On Your Mark, Get Set…JUMP!

Every fall season seems like a new beginning, at least to me it does.  Many people tend to disagree with me as the natural and most popular rebirth season is spring.  You know, the whole winter thaw, new flowers bloom, trees start to get their leaves, the birds come back from winter hiatus. Although the season after summer has its own life beginning and life changing intrigues, please ponder the following.

A four-year old child.  This child has been at home or at a daycare.  Turning four means that they are going to big people school, a.k.a. kindergarten.  School all day.  There are activity tables that can be comprised of any of the following:  drawing, painting, water, crayons.  There are dolls so they can play house or doctor or whatever else pops into their little four-year old minds.  There is a teacher.  There are other kids who will be playing with them and calling them “friend”.  There are crafts that they will do with their teacher.  Scary?  A little.  It’s different from the usual.  Exciting and a little overwhelming, but they are ready to jump in.

Transition again from kindergarten to grade one.  Very different.  Your own desk and projects to do.  There is this thing called homework.  There will be tests.  Will you still have your kindergarten friends in your class or will there be new people?  Ready, set…jump in.

Let’s go higher up….grade 8.  Last year of middle school.  After this year there is a progression to high school.  What will your last year be like?  You are a senior…in middle school anyway.

Minor Niner.  Welcome to high school.  Quite a traumatic experience as there will be many new students and many of your old friends won’t be in your classes this year.  There are semesters and many more tests and challenges; especially the desire to fit in.  This will all be recorded in the yearbook.  What courses should you take?  Where will go after high school?  University?  College?  A trade?  A job?  Again, many decisions.  Life through school is very nerve-wracking.  It’s determining who you are.  Many people will be there in the shaping and moulding of your life.   You won’t realize it at the time, but looking back, you will see who and what influenced your life.

Now, let’s say you didn’t finish high school.  Where did your life take you?  Did you go into the workforce?  Did you travel?  Did you move out on your own from the house you grew up in?  What made you take a leap of faith and move into the direction you moved?

It’s fall again.  The older I get, the more I want to take more time for myself and my dreams.  I believe I am in the fall of my life.  There are brilliant explosions of colours (my desires) running through my mind.  There are changes I want in my life.  There are things I was always afraid to do because I thought I would be criticized or laughed at.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  Now, it’s my opinion of myself and my self-love that will make me succeed.  Fear of failure?

Failure now has a new definition. To me the definition of failure means that I didn’t try something new as opposed to trying and not having it end up perfectly.  Perfection is quite subjective.  Depends on who is looking at it.

In the fall of my life I have decided to take a job that would put me much farther from home.  It’s a position I have some knowledge about, but there will be much new learning.  Excited?  Absolutely.  Scared?   Strangely, not really.  I am totally confident in my ability to learn.  I know that I can do anything.  There is no fear of failure.  Is that a bad thing?  I am not sure.  I know when I used to perform on stage the nervousness before was part and parcel of a good, confident performance.  Over confidence usually meant something would go wrong.  Is that the same with jobs?  Perhaps.  I am not afraid to ask for help.  Pride is the only thing that could hurt me.  I like my new vision of life and all that change can hold for me.  The need to try new things is exhilarating instead of frightening.  I am happy to have swallowed my dreaded fear of failure.

I am certain that with change there will be hurtful experiences in my life.  Daring to try new things, even if it means failure, proves that I  have stepped outside my comfort zone and into the realm of the adventurous.  My desire to learn and experience new things is keeping my life exciting and exhilarating and that is how I believe life should be lived.

Hurrah for me!

On your mark…get set…jump in!

 

The Next Generation..

Nope, not talking about Star Trek in case that is what you were thinking this is about.  I have been in the midst of assisting my niece with her wedding which will happen in a couple of weeks.  This weekend I shall be attending another family wedding (second cousin).  Next year will be an exciting time as well as we have two family weddings that will be full of nervousness and adventure as The Debater and The Artist shall have their much awaited nuptuals in the spring…April to be exact.  Then The Wiz and The Baker shall be enjoying their fall wedding in October.  Yesterday, on a long drive home from my niece’s place, I thought about all these beautiful youngsters (ahem…adults) and what the Next Generation is going to be like.

In the eyes of parents, it doesn’t matter how old your child is, that child is always about 5-7 years old in your eyes.  From birth, you watch them, you teach them, you correct them, you encourage them, you praise them, you give them grief and they give you grief back.  It’s the way of the world with parents and children.  Even once they have their own kids, you watch them and encourage them in their parenting and you are so proud as you observe the blossoming growth of your grandchildren.  You watch them nurturing their children, teaching and educating them and having that beaming pride look when their youngsters do something and achieve something on their own. 

This weekend we were watching The Princess and Little Kennie run around and laugh and giggle.  Kennie is going to be two years old in a couple of weeks.  We have noticed over the last little while that, besides imitating and mimicking what we say, she has learned how to vary intonation in her wording.  She came up to a little statue that we have and said, “Hi Princess.”  Where did she come up with that?  Yes, Little Kennie is growing up and getting an identity of her own.

As parents, we get annoyed with OUR parents when they treat us as if we don’t know things.  We will try to do something and suddenly we are doing it wrong.  We are adults with lives of our own and children of our own.  I am now beginning to understand this challenge. Your kids are always your kids no matter how old they are.  If they run into hardships you want to jump in and put a bandage on it by helping out in some way.  You want them to be healthy and happy and you would give your own life to make sure that they would never have to suffer. 

I realize now that sitting back and watching is something that, as a parent, is of one the hardest things to do.  Before I jump in with “the answer” I think about how I would feel if FIL or one of my parents came and pointed out if I was doing something wrong or instructing me on what would be better.  Would I appreciate the interruption and the advice or would I just wish that they let me do things on my own?  Yes, that is how I am learning to become a better parent. 

Being a parent of small, crying babies, older people would always say, “Oh, this is easy, wait until they are older.”  What?  At least then you would be able to sleep all night right?  Wrong…you hit the teenage years and oh my…you just wish that you could jump ahead 5 years and get over that hump in their lives.  Dealing with their right to independent lives while you struggle to keep order and sensibility in their lives.  AAAAGHHH!  You sleep even less then as they are going out with friends and coming home at two in the morning.  You actually get even less sleep than you did when they were newborns.  Really, if you survive that you can survive anything right?  Well, then they become adults…in years only.  They will always be your children.  Now you have to learn patience and have them learn adult things on their own.  Sure, you will be there when they need you, but sometimes the adult growth pains are even harder to watch than the bumps and scratches they got as kids.  There is no magic bandage or salve to fix some things and all you can do is sit back, watch, and hope that things you taught them will help them figure out the trivia of adult life.  If you are really lucky, you can actually sleep and not worry too much about it.

Yes, this may seem like a sad or depressing topic, but it is actually quite heartwarming in my mind.  I have learned much about being a parent of adults (oops…almost said adult children).  There is a wonderful sense of happiness and pride when you see how happy they are in their lives.  They live, they laugh, they love.  Sure, there are bumps in the road, but having those bumps makes them appreciate the repaved roads of life that are smooth and wonderfully happy.  The wonderful homes.  The great nights out full of fun.  The family get togethers where everyone laughs about silly things they used to do because, at this age, you can laugh about the silly childhood things that were done.  They are now adults, those were funny stories.

I am so happy and proud to be able to take a deep breath, sit back, and watch our wonderful future society unfold.  We wll have with such amazing new adults in it.  This is the next generation and it looks beautiful.

Oooooh my aching stomach…

It’s true.  My stomach muscles are a little sore today.  Yesterday evening I did something that I haven’t done in so long and my stomach muscles were just not accustomed to it.  They got quite the workout last night.  No, not sit-ups.  No crunches or pilates.  And I didn’t overeat either.  What ails me today is those good rip roaring belly laughs.  You know the ones where you beg people to stop telling their story because it’s just tooo funny!

Last night I played catch up.  One of my favourite sayings in life is that there are people that come into your lives for a reason or a season.  The “reason” people are the ones that you lose touch with quite quickly, but they are in your life to fill a void, or are there to fascilitate changes in your future life in some way.  The “season” people are the ones that hang around much longer.  Could even be a lifetime.  They are your constants.  These are the people, that even if you haven’t seen them for a long, long time, it’s like you had seen them yesterday and you can just continue from where you left off the previous time you saw them.

Well, I was lucky enough to hang out with two fantastic people who are “seasons” to me.  We shared stories, we laughed, we ate, we joked.  The night just went by too quickly.  Six hours together and we were high…on life!   There had been so many good laughs and funny stories.  Although we are all lacking from sleep today, it was well worth it.  We talked until after midnight and it wasn’t until the reality of the time hit us, that we realized we shall have to continue with story telling another day.

Stories began with…remember when…From there we strolled down memory lane talking and laughing about silly things that were done in our childhood days.  We  jumped from remember when, to remember this person, to “oh last year we” and the adventures that each of us were on.  Then on to our kids and the funny things that they do and say.  All this between sips of strawberry dacquiris and delicious, authentic Thai food. 

I hope today you have the chance to meet up with someone you haven’t talked to in a long time and play catch up.  Find out what’s been going on in their lives.  You will find that sharing and caring is a wonderful part of story exchange.  If you’re lucky enough, you’ll be leaving, clutching your middle and saying:  Ooooooh my aching stomach.

With Love, From Your Future Conscience

‘Tis the season.  The season for weddings.  I have a lovely collection of invitations at home for upcoming weddings this year.  Some are taking place close to home, while others are at least a 6 hour drive away.  All of them are family weddings.  Coming from a large family means that I shall be receiving invitations for a long time to come.  Initially it was cousins’ weddings and now their kids are getting married.  The celebrations continue.  Family get-togethers abound and and there is always the “OMG I haven’t seen you in forever” which, by the end of the night leads up to, “we MUST stay in touch” phrase.  Indubitably, this does not occur, but the desire for it is honest and true.  All this brings me to ponder wedding celebrations and what brides (and/or grooms) consider to be most important.

Wiseguy and I had an interesting wedding.  It began with the intimate proposal.  It was so passionate.  We were in the kitchen of our apartment and Wiseguy looked at me and said, “Wanna get married?”  My equally romantic reply, “OK.”  (See, we are huge romantics aren’t we?)  Wiseguy picked the date of the wedding.  “How about April 1st?”  LOL!  (April Fool’s Day!)   That would’ve been awesome!  So true to our personalities.  But then he changed his mind.  He pondered and asked, “how about Valentine’s Day?”  Now that was sweet.  Then he continued his thought:  “That way I won’t forget our anniversary and you won’t have to kill me.”  I love that man.

We had just over a month to plan our “perfect” wedding.  It wasn’t going to be elaborate.  In our eyes, the most important thing to us was that the kids were part of our wedding day.  Wiseguy actually thought it would be even better if we asked them for their approval before proceeding with any plans.  They agreed that our getting married was a fine idea.  We were initally just going to hop a plane to Vegas, but not having the kids be part of it was not what we wanted.  Family was always very important to us.

I had a wedding gown that had been given to me when my SIL was closing up her wedding gown consignment business.  Brand new gown and only 5 years old.  Still not too old to be in style.  We got Wiseguy into a cool tux with a funky purple, pink vest.  (The Princess still remembers the special, pretty dress we bought her for the occasion.) We got married at high noon (shot gun wedding right?) at city hall.  Our reception venue…a little odd.  I had a friend who was vegetarian and at the time I had no idea what venue would be best, foodwise, so that everyone’s pallets would be happy.  Then I had a brilliant idea!  I reserved a section at a well known restaurant.  The Mandarin…Chinese buffet.  Yup, I wandered around the buffet line in my beautiful gown.  Did I care?  Nope…I was having the time of my life because I was there with my new husband.  It was great!  Just some family and friends and some great laughs. We had our picture taken by one of the wait staff.  It was given to us in a “Happy Birthday” frame.  Neat right? Memorable?  Absolutely.  (I still have that polaroid picture and the frame it came in.)

If I was to do it over again would I change anything?  Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t.  Definitely not your typical style proposal nor wedding, but for me, it was perfect. I have been to extravagant weddings in halls with huge chandeliers and a harpist playing as you entered.  The food was gourmet and there was French service for the dinner.  There was a 5 piece band playing.  I have been to weddings in less extravagant halls.  All decorated by the bride and her crew of bridesmaids and ushers.  The food was delivered on platters and you served yourself.  There was no band, but there was a dj providing the entertainment.  I have been to many a wedding and many a different venue.  What was the most important part to me about each wedding?  I enjoyed myself the most when the bride and groom were enjoying themselves. 

Here is a small note I would like to dedicate to future brides and grooms: 

Dear brides and grooms.  Your wedding day is special.  Brides, you will feel like a princess because the man you love is there beside you, waiting to become your husband.  As long as your family and friends are with you, you will feel the love and happiness that they are sharing with you that day.  You have your bridesmaids and ushers there to help you out and make the day a wonderful occasion for you.  Use them.  They are a vital part of making your day fantastic.  The most important thing about your wedding day is to love every minute of it.  Enjoy your day.  Laugh a lot.  If anything goes wrong…laugh it off.  It will make for great stories later.  Your wedding day is a one-day spectacular and special event.  Make it a memorable one.  Love…your future conscience.  XOXO