My Dream, My Gift

So I watched this video that talked about interviews of a bunch of elderly folks in the hospital, basically on their deathbed and what they thought as they reflected on their lives. And the majority said they don’t regret what they did. They regret what they didn’t do. The video goes on to talk about pouring yourself into your gift or dream and give that back to the world. Life is not about working 9 to 5 to pay the bills.

Needless to say, it gave me pause.

Serious pause.

What is my gift?

I haven’t thought about my dreams since I was a young adult. My dream then was to become a dance teacher and someday open my own studio. As a dancer, I was okay. I loved to dance, but I was never trained formally. But the idea of teaching children to dance thrilled me. I think I’ve touched on this previously, but essentially that dream went up in flames when my Dad put the fear of God in me saying I could never survive and support myself doing that.

Well, I’m actually over that. I’ve had an amazing career in healthcare marketing. I really liked the marketing discipline a lot, especially when CRM came into the picture, and I could then prove my marketing efforts were worth it with ROI reporting on my campaigns.

Now I feel that I’m at a different point in my life. I don’t have this strong desire to earn more and move up the latter. I hit Director. I have made more money than I every dreamed I would. And guess what? I’m not any happier. Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!

I figured it out.

It’s not about the money. Although, it needed to be for awhile. Especially when I was the sole supporter of my kids and self. That was way more critical at that time.

Now, more than ever, it’s about fulfilling myself and nurturing myself. The stress of my job in marketing right now has caused some significant issues for me. Fibromyalgia does not respond well to stress. In fact, it flares up. My ghost affliction. Plus, I have become foggy brained and can’t seem to handle stress the way I used to. I could take stress in great stride, at a time. Now, I tend to panic and freak out. As my husband says, I become a different person.

So, that video crossed my feed and it got me.

Now I just need to figure out what my gift is. I enjoy writing and blogging. I’m no expert on  it, by any means. But I feel better when I write. So, I guess there’s that.

I don’t claim to know much about proper grammar. I’m certain that I butcher proper grammar in all my posts.

Maybe writing is my gift? It makes me feel good, but I have no idea what other people think. Frankly, I don’t give a shit. I suppose if I want to pursue writing or becoming an author, I should research that. Actually, I’m intrigued by the idea. My oldest sister is an author and has been writing for many years. She was a Journalism major and has gone to many writing retreats and spends hours a day writing.

I think my biggest fear is finding out I’m not good enough. But,hell… I’ll never know until I try, right?

What the hell do I have to loose? Nothing. I will have tried something and if I fail, I try again. That is, if I love it.

A gift can be tied to a dream. I can see how a dream could be forming for me.

Time for some research!

Ghost Affliction

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve made an entry. I’ve taken on a new job nine months ago – a job that has challenged me both mentally and physically. I’m not old, but I feel old. It started in November and got worse in December of last year. I felt like I was a 100 year old woman suffering from the worst case of arthritis imaginable. I was convinced I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Some days it brought me to tears. How in the world was I going to manage all the travel required for my job having that? Thank goodness my husband has high health care connections and was able to get me in to see a Rheumatologist within a week (rather than within 3 months).

I was the youngest person in the waiting room.

After a long evaluation by a wonderful physician, she declared that I have Fibromyalgia. What the heck is that?

Think tender points all over the body. Think wound up muscles from lack of sleep and stress. Think foggy memory and forgetfulness. Think tired, more tired and exhausted.

Awesome. But I don’t have Rheumatoid Arthritis!

Since then it’s been very interesting trying to explain my chronic condition to people.

They don’t understand it, especially because I look fine.

They don’t see the massive amount of hair I loose on a daily basis. They don’t feel the depleted energy level and the achy body I live with. It’s as tangible to them as a ghost.

Yesterday, I read the perfect description of what it is like to live with Fibromyalgia. Imagine waking up and starting the day with a fixed amount of energy. For explanation purposes, let’s say that amount of energy equals twelve spoons. You have twelve spoons of energy everyday. And any extra does not rollover into the next day.

Ok, so, in the morning when I wake up, get out of bed, get dressed – that costs 1 spoon. While I continue my morning and get my son’s lunch made, drive him to school and begin my work day digging into and responding to emails – another spoon. Running a client meeting via conference call, capturing notes and adding more To Do’s to my list – another spoon. Follow up on several emails that require a colleague’s attention for the fourth time in 3 weeks- another spoon.

These tasks may seem mundane, but to me they equal big fat STRESS. Stress is one of the major triggers of a flare up. A Fibro flare up that causes knotted up neck muscles, sore and achy joints, tiredness and forgetfulness. Try sleeping at night with all that. And lack of sleep exacerbates the issue.

I think you get the idea. If I go to bed with any spoons left, then I’ve managed my day well. If I use all my spoons, then my next day I typically have a flare up and become the 100 year old woman that does not want to be touched.

Managing the ghost is key. Walking, stretching, doing core exercises, yoga, using a heating pad on my neck, eating really healthy and getting solid sleep all help.

But you never know when the ghost is going to slip through the cracks and wreck havoc.

I’m seriously considering getting a less stressful job. Is there such a thing? Or am I imagining it?

I Gave My Notice and Felt Like a Total Asshole

Giving my notice at the place that was dominated by frustration, drama, mind-boggling decision making and brain numbing power struggles was not without its own level of stress.

I had to give my notice to my boss on her birthday. Her birthday. And, on the very same day she shared with me in confidence that her sibling was going to be taken off life-support and would be out of the office for an undetermined amount of time.

I’m absolutely serious.

Who does that? Who gives their notice in between birthday wishes, cake and tears? I did. And felt like the biggest ass on the planet.

It was, by far, the most difficult experience I’ve ever had of giving notice in my entire career. But, it had to be done. As a professional, I could not allow the personal stuff to dictate what I needed to do.

If I’ve learned anything in my career and leadership training, it’s don’t take it personally. Life is too short.

Grit your teeth and do what you need to do. Learn from it.

Leaving my team was tough, though. I want only for their success, and I know I left them dangling a little bit. But they are talented and have direction and they pull together to help each other.

I think I did okay with my short time there.