May 1, 2013

A defining moment. On repeat.

Posted in Life Lessons tagged , , , , at 11:35 am by openendedcomment

On April 15th, the company I have poured myself into for the past three years was sold.  The career I had loved and the company I helped create is still in existence, but it is no longer a part of my life.  And that, dear reader, sucks.

I’m not going to go into how this happened or what the details were/are but suffice to say I was blindsided and am still reeling.   If you had asked me where I’d be in five, ten or even fifteen years just thirty days ago I would have answered with total confidence that I’d be working for company X.  I knew it.  I had no doubts.  I suppose this is how it happens, it is never easy.  If anyone should know that by now it should be me, but still, I didn’t see it coming.  Not like this.  In the past two weeks I’ve tried to conduct myself professionally, to ensure that the work I did will continue with or without me. I’m odd like that.  Even if I’m no longer a part of it and even if it is if no real benefit to me, I still want to see it succeed.   In this process I have also lost eight pounds and have been living on two to three hours of sleep a night.   It happens.

That being said, I’m not one to wallow in what-ifs or if-only’s…I’m much more of a what’s next kind of woman.  It’s not like I’ve never been through this before.  Nine years ago my then-career was pulled out from under me and nine years ago I did what I do, which was to figure it the eff out and move forward.  Intellectually, I am aware that I need to repeat this process.  Emotionally, as I review my resume and see in black and white the accomplishments and challenges I’ve achieved and overcome in the past fifteen years, I have an over-whelming need to change things up.

In the twenty-two years I have been working, I’ve never given any thought as to what I want.  I mean, I haven’t just taken any job, I’ve considered if it is the right fit and I’ve really enjoyed and succeeded at the majority of what I’ve done, but it has always come down to doing what I’ve had to do.  To support my family, to provide for life’s necessities like mortgage, gas, food and my children’s care.  I’ve done whatever it takes to make my life and more importantly their lives good…and every time I’ve also found myself deeply involved and personally invested in the company for which I have worked.  Maybe this time it’s time I’m invested more in myself.  In what I want to do as opposed to what I need to do.  Maybe, just maybe there is a chance that I can have both.

I’m not exactly sure where this will lead.  I don’t have forever to figure it out, the mortgage, gas and food aren’t free and are still looming.  I still have to move forward and move fast.  But here’s what I do know:  No matter how quickly decisions must be made I will make them differently.  I’m all done tying my future to someone else’s success.  This time, it’s on my terms.

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December 14, 2012

The Catalyst.

Posted in Life Lessons, Parenthood tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:27 pm by openendedcomment

This is not going to be a popular post and at this point I just don’t care.  I can’t change what occurs in every other household but I can damn well make decisions in my own regarding my own family and my own children when it comes to something I know to be true to the very fiber of my being.

For months now my husband and I have made the decision that in this home and for our four children, violence is not tolerated, not allowed and not welcomed.  We do not allow them to watch violent movies.  We do not allow violent video games of any sort.  We did meet all sorts of resistance from them when we made this choice but at the end of the day it is not their decision, it is ours.  Just as they are not raising themselves but rather it is we who have the honor and the privilege of raising them,  we are not here to be their best friends but to ensure their safety, health, education and to provide love and guidance whether they like it or not.  We are the parents and that is our role.  Period.

I know that most parents of 9, 11, 13 and 16 year olds allow Halo and Modern Warcraft and all sorts of other games.  I know that almost every single one of their friends play these games.  There was a brief time when we too allowed this.  I justified it with the constant barrage of really, truly amazing parents I know being seemingly fine with it.  Parents with good, no great children that are a part of our lives being allowed to and seeing that they are weren’t affected.  I was an idiot and it ranks right up there with the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a Mother.  Before anyone is overly offended, let me be clear:  Your choices for your children are yours…but mine…mine for mine are just that.  Mine.  My instinct told me no, but societal norm allowed me to say yes and it will take me a long time to forgive myself for that.

Our catalyst was the Aurora, Colorado, massacre.  I watched the news coverage and saw an anchor go from somber reporting of a four-year old killed in her Mother’s arms to a story regarding Lindsay Lohan in under ten seconds.  Within seven hours of the tragedy, she and we moved on.  The headlines on MSNBC and CNN did not last an entire day at the top of the news sites.  They were there, but buried beneath election and celebrity news.  The thought and worse yet the reality that our culture is one in which such soul-crushing pain and violence can be brushed aside within a news cycle is something I can’t comprehend and it boggles my mind that any human being can find this acceptable.  The worst part of this is knowing that children, my children, are being raised in a place and in a mind-set of this kind of life-altering tragedy being commonplace and therefore acceptable…sad, but acceptable.  Painful, but a part of Modern America.  No.  No way am I going to accept that we as a culture can be faced with and can move forward from this kind of thing numb to it all.  How ingrained in our world is the loss of innocent life that we no longer are shocked by it?

I am not a law-maker and I don’t have a time machine.  I can’t change the access to guns and the laws governing them (though I can damn well try to and make a great deal of noise doing so)  I can’t go back in time and raise my children in a place before Columbine…Virginia Tech…Aurora…Oregon…today.  I do not have the ability to raise children who are unaware of such tragedy, who do not accept mass murder of children and “shooter” drills in their school as par for the course.  No matter how much I wish and regret that it is so, no matter that is actually sickens me that this is the case, there is not a damn thing I can do to keep them from accepting this as a part of life.  But I can do something.  I have to do something.  At the very least I may endeavor to maintain any shred of innocence they may have left, these children of mine.  I can hold them closer to childhood, a place this fear should never touch. I can do my utmost to allow them to feel outrage, shock and pain at an act which is the very definition of these things.  I can do that by not exposing them to blood, murder, death and the ending of life on a daily basis through games…winning by the kill…for it is not a game.  It is not entertainment.  It is not normal.  It is not even tolerable and it is not something that anyone, especially a child should be numb to.  To allow it to be so is a tragedy unlike any other imaginable.  To stand idly by and believe that constant exposure to violent death will not affect young minds is, to me, inane at best.  Of course if affects them.  Everything they hear, see, taste and touch affects them.  Why do we attempt to instill our values in our children if not to have them live those values?  Why do we speak to them of love and tolerance and friendship if that is not what we wish?  And if that is true how do we go from that to having them run off to the basement or their rooms to gleefully slaughter enemy soldiers in a virtual world and then fail to see the sickening irony of it all?  And no,  I do not feel that today or any of these  tragedies we have faced in such close proximity are caused by video games or by movies…but the pervasive culture of violence we are raising our children and young adults in can no longer be ignored.  My God, we have got to wake up.

The pain…the unthinkable, unimaginable and overwhelmingly unbearable pain so many are facing tonight and all of the nights to come…I can’t begin to say I understand the depth of this.  I can pray for their healing, pray for it to never happen again.  I can cry and I have cried untold tears this afternoon and evening.  I can feel but I cannot begin to understand.  None of us do and God willing, none will.  It is not the fault of any parent of any child who does these things.  It is not the fault of a game or a movie.  It is not the fault of a law.  But, when so many tragedies continue to occur here and not elsewhere…not to this degree…not with this kind of regularity…when this undeniable truth is faced, it is time we begin to take notice and past time we follow with action.

They are our future.  They are our legacy.  I am not asking any other parent to change their own values and their own rules…that is not my place…I am merely changing my own.  I am doing so because maybe I’m not as alone in this as I think I am.  Maybe I’m not the only parent who has taken this stand her home.  And if I am not, I want you to know that you’re not alone either.  None of us are and maybe, just maybe it’s time we start acting like it.