always does, that brings about joy.

Have you ever been frustrated by people’s predictable expectations of you? Have you ever felt like you are being the most responsible person you could be, dependable for your co-workers and loved ones, yet you aren’t happy, instead you’re frustrated?

Why don’t you stop trying to be consistent. Stop trying to indicate how much of a responsible adult you are by being the same thing, by having a predictable nature. Instead be present. Attend to the people and issues that present themselves as important. Create balance in your life through being responsive. It will most definitely increase your joy.

Follow me @busi_B on twitter and let me know how our mathematical experiment works out.

Instant Replay…

Whether you watched the Oklahoma vs. Florida State game or the Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz fight, or interviews afterward, you were probably unknowingly grateful for instant replay this weekend. Yet frequently our minds ability to reminisce can rob us of opportunities to be joyful.

Have you ever replayed a comment or statement about yourself that someone else said over and over in your mind?

You may have difference responses when you hear it again in the recesses of your mind. You may be incredulous the first time. Then another time you may feel embarrassed. As your mind continues to ruminate you may begin to feel hurt.

Or every time you think about it, you may get angry, and yet and still, even though you didn’t think that you could, you get angrier the next time it crosses your mind.

You wonder how they could think such a thing. Even once you rationalize the logic that created the thought, you STILL wonder how they could say such a thing. AND in public, around other folks. Folks that may or may not know you well enough to understand why you feel like a pile of manure has just been dumped on you.

You think about it, and you think about it; and you try not to think about and think about it some more.

All the while they may not even remember the statement. Whether they remember it or not, however, in fact, they could care less, and they often do.

Whether it was a statement about your appearance, or your work, or some odd habit only your closest friend has (or rather, until that moment, HAD) about you penchant for flossing, it is extremely unlikely that this person sits awake at night thinking of ways to bring you down.

Friend or foe, stranger or intimate the one thing about people is that they rarely think long about things that don’t have to do with them.

How can I get this business off the ground?

What am I going to cook for dinner tonight?

What are (my) kids going to be for Halloween this year?

I need to get some gas.

I need to get a haircut.

I need to do laundry.

I need to start gathering things so we can do taxes early.

One of the sure-fire ways to find yourself at a loss for joy in your life is to get so caught up in your own thinking about yourself that you believe others are continuously thinking of you, and that those thoughts are negative.

It’s common nowadays to think such things. It was basically an inevitable social development, with most of us growing up with cartoons like Inspector Gadget, Dexter’s Laboratory & Pinky and the Brain making it popular to think that a villain is up at all times of the day & night plotting our demise. It’s no wonder that the term hater entered our common social vernacular.

However, there is one popular strain of thought that can increase your joy tremendously. It’s from writer, Olin Miller:

“You probably wouldn’t worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do.”

So, what do you think? Do you REALLY have any haters, or are you allowing your thoughts to steal your joy?

Share your comments & stories with me and follow me, @busi_B, on twitter.

Make the world stop spinning

Do you talk on the phone?

Let me rephrase that. Do you like to talk on the phone?

I don’t. I’m not a phone talker. I don’t like to do business on the phone. I don’t like to socialize on the phone. I prefer to not talk on the phone.  The best technological innovations for me were smart phones that allow you to text and do email on the go. I can communicate with my loved ones and folks that I work with, without being tethered to a phone or its social conventions.

Yet there are sometimes in life where you’ve got to use the phone. Some of them even bring joy. One of those situations is when you live far away from some of you most precious friends.

My family has known me for my entire life. There are only three people in my family that could ever get me to talk on the phone – my momie, my Aunt Lynette and my mother (in-law). When I was a freshman in college, my mother worked the overnight shift in an Emergency Room. I would call her at work, and as the health and well-being issues of others permitted we’d talk, sometimes several times a night.

I speak with my Aunt once or twice a week, which is quite often for my standards. She does most of the talking; I listen and intermittently ask questions that will keep her going. The conversations usually last about an hour. For me that’s a marathon.

I speak on the phone with my mother (in-law)  about once a week. Although I see her about 2 or 3 times a week, and we can talk for hours on end about any and everything, when we’re on the phone we barely make the minute mark.

One of us: Hey, Mrs. Sawyers.

The other: Hello Mrs. Sawyers.

One of us: How are you guys?

The other one: We’re good, just over her [insert some specific activity unique to this day/week about laundry, dishes, cooking]

One of us: Alright then; I was just calling to check in on ya’ll.

The other one: Okay, Love you.

The one: Alright; take care; love you too.

Who says what varies. Yet that is our 58 second telephone conversation.

I LOVE IT! She understands me and accepts me, it’s awesome!

Luckily my friends don’t pester me or get their feelings hurt by this. Most other folks in my life know of my phone issues as well, some have come to accept it over time. Most times I am grateful that they allow me to stay in my phone comfort zone. It decreases my daily dose of being annoyed; and being joyful and annoyed do not usually mix – so it’s a good thing.

This morning however, I HAD to catch up with an old friend. I hadn’t seen or spoken to her in months. We had exchanged short emails to check-in. We had even sent one another various helpful articles; some were recipes, others about new research in our area, or about something that we know the other enjoys or struggles with in daily life.

But we hadn’t talked.

We now live more than an hour’s drive from one another. Grabbing a tea or connecting for lunch or the occasional dinner is nearly impossible.

She’s legally blind. My husband and I only have one vehicle. We both work. We both like to be home in our free time. She has grandchildren to help with and I have a very spoiled doggy to play with. Life is life, but we miss each other.

So last week we set a phone date; and this morning before her first client and after I’d gotten my husband fed and off to work. We talked. On. The. Phone.

As I dialed the number, I was overwhelmed. I thought I might cry when I heard her voice. But I didn’t. We both just laughed. Big Belly laughs. The youngest grandbaby, who was still cooking the last time we saw one another, is now crawling. I’ve started a new job and moved to a new community. She has a new set of interns. I’ve made it through the first 7 months of marriage. She and her husband of 30 years, experiencing a “second wind,” are engaged in the process of adoption and looking for a good fit.

Life continues. Yet this morning the world stopped spinning for 28 minutes, while I talked on the phone.

It brought me so much joy.

Not all habits are bad habits. Some things are just the way we are and our love ones accept it and us wholesale. But maybe, doing something out of the ordinary just once in a while could increase our joy.

What small thing might you do today out of the ordinary that could send your spirit through the roof?

Sufficient vs. Efficient

One of my television obsessions is HGTV. I’m not so much the do-it-yourself or renovation show type of woman, although I do watch the design shows from time to time. More often than not, however I’m pinned to the home buying shows. Whether it’s property virgins or house hunters international I’ll watch, without question if it is on, and for hours at a time.
On these home buying shows you usually find folks that are looking for high end and many times energy efficient appliances. Yes they want that six burner chef’s stove-top, but they don’t necessarily want to pay the gas or electric bill from such an appliance if it isn’t energy efficient – same for the washer and dryer and the dish washer.

I was watching a marathon of such shows the other day and my mind got to playing around with the idea of efficiency, particularly because efficiency is one of the things in life that bring me great joy. It has also been one of the things that I have had to let go of in my life to bring myself even more joy, and to experience that joy even more frequently than I ever have before.

In part, this is because I would be so focused on how efficient I could be that I would end up doing too much. I would end up more exhausted at the end of a day or completely spent mentally at the end of a week and wouldn’t understand why. I would look at my to-do list and all the things that I had accomplished. Often times I had done what was on the list and more than I had even set out to, or would have imagined that I could.
I could remember slightly the satisfaction I had gotten from the moment I discovered the grocery store in the two I was conducting research in. I could remember that the idea of being able to make groceries in a new and exciting place, and have things in my house to eat the next day without having to go out was a treat. I could remember my delight especially since by the time I would have driven the 55 miles back home in the snow storm that was beginning to brew nothing in my neighborhood would be open AND I’d be exhausted.

Yet as I sat in my driveway trying to convince myself that it wasn’t irresponsible to leave my groceries in the jeep wrangler I owned at the time, I mean it was literally FREEZING outside, that satisfaction was no longer joy. It was exhaustion and a disconcerting nagging argument within myself about my jeep possibly being stolen from my driveway with 2 weeks’ worth of groceries in it and the idea of me being lazy for not bringing them in. Along with a slightly humorous, yet entirely serious, curiosity of whether my insurance company would cover that.

I still didn’t get much work done the next day; I was too tired, which was of course the whole reason behind going to the grocery store in the first place. ho-hum.

I learned something about 6 months after that night in my jeep. I was sitting in meditation after praying/crying to God about being exhausted and whether I should continue my doctorate program because I wasn’t sure I had the energy. I couldn’t remain efficient AND productive, my highest priorities. I had made myself so tired with my tears that my inner critic was either too tired to nag me or my soul was too tired to listen, either way the quiet exhaustion that followed left room for God to get a message to me.

“If it’s too hard, then you’re not supposed to be doing it. My grace and strength is sufficient and I give it to you to do what I purpose you to do. If I haven’t given you the strength then it isn’t for you to do.”

Essentially I was misusing the energy God gave me. Every day I knew that God had given me an allotment, and I was trying to maximize that by being efficient. However, that isn’t what was intended. I was running out of steam because I was trying to be efficient with the provisions of the universe. Sufficient meant I had just enough to do my duty, so that isn’t how it was supposed to work.

What about you? Do you find yourself trying to do more than your fair share? Do you consistently go above and beyond which somehow causes you to always fall short?

Share your stories in the comments and follow me @busi_B on twitter.

Rock climbing…

So this week has been a little hard for a number of reasons. Getting adjusted to working again has made me a bit exhausted, and of course that leads to emotions and interactions that can be frustrating and confusing. There isn’t a formula that I know of that includes exhaustion, frustration and confusion and leads to joy.

In the midst of new classes, and dual commuting, and laundry, and meal planning, and allergies looking to find joy in your life frequently can be difficult. Yet it isn’t insurmountable. Remembering to sprinkle in things you already know work like your favorite snack and an evening nap with your significant other can definitely help. Yet they may only be short-lived pleasures.

You may need something with some more bang-pow! I know that I did!

Well not to worry (that does nothing to help with your joy). What I realized this week is that whether you treat yourself to a chocolate-coconut granola bar, or just leave the laundry on the floor, when you wake up from your nap the frustrating things are still there. Your perspective may have shifted, yet you still need motivation & energy to create a solution to forgetting to do laundry and not having clean underwear or forgetting to bring your jump drive to work that has your class handouts or lecture slides on it.

So what is the key to joy when you feel you’ve failed yourself or your loved ones and couldn’t provide what you usually provide – like clean underwear – or when you seem to be irresponsibly forgetful and let down folks who are depending on you – for me that was my students who were beginning to worry about an upcoming test?

There is no magic carpet or wand to deal with these types of frustrations joyfully. What you need in these types of situation is some grit.

YUP! Grit.

Grit = Joy

Grit brings to mind sandpaper, hard or abrasive textures or situations. It brings to mind being uncomfortable, and most folks don’t think about being uncomfortable when they think about joy. However, grit is also an adjective that describes firmness in mind or spirit. To possess an element of grittiness means that one is unyielding and courageous in the face of hardship or danger. Now that hardship might be the discomfort of that old random pair of underwear that doesn’t have any elastic in it. Or maybe the danger is letting someone down and taking a hit to the picture perfect armor we have of our identity as a spouse, friend or professional. No matter the situation, employing a bit of grit in your thinking and problem solving can help you to overcome an uncomfortable situation with a tad bit of finesse and demonstrate to your most important critic (yourself) that you are stronger than you thought, even if you aren’t perfect.

Grit = Personal Strength = Joy

Sometimes we get joy sitting in a garden with butterflies and harps; and sometimes we get joy from a sweaty climb up a 3000 ft rock. No matter the path, if joy is what you want, joy is definitely what you can have.

Doubt…

Beginning my marriage was an exciting time for me. Knowing that my husband and I were embarking on a wonderful new journey together where his sense of humor and social nature would be combined with my sense of planning and nurturing made me excited to consider all the wonderful fun and good we would have taking on the world together.

It was also a time of fear and a tad bit of sadness. I had never really lived with someone for an extended period of time before as an adult. I was also moving to a place where I didn’t have any close friends. Everyone in the city I was moving to live with my husband was his friends or his family. Over the years I was in my doctoral program, I had made some friends of my own in Detroit. But they had all moved far out of the city or even out of the state by the time I began to settle in the area.

I was also leaving behind a close network of friends, supporters and colleagues. Lansing was a place I had lived in for more years than the town I lived in when I graduated from high schopl. I loved it and I loved the people that had come to love me there.

Sometimes I was sad about this, and sometimes I was angry. I often shared both emotions and the reasons for them with my husband, before and after we were married. It was never an option to not be together because of the move. In fact it wasn’t an option to not be together. Despite the fact that we both knew long distance and commuter couples, even some that were married. We knew that was not the type of marriage that we wanted.

In fact, when we talked about the kind of marriage that we wanted we realized that we wanted to break many of the rules. We wanted to build businesses and work for our living(s) together, spending much of our work and free time together and with our children (when we had them). We wanted to build our work around our lives rather than our lives around our work. For my parents in particular this had meant sacrificing a particular type of lifestyle. My husband and I dreamed of avoiding that type of sacrifice by making others.

One thing that I remember vividly about our conversations about marriage and sacrifice before we got married is that my husband would always reassure me that no matter what I decided to give up or trade in as we worked to build our life together, he’d be sure to give it back to me in some fashion AND promised that it would be better. At the time, I loved him saying that. It showed me something about his character and what he was willing to do and give for us. I did not believe him however.

It wasn’t that my husband had broken promises before, or that I didn’t trust him. I didn’t believe him because it seemed like the naïve type of poetic thing that was a part of song lyrics about love, rather than the truth about love and marriage.

You know the songs. The ones like the Eagle’s “Love Will Keep Us Alive” where they say,

 

Now I’ve found you

There’s no emptiness inside

When we’re hungry, Love will keep us alive… 

 

Or in “Ready or Not” by After 7 when Babyface’s brother croons,

I’ll give you the sun, the rain, the moon, the stars and the mountains.

I’ll give you the world and all that you wish for

And even more…

 

I mean come on, I’m hypoglycemic. I’ve got to eat; and often. Even if you’re only talking about a day lazing around the house cuddled up together love isn’t all you can keep in your cupboard. And, you can’t give me anything that isn’t yours and I do not believe that you and God worked out any type of payment plan for those awesome wonders of mother earth.

However, I was wrong. That’s right I said it, my husband was right and I should have known it. When he was whispering those sweet nothing, I’m glad that I didn’t say anything to indicate my doubt. It may have done irreparable damage to our relationship and his belief that I respect, love and trust him. He proved me wrong, AND he taught me a valuable lesson about simply being quiet. One that I hope I will always remember.

What do you do in situations of doubt? Have you ever been proven wrong in the most wonderful fashion? I’d love to hear your stories about doubt turning to joy. Be sure to leave a comments, or send me a message and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter.

Instincts

Confession: Being joyful has not always come easily to me; in fact, from time to time even now my first inclination is to be analytical or honest or strong. Learning to seek joy first is a behavior I am still learning and practicing , yet it is probably the most helpful perspective I’ve learned to employ. Since it isn’t my initial inclination, the best I have been able to master is to employ it frequently.

I know, I know. My staunch church folks will remind me that the bible says that God said to “Be joyful always (in all things).” Yet that is a prescription for life that immediately quickens my anxiety and starts me to beating up on myself. Beating up on yourself  and anxiety are surefire ways to decrese your joy, not increase it. So then you end up being joyful rarely, which is definitely less desireable than being joyful frequently, even though frequently still isn’t always.

Being joyful frequently definitely releases the pressure that those of us who might be prone to some negative obbsessions and over analyzing experiences. Yet there are other benefits to seeking to find joy frequently.

For me those benefits have included  more laughter, both at myself and at life; more peace of mind, both initially and as a response to life’s craziness; and less anger, this is usually because my mind seeks to find a way to life at a situation because feeling joyful is addictive.  For someone who is described most readily as a firecracker, rather than a sweetheart, seeking to find joy more frequently in life has helped my social interactions to be less volatile and my quiet time to be less brooding. Both of which can dramatically increase your quality of life.

What is your initial inclination in life? Is it over analysis that increases anxiety that overwhelms you? Is it easy for you to remember to seek and find joy in most situations? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories, so leave a comments below and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter.

Call Waiting & Procrastination

I live with what I’ve named, call waiting thoughts. What I mean by this is that, I will often be focusing on one line of thought, sometimes in my head and sometimes in conversation with another person, and another thought will form and demand that I attend to it immediately. The same way that the loud singular BEEP would alert you in the middle of a phone conversation that someone else is calling.

It’s an interruption that only the savviest of phone conversationalists could navigate without losing their train of thought. The same goes for when it happens to your thoughts. As of late I’m not as frequently overwhelmed by these types of thoughts. It has been a life long journey to find ways to deal with my active mind and to ferret out how it impacts my productivity.

I believe that I have been gaining success for two reasons.

1)      List making

2)      Controlled procrastination

I’ve discussed my list making and planning before, and I have a future post that I plan to devote to the “art” of list making. This post is about mainly about #2 – the idea that procrastination can be controlled and be effective for focusing and productivity.

I’ve described before how productivity is related to joy. Yet the idea that procrastination can be controlled, as well as an effective tool for creating productivity, is a bit counterintuitive. In fact, it may seem like one of those things that people tell themselves to justify something that can’t really be justified.  However, much like dynamite, using procrastination in a controlled manner is a skill that must be honed however here are the basics.

Procrastination is like nap time, free play and recess in primary school. We needed all three then and we need procrastination now. Whenever you find yourself losing focus, write down what it was that you were thinking about. No matter how random or involved the thought might be write it down. Now every 90 minutes or so take 10 minutes and pursue one of those things that are on your list.

Many times you’ll realize that the rabbit holes don’t go down very far; it usually takes less than 90 seconds to pursue most of the thoughts through to the end. Others however become more involved and end up being great pieces of creative or productivity genius. They become your next project, or your next vacation, or they lead to you solving one of your daily annoyances that decrease your joy in life.

For me the biggest lesson and source of joy that has come from this strategy is the fact that I no longer feel as if I lose so many valuable thoughts. My primary thought or conversation remains intact AND the thoughts that were demanding my attention get their due when the timing is appropriate. BONUS: my brain also gets a little play break to explore new ideas and tangents.

The second biggest lesson that I have gotten from this is the same one that I learned about actual call waiting; if it’s really important the thought will come back. What you are doing and who you are with at the moment is most important. To believe and demonstrate this makes them feel special and/or can make an uncomfortable conversation/meeting shorter and to the point.

If for some reason you can’t get to a place to write that thought down it’ll come back to you – if it needs to do so. We’ve come to believe that every thought that we have is a treasure, when sometimes it’s just a thought. When I was a teenager, I would be on the phone with my best friend and we’d be talking about clothes and dance team and boys and the call waiting would beep. We’d think it was the boy of our dreams calling, or someone for our parents, so we’d get off the phone. Then we’d click over and it would be a telemarketer. We’d be so annoyed and would end up just calling the other person back.

I’ve come to find out that the same goes with call waiting thoughts; and if I manage their ability to distract me by listing them and creating controlled instances of procrastination I increase my focus and productivity.

Do you have call waiting thoughts? Or maybe you work with or love someone who has call waiting thoughts? Is it distracting and how do you deal with them so that you aren’t frustrated? Share your stories with me in the comments and click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter; I’d love to hear from you.

 

Frequently is good enough…

There is much to be said about consistency. We often equate consistency with stability, and stability is the mark of being a truly responsible and truly grown up person.

This is the line of thinking that has threatened my sanity and overwhelmed my spirit much of my adult life. For much of my life I have enamored by movies and television shows and commercials that depicted the good life with characters that went to places where “everybody knew their name” and folks ordered up “an absolutely defining sense of self” every morning at Starbucks.

The idea that I could walk into a place, and folks would know me by name and as if I’d be having my usual was a subtle mark that I had made it, that I was settled. The thing is, I inherited the gypsy spirit.

My father is an immigrant, who joined the military shortly after coming to the United States and I spent much of young childhood moving from place to place and securing the fact that I’d never be able to give blood (something about the European meat and food standards being different and my antibodies creating zombies). Even after we settled back in the states my father’s work as a contractor often meant that even in the same town we’d move from neighborhood to neighborhood as he built one masterpiece and then we would move on; or no one would want to build anything and so we’d move on.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, this constant movement never actually worked to unsettled me. I was always an awesome student. I always had friends to play with when I wanted to play. I always had a sense of belonging, even if I was labeled the one that was a tad weird – I mean what child reads roots in the fourth grade, as several of my cousins have pointed out.

I developed a sense of adventure that was counter-balanced by imagining and planning what adventures I might have next. The adventurous, nomad like existence was how I conceived freedom; yet somehow it always meant that I wasn’t quite a grown up. It was the underlying sentiment of Peter Pan; grown-ups don’t have regular adventures.

Real grown-ups had a restaurant they always ordered in from.

Real grown-ups had a go-to order that a best friend or friendly waiter could bring them without questions.

Real grown-up had a stylist that they went to regularly who knew their hair better than them.

Real grown-ups have a store that loved ones can go to buy gifts and never go wrong.

Real grown-ups had a particular pew they always sat in at church.

Real grown-ups are consistent.

Then I realized that I was a grown-up and I had none of these things; and then I realized that I was just fine with that fact.

I’ve come to understand that consistency has its place, yet being balanced doesn’t always call for consistency. In fact being consistent could easily put you off balance. Hence that common saying about doing the same things and expecting different results being insanity.

So I’ve learned that frequently is good enough. Frequent is a great balance between adventure and boredom. Frequent helped me feel predictable, yet authentic. Frequent helped me feel stable, yet free. Frequent made me feel powerful and brought joy; whereas consistent made me feel stifled and brought dissonance.

In many ways, by seeking consistency I was compromising my integrity; and, the ability to have meaningful and intimate friendships. I was trying to be consistent, when in fact there is no way I can be who I was at 13 when I am 31. My thirties aren’t my twenties; and thankfully today is not yesterday. In fact, if I were it’d be quite sad.

So now that you are a grown-up, are there things that you now know were unrealistic about being a grown up? What was one of the biggest myths about being a grown-up you held? Share with us how letting go of that myth has helped you live a more joyfilled life. I can’t wait to read what you share; and remember to click here to follow me @busi_B on twitter.