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Sticking with What and Whom You Like: The Secret to Success

“When you find something you like, stick with it.” This is what an inspirational older man told me the other day, when I asked him how he was able to work for the same two companies for 50 years and stay married for 35 years. Seems simple enough, right? You like your job? Stick with it. You like your spouse? Stick with him/her. But, to me, that seemed outlandish at the time. Today, in many industries, people hop from job to job every five years, and even spouses and partners. I used to joke that when you meet someone new, you create a “lease” with him that will expire after five years. If you want to renew it, you can. But, otherwise, you’re good. Move on.

I think I’ve developed this sort of transient mentality over the years, having changed careers and cities many times. I’m also divorced. I did have long term relationships (8 years, 7 years, 5 years), but none that have lasted 35 years. Well, I mean, I would have been dating someone at age 10 if that were the case. Interesting to note: my boyfriend now is someone I met when I was 10. Hm… is this a sign?

Anyhow, I got to thinking that this man’s statement about sticking with things you like is simple, yet very complex. For some of us, it’s not so easy. Tenacity and perseverance are not necessarily attributes consistent with today’s fast-paced culture. Our attention spans are limited, we use technology to elicit immediate results, and we strive for more, more, more. Sticking with something seems lackluster, or not ambitious–complacent.

BUT, there is merit to it, I think, and something to aspire to. “Wherever you go, there you are.” That’s another saying. No matter where you move, what new job you start, what relationship you begin, you are still YOU (well, unless you undergo dramatic changes with therapy). I have learned this. Thing is, I’m essentially the same person I was when I was, like, 28. Oh, how I long to be 28 physically as well! But, yeah, I’m the same old, same old; and, now, just old.

I am going to take note from this man. From now on, I am STICKING WITH IT, IF I LIKE IT! YES! No need to think of bigger and better. Just BE.

Sounds easy enough, but can we do it? I hope to.

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How Do You Know You’re “Home?”

There is a reason “Home” is called “Home,” and I’m not quite sure where mine is right now. I’m sort of in between worlds. See, I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio (Go Browns!), but I have lived on Cape Cod every summer of my life– and now year-round for 14 years. That’s a long time! I think I finally qualify for the “local” special at the diner, and I can legit say I hate summer people (even though I don’t–just the traffic).

I’ve lived on Cape Cod longer than I’ve lived anywhere, other than Cleveland (15 years). I spent many years in New York City (10) and Boston (3). But, now, I guess Cape Cod is my home, or well, it’s where I own a house and raise my children and have a job. So that’s home? It doesn’t always feel like it.

The reason I bring this confusion up is this: my partner lives in Cleveland, many of my best friends live here, and a lot of my heart is, well, here.

But my children are not.

Here’s a typical “home” in Shaker Heights, Ohio (where I grew up)

So yeah.

I thought about this today when the airplane was landing in Cleveland, and I could see the snow covering the acres of flat ground. The familiar grey sky had cover from Lake Eerie, and I felt a sense of relief.

“Ah, I’m home,” I thought, stepping off the plane and seeing the “Welcome to Cleveland” sign in Hopkins International Airport.

But, when I was taking off in the plane, I cried. I cried because I missed my kids. I saw them this very morning, but I felt so far away, and I was scared. I was scared that maybe something would happen on my flight, and that I’d never see them again. And maybe I was a terrible parent for flying and leaving them behind, even though they are safe with their father for the weekend. I sent my daughter a text on her Gizmo (for those not in the know, a Gizmo is like an Apple Watch for kids, where they can get a call or text from their parents or send a limited set of texts). I said, “I love you so much! I miss you already.” I also texted my parents (who now live on the East Coast).

When I arrived in Cleveland, I was greeted by my boyfriend, and we then met up with my best friend from high school for lunch. It was so nice! I was so happy and thought, “Yay! I am home!” This is where I’m meant to be!

But part of me is missing.

A big part. My kids.

And I know, deep down, this is not where I live. I’m just a visitor.

I just wish it could all be one. I wish I could feel whole in one of the places.

Wherever I am, someone I love is missing.

So what makes a home a home?

You tell me.

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Forgiveness: Why and What’s Forgivable? I Want to Know.

Everyone is talking about forgiveness and self-love today as we enter a new year. I hate when people say, “I heard this on NPR,” but I did, in fact, hear it on NPR– a conversation about forgiveness this morning. Essentially, two of the guests agreed that we have to forgive, even is no apology is made or elicited, to stop the stress cycle and allow us to heal and progress. There was a reference to looking forward and living with “forwardness.” I did always like that quote about if you live in the rearview mirror, you’ll soon be going that way. Don’t ask me who said it, because it was actually a fortune cookie message I received and have since pasted to my refrigerator to remind myself to live in the present.

I often have to remind myself of this. In fact, I wear this ring. See the inscription? “Live in the Here and Now.” My niece got it for me. I am terrible at doing this.

So back to forgiveness… By forgiving, you’re embracing peace, love and joy. You are helping your body to de-stress and stop producing cortisol (this was the scientific reasoning for forgiveness). And, you’re giving your mind a break, a chance to rest.

I do think I’m forgiving, but like what is not forgivable, I wonder? I mean, I think murder would be one. I couldn’t get over that. I could probs forgive cheating and lying, if it came with some level of contrition. What else? Um…I’d forgive stealing and hurting my feelings occasionally (not all the time). I’d be super bummed if you lit my house on fire.

I can’t really think of other things right now. Currently, I have forgiven most everyone I know for any wrongs I perceived or experienced. It feels good. Sometimes, I look backwards and feel those pangs of hurt and resentment, because, well, I’m human. And I get angry. And then swallow that anger, and it just manifests itself in heinous ways, like anxiety. YAY!

Forgiveness gives you your power back. Don’t be a victim. Try to empathize with the offender. When someone is mean to my children, I tell them, “Well, maybe feel sorry for him/her, because they are obviously hurting and sad inside to treat you this way.”

“Hurt people hurt people.”
That’s a good quote.

How do you know if someone is hurt when you meet them though? How many chances do you give them?

That’s a whole other question. What do you think?