Category Archives: being comfortable with who I am

Cleaning Up Consequences

Will life be less beautiful without the green shade banker’s lamp purchased for a Christmas production at a church I no longer attend? Or without the black sheer scarf from Singapore with iridescent rainbow-colored threads running along its five feet?

Will the weight of the memories attached to these things be lighter or disappear altogether once they are discarded? (Like the tree that falls in an empty forest.) Or will they birth new meaning for new owners in new forms?

Keep reading!

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Sizing It All Up

meow-demi

It fits!

I recently found a bra that fits me well. This may seem like a simple thing, but it took a lot of time and effort to get to this point. Read on!

How Switching Careers Changed My Life

Leo21Aug2014
In 2008, I was making good money as a network administrator. I received an offer from another company that would have bumped my earnings significantly. I turned it down.

My career wasn’t satisfying like it once was. And more money, I reasoned, wouldn’t make it better. The treadmill of industry certifications, the nights on call, the high-pressure environment and the overall lack of fulfillment had taken their toll.

Money is the motivating factor for most it seems, always going for the next highest paying position on the company ladder or jumping ship to a better paying job somewhere else. And while I’m not completely immune to the power of the almighty dollar, the bitterness and anxiety I felt about my work didn’t improve when I tried to visualize myself down the road, doing the same work, with more responsibility, at a higher salary.

I knew it was time for a change. My brain’s right side was craving attention after being suppressed for such a long time.

The first thing I did was take an acting class, which despite some apprehension in the beginning, allowed my introverted self some relief by inhabiting other peoples’ minds. Then I returned to an interest I had earlier in life: writing. My boss was worried, and he was right to be so.

I put my acting career on hold but kept writing and pursuing other interests including web design and Internet marketing. My wife got a new job in a different city, which gave me the chance for a clean break.

Emboldened by a couple of articles of mine that got published online (one of which paid just over $3), I applied for a part-time job writing for a content website. I was now a professional writer.

Though I was excited and enjoying my part-time job, the transition out of a lucrative line of work wasn’t easy. My father, with genuine concern and the best of intentions, tried to talk me out of it. Imagine the humiliation you might feel if your parents doled out career advice as if you were an adrift 20 year old when you were almost 40.

I did my best to ignore outside advice. I had interests to pursue and time to explore them. I took another part-time job doing search engine optimization (SEO) work and managing pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns for a chiropractic office. Then my wife and I had our first and only child.

A full-time web copywriter and account manager position came along and didn’t work out. Then I started my own web design company with a partner. We had a few clients and a lot of fun doing and learning, but we weren’t establishing a client base quickly enough to make ends meet financially.

Eventually, I landed a content editor job with a large hospitality company — finally achieving financial stability in my new chosen field. It may not be the ideal job, but it’s a good fit. I’m in the business of digital storytelling, which is where I want to be.

Though it happened gradually, when I compare my new life to my old life, things have changed significantly. I do sometimes have regrets about the money I could be making and the status I could be enjoying, but I’m not as agitated now as I was then.

If you define happiness as a moment of pleasure and satisfaction, then put me down for happier too because I have more of those moments now than I used to. My Type-A personality may prevent me from enjoying life as consistently as I would hope, but the time I spend outside of work with my family and friends are moments nearly fully enjoyed, without job-related anxieties, pressures and thoughts occupying my mind.

By Leo K.

career switch makes leo lighter

Gary the Garage Door Repairman

ballroom dancing

Ballroom dancing is doable

You never know what you might find out about a person until you just listen.

This 6-ft tall gentleman wore a long-sleeved shirt and Wrangler jeans. He was more leg than anything and the wrinkles on his face were like grooves. But he still had quite a bit of hair.

Gary came to assess the damage and restore order. He did so expertly, taking the claw of the hammer to force out the pins and replace them, bending the frame to his will. He suggested upgrades but not in a pushy way; he was happy to demonstrate how things would be better in the hot garage.

I invited him to sit after the work was completed. He refused a glass of water because there was a Dr Pepper waiting in the truck. And then he shared his story.

A Marine, Gary was the recipient of not one, but two kidneys. The battle scars he showed me on his arm were fistulas from kidney dialysis. His story was really a story about someone else.

He said something like this:
People who go to dialysis act like they’re going to die. I didn’t. I just acted like it was something I had to do. I got next to people, not so bad that they’d get mad at me. Just so they might cheer up.

One woman, who initially came in using a walker, took note of Gary’s hijinks and commented that he liked to have fun. That idea must have settled well in her mind because sometime later, she came to the center and touched Gary’s shoulder. He noticed right away that she was walking unassisted. She had to come to tell him what she did the night before:

“I went ballroom dancing and it was all because of you.”

I’m very glad that Gary came to fix my garage door.

By LK

Coffee or Tea

Selecting the right hot beverage in the morning (or the afternoon) can be critical. I don’t know anyone who drinks both coffee and tea; there’s usually a preference. (I do know people who don’t drink either but that’s a topic for another time,)

When my coffee-drinking and cigarette-smoking parents said it was OK for me to drink coffee, I didn’t like the taste and the caffeine made me jittery. No kidding; one cup could wreck my day (or night).

Black tea, the most readily available tea at the time, was a better fit. A Lipton tea bag, boiling water from a tea kettle, and a spoonful of sugar became a fixed part of my routine. This natural sweetener was enough to quell any bitterness and I lost the shakes. (Teas typically have less caffeine than coffees.)  I also could function normally and sleep well.

My spouse has seen the tea light and only drinks a cup of coffee if he is driving a long distance and feeling drowsy (aside: Why do they make coffee so hot that it can burn?) Friends and neighbors who come to visit are invited to have a cup of tea or maybe a glass of water. On my mother’s last visit, she packed a jar of Maxwell House decaf. She knows better than to come empty-handed.

Eventually, as the tea market expanded, I tried green, chai, chamomile, and peppermint teas and even a variety to help me sleep. You can find blogs that try to type your personality based on your tea choices; at least one of these is fairly amusing.  If you crave serious tea information, visit this blog, Second Cuppa.

For me, I will continue to sample new flavors but only as teas.

😉

By LK