Tuesday, July 31, 2012

coffee boys

I’m lucky to have the flexibility to work from home a couple days a week. It’s so nice to not have to worry about how long my commute will be, knowing my pets don’t have to stay inside or outside for the entire day in whatever elements the Pacific Northwest is showing us this week, and have more time to get a run in, have lunch with one of my besties, and still catch a few extra minutes of sleep.

It’s not all sunshine and daisies though. My work is in communications, and I am by nature a social person. I live alone, so spending more time in my home can be a little isolating. At first, I found myself procrastinating more, and I was stumped as to why I was being less productive with more time on my hands, and then I realized three things:

  1. I really do function better with a cup of coffee in the morning, which is tied to the discovery that I also make terrible coffee. It’s much better when I leave it to the experts.

  2. It’s easier to start crossing things off my list after I’ve gotten ready for the day. If I log in and start working while I’m still in my PJ’s my energy never kicks in.

  3. I need a little social interaction with other people at least sometime during the day.

And that brings me to my mornings with the coffee boys. I changed up my morning routine on my work at home days by making sure I take time for a shower and breakfast before my day begins, and then start my day at a coffee shop close by. I work for an hour or so while savoring my cup o’ joe. Wham! All three things are checked off to help my day start out productive.

Over the last few months, as I’ve settled into this routine, I’ve noticed a few guys who are usually at the coffee shop at the same time. I'm pretty sure they work in construction. There's usually just two of them, but occasionally a third joins them, always at  the table smack dab in the middle of the shop.  They’re about my age, a couple of solid, manly guys. You can also tell they’ve been friends longer than many marriages last. They laugh easily and it’s easy to smile at the way they joke around with each other.

As the weeks go by, we've started joking around with each other, with the staff, and with the other regular group that's there, "the grandpas." It's fun and lighthearted, and I really look forward to my mornings with the coffee boys. They notice and comment if I miss a day because of a meeting in Portland, or if one of us is missing for a week of vacation. Starting the morning with my friends is becoming my favorite part of working from home.

Except for Tank Top Tuesdays... those are just awesome from start to finish!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

fill 'er up



I've noticed a common thread in my conversations with friends and loved ones in the last week or so - trust. It still strikes me a little funny that they all think the single girl is good for relationship advice, but, hey, I'll give it a shot.

The truth is I've struggled quite a bit with trusting men after being cheated on in past relationships. So, I'm not quick to let my guard down and make myself vulnerable to being hurt. But just because someone in my past hurt me doesn't mean the next guy will. I have to remind myself of that sometimes in order to give a new relationship a chance. While still listening to my intuition, of course!

Some people treat trust like it's a thing. Not me. In my world, trust is a verb. It is an action, a choice I make each and every day. When it's been broken, the choice is harder. In fact, in my experience, it's pretty much the end of the relationship. When your partner doesn't trust you, can you really move past that? Can you fully love someone who doesn't believe in you? I can't. Feeling my partner's support and trust is vital to me in order to feel loved. I would almost say that trust is one of the best ways a man can show me he loves me, because then I know I'm getting to see the real person, the vulnerable and lovable man.

The only flaw in the car analogy above is that cars only have one gas tank. Relationships have two trust tanks, one for you and one for them. You're either filling up the gas tanks of your relationship with trust, or you're siphoning it out. You give trust to your loved one in your actions and words all day every day. You can add gas to the tank of trust by honoring your loved one's freedom, individuality, friendship, and time. And you can take gas out of the tank with every undeserved, jealous or insecure question or comment about how they spend their time or peek at their email or phone, and other invasions of privacy.
Some people believe jealousy is a sign of love. Real love involves trust and communication, not accusations and snooping. Signs you have a problem with jealousy include:
-- Calling your partner multiple times to check up
-- Becoming overly upset when your partner is unavailable
-- Feeling compelled to track your partner's every minute of time
-- Feeling tempted to flirt with others just to "show" a supposedly cheating partner
-- Interpreting a partner's fatigue, illness, or distraction as a sign that you are not loved
-- Compulsions to snoop into a partner's e-mail, cell phone records or other private communications

source

The tricky thing about trust is that it's totally up to you. You choose how much trust to put in your relationship's gas tank. I'm not saying you should place trust in a tank that has a big ol' leak and doesn't deserve it. Some guys (or girls) aren't ever going to be worthy of your trust, and you should walk away. Just remember you both have a gas tank to fill. You can fill his up by trusting him, but if he's not filling yours and trusting you, you still aren't getting anywhere.

I plan on going places with my full tanks of gas! Fill 'er up!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

silver and gold

On a brisk fall day, in 1983, two young girls started 7th grade and joined the band. Who would have predicted that 29 years later, those two would still be friends (and band nerds at heart)? How do you know when someone walks into your life that they will forever change you, and will be a defining factor in who you become?

Thank you, my dearest friend for always being a friend. I simply cannot imagine what my world would be like if I hadn't known you. You bring sunshine to the people in your life, and your optimism and love is contagious. I admire the strength and grace with which you face your days.

And yesterday, when I heard your voice, strong and clear, knowing you were once again breathing the air that can only be found in Northwest, my troubled heart was happy. Happy to hear you sounding strong, setting down new roots and standing up tall for yourself. And when you helped me see the silver lining in the dark clouds that came at me this week, I couldn't help but cherish my best friend even more. And now, I'm looking forward to the end of the storm!

On this day, I'd like to propose a toast to our friendship. There's a song we used to sing in Girls Scouts that says, "Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold." Shauna, you are gold.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

friendsday

There is something about sharing a meal with friends that makes my heart sing. Sitting together, reconnecting, sharing the ups and downs of the last few weeks, feeling listened to, gaining perspective from another point of view and sharing my thoughts with them.

I had such a meal today. With a friend I don't see as often as I'd like. Their situation is complicated and they aren't able to spend time with me, or any friends, like they used to.

So when we get a few golden moments and can actually share the same space for a time, it's extra special these days. And as I sit and reflect on my day...I can hear my heart singing a little tune. It might be Wednesday to the rest of the world, but to me it's friendsday.

Monday, July 16, 2012

monday motivation - love

The only way love can last a lifetime is if it's unconditional. The truth is this: love is not determined by the one being loved but rather by the one choosing to love.
  Stephen Kendrick

What is unconditional love? Love given freely, without demand. It is kindness, compassion, honesty, loyalty. Unwavering in its truth, unconditional love doesn't fade. It's not infatuation or romance. It's so much simpler, and so much more meaningful. It can be shared among family, friends, even strangers.

My life is full of unconditional love. For the friends and family who choose to love me unconditionally, I am grateful beyond words. And I choose to love you back, regardless of circumstance or distance. In the quiet of your heart, my friend, know that you are forever loved.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

say when

"Say when." My brother was pouring me a glass of Kool-aid.



"Ok, that's enough. You can stop now." I said.

And then my glass over flowed and I got ticked!

"But you didn't say 'when'!" He explained, after I screamed at him as only a little sister can do.

In other words, I didn't use the magic combination of words that would actually make him stop pouring. I said I had enough. He could stop. I gave all the clues that my glass was full enough. But I failed to use the one that actually meant stop to him.

Yes, it was a trick we played on each other as children, and we'd probably still do it today. But I can't help but wonder if that's how some people live their lives as adults. Have some people never outgrown this childish behavior? If you didn't say it just the way I wanted you to, you didn't really mean it, so I can keep bugging you? So, if you ask them to stop interfering in your life, and they continue even after you ask them to leave you alone, what's the magic word? Hopefully there's a kinder, gentler one than "restraining order."

So I'm putting it out there - for those who've been trying to complicate my life and my relationships lately. Stop. I've had enough. When.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

single is not a disease

Being single is not a disease. There aren't any symptoms. I get irritated with those who assume that single = unhappy. Being attached does not necessarily make someone happy. They aren't related. I’ve learned that having a happy and full life is about me, knowing myself inside and out, and making choices that are good for me emotionally. I have to do that whether I am single or attached.

Why do people act as if there is something wrong with being single. Like there’s no possible way you can live life without a boyfriend, so I must go out and find one now. Really? So when we go to happy hour and you spend the whole time complaining about how your boyfriend or husband was

a) acting jealous
b) doesn’t trust you when you spend time with your friends
c) spent money he shouldn’t have
d) possibly or actually cheated on you
e) accused you of cheating on him
f) doesn’t like your family
g) acted pissy because you wanted to watch a different show
h) got mad because you didn’t clean up after him
i) criticized your choice of wardrobe/job/home d├ęcor/spending habits…

are those the signs of a happy and fulfilled life? That’s what I’m missing out on? I’m not missing much, in my opinion.

I know. Not all guys are like that. Not all relationships are energy drains. I have friends who are in happy and healthy relationships, full of respect and love for each other, who communicate with each other and both compromise when needed. I admire them, and they are the benchmark for the type of relationship I want. That benchmark is the reason I hold out for a good man and don’t settle.

And in the meantime, I’m just going to keep on being happy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

mulligan?

Hey.

I was sleeping soundly when I heard it, the sound of a text coming in. It was late, who could be texting me at this hour? I groggily reached over and grabbed my phone. Opening one eye, I tried to focus on the screen. Maybe I should have grabbed my glasses too. Then everything came into focus at once, and my heart lurched. There it was, three little letters, “Hey” From him.

I don’t often end relationships badly. By the time I break up with someone, we’re usually able to stay friends, or at least friendly. Not this guy. He said horrible things to me as he was tearing me down, accusing me of things I didn’t do, and walking away. I still remember trying to reason with him, to explain that he misunderstood my actions, begging him to hear my explanation, and his response, “No way, I hate you.”

If there was a relationship I could use a mulligan on, it’s him. How I’ve wanted for so long to prove to him that I wasn’t the person he accused me of being. How I wanted to show him what he meant to me, to pull him close and make everything all right. But that bridge was burned, I knew he hated me, he said it so clearly, and I wasn’t going to change his mind. So I let him go. Eventually I moved on. But when he crosses my mind, it’s always with a twinge of regret and bittersweet memories. Very few have ever reached that deep into my soul.

So there it was, a simple “hey.” A door open, just a crack. And my mind went off in a million directions at once. Quick, do a happy dance! Should I play it cool or ask him what the hell he wants? Do I ignore him entirely? Why now, after all this time? Is he okay? Will there be a spark when I see him? Does he even want to see me? How will I ever know what made him reach out to me now? For crying out loud answer the damn text already!

After considerable thought, I responded the only possible way I could to such a message. I said, “Hey, what’s up?” Yup. I totally showed him. Literary genius, that’s me.

It worked. The door opened a little more. We started talking. I don’t know that it’ll go anywhere, but at least the anger and hatred is gone. He said he couldn’t hate me. He knows I was honest. We both apologized for our bad behavior that led to the fight that ended any chance we had. Forgiveness feels good.

No promises have been offered. No plans made. But the door is open. That’s enough for today. My heart is a little lighter.