I have recently been telling people I am feeling compelled to write and am considering starting a blog. It feels less scary every time I say it. “If you write a blog, you have to have a theme”, someone told me. “What’s your theme”, she asked? This very valid question was posed by my dear friend Jennifer who would never start a blog without a theme. Jennifer really has it together. Every time I see her, I tell her I admire her discipline. Her hobby is running half-marathon’s. My hobby is definitely not that. It’s not even on my bucket list (yet), but I really do admire her! Her discipline is a true inspiration. She tells me she admires me because I attract more fun, and end up with a good story to tell! She has great stories too. I told her what I had written down- my blog is about spirituality, and sexuality and other random thoughts. She was very supportive like we always are with each other.
She announced later to our 4 other roommates, who I love as much as I love Jennifer, “Carli is writing a blog about sex!” I get it. Jennifer’s probably right, I should perhaps pick one theme. If I was Jennifer I would. Heck, if I was Jennifer, I would be running right now instead of writing! I definitely know if I had to pick a theme, sex would NOT be it. I can’t even tell you why that’s in there. It sounds “sexy” I guess? Jennifer and I have been rooming together at our trade association conference for 18 years so we have really become close and I admire her and value her friendship so much.
We have the same job- we are Health Care Administrators, and I have always looked up to her. She is in my life for a reason. I have known that since she stopped by my office in person at the St. Peter Health Care Center to invite me to be her roommate at the MAHA Annual Meeting in Brainerd, MN. It was my first Administrator job, and she was the Hospital and Nursing Home Administrator in the nearby town of LeSeuer. I couldn’t believe a classy woman like her would even consider inviting me to be her roommate. I am so glad I said yes to this invitation because that friendship has shaped my entire adult life, and our week in Brainerd together has been one of the highlights. We have added many amazing women to our, as my kids say, “squad.” I am so blessed to have friends like these women- Pat, Michelle, Candas, and Katie. We have “grown up” together despite the fact we met as adults.
After Jennifer posed the question, it dawned on me! I am so not a theme person. I have many loves, interests, and random thoughts and stories come to me about a variety of topics. My brain does not operate in themes. Just like my heart longed to be an athlete and a singer, I aspire to be a theme person. I am afraid it is not in the cards. If we do choose our next life, I am putting in my order now. An amazing singer, who can play basketball, and can easily come up with a theme for her blog!
I truly admire my friends who find comfort in routine. They seem so peaceful compared to me. They know their alarm will sound at 5:29, they will hop out of bed, stretch, say a prayer of gratitude to be alive, put on their running shoes (they get a new pair every 3 months), exercise for exactly 30 minutes, and will be in the shower by 6:25. If it’s 6:26 they get nervous. They make the same breakfast. Egg white omelet with spinach and a smoothie so they start their day right! They are on their way to work at 7:25. At 7:20 the sense of urgency kicks in. They can’t be “late” even though they have experienced true lateness only twice in their life. They are out the door and get to work in time for some deep cleansing breathes. They arrive at their 9:00 a.m. meeting feeling relaxed, peaceful and ready to face the day. That’s how I picture it feels for that person. I am not that person, so I actually have no idea.
Wait!? I HAVE been that person (except for the new shoes part- I have a pair of tennis shoes from college. I am 43). On those days, I feel so smug and awesome and I tell myself, I am going to be that person EVERY day. It does make me feel peaceful and calm and I am relaxed and ready to face the day! But then my alarm goes off the next day and my true nature kicks in. 10 more minutes, 10 more minutes of sleep would be perfect, which turns into 20 minutes and the next thing I know I am up rushing. I guess a cup of coffee will do. I never am too late to grab my coffee cup! Although sometimes I stop on my way to work, sometimes I get my coffee at work. You get the picture. 7:45… okay, well I will give up my cleansing breathes and I will be fine. I do not feel relaxed, peaceful and ready to face the day!
I inevitably, adjust, put a smile on my face and make it a GREAT DAY- that I am good at. Staying positive, cheering people on at work, and looking for spiritual moments despite my rough start. Prior to that turnaround, I enter into a mental argument in which I tell myself, “I have to get it together!” Then I say (again in my head), tomorrow will be a smoothie and egg white day. It’s a new day! It feels like one day I am a Zen Master, and the next day I am a disaster. That is how it feels. I can’t completely understand why I choose to live this way. I definitely embrace the idea that it is a choice. I just know that I am not comfortable with strict, consistent routines. As good as it feels, it goes against my nature. And I am trying to embrace my gifts, my unique self. I came across a great word on Pinterest! “Flawsome (adj.) an individual who embraces their “flaws” and knows they’re awesome regardless” Themindsjournal.com. Even better, “The renowned seventh-century Zen master Seng-tsan taught that true freedom is being “without anxiety about imperfection.” Tara Brach. Great goals!
The first time I remember learning there were people that didn’t function like I did in the world was in college. I lived with my high school friend Michelle. We had an 8 am aerobics class that involved a significant walk across campus to make it on time. On the aerobics mornings, Michelle was consistently sitting on the couch in our apartment with her bag on her lap patiently waiting for me. I was flying around the apartment looking for a ponytail holder, and working as fast and hard as I could to be ready in time to allow us enough time to walk to class before the class started. Despite my best efforts, we often walked in right when the bouncing started, and everyone would be staring at us. I’d think, “Whew, we made it! Not to mention it looks like we missed some of the hard stuff!”
One day, Michelle politely said, “Carli, if it’s okay with you I would like to start walking to aerobics separately. It really stresses me out to be so rushed.” She was so nice about it but I had the revelation that not rushing could help eliminate stress. Who knew!? She is still in my circle of close friends and we laugh about that story to this day. We had a conversation about it back then and that is when she shared with me that she has a very strict routine for every part of getting ready for the day. She knows she will shower, then brush her teeth, clean her ears- right one first, left one next. I likely have the details wrong- Michelle could tell you, but it’s a consistent routine- WOW! She had an order to her day.
I told her I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. I have no order whatsoever, and I still don’t. I do all of the steps. I don’t forget deodorant or brushing my teeth- NEVER, but they are not in any sort of order that I can repeat to someone. Sometimes I shower at night, sometimes in the morning, I’ve been known to put my makeup on first, then curl my hair, or vice versa. It’s a mystery to me how those decisions get made! But Michelle and I both end up ready for our day- we just have different methods and I realize now-that is okay. We are both really successful, accomplished, women ,and caring, compassionate Mom’s. She has three boys under the age of 10, and I have a, 16-year-old girl, a 13-year-old boy, and an 11-year old girl. Her marriage is a direct result of one of my other gifts- matchmaking. That’s a good story too! I used to think there was a “right” way to be in the world and it certainly wasn’t mine, but now I understand the world needs Jennifer’s, Michelle’s and Carli’s. It’s a dull place otherwise.
So, what does this have to do with the “theme” of my blog? The theme that popped in head was, “spirituality, sexuality (that one was a surprise to me), leadership lessons, and maybe even a little Donald Trump (because why not), and other random thoughts.” I have a feeling, my fellow humans that operate like Jennifer, and Michelle are feeling extremely uncomfortable right now! So there it is, that’s my “theme.” I will see where it takes me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I get off topic on the way.
I used to think you have to “have it together” to be a teacher, and I have realized that is a complete myth. No one I know has it “together” all of the time, and if they pretend to be perfect, it’s often covering up some deep insecurities. We all have something to teach each other if we are paying attention. Go out and embrace your Flawsomeness!
I am curious to hear whether you consider yourself a theme person or not? Are you able to embrace your nature or like me do you sometimes resist it?