Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out. 

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Don’t worry, no one else knows what the f*ck they are doing either. 

One of the best tidbits of advice I got was given to me by my cousin Carmen 15 years ago while I was first navigating the corporate world and figuring out which jobs I was “qualified” for.

She told me that no one knows exactly how to do a job they are applying for. Also, how boring would that be. I promise that the other people in this world that are doing the thing you want to do, didn’t know how to do it when they started. 

The people who end up with their next ‘big gig’ have faith in themselves and their abilities that they will figure it out.

This little tidbit has gotten me through so many new adventures in my life that seemed scary at first. I just focus on what I want, the resources I have, and ALWAYS keep my communication skills and personal development as top priorities. The exact “how’s” just come with time. 

So – grasshopper – go for the promotion, better job, dream vacation, first date, sell the house, start the new hobby or whatever it is that you have been yearning to do… but have convinced yourself you can’t. 

Because… why not you? Why not now?

And just remember, no one else knows what the fuck they are doing either. 

A few days shy of a new year!

And oh what a year it has been!

On Love ~

On January 9th of this year, Jason and I got engaged.  He asked if I would be his (forever) and I happily agreed!  Two weeks later I found my wedding dress.  Shortly there-after we set a date and snagged our wedding venue.  My Aunt graciously agreed to take our wedding photos.  We found a great local DJ and a local Caterer.

I was talking to my sister the other night and we were talking about how hard it is to find love.  Not that love hides in murky corners in the Bronx, it is the searching for it that can feel like an epic odyssey at times.  It boiled down to “it (looking for love) sucks until it doesn’t (when you find love)”.  It took me a long time (30 years as a point in fact) to find the man for me.  Okay, so I wasn’t actually looking when I was in diapers, but you get what I mean.

I remember phone conversations with my Mom where I asked if I had an ugly wart on the back of my head because I just could not find someone (anyone) to be with.  The saying goes something like, “love will come when you aren’t looking for it”.  I tried like I wasn’t looking, really… really… really hard.  Which, of course meant I was in fact looking.

Finding Jason was awesome, just thinking of all the stars that had to align in order for us to meet makes me happy.  It hasn’t always been easy, it hasn’t always been pretty, but it has always been worth it.  Never a single regret.  Never a doubt about a future.  And that is a pretty awesome :)

On Career ~

I got a promotion.  I became a salaried employee for the first time in my life.  I worked upwards of 80 hours some weeks.  As a company, we upgraded to a new software and implemented it faster than any other customer had.  I found myself in a new department, new boss and new cubicle.  I feel like I’m at a pivotal point in my career.  I’ve found a niche, I can honestly call myself an expert at what I do.  I’ve never felt so competent and valuable.  It’s a great feeling.  I’m excited to see where these skills take me in my career.

My challenge is to learn how to keep perspective on what is important.  How to communicate professionally (instead of personally) and how to be taken seriously as a professional/expert in my area.  As my Dad likes to remind me (and other coworkers), I like to talk people to death.  I feel like if I just assault them with words, they will eventually bend to my will and agree with me. Apparently I can be a bit of a word bully when it comes to email.  I want to be someone that people want to work with, want to strategize with and trust.  In order to do those things, I have to mature a bit in my communications styles at work.  Which is admittedly hard… but I’ll get there!

On Family ~

We lost an Aunt.  The first of my Dad’s siblings to leave this physical world.  It was a tough time for everyone.  It is never (never ever) easy to see your Dad cry.  I believe it really gave everyone a sharp reminder of how valuable and short, precious and beautiful life is.  My nieces are as beautiful as ever. My sister is raising them to be quite the little (chocolate-loving) ladies!  I love them.

I’m thankful for the family in my life.  We are all such beautiful souls.  I don’t question being loved, whole-heartedly and without judgment.  Becoming and Aunt myself really opened my eyes to the love my Aunts have for me.  It gave me a brief glimpse into motherhood and the knowledge that even though I love my aunts, the love OF an Aunt (much like that of a mother) is so permanent, real and sweet.

Our little family is growing, learning and loving every day.  Jason’s son is 11 years old now.  He is damn smart, funny and full of energy.  Reminds me of the notes my parents used to get: “Ingrid (Vincent) is very nice and smart, if only she/he would sit in their seat and be quiet” :) Jason will turn the big 4-0 in March!  I’ll turn 33 in April and have found my 30’s to be some of the great years of my life so far (and I’ve got more to go!).

On happiness ~

As the days, moments and memories pass, I find it more and more apparent that happiness doesn’t just happen in peoples lives.  It is a result of someone who makes conscious efforts in their lives to set themselves up for random showers of happiness.  If you practice positivity, kindness, faith, sincerity and do so proactively… happiness will be easier to find, quantify and hold on to.  I think striving to be a better person is a good thing, and something I pride myself on… however I am also finding that somewhere in there I need to stop and be okay with who I am in that moment.  Otherwise I feel like I’m constantly getting there… and not enjoying being there.

On 2014 ~

I’m excited for a new year.  I’m not as excited about the next few months of winter, layers and layers of clothes and snow.  I’m excited for the planning of the wedding to ramp up.  I’m excited to reach a moment of calm at work (maybe March?).  I’m excited for a honeymoon/trip of a lifetime.  I’m excited for a couple of good friend’s weddings this year also.  I’m hoping to eat slightly less chocolate.  I’m excited for spring, flowers, birthdays, laughter, life… just everything.

So, cheers to everything and finding our happiness!

Taco Tuesday

Nothing can go wrong on Taco Tuesday.  Or at least that’s how a fair and just universe would work.  I’m definitely struggling to fight off a small cold or something.

I’m patiently (ha) waiting for work to pan out after all of the training and preparation I’ve done lately.  I’m crossing my fingers and toes that things will line up in a comfortable manner for everyone.

I’m also patiently (ha) waiting for my loving and wonderful boyfriend to propose (tick, tock… breathe).  He wants it to be magically surprising and wonderful, which I adore him for.  I just want it to be magically NOW.  Because well, I’m me and patience and me have never quite seen eye to eye.

I’m super excited for our Boston trip coming up.  I’ve booked us a walking tour on Saturday morning to walk down the freedom trail and check out the local sights.  I’m so excited to be strolling down the streets of Boston with no purpose except to soak in each others company, eat pastries that will be super delicious and toast to ourselves.

The house dynamic has been changing lately.  We’ve been talking about futures, weddings, careers, babies, and puppies.  What happened to “What are we going to do Friday night?”… being our biggest decision to make?  I’m not sure, but I definitely don’t mind the change of pace… however it is hard to be so focused on future non-structured events with fuzzy timelines.  I need to be better about working on shorter term goals/projects and plans so that I have some instant gratification mixed in there.  Maybe I need a new sewing/crafting/painting idea?

I have recently found that I have a few friends in book clubs and I’m totally envious.  I LOVE to read however I haven’t been making the time for it.  I think if I joined a book club I would both find time for the things I love and find friends and good conversation too.  I think I will have to work on this goal.

I’ve also been continuing on my little side mission of strengthening my faith.  I found a new church in DeForest (neighboring town) that I just love.  They were so friendly and gave me a welcome gift bag that included tootsie rolls!  Now THAT is some smart advertising right there!  I felt totally welcome, non-pressured, there was free coffee, good quality sermons, live music and bands… really I couldn’t ask for more.  Hopefully Jason’s work schedule will allow him to go with me and check it out.  It’s really laid back and just feels good and uplifting.

My little sister started school of her own this week and I’m super proud of her.  She sent her little girls off to day care… which was arguably even harder than starting a new school where she doesn’t know anyone.  Her and the girls did great.  I’m so happy for her and them.  It will be great for everyone.  I’m a proud big sister.

So, moral of this blog story is that if I can just master patience… I will be in a primo condition for everything coming my way!

OH, PS… Jason and I watched the Hobbit this weekend and I’m in love.  I couldn’t be happier they are making 3 movies out of it and I’m already planning movie marathon weekends in our future!  I think the flight to Italy is a fair 16 hours… that’s a movie marathon in itself!  Hello Hobbit/Honeymoon?  I’m in.

I'm also missing Lake Placid sooooo much.  I love the people, feeling, food, view and house wine.  Here is my tiny shout out to Moose and Mountains. <3

I’m also missing Lake Placid sooooo much. I love the people, feeling, food, view and house wine. Here is my tiny shout out to Moose and Mountains. <3

Direction

I’m always being told that I should do more.  Become more.  That I have all this talent and it should be used and not wasted.  I feel like a jack of all things crafty, wordy and sparkly.  Which is cool, however anyone that is good at a fair amount of things knows that it is hard to narrow it all down. 

Doing all those things gives me great joy.  However, doing all those things has yet to give me any financial rewards.  So how does someone know that they truly are wasting away their talent and should be creating a business, writing a book or doing more in the community?  Or is this something that everyone feels?  Does everyone that drives to work every day and works in a cubicle feel like there is something more for them. Something brighter, more soulful, more rewarding, more inspiring, more colorful… just more out there for them? 

Is this what having a human experience is about?  Chosing what path you should do without driving yourself into financial ruin?  I’d love to quit everything today and start writing, crafting, inspiring, painting, talking, and doing anything to fill the void I feel most days while I sit in my swivel chair on crappy carpet surrounded by 100 other people on their swivel chairs. 

However, I’d still have my student loan, car payment, personal loan, car insurance, cell phone bill, and the pesky need to eat a few times a day.  I know I want more, but don’t know if I deserve more.  I see so many more talented people than me out there making it big.  It’s similar to going to the mall on lunch and envying everyone walking around in jeans and t-shirts in the middle of the day. 

You stare at these people and want to shake them and demand to know what they do for a living?  How is it that you are at the mall, shopping, eating, laughing and enjoying life while I’m 17 minutes into a 30 minute lunch break and anxiously shoveling my food into my mouth so that I have a healthy dose of indigestion while I walk around the mall and pretend to enjoy the rest of my lunch… tick tock. 

I logically know that these people are probably on vacation, on lunch (with a more casual dress code), on unemployment, bank robbers or bazillionaires.  Yup, those are the categories they fit into when I am loathing them.  It’s the same for all the crafty people I see, hear about, stalk blogs about and buy their wonderful paintings, cards, etc.  I know that at one point they were just like me, sitting here wondering what to do next, KNOWING there is more out there, but not knowing if it is meant for them.  And something changed, something pushed, something snapped, crackled and popped them into their current role. 

It wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t comfortable, it was probably terrifying, but it happened. Some of them thrived, some of them are the unemployed people at the mall.  Which will I be?  Who fricken knows.  But if I end up unemployed at the mall, at least I’ll get lunch if I walked past that place that gives out fried chicken on a stick to everyone that passes… 37 times.

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Your dreams may be closer than they appear.

Recent Pep Talks with Myself.

Morning Workout –  Zumba Pep Talk

I had a wonderful Saturday at the Renaissance Faire last weekend.  We walked up and down and around.  We ooo’d and ahhh’d.  We enjoyed the Faire for 6 hours.  In flip flops.  Did I mentioned up and down?  Round and round?  Do you have hamstrings?  If not, would you like mine?  They have been rebelling ever since the weekend came to a close.  Just walking is a chore.  Now imagine trying to work out with Latin flavor at 5:00am with screaming hamstrings.  I’m fairly confident that the neighbors think I have a seizure problem.  Yesterday morning I was upset, hurting and my Latin flavor was non-existent.  I had to stop about 20 minutes in, remind myself that this is one of the ONLY things I do for myself every day.  This is my time.  I do this for me, no one else.  Stop your complaining!  (Mental self-slap).  And shake it…

Staffing Selection – Homework Pep Talk

Sunday I decided to dive in to my HR Certificate homework and read the first chapter in the book.  I crawled onto the couch, grabbed a blanket, was watching Sex and the City and started to read.  15 minutes later and the same paragraph 3 times I have to mute the TV.  15 more minutes later and the same paragraph 3 more times, I have to turn off the TV.  Apparently, I can’t concentrate when I can see something happening out of the corner of my eye.  (SQUIRREL!)  15 more minutes later and I’m drooling on myself and work hard at a 1 hour nap.  1 hour and 45 minutes into my homework journey I am on page 17.  I sit up straight, put my big girl panties on… remind myself the cost of this class and with renewed energy (and a chocolate) I finish the rest of the 1st chapter. 

Relationships – I’m not fit for Prison Pep Talk

Lately I’ve been a bit of an irrational orangutan when it comes to any type of disagreement between Jason and I.  I’m only half joking.  There are times when I’m standing with my hands on my hips and words are leaving my mouth… while I’m subconsciously hovering over my body saying (to myself)… “Shut up!”, “Don’t you say that!”, “I can’t believe you said that”… I have been crabby, cranky, picky and all kinds of other adjectives that describe someone not fun to be around.  I had to sit myself down the other day and remind myself that it is not the goal of everyone around me to test my will to stay out of Prison.  I don’t actually want to harm them, although the urge is strong.  I give myself some chocolate and take some deep breaths.  I count to about 8 million and decide I’ve reached “sane” again.

Career – What’s so bad about being Homeless? Pep Talk

I’d like to copy and paste most of the above and apply it here also.  However, add in that people at work are not as loving as my boyfriend and some of them are actually inconsiderate at times.  This only adds fuel to the irrational orangutan fire.  There are times when hopping around, waving my arms, making monkey noises and then screaming while ripping apart a banana… really feels like the best way to communicate my frustration with certain situations.  I think that bottling that reaction up only causes me to have indigestion, which further agitates my fragile mental state.  Then I remind myself that I really like flushing water and chocolate.  Both of which would be in jeopardy should I have to live in a cardboard box.  And bugs *shudder* I hate bugs, icky bleh.  

Weight – Scale say what? Pep Talk

I got on the scale, I didn’t like it (see previous chocolate coping tendencies). 

I took out the batteries.

I’m out of pep talks for the time being.

Continuing my Continuing Education

With recent changes at work, I have been contemplating the question of, “What do I want to be when I grow up”.  My new supervisor has been prodding me to come up with ideas and suggestions on ways I can grow, improve, take on new challenges, and move in the right direction.

What is the right direction?

I’ve been at my wit’s end with this question.  The reason I got a Bachelors of Science in Business Management was because I didn’t have anything more specific in mind.  The reason I am still an assistant of some sort is that I like the variety of supporting many different departments. 

The idea of having my very own and very specific work sounds appealing because then the likelihood of me getting other people’s shit work goes down. However, that means there is no variety and the boredom bringer called monotony might sneak in.

During the process of getting my bachelors degree, I filled my elective requirements with Human Resources credits.  I stopped 2 classes short of obtaining a certificate in Human Resources Management because I met my graduation requirements for my Bachelors.  After going to school and working full-time at nights for 6 years… I was done.  I grabbed my diploma, did the hokey pokey down the aisle and went out into the work force.

Now 3 years later, I am ready to finish what I started.  I eyed up a position recently that contained many job responsibilities that resonated with me.  The variety, the kind of people I would get to work with and the opportunity and necessity for continuous education and improvement was a must.  This… was the kind of direction I wanted to go in. 

I shared some of these points and duties with my supervisor who suggested that I finish my HR degree and let that give me some additional freedom and room for growth. 

Being so very “Ingrid”, I immediately called the college and obtained the re-entry forms, contacted my internal HR department about reimbursement, received financial information and class schedules and am on my way to continuing my continuing education.

I have a purpose again!  I feel revitalized and re-energized.  There is nothing like having a new goal to get your gears pumping.  The day I worked all this out, I went home and baked like crazy and crafted.  I was feeling inspired in all areas of my life. 

If you’re in a rut, consider continuing your continuing education.  Start some continuing education.  Take an e-course.  Take a technical school course.  Even an art, photography, or writing course would get your gears moving. 

The process of learning opens doors in your mind and soul you didn’t even know were rusted shut.  It allows you the freedom to be more flexible in your everyday life, gives you the opportunity to practice problem solving skills and allows for the invaluable opportunity to meet new people with unique backgrounds and experiences to share with you.

Do something for yourself!  {yes you}