Ten Years After

Do you ever find yourself running across the same phrase or idea time and again? Lately, the idea of reflecting back on the past ten years seems to be the theme for me.

The tenth anniversary of  the 9/11 attacks is being observed throughout the US, and the various news agencies have been rehashing every possible angle. As with highly traumatic national events, most people can vividly recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard of the attacks.

I recently finished reading “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty: “A knock on the head has misplaced ten years of her life, and Alice isn’t sure she likes who she’s become. It turns out, though, that forgetting might be the most memorable thing that has ever happened to Alice.”

Reading about 9/11 and Alice had me thinking about my life. Where was I ten years ago? Where am I now? Are there things I want to change? What advice would I give to my younger self? My older self?

While there are many things I might say to either, I think the advice I’d give to both selves is: “Remember the power of small steps, written goals and friends.”

Even the most enormous task can be broken down into bite-sized pieces and conquered one tiny bit at a time. That’s where written goals come in handy. Take the time to exam a project and figure out what needs to be done to accomplish it; write down those steps as your goals.

Written goals will help you stay on track. Regularly reviewing where you are in relation to where you want to be will alert you to potential problems. When you get stuck (it happens), it will be easier to see how to resolve the issue and move on to the next step instead of spinning deeper into the muck of despair or “progressing” in the wrong direction.

If you want to meet your goals, carefully choose your friends:  “Tell me the company you keep, and I’ll tell you what you are.” - French, Spanish, English, Dutch proverb
The people you spend the most time with will have an impact on whether you move toward or away from your goals. A friend who helps you review, revise and reach your goals is priceless; treasure them.

What has happened to you during the past ten years? If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self? What do you think your self of ten years ago would think about you today?

Posted in friends, future, goals, life, potential, progress, projects | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Along came a spider . . .

I like spiders. Really, I do. When I find them in my yard or house, I stop to admire them and their handiwork and then leave them to their weaving and bug catching.

Last week I had a couple of interesting encounters with a spider.

The first time we met was on Tuesday morning. While driving to work, I glanced to my left before turning onto a major street and found myself face to face with a spider. Not exactly what I was expecting, but not a terrifying “Arachnophobia” event either.

The spider must have spent the evening spinning a web from the top to the bottom of the driver’s side rear view mirror. Now the spider and its web were floating past my open window. I planned to deposit the spider in a safe location as soon as I could make my way out of the flow of traffic. When the time came, she had disappeared, never to be seen again, or so I thought.

As I drove to work on Wednesday morning, the spider came to mind and I wondered where she and her new web were. After arriving at work, I turned toward the back seat to grab my tote bag and discovered where she had spent the night. There was a beautiful web neatly spun between the headrests of the seats!

Since I did not want to leave her to roast in Florida heat, I gently picked up her and her web and deposited them on a nearby shrub in the shade of an oak tree. I’m hoping she lives happily ever after.

So, what did I learn from this spider?

Spiders have been long admired for their tenacity, skill and beautiful creations, and this spider certainly fit those descriptions. She was tenacious and skillful and produced beautiful work, but she was in a poor location. I like my Element a lot, but it’s not a good spot for a spider to build a web. The spider and web will be subjected to very high winds and extreme temperatures, and when the windows are closed (most of the time), bugs
are scarce.

How many times have I tried to utilize perfectly good skills and talents in the wrong location? Do I want to be like the itsy bitsy spider, constantly rebuilding my perfectly lovely web because it’s not where it really belongs, or do I want to position myself where my efforts are amply rewarded?

Has this ever happened to you? What did you do?

Posted in decisions, learn, life, nature, opportunities, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

What’s bugging you?

Here in Florida we experience a twice a year “invasion” of ‘love bugs’. The bugs are really here year-round, but their presence is especially noticeable in May and September.

There are numerous ways to remove what’s left of them after they collide with your vehicle, but it’s almost impossible to avoid them.

When you come upon an especially heavy swarm of the bugs, it sort of looks like a black snow flurry – until the impact. Then you end up with a windshield covered with what’s left of them.

If you ever try to clean the mess with windshield wipers, you quickly realize you’ve got a much bigger problem – instead of the clear view you hoped for, you are now looking through a haze of bug remains. Using washer fluid only compounds the smeared goo streaked across your field of vision. A quick stop at a car wash or gas station may be your only recourse.

How many times do you come across situations and people that bug you? How do you deal with it? Do you try to avoid them, only to find yourself covered in the spatter of a bad experience?

Take some time to see if there’s a pattern to the things that bug you. A small change on your part could take the sting out of the things that bug you.

Posted in bugs, Florida, life, love_bugs | 1 Comment

I did what you told me not to do . . .

. . . Can you help me get out of this mess?

How many times have doctors, lawyers, and (especially this time of year) CPAs heard someone say this? How many times have you said this?

What drives someone to pay for advice which is ignored? It’s embarrassing (and expensive!) to have to go back to someone for help resolving the issues created by disregarding their advice, yet we continue to carefully listen, and then spurn, the counsel of experts.

We all seem to possess a drive to, at least occasionally, ignore wisdom and merrily skip along a foolish path. It’s all fun and games until the consequences of the poor decisions arise.

When you think about it, humans have been ignoring the best way to do things since the Garden of Eden.

While we still have to bear the outcome of our actions, it is comforting to know that God is never surprised by our missteps and is waiting for us to say, “I did what you told me not to do. Can you help me get out of this mess?”

Posted in CPAs, life, taxes, tax_season | 1 Comment

Put down the mouse and step away from the computer

I am stuck – held captive by the doldrums of indecision, the lethargy of apathy, the blue funk of the blahs.

It’s not that I’m bored or looking for something to do. To the contrary, I have more “to-dos” than I could possibly finish in several lifetimes. So, I have chosen . . . to do nothing.

Well, not exactly nothing. I’m collecting more and more ideas, information and books, and list after list of possiblities. My favorite place to run away from life is my computer. So, instead of gradually working my way through possible projects, paring down and selecting the top candidates for completion, I’m adding to the stacks of the undone.

Today I’ve decided (with not a little prompting from a person who shall not be named) that I have to put my foot down and step away from the computer and back into my life. Please excuse me while I pull out the shredder, the trash bin and my to-do list. I’m stepping away from the computer and back into my life.

Posted in change, clutter, life, stuff | Leave a comment