Priorities

prioritiesWhat are yours?  I know mine.  They include stopping work on a Friday early enough to relax and unwind enough to enjoy the weekend.  (This is mainly why I only schedule a few clients on Fridays)  But today I was struck with a new view of priorities or maybe I should say a maturing view of priorities.

Today I picked up my daughter from college so she could come home for the first time since the end of August.  To me it seems like forever since I dropped her off and it is hard to believe it has only been a few weeks (I would say short but they have not been short to me).  We had a wonderful chat on the hour long drive home and I was pleased to hear how her priorities have developed/matured.  We discussed classes and how she hasn’t missed a single one and reports having anxiety over the thought of missing a class (gotta love that she is invested in school) and I attribute it to her priorities.  She is placing value in school and making it a priority.  I’m happy about that!  

But really what pleased me more was to hear about a past priority and how it has rewarded her (have I lost you yet?!).  So here I go trying to explain what I mean.  For the past 19 years I have made my family my priority.  I have made sure my daughter knows that I am fully invested in her and her future.  She knows boundaries because I have shown her or demonstrated for her how to put them into place.  My priority has been creating a wonderful woman to better the world and even at this early stage I can see it has been working.  priorities1

I’m not trying to be pompous or brag about my strengths here but as a parent it is sometimes hard to realize you are doing the right thing.  You think you are but you never see the rewards until now.  My daughter and I talked about the past 3 weeks and how everyone of her friends at school who saw us together talked about our relationship.  They asked her “you must have a great relationship with your mom” and she was able to brag and say “yes”.  When things aren’t going right at school she reaches out, when things are going great at school she reaches out, when she just wants to she reaches out.  One of my best priorities has been her and I am so glad I took the time to make her my priority because quite frankly, “She rocks”.  She is way more confident than I was at her age and I can hardly wait to see what else she will do with her priorities.   

So what are your priorities?  Are you taking time to balance your priorities in this crazy thing called life?  How?

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Letting go…

umass1Well it finally happened.  Last Friday I had to let my little girl go off to college or should I say we had to drop my little girl off at college.  I did pretty good or at least I thought I did good for me!

We had a nice easy drive of about 50-55 minutes to the western part of the state with our Dunkin Donuts in hand because around here, “You can’t do anything without Dunkins!”  As we approached I started to get butterflies because I kept thinking, this is it, or this is the beginning, you decide.  We followed their maze to check-in which if you have about 4500 college students moving in together a maze of cones and streamlined check-in away from dorms is the way to go.umass

Anyway it went so fast.  All of sudden we were unloading the car, carrying things (with the help of volunteers) up 7 flights of stairs (nothing but the penthouse for my kid!), and then setting up her room.  Then we were off to buy her books (good thing her major is dance so we spent less than $200).  After a quick dinner, it was time.  The time that I kept putting off but knew it would have to come.

The butterflies of earlier came back, the fears of leaving her at college began to overwhelm, but I knew with confidence she would be fine.  We said our “Goodbyes” and took the last pic and drove away.  That is when it began… the tears.  Hey, I made it out of the college driveway before they started but they started.  I was beginning to finally let go or have I really been letting go all these years and now the reality of it set in.

I think you start letting go once kids can do things on their own.  You let go of doing it for them, although there were times that it would have been easier to just do it for them!  You start letting go when they go to school and look back over their shoulder and smile and their little wave.  You are letting go when they spend the night at their friend’s house, go to summer camp, or spend a week with their grandparents.  These moments give you a glimpse of what the future might be (albeit a short lived one because it is usually only a week at a time).  You are letting go when you see them come mackout on stage all by themselves and dance their little hearts out always leaving you breathless and overwhelmed that you produced that beautiful being on stage.  You start letting go when they begin to drive and finally pass their driving test and then they are driving themselves everywhere with no help from mom or dad (well except for filling the gas tank).  You are letting go when they go out on a date or stay out late with friends and make it home before their curfew (which better happen if they know what is good for them!).

So I guess I didn’t really let go for the first but it might have been the final realization that I no longer have control.  I have worked hard for 19 years on this umass2project of creating a wonderful human being with morals, values, independence and many other incredible attributes who I am proud to say “I have no control over”.  She is a force to be reckoned with and will do well at everything she puts her mind too.  I now need to focus on what/who I am without her daily presence in my life.  Maybe that is the other part of letting go…the new creation of me.  Maybe that is what I’m scared of.  For 19 years I been identified as her mother, I had friends and acquaintances through her and because of her.  Now it’s time to really do this on my own.  Well this outta be fun……….umass3

Quick, grab 5 things!

Daily Prompt: Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?

I thought this was a great question.  The first thing that popped into my head was photos.  I have a ton of them.  I am not sure I would be able to grab all of them before the firemen (in their big burly bodies, maybe I have seen to many calendars) would tell me to “Get out!” But the first item would definitely be photos of all types, framed, scrap-booked, and those that I never got to that are loose.   Maybe I should grab the cameras too because there are still photos left on the SD cards! pics

Second item I would grab would be my grandfather’s bible.  I got it when he passed away when I was 19 (wow, that was a while ago!) and have kept it close by as a reminder of my relationship with him.  He was my hero.

Next up, making it a third item, would be my paintings.  I have one I created while obtaining my associates degree that is a tree and I call it “the many colors of a woman”.  It has lots of colors in it and I absolutely love it.  But along with that one are many others that have deep meaning to me and are things I am not sure I could ever recreate.

The Many Colors of a Woman

The Many Colors of a Woman

The fourth item I would grab would be my laptop.  Really this would be grabbed because of all the information it contains.  It is the heart of our finances and of course contains all of this wonderful information for my blog posts.  It also has a ton of photo images on it that I would never like to lose.

Finally the fifth item I would grab, would probably be my phone.  Not because I feel like I want to tweet that my home is burning down, but I have lots of numbers in it of people who are important to me.  I know it is weird but as I grow older, I find it harder and harder to remember important phone numbers.  There was once a time I could tell you all the important phone numbers of people I needed to reach.  But now I feel like I am losing my mind when I have to come up with a number and have no idea where to begin.

If I were to add a sixth item it would be my running shoes.  I know these are replaceable especially since it is currently time to do this, which would explain why they are not listed as a top 5 item.

So those are my 5 things I would grab (okay maybe 6 items).  How about you?  What would you grab and why?

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving.  Many of you already know this but for those who are from another country, we celebrate originally because we were thankful for a large harvest back in the days of settling this great country. (If you want to read more try this site)  Today it has turned in to a day of celebrating with a large feast, including a turkey and lots of pies, and being surrounded family and friends.  So in my eyes it hasn’t changed too much, well except for the after Thanksgiving sales and the craziness they call Black Friday!  But I digress….

So this year as many of you already know, I have kept a gratitude journal and spend time each day writing down things I am thankful for.  I have done this for several reasons: One to remind me how blessed I am, Two to help me when I am struggling to remind me how blessed I am, and Three as a reminder to myself about how blessed I am.  I know, I know those all sound the same!  But think about it, if you are reading this right now you are blessed with a computer, eyes to see, understanding to read and the ability to pick a great blog to read.  🙂  

As I was thinking about writing this blog (which has really been on my mind since Monday) I was wondering how I would express my gratitude and how overwhelmed I am when I think about my blessings.  (Let’s just say tears come to my eyes and I get that lump in my throat.  They are happy tears though.)  Many of my friends did the days of thankfulness leading up to thanksgiving and listed them all on facebook daily.  I didn’t participate but was thankful for reading others.  It made me really think about what means the most in my life so here goes in somewhat poetry form:

Living these 40 years,

Shedding many, many tears.

 

Warm hugs and beautiful smiles,

Ability to run miles and miles.

 

Strength that astounds me,

Weakness that helps me grow.

 

Using my God-given talents to help others who are struggling,

And realizing it is not just a job but a calling.

 

Writing and reading blog after blog,

Having followers great and small.

 

Wonderful friends old and new,

Memories that last forever.

 

Family members both near and far,

Who love me no matter how crazy I r!

 

My girls who make me so proud,

And Dave who I love to be around.

 

I am thankful for every breathe and every second,

Take some time to count your blessings.

Values

What does the word values mean to you?  Dictionary.com’s definition as a verb is “to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance” and “to regard or esteem highly”.  So I ask, what are your values, what do you esteem highly, respect, or put in the highest importance?  Have you ever made a list and really looked at it?  Why not?  You should give it a try.

Well I have a job that makes me have others do this but I was wondering what my list would look like and would it surprise me?  So I did it and here it is:

  • Family
  • Faith
  • Friends
  • Financial Security (seem to be stuck on the F’s)
  • Knowledge/Learning
  • Exercise/Running/Health
  • Career

This is just a quick list but I think it pretty much covers it.  It doesn’t surprise me at all.  It actually just firms up what I already knew.  My relationships and health I value over my career.  This may seem weird but when you are a people person like me, it doesn’t.  My mom keeps telling me that she didn’t think I would ever work a 40 hour a week job (she knows me way to well, love you mom).  This was usually because I was in school all the time and couldn’t do it but the more I think about it, I’m not sure I want to work a 40 hour a week job.  I want to make enough money to be financially secure but in the mental health field 40 hours a week is very draining on your own mental health.  So obviously I am still looking for balance in the career aspect of things.

Now I look at my life as it is right now and compare it to the values I just listed.  Am I on track with my values?  I think so.  Are there some things I can work on?  Of course, I’m human and I go through times of placing more value on things than others.  So now I need to decide what I need to change.  I have a few ideas.  I need to spend some more time on making financially smart decisions, after all next year our last one will go off to college and somehow I have to figure out how to pay for that.  I need to spend more time with my friends.  Because of some recent circumstances, I have let relationships with friends be put on the back burner, but I think I am ready to bring them to the present once again.

We all know that my exercise/health is an important value and I try to work on that daily.  (Latest run of 6 miles this morning in what had to be 1000% humidity!)  Still working on eating better but I think I do pretty good (I’m not eating as many chocolate chip cookies and ice cream as I really want to eat!  Moderation!). 

So my overall reflection is that I have think I have strong values that I am working to make stronger and I am thankful I took a moment to really think about and explore my thoughts regarding them.   Now it is up to you.  Make a list of your values, examine your life and how they fit in.  If it is not what you want, then it is time to make some changes.  If it is, then congrats.  Keep up the great work!