Thursday, February 21, 2008

Making the Most When the Plan Goes Astray

[This is the continuation of the previous blog post]

How easy is it to give up when things don’t go as planned? How easy would it be to call one’s self a failure and hang our head when the results don’t come out the way we had hoped?

Sometimes we plan for what we can’t control and then when reality takes a different path from what we had planned, we are forced to reconsider. Depending on the reality, this reconsideration can seem minute or monumental; still, it’s what we do next that determines if we are willing to let reality get the best of us, or if we’re willing to take it and run with it!

I can remember one of the first times I honestly thought this whole concept out that I’m talking about and how I was determined to not let myself get discouraged when things did not go as I had planned…

I had found myself running for an office position in an organization I was a part of at the time. I was anxiously anticipating the possibilities if I were to be elected by my peers into the position. Oh how I could use the position to reach out to fellow members in the organization! I could get real excited simply thinking about the endless possibilities! Then, when the election had come and gone I was not elected into the position and I knew immediately this would not crush my dreams for reaching out. I will never forget telling myself that same night that I would simply make a pledge to myself to be the best member I believed I could possibly be over that next year. I was determined to reach out to the new joining members in ways I had not in the past. I promised myself that I would make every effort to reach just as many members as I would have had I gotten the office position.

At the end of our next month all together as an organization I was honored as Member of the Month. Too me, this confirmed my promise I had made to myself. I couldn’t have been happier with my willingness to not let reality affect my overall hopes and plans. Do I say this in a boastful manner? No, rather a state of self-evaluation which I believe is crucial for us all to do throughout life. Sure, I had hoped and planned to reach people through the office position, but when that was not the path I was given, I realized that it was still possible for me to do what was my overall plan – that of reaching out to people.

When reality affected how I would reach people some years ago, I was quick to redirect myself and without hesitation or discouragement, willing to storm forward. Unfortunately, we don’t always find ourselves so eager to accept reality and move on. Sometimes we are left in a state of uncertainty when we are faced with the realization that what we had planned isn’t going to be reality. This state of uncertainty can bring about many different feelings within us, not to mention a sense of discouragement. It is then, when we find ourselves discouraged and uncertain that we tend to linger rather than taking off; however, this does not mean that we are not still capable of running with what we’ve now been given.

For me this has happened over the past year. Over a year ago I found myself graduating with my master’s degree in knowing full well in my head what I wanted to do with it. I had it all planned out, and was ready to land that dream job. Sure, that was not going to be the reality in it all, but nonetheless, I continued to look for it. Time passed and I found myself getting discouraged. I remember resenting talking about anything at all related to my job search or even having my degree with one of my best friends because I remember how discouraged I felt when she would ask me each time we’d talk “how’s the search going? My mom has even asked about you and wanted to know if you’d gotten a job in your career yet.” Gosh, not only was my friend pressuring me, but her mom to top it off! Sure, I’ve no doubt that my friend was not trying to make me feel pressured or degraded in any way since months had passed and I still hadn’t gotten a job in my field; yet, I couldn’t help but feel like I was being judged as someone with this second level of education and “still” doing a non-degree oriented occupation. Like I said, heck, even her mother, who I had VERY limited encounters with was wondering when I’d ever get into my field.

I think you can see where I was coming from. I felt discouraged and like my friends (not to mention their families) were rating me based on what I was doing as an occupation. Granted, I realize that is (unfortunately) how our country rates people, but still, it seems more personal when it’s coming from people whose opinion really matters to you.

So months passed, and there was the occasional interview here and there, but still no luck. It seemed if the position wasn’t disqualifying me based on my in ability to speak Spanish, it was because I didn’t have enough years of experience. Then when I’d about given up on looking and was ready to take a break a spot seemed to come to me. I was ecstatic! It was about as close to what I had envisioned and planned myself doing as anything I’d seen yet! Communications between the organization and me seemed to be looking real good. Finally, when it came down to it, and I had crunched and re-crunched the numbers, I had to turn it down because I would not have been able to support myself based on the limited income it was offering. I was crushed! It was as if my last hope had slipped away and I’d remain feeling like I was letting myself down, along with everyone else that continued to ask “why aren’t you using your degree yet?”

Sometimes when we are in the state of taking in the reality and how it has turned out differently than what we had planned, we are just as eager as anything to move on because we don’t like the feelings we find ourselves dealing with while trying to accept the reality. There was no doubt I felt discouraged and uncertain on if my plans of going into my field were any sort of reality for the near future. Because of this, I was lingering as I was trying to deal with the reality of it all. But then the tides would turn, and little did I know, I was about to make another promise to myself…

[To Be Continued]

Monday, February 18, 2008

We Try to Plan it All Out

In life it's so important to learn to take what you get and run with it. I guess it can depend on what you "get," but you might be able to look at it as, "roll with the punches;" if you're given lemons, "make lemonade." Thankfully, it's not always that we are faced with rough times and asked to overcome the obstacles. Sometimes we are just given a line-up other than we had expected (or possibly even hoped for) and then we are left to decide what to do with it.

I've always been a person that likes to plan things out and know what I'm going to do. I remember when I was preparing to call a guy I liked in college to ask him to a social event, I was so nervous I wrote out what to say on the phone--planned out the whole conversation (I say this with no shame, because whether you've done this before or not, I KNOW others have, so it's all good...HA!). Several rehearsal run throughs later (yes, including running through what he would say), and some deep breathes, I had dialed his phone number and waited anxiously for him to answer. He answered. Thus the script would begin...

Three seconds and two lines into the script things were already off course! How could this be!?! What would I do!?!? I mean I can't be mad at him for not following the script seeings how he'd never even seen it, nor had any idea I was holding it and reading it for that matter...HA! Yet, I so desperately wanted to get back on script. How could I make sure I was able to "ask" him to the event in a "cool" manner, so I wouldn't come off sounding like I really liked him!?! How was I going to get to that GREAT segue from simply shooting the breeze to nonchalantly asking him to the event if everything is off mark now?!

Though I was panicking on the inside, apparently I remained calm and undercontrol sounding on the outside...phew. Though it's been years ago and I can't remember exactly what mastery of the art of communication I resorted to in that situation to get the final result of the date for the event, all I DO remember is that my preplanning and script all went right out the window and I realized in the end all it had done for me is possibly gave me enough courage to make the call because I THOUGHT I knew my way through it and that it'd be "okay" because I knew how it was going to go.

Now, I'd like to say I've never again gotten to the point of where I've gone over, line-for-line, how I expected communications between myself and another individual to go, but I'd be lying if I said that. But what I have learned over the years is that more than likely, preplanned conversations, or even encounters, with individuals seldomly ever go as originally thought out. So NOW when I still find myself preplanning a situation, I'm quick to remind myself WHILE I'm planning that it's VERY likely that this is not how it's going to go and to not allow myself to feel as if I'll be devastated or freaked out if things go "off-script."

Thank goodness, I don't grade my life on how often it follows my "scripts," because if I did, not only would I have flunked, but I would have been forced to give up by now.

Sometimes it isn't necessarily a word-for-word script we have designed to depict the future, but rather an outline. It's as if we have envisioned the generalities of what should and hopefully will come about for us, and along with that, normally is a status of time. It's as if we are trying to write our story before it happens--sometimes in what I think is our response to the fear of the unknown of what's to come, but also as a form of motivation for something to work toward.

The most common example of this is the "what are you going to be when you grow up" question. I dare to say there's a single individual in this world that's cognitive enough to comprehend that question that has not been asked it. Thus, we all have had to respond to it. Sure, we might have outwardly said, "I don't know," but inside we have given thought to our lives ahead. Depending on our point in life when asked that question, some of our answers might be more researched and educated and closer to what we truly have interest in "being" than others. Nonetheless, it's something we find on our "outline" at that current time.

The outline is almost expected for those individuals in college. I mean, you can't reach the accolade of graduation without having a major, which is believed to be "what you want to do when you grow up," right? It's almost assumed upon graduation that that individual persue the career within their studies. Even the majority of the individuals graduating with a degree in a specific area will tell you that's the area they want to go into for a career. So at this point it's almost like the outline is no longer a guide, but rather writing in stone. How could you do anything other than what is "written"?! Jump to it! Put your studies into practice immediately!

...or so the outline of life says.

Do you want to know the #1 question asked of any individual that does anything other than working "in" their degree following graduation? "So, when you going to put your degree to use?" From what I hear (tee hee hee), it's about the 99th time you hear it during the first month following your graduation that you begin to get past the bitterness of people asking it. [Sidenote: I hear "the bitterness" starts about the time that the first person follows up the first question with "I mean you spent so much money on it, shouldn't you be using it?"] ;)

So what if you don't go directly into your field of study following graduation? Or what if you do, and it's only a matter of time that you find yourself wondering if that's really what you want to be doing as a career? Is it the end of the world? Have you failed?

It might be deemed that way by some of the previous question askers, but they haven't walked in your shoes; they don't know where your priorities lie and what's most important to you at that time. They have no rights to your outline. YOU are the one that gets to write and revise and decide how the outline goes, including the time status.

Maybe your outline is changing up some. Maybe it's been written for years and unchanged and now is the time. Now you find yourself revising. It could be the time table that's "off" or it could be the specific points. Whatever the revisions, make them and stand tall knowing it's your outline and it isn't always going to go as we have it planned out...

...but that's okay!

[To Be Continued]

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Hate Fighting With Myself

I hate it. I hate when I have all these thoughts going through my mind...

"Say this."

"Just let it all out and hold nothing back. You've got enough in ya right now to just start going and not stop for sometime. Say what you're really feeling in response."

"No, don't say it."

"Get control and just don't speak your mind."

"Just be still and the feeling to get it all out with subside. Be still."

The feelings are jumbled leaving a sense of uncertainty; the mind is trying to decipher it all; and the heart is hurting with each action of discomfort.

Sometimes I get these urges to just just speak my go off...and it takes everything within me to control it. I just have to still myself for sometime.
That was me. Sitting teeth clinched, staring off into a point of nothingness, and as still as can be. Any chance at movement could be all it took to lose the control. Then just time--still, tedious, time.

But instead of a sense of success when I reach the state of the urge having subsided, I'm left with a heart hurting. The deep pain within your upper chest that leaves you short of breathe. It makes you want to stretch your chest cavity and release the pressure. It sucks and I hate it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

It Can Get The Best Of Me

Over what seems like the past year or so I have found that I have this new thought processing that seems to come over me when I'm hurting. The hurt can include many different kinds of hurting (i.e. anger, stressed, betrayal, lonely based on feelings of being different, depressed, etc.). It has seemed that whenever I find myself hurting in these ways, I can find myself thinking how I need to change something.

Sure, feelings are not going to change if I don't change anything from the way it is, that's a given. Yet, it seems I oftentimes find myself thinking I need to "get new friends."

I don't know why this is and what it means but it's always such a strong feeling. It's a sense of feeling like I need to cut myself off from the style of friend network I currently find myself interacting with at the time and try to get closer to other friends and/or look to make new friends.

It always kind of catches me off guard when I find myself thinking this, but at the same time I can't ignore it or convince myself that it's unnecessary. It can get the best of me.

I hate it, but at the same time I'll find myself feeling determined that I need to start taking steps to make some changes and restructure my friend network.

It scares me, and I'll find myself getting upset emotionally thinking about it, but something in me says it's what I've gotta do. Only a matter of months ago I remember the feeling was so strong that I convinced myself that I needed to find a job in an area of town that was the furthest from my closest friends. It was the only area left in town that I hadn't explored and sent resumes too during my career searching process. The exact reason why I refused to look in those areas was because it would put me too far away from the friends I felt the closest too and spent the most time with. Nonetheless, when the feeling had me convinced that I needed to make some changes, I spent hours printing up cover letters to all the potential employers in those areas.

Today I still have those cover letters. They never got sent out. There's times when I'm grateful that something convinced me not to go through with it; however, it's only till the next time that I find that feeling and desire for change hitting me that I feel it's unfortunate that I didn't take action the time before.

It's funny how we think sometimes...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Why Jay Leno Needs a Bodyguard

After you see this you'll understand why Jay Leno needs a bodyguard. Let's just say he is not afraid to ask the heated questions in an important interview with some of the biggest names...

Enjoy! This cracked me up! HA!

why jay leno needs bodyguards

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Good Ol' Throw Back Tunes...

Okay, so I love me some good ol' "Old School" songs! I've been hooked on one for about a month now. It is a song that one of my good friends had put as the first tune on a random mixed cd she burnt me. And when I heard it I was like, "OH...GOOD SONG! I haven't heard this in forever!" And ever since then, I've been jammin' out to it MANY times and often VERY loud in my car. Typically it is cranked in my car and I'm singing at the top of my lungs...just LOVE IT!

It's song #1 in the list below and the rest are just some other old school songs from the good ol' 1980s and early 90s! Give them a sample listening on iTunes and I bet when you hear them again you'll be like, "OH...GOOD SONG! I'd forgotten about this one..."

[in no particular order]
  1. "To Be With You" by Mr. Big (1991)
  2. "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey (1981)
  3. "When I See You Smile" by Bad English (1988)
  4. "I Wanna Be Rich" by Calloway (1990)
  5. "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince (1984)
  6. "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch (1991)
  7. "Head to Toe" by Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam (1987)
  8. "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & the Waves (1985)
  9. "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" by Wham! (1984)
  10. "I Love Your Smile" by Shanice (1991)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Super Tuesday Eve

On the eve of what is apparently going to be as close of a battle at the polls as Sunday's Super Bowl game turned out to be, I thought I'd give some words of wisdom on a subject I love...


[PLEASE dig deep and find the sarcasm in that statement! Nonetheless...some words...]
  • I've become quite fond of the quote I found on the myspace page of an elementary school crush that I'm now stalking (HA!): "If you're not a liberal when you're 20, you have no heart; if you're not a conservative when you're 40, you have no brain!" The part I find most interesting about that quote has NOTHING to do with the political ramifications of "liberals vs. conservatives" but how true I think it is that the age/maturation/values of a person is very likely to influence their views as to "liberal vs. conservative". Yes, there I go pulling the psychology out of a subject meant to be focused on something totally different.
  • Following along with the above quote, this whole Obama vs. Clinton thing interests me only to the point that I feel I need to know who I will click in on my voting pad whenever that time comes; yet, word on the street is that Texas doesn't vote for like another month anyways, but still, I like to feel like I'm mainstream and that I need to know who I want to vote for BEFORE I hear the results of Super Tuesday. Yes, I think this is TOTALLY like how you are supposed to set your limits before going into a bar/casino/strip-club. Uh, I don't know where that last one came from...HA!
  • I have seen a lot of my friends are supporting Barak on their facebook accounts. Since I'm pretty lazy and actually don't really care a lot about politicians and what they "say" is how they stand on issues, I like to look at which of my friends are voting for who, and then I weigh who they are voting for on how smart I view that friend to be. Using that method I'm able to follow a point system and give each candidate a point total and decide who I should vote for. Makes total sense, huh? What a brilliant way to decide who to vote for. [Actually, I just made all that "process" up just now, but it sounds like it might be an idea to take into consideration for future elections...HA!]
  • Someone recently told me that Hillary just really seems to come off as a bitch. Hmm...I've never really looked at her that way. But the more I think about it, I really haven't taken much time to look at her either. Hmmm...
  • Barak comes off as an intelligent individual. I like intelligent people.
  • Part of me feels like I'm dising (how do you spell that word?!) my gender though if I don't support the lone female in the crowd. I feel like I need to vote for Hillary just because I feel a woman in such a high level of power could really make some change and turn around some messed up trends we have in this country. You know, big things like... Umm, the things that are coming to mind are obesity, and internet porn, and child molesters, and gas prices. Oh yes, gas prices....ridiculous!
  • I wish there was a way to do an experiment to know if Oprah endorsing Barak has totally influenced a LARGE number of women voting for him. I SOOOO want to know! What a weapon! His biggest competition is a woman....what better way to steal her highest potential of voters (women) from her than by getting possibly the #1 most influential icon for women to endorse him. Okay, so maybe he didn't have to try REAL hard to get Oprah, seeings how she absolutely LOVES the man, since he IS the senator for the state she films her show in, AND he is on her show freakin' all the time since she loves him. But whatever...
  • Then there's that race that's sexist going on that has all males in it. I can say I've followed it so closely that if you put a picture of Romney and one of Huckabee (that is their names, right?) in front of me and I wouldn't be able to tell you who is who...HA! I don't even know enough about these candidates or the republican race to even make a joke here...

Now I am beginning to feel like I'm just writing crap to be writing it. HA! Now that you are definately much more on track for which candidate would be the best use of your vote in the election, please DO go out and vote! I'm ALL about encouraging voting; I just could careless about most the stuff we have to vote about.

Wait, now that just came off in a manner of: I think you should vote just to vote and not make conscious choices when voting.

What I mean is...

Voting is something I believe in because I think it's important for individuals to have a say in their life and how it will be affected. Because of this, voting is your chance to give your opinion. What I don't really care about is all the crap that is involved in most all electoral issues/political leaders and their campaigns.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The Books Around Me

So I was tagged in this internet meme by Dr. Beck, but the problem lies in the books that are around me...HA! the first one I grabbed which is among a stack is "Kokology: The Game of Self-Discovery" which is a fun book/game in itself; however, its pages are made up of rather short snippets, so when I turned to page 123, there was only 7 sentences total ON the page. I decided to move on...

The other things in the stack included stuff like a VHS tape of "Search for Bobby Fischer" (an EXCELLENT movie by the way) and a diary of my friends. Neither of which met the "page 123" criteria.

Turning to my other side in the room is a another stack (believe it or not, my room is actually rather clean and organized--my friends can attest to this, as they like to joke that I'm the one of the three of our close group that they can show up at my house at anytime and not worry about me being embarressed that my room is a mess....HA) which is many movies I have stacked up to hopefully watch at some point in time, and then at the bottom of the stack is four books I used to like to call my "books I'm reading", but being completely honest with myself, they are all books I've started at one point over the past year and haven't picked any of them up in months...HA! From this "stack" I'll use "The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients" by Irvin D. Yalom, M.D. for this meme (even though this one too happens to have a short number of sentences on page 123--it's the end of a chapter, but I'll just proceed into the next chapter to complete the meme).

The meme plays as...

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.


It bursts loose in every nightmare. When we were children we were preoccupied with death and one of our major developmental tasks has been to cope with the fear of obliteration. Death is a visitor in every course of therapy.

~The Gift of Therapy: An Open Letter to a New Generation of Therapists and Their Patients by Irvin D. Yalom, M.D.

Obviously anyone is free to play along with this meme, but for "tagging" purposes, I suppose Kim, Jennifer, Brooke, Katey, & Holly.