Monday, April 14, 2014

Living it Up!

“Don't you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you're not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you've lived nearly half the time you have to live already?” 
― Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

And there you have it - another weekend where I took some time to replenish my soul and enjoy life... just a little bit more.

My roomie and I were chatting about life, love, and everything else in between on Friday night. We sat, as we normally do, in our fold out chairs on the balcony, sipping margaritas and watching the sun set. As we were solving most of the world's problems, it hit me - My biggest fear is dying without truly living. It has always been so. 

With that being said, my most intimate wish is to feel as if I have done all I could do, seen all I wanted to see, and experienced as much of this life as humanly possible and to take advantage of what it has to offer. I want this realization to hit me the moment I close my eyes for the last time.

Too much to ask? I don't think so.

These are the types of things I think about at 41. I've accomplished plenty career wise, and I realize there is waaaay more ahead. I have been married. I have lost people. I've experienced a lot of the successes and failures I was either hoping for or dreading as a young adult. Now, I have new hopes and fears - but something else that I never had before - a sense of finality and peace.

A weird little twinge of peace that sorts of rears its head from time to time. 

Lately, my stressors and fears include the "unlived life," or filing and paying taxes and even having enough for retirement. It includes getting my health back on track by watching what I eat and exercising a little more. You feel so invincible when you are younger, it's crazy how quickly all of those bad choices you made catch up to you in your 40s. 

Then the goals that I have set - I still have hopes and dreams. There are still 1/2 a dozen places on this planet I simply must see. I need to find a house (vacation or permanent) that I would like to spend my later years. I would like to go back to school and learn a few new things. I want to have a life partner/husband/soulmate - whatever you call that person. There's other stuff, but that's for my heart only. 

It is incredibly important that we live our lives to the fullest. Everyday - try to say yes, when no would just be easier. Put yourself in situations that challenge you. Be a risk taker. (Not in the toxic sense, but by expanding your bubble.) Each day, each hour - we get another chance. 

C. Joy Bell C. once said, "You can be the most beautiful person in the world and everybody sees light and rainbows when they look at you, but if you yourself don't know it, all of that doesn't even matter. Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticize yourself; is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It's not like you have forever, so don't waste any of your seconds, don't throw even one of your moments away.” 

What do you plan to do this week to truly live your life to the fullest? 


Friday, April 11, 2014

The Professional World Rat Race - Guest Blog Post

Anna Kaye is the tiny person in the middle
The next guest blog post comes to you from one of my favorite interns of all time, Miss Anna Kaye. She worked with me several years ago at the American Heart Association in Birmingham. 

What I love most about AK is that she is a little spitfire! Whenever I see that quote, "Fierce, but flexible," I often think of her. (She will probably be surprised by that!) She is hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met.... so where did I get the "fierce" part? Because she has a determination to learn. She will not stop until she makes something happen, and I know, from the bottom of my heart, she is going to "make it" one day. (Of course, I'm going to have to convince her to try in smaller cities.. but you know, it's a hard lesson to learn. ;-) ) LOL - Without further babbling... here is her piece - The Professional Rat Race



*Oh look, Amy updated her LinkedIn profile. She received another promotion? And she’s three years younger than I am. Good grief. If I ever hope to be as successful as she is I should have ignored the child labor laws and joined the work force at 11.”

If you know anything about the professional world, you know how easy it can be to transition from a normal human being into the green-eyed monster with one simple glance at any social media outlet. It seems like everywhere you turn it’s another friend’s super chic internship in NYC, promotion at an exclusive ad agency or another publication in a magazine. 

You can also look at it through the eyes of your current job. Maybe it’s not exactly where you thought you would be, but you enjoy the atmosphere and the people you work with. But you were hoping to be more than just an “assistant.” Sure, anyone can photo copy and file, but you want to contribute more, expand your skills, and most importantly, finally be taken seriously as an upcoming professional. 

When you were in college you probably had your ideal job already picked out. However, reality set in post grad and you needed something to pay the bills. So how can we keep our perspective while waiting for said dream job to come along? 

Remember where you are now in life, is not necessarily where you will be five years from now. Life happens and things can change quickly. If you’re the adventurous type, maybe you’ll be able to relocate and start your journey from scratch. You never know how those opportunities will help you in your career walk. 

Focus on the things in your life which you enjoy and expand on them. If you love the arts, take a painting, writing or photography class.  If you love music, try your hand at the piano or guitar. If you love kids, volunteer at a children’s science center or any other local place for kids. 

You don’t have to become your 9-5 job. Your job doesn’t define your identity as a person. You are more than simply an assistant. You have much more to bring to the table even if you don’t see that right now. Even though you see your co-workers advancing and being recognized for their achievements, it doesn’t diminish the unique, creative, fun person you are. Don’t get so caught up in the race that you’re burnt out before you have the chance to shine.

Monday, April 7, 2014

I got nothing today

I want to write something profound.

But I've got nothing.

Seriously.

Writer's Block.

There are so many moving pieces right now.. I can't seem to focus on just one.

Ugh.

I hate that feeling.

I guess I could recap my weekend.

It was good.

Got caught in a Blue Grass Matrix (as one friend referred to it) on Friday night. It was First Friday in Downtown Macon and.. well.. every venue had country music. Not. My. Favorite.

Saturday I spent the day shopping. I mean I did some SERIOUS shopping.

Sunday night I had a date with a really nice guy.

And now...

I am just....

Blocked.

My closet is organized. Yep. I packed all of my sweaters up and moved all of my tees down.
I bought a few plants to be potted.
All of the pollen was washed away from my car.

Yep.

Blocked.

I'll be back once inspiration begins to flow again. Need to tidy up some loose ends... I'll be right as rain soon. ;-)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thinking About Age... Thinking About Life

I think we all put a little too much stress on ourselves. I am completely guilty of this, so much so that I find that I am often times my own worst enemy.

Take the whole aging process - I created a whole slew of non existent, time constraint issues for myself concerning my life. I think by turning 41, I sort of some how decided that I have some imaginary time table and that because I have made it this far and it seems like life is just floating by so fast, that certainly time is a-wasting.

But let's be honest for a minute, time is going at the same speed it always did. Christmas, though suddenly only 7ish months away, is STILL seven months away and a LOT can happen in that amount of time. I think the only difference is, now I simply don't take the time to breathe, enjoy, and savor. 

Oh... I go through my phases of having my shit together, but like many of you, I sort of throw myself into a "tizzy" and flip back and forth in my own little self-induced drama storm. 

Truth is - no one knows how much time they have - so why the time table? NONE of it is guaranteed. Why have I set these limitations and guidelines for myself? 

It all just wears me out. 

With that being said, I really want to work on practicing mindfulness more. I think it is incredibly necessary for me. 

Some of you may be wondering what mindfulness is, and I'm going to tell you! I first read about the practice of mindfulness back in 1996 or so. I read a book by this random Buddhist practitioner, and in my desire to slow my mind down, and in turn live a less anxious life, I learned about this exercise. If you Google it, you'll see all of this stuff about reaching a path to enlightenment and what not, and no, I'm not seeking a guru and clear out my chakras, I'm just trying to appreciate the moment. 

Now officially, the Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness (satipaṭṭhāna) in one's day-to-day life, maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one's body, feelings, and mind. By doing so, it is believed that you become wiser, reduce stress, can even conquer a few fears and open your mind. 

I'm down for all of that. 

But the practice - goes a little bit deeper. 

I hope you watched the video. 

Now... onto trying to slow down my mind, being aware of the blessings all around me... and really...  chill the eff out!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Best 80's Girl Ballads

The other day I found this quirky little independent movie on Netflix called, "Dirty Girl." I was barely 30 minutes into the movie and I had to download the soundtrack. Song after song were songs I belted at the top of my lungs through my middle and high school years.

With that being said, it made me look over my music collections and figure out what songs I still had on hand, and then of course, in fine Nicole form, I had to create a new playlist that I simply cannot get enough of.

Without any more rambling.. take a little step back in time with me, and let's relive our prepubescent and high school years!


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