"Opportunities to find deeper power within ourselves come when life seems most challenging." – Joseph Campbell
“Bloom where you are planted.” - Mary Engelbreit
"All great changes are preceded by chaos." - Deepak Chopra
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"We were made to cooperate and connect, not to compete." – Lynne McTaggart
Tomorrow is our Anniversary. We’ve been married for 21 years. As you may know if you’ve been around here for awhile, we got engaged after dating for exactly 29 days. We married the year after and the rest, as they say, is history.
21 years, two kids and a WHOLE lot of crazy shit later, our relationship is still thriving. In fact, it’s more solid and sacred than ever. We’re in it for the long haul and although every day isn’t perfect, we seem to have this whole marriage/committed relationship thing figured out.
There’s a whole lot of relationship advice out there already, and I don’t claim to be an expert (like not even a little), but I can share what’s worked for us and maybe it’ll work for you too.
(Editor’s note: Although I wrote this post, Sean read and approved every word. Cause like I said, we kind of have this whole thing figured out pretty well.)
I’ve been reading a lot of stuff lately that talks about the importance of finding your niche in business. In fact, in my line of work, that’s like rule #1. The experts all tell you, if you want to establish an online presence, attract readers to your blog, students to your courses, clients to your practice, or just generally be successful at what you do, you have to have a niche (“a specialized segment of the market, for a particular product or service”). Sounds serious right? Experts are always so serious.
These experts also want to give you a ton of advice as to how you should go about finding your niche. You know, ‘best practices’ and all. It makes me want to either nod off or run screaming when I hear people start blathering on about stuff like, ‘your ideal client profile or better yet, ‘avatar’, social media target strategy, call to action, Google/Facebook/Instagram analytics, conversion rates, search engine optimization, blah, blah, blah.... Hell, it took me forever to even realize that my blog would loosely be categorized as a 'lifestyle blog'. Who knew?
Seriously people! Who talks like that in real life? Not me, and you know why? Because I’m a normal fucking human being (well, relatively speaking), and normal humans don’t talk like that! At least not the ones I know. Sheesh!
Proof of hand stenciled logo before it disappeared.
No, I wouldn't win Cake Wars, but it was there.
You ever notice how sometimes days or weeks go by and everything is status quo? Just rolling along and minding your own business. One foot in front of the other and all that. Then one day, BAM! The universe starts throwing all kinds of flotsam and jetsam in your path to see if you’re paying attention? To see if you aren’t just wandering through life half asleep?
Well that just happened to me…. Again. I say again, because it happens to me more often than I’d like. But the point is, it just happened. Sometimes it’s o.k., sometimes it sucks and sometimes I don’t get the joke (the universe has a weird sense of humour). But if nothing else, when these wake-up calls happen, I usually learn a ton, or remember stuff I had forgotten.
To illustrate, here are some things that were ‘brought to my attention’ in the last 24 hours...
There are many people in my life that have known me since I was a kid, and I bet it surprises a lot of them when I profess to being an introvert. In fact, when I first started realizing this about myself several years ago, it kinda surprised me too! If you want to split hairs, I may actually fall under the definition of ‘ambivert’, which is a new term used to describe people who fall somewhere in the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale. Nevertheless, I have some major introvert tendencies and the older I get, the more they seem to take hold.
I’ve talked to a lot of introverts over the last while. It seems that I’m increasingly drawn to fellow introverts and that a lot of these people are ‘my tribe’. When you lean more towards the extrovert end of the scale, or you don’t recognize your own introvert tendencies, it can be hard to understand introverts. They can seem kind of aloof, disconnected, uncaring, too serious, quirky or even downright weird. Most of that is really not the case at all (except maybe the quirky/weird part).
In fact, the more introverts I connect with, the more I realize how totally misunderstood a lot of us folk are. So in an effort to bridge the gap and foster human relations just a little, I figured I would dedicate this post to offering up a list of things that those of us who are more introvert than extrovert, want the rest of you to know. Of course, I can’t speak for all introvert-type people, but based on my own experience and conversations with others who lean towards introversion, these are some pretty common traits.
I live in Northern Ontario where we are fortunate enough to enjoy being surrounded by nature. When I was a kid in the summer, we spent a lot of time outdoors because you have to capitalize on the few months of summer that we get. Our summer vacations were spent mostly at camp (what some of you call the cottage/lake house/cabin depending on where you live). Our cousins had a camp just down the road and we were constantly going back and forth at all hours.
At night, when we walked the dirt road, we would see fireflies flickering everywhere. There were no street lights of course, just some camps on one side, and a whole lot of forest on the other. It was dark. Really dark. So seeing the fireflies always made me feel safe. They were a glimmer of light in the pitch black night. Sometimes, we would even catch them in jars and use them as our own personal flashlights for awhile, before releasing them back to nature.
As the years passed, the fireflies disappeared. It was disappointing, but eventually, I got used to not seeing them anymore. Apparently, so did a lot of other people. Those of us who grew up being fascinated by fireflies, resigned ourselves to the fact that our kids would likely not experience the same magic on a summer’s night. Fireflies, also called lighting bugs, are found all over the world and according to my google search, this decline in sightings has occurred everywhere. The culprits are thought to be development and light pollution.
Almost 40 years later, I have my own camp and my sister has one down the road. So again, cousins spend many a summer day and night going between one camp and the other. And this year, something really cool is happening....
Our family reads a lot. In fact, I’m pretty sure we spend more money on books in this house than almost anything else that isn’t a total necessity. Actually, scratch that… books ARE a necessity in our world. I would rather buy books than just about anything…except maybe food. We do buy a lot of our books because there are certain ones we like to own for re-reading, or we pass them on to family and friends. Sometimes, when we run out of shelf space, we do a bit of a de-cluttering and donate books to the library or other places so other folks can enjoy them. But really, there’s no need to spend oodles of cash on books. You can find tons of great reads at your local library and we do that sometimes too.
I love that our kids are bookworms. I think it’s because they’ve grown up in a house full of books, where it’s been our routine since they were born, to read to them at night. Sean and I alternate between kids. One night he reads to Evan and I read to Marley, the next night we switch. Very few things interfere with that routine except sometimes weekends, special occasions, or a rare night out. If one of us is away for the evening, the remaining parent and two kids will crawl into bed and read together. Then everyone goes off to their own rooms and reads some more. When it’s time for lights out, we often hear appeals of, 'Just one more chapter, pleeeeeaaase" Or, "But I HAVE to know what happens next!" There have even been tears when we finish a particularly good book or series, because as Evan says, “When it’s over, you kinda feel like you’re losing people you care about.”
Nightly reading has become such a part of our family routine, that I can’t even imagine how I’ll cope when the day comes that they decide they no longer want mom or dad to read to them. I had no trouble sending them off to kindergarten, and I suspect I’ll deal with the transition to high school just fine too…but the thought of them not wanting me to read to them anymore, gets me a little choked up. Sniff.