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MAKES ME WANDER BY MAROONED 3

This is the year of full-circle moments! In one week from today, thanks to KIIS-FM and Del Taco, my daughter and I get tickets AND a backstage tour at Wango Tango music festival here in Los Angeles. Now we still don’t know what this entails, but I hope to cross paths a few performers and ask them what they will do to mix it up during this year that Oprah has dubbed “The Year of Adventure!” Since, to me, their lives look like a daily adventure already, I look forward to riding their train of thought!

WTF! Wango Tango Fangirls! Tickets still available!

Then it hit me sending me flying up to and around Cloud 9 like a squealing deflating balloon… My odds improved exponentially that I could cross paths with Maroon 5 and Adam Levine! Because I still tend to get all goofy brained when I see certain musicians still and due to an iron-clad agreement to not make my daughter CRINGE at the show, I’m putting down how Maroon 5 influenced the name of my blog in writing should it make Adam wonder what that uber excited lady smiling at him and holding his arm a little too tight in selfies was trying to say.

From Men’s Health magazine

March 2007, the one-year anniversary of my split with my kids’ dad came around the calendar. I still felt like a boxtroll wearing a cement-filled box stamped “Divorcee.” Somehow we kept moving, sold the house in the burbs, packed up our lives and were marooned on the beach to start over. Ultimately we loved where we’d landed, made all-new friends and the kids hit their strides in this new environment! I felt like less of a boxtroll and more of a potted plant relaxing on my patio.

So one day I’m in my too small living room turning on MTV for background noise when this funky beat starts coming from the speaker bouncing off walls, pushing me into my couch, too close to my TV and all I could do was wait to see who was commanding this plane exit ramp. When Adam’s cheekbones wrapped in that tux came into view followed by the whole band rocking with Virgin Airlines sexiness pounding out overlapping pulsating layers of sound, it grabbed my full attention. It became my theme song and my awakening that summer.

This song made me begin to process the cone of crazy I was wearing and start to process what I’d been through. I questioned everything and started figuring out the answers. Now Adam wondered if he ever gave a F— about someone and while I slid straight towards both possibilities, eventually I landed at yeah, I did, but I also could give a F— now because of the present we were in at that time. With each pounding chord from the piano in the background I felt my cement wall being chipped away. There was another accent layer that felt like skipping through his swagger and it got my heart pumping again. The song reminded me that somewhere inside I was there and I’d be refilled with wonder and growing curiosity and a fresh perspective.

So even though it took another 5 years to get to the starting of my blog – I knew what I wanted it to be called. Only it wouldn’t just be filled with things I wonder about but filled with things I experience as I wander about – working to be present in each gifted moment. (Plus, I didn’t want to get sued by A&M or M5 – I had faith that I’d find a better way than a court case to someday cross paths with the band).

From A&M/Octone

Because I’m a fan girl I know there is a hint of politics peppering the lyrics, but I’m not touching that, nor did I interpret it as such. I’m just not a fan of politics.

So if I don’t get this all out when we cross paths and my tongue gets tied up – thanks Maroon 5 and Adam for giving me something to believe in and inspiring the name of my blog.

What about you?
What adventure will you seek this year?
Going to a music festival this summer?
Are you a parent taking your kid to a festival and don’t know how to prepare?
Have any life-changing songs?
Favorite musicians or bands?

#WangoTango #MusicFestival #Kiisfm #DelTaco #Oprah #YearofAdventure #OMagazine #OMagInsiders #Maeoon5 #AdamLevine #Music #Divorce #Therapy #MakesmeWonder #MakesMeWander #Inspiration #Blog #Blogger

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HOW’D I WIND UP LIVING IN ONE OF THE 10 BEST PLACES IN CA?

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Shhh! Don’t tell anyone or housing prices will continue to skyrocket, but [whisper] my city was voted one of the 10 Best Places to Live in California! Upon hearing this announcement, (you can call it a midlife or nostalgia) I wanted to retrace our journey that directed us to Redondo Beach.

On my first visit to the area, 15 years prior to setting down roots here, it wasn’t the sunshine that drew me in, but the taste of the salty air and sound of the waves crashing against the pier pilings. Running between the hot spots, lost in the woody maze of the pier, the texture felt familiar. It was reminiscent of the boardwalk edging the east coast of my childhood. That night, I was there for one fun time and didn’t realize that the sites and sounds would seep into my being (and eventually dictate the feel of my blog).

Later, when I found myself rewriting my 5-year plan (divorcing, starting over), I felt going home to San Diego would be giving up, but I knew I couldn’t stay put either as my time was up. Initially, upon moving to the coast, I didn’t recall having been there before. Plus, I didn’t know how long I’d stay. 

Our lives were a bunch of moving parts: Me going through a divorce and starting a new job, my oldest child entering kindergarten, and the youngest at her most active age of 2. I was falling fast, flailing my arms to pull together loose ends and create a new normal.  I’d chosen the area for the following 3 reasons: 1) Great schools; 2) Closer to family; 3) I felt I could just slip right in unnoticed.  Part of me was led by a romantic notion that the sea air and sunsets would heal my uprooted spirit.

past-future

At first, I felt I was nothing but noticeable (in my own head) as the divorced mom in a field of adorable married couples. But that big D on my shirt got less noticeable as I focused on helping my kids build their new community as quickly as possible by joining teams! Through my son’s soccer, daughter’s t-ball, and my Team In Training, we met amazing people and slowly started tipping the scales as our happiness grew and life experiences became richer.  

We met other parents who helped me set the kids on a positive and hopefully long, windy path of discovery about themselves.  Growing up, I’d moved a lot and lived places for on average 4 years. I started a lot of things, then left many of them undone. I never did a drastic mid-school year move or anything, but as soon as I’d get to know people, or be introduced to something fun, we’d move, and do something different. So when it came time to choose where we’d move, it was a significant decision that I didn’t take lightly.

I love that our city that feels larger than some of its neighbors, but occupies a small footstep within our county. It is anchored with main streets with entertainment, food and shopping, yet at the same time, the horizon is wide open with opportunity and possibility. I love that we’ve actively worked to become a Blue Zone – I’ll explain in the next few weeks – which increases the strength and health of a community!

10 years is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. I laugh as I ponder that to newcomers, I’m a local! While I never hope to repeat the circumstances that brought us here, I’m certainly glad for where we landed and grew roots.

DAILY PROMPT: SENTIMENTAL – Ridiculous Redirection

 

Photo courtesy of Sprayedout.com

 
My divorce happened before the Conscious Uncoupling trend. While it didn’t fall under the category of most congenial divorces, it certainly didn’t qualify as one of the worst. Ridiculous Redirection better described my conscious dissolution – detailing my disdain for the situation, the people involved and my attempts to maintain a sense of humor and forge a fresh, clear perspective for making life-changing decisions. This, immediately after losing my mind and being steamrolled by emotions beyond the range of what I’d previously considered possible on the Richter scale. 

Initially, my tribe of devoted supporters rallied, listened, commiserated, reveled in the ridiculous along with me. Though they provided a much-needed crutch I leaned on often while learning to stand again, it suddenly dawned on me that I’d mounted the carousel horse to crazy town. So I leaped for the brass ring while the carousel groaned on.   I bruised my heart a bit more but felt immediately lighter with ridiculousness in pieces at my feet.  I ran to catch up to my kids’ and my new life, that already held a strong head-start.  

Photo courtesy of sprayedout.com

When I stopped to catch my breath I immediately felt that I needed to slow down and be present to properly navigate the future and remember the high-fives along the way. 

Does rehashing Sentimental steps of my ridiculous redirection mean I’m stuck in a bitter dead end without a clear path towards my future? I feel that I finally received the streetmap (OK, GPS) showing me I got through Despair, to the border of Desperation, constantly weaving in and out of Unsettled, and that confirms I am passing through Hope finally on the road towards Inner Peace which still just barely seems visible in a distant  horizon (Looks like Oz!)

To me, simmering in the sentiment is necessary on occasion to remind me of growth, evolution, resilience, adaptation, and invention. I now realize that my resentment came more from the unexpected, though maybe not completely unforeseen, changes to my 25-year plan than the things my wasband (was-my-husband) and I did before, during and after that point. 

Photo courtesy of Sprayedout.com

We three continue forward now watching Ridiculous transition into Reality – a reality that we are present for every day. 

8 I’S THAT CREATE SUCCESSFUL WE

Believe it or not, this life’s lesson is plucked from an article I’m reading on Business Alliances for my classes on how to create excellent alliances…

Worst case scenario – great working relationship
Best case scenario – LOVE!

Individual Excellence  – Both should be independently strong and bring something of value to contribute to alliance. Have positive goals, not just looking to escape something.

Importance – The relationship should fit your strategic objectives so both want to make it work

Interdependence – Partners complement each other and neither can accomplish on own what both can together

Investment – Invest in each other to show mutual respect, commitment

Information – Open communication, share goals, trouble spots, changing perspectives

Integration – Link operations to teach and learn from each other, bridge on many levels

Institutionalization – Make relationship formal, not easily broken, set clear responsibilities and decision processes

Integrity – Behave honorably towards each other, no abuse of power, no undermining!

Seems like pretty wise advice for any relationship!

Citations:

Kanter, R. M., (1994). Collaborative Advantage: The Art of Alliances. Harvard Business 

    Review, 94405, 96-108.

GEMS I STUMBLED UPON TODAY

“A river cuts through rock not because of its strength but because of its persistence!” –Jim Watkins

“Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off our goals.” –Henry Ford

Grand Canyon: Obstacles, what obstacles?
Think of the possibilities!
Photo by YoTuT

(thanks Karina Saenz-Gutierrez for dropping these two gems in my pathway today!)

27. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT TIME 5 YEARS AGO WHEN YOU WERE EXTREMELY UPSET? DOES IT REALLY MATTER NOW?

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Back then, I prepared to downsize homes for the 2nd time in 2 years. I LOVED moving a lot when younger – exploring new neighborhoods and setting up a new home.  While married, I accumulated a household and dragged around our baggage. Feeling the divorce “forced” the downsize, I stubbornly held onto stuff thinking when I’d proved that I survived, I’d have a full house to show it.  Hindsight reminds me that sending volumes of negativity into the universe, attracts negativity.

I’d hired movers that I used before (different franchise), scheduled for an afternoon start.  The hours-late movers were not starving, nor students, and debated putting it off until morning. I had to be out that day and I’d made it clear how much stuff on how many floors when I called. They asked if I’d be paying cash or credit card (shady) then conferred and began.  I calculated a few hours to load, drive 2 miles and a few more to unload.

7 hours later at 11pm – 2 hours after my ex calmed me down due to damage they caused to the place and my furniture – they finished loading.  They offered to store my furniture in their “warehouse” overnight to start fresh.  “Hell no, Continue!”

Flash-forward to 1am, I was in my new yard talking the police out of ticketing me because the truck parked on the wrong side of the road. Recognizing my un-neighborly first impression, I pleaded, “Single lady…don’t feel comfortable…” They relented, “Ma’am. Please put on the flashing blinkers.”

Looking back, the movers took the insult I felt from moving and added injury to everything I owned, even my independence prize – the first non-hand-me-down NEW couch I bought.  It sucked the wind from my sails.  Fortunately healing began with saint of an old landlord. Since he planned large fix-ups to prep for sale, the mover’s butt busted through his drywall became a minor patch job.  Starbucks cards to my neighbors allowed us to earn a new first impression.

Looking back, things don’t matter.  Sometimes it bothers me that the couch isn’t perfect on one arm.  It pleases me more how many “Big bed nights” the kids enjoyed with friends.  Those are invaluable!

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GRATITUDE SUNDAYS: DO OVERS

Everyone’s said “If I knew then what I know now…” While one can’t “refresh” life’s events, life often presents second chances! So, again, I seized the silent moment – between the finish line of the weekend, and the starting line for the next one – to reflect on the gifts thrown in my path.

TOP OF MY HEAD GRATITUDE LIST:

1) High School – Facebook reconnected me with many early friends that I’d lost touch with. It also put me in touch with others that I wish I’d known better, even a high school crush – we now tease each other with it. Social media provides the opportunity to set up mini reunions and return to High School with new appreciation for what we all experienced and stronger interest in who we became!

2) Family Dinners – I suspect I’m not the only one whose kids’ come home from their other parent’s or grandparents’ homes and need time to transition. My kids don’t get blatantly disrespectful; they’re just grouchy and tired, which leads to weepy. After too much whining over games, I sent one to shower, one to clean up, and I immediately cleared our dinner table. We’d eaten in front of the TV the last 2 busy weeks because I spread our taxes across the table. By the end of the meal we were laughing over Lauren’s faces, or Carson’s Chewbacca’s sounds or jokes at my expense.

3) Memories – When I first got divorced, filing away the past 16 years of memories challenged me. I was determined to get to a place where I could own the path I traveled and not feel like I must steer around certain neighborhoods. Obviously time and distance helped, but working at a university helps too – being able to share my experiences from that dividing point in my life and career helps me remember my path.

4) Perspective. Don’t beat yourself up if you think of the perfect line after you leave the conversation. There’s a good chance your paths will cross again.

Again, this merely scratched the surface and I’m grateful for many more Sundays to continue to call out those moments that I’m most grateful for. What are you grateful for?

GETTING IT OFF MY CHEST: A HEARTBREAKING SITUATION

Bitter divorces hit front page this week and I keep thinking about the aftermath. To couples that reach a quick amicable divorce, I applaud you. For the rest of us, it’s rough, exhausting, and sucks. Usually, divorce results from years (or 72 days) of an inability to compromise, so why would people become agreeable just because you agreed to divorce? If you insist on hanging on to prove you’re right, take your crazy sweet time. If you bore children, you need to suck it up and move beyond the divorce to prove that upending the children’s lives was “worth it.” I don’t mean by bad-mouthing the other parent. Contain the emotional pain and start growing immediately.

This week a horrible divorce went tragically wrong, leaving children without parents. According to lawyers, friends, and family quoted in the articles, the divorce dragged through court for years. If they think the kids weren’t affected – that’s malarkey. You may not bad-mouth your ex to the kids, but it shows in other ways. Sadly it appears that things were bad enough that restraining orders extended to the exes’ families.

I have the advantage of sharpened hindsight and six years of advice learned, yet the taste of how crazy divorce gets lingers. I remember some days felt so ridiculous when both redefine boundaries yet nobody respects them. I refused to speak about them hoping that they’d lose power, fueling healing instead.

I didn’t know them, two sides exist for any story, and they’re not here to defend themselves nor share what they wanted. What the kids really want should be the focus now. I am angry that the father put having the last word above all else. It bothers me that this ending doesn’t bring closure. This immediately threatened to roll into another war as the families continue battling trying to “win”. Haven’t the kids endured enough? Drawing this out because both families hurt more than humanly imaginable and want to blame each other will not make either side feel better. The kids need help learning how to live with this for the rest of their lives, but they deserve the chance to start the healing now – protect the kids.

Love the children! by Derksen Photography

PAYING IT FORWARD FRIDAY: GO TEAM! (Click to the right to help now!) –>

In 2007, after finalizing a divorce and launching myself into the rest of my life, I signed up to run the 10th anniversary race through my hometown on my birthday. The race was the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon as in 26.2 miles. For perspective, when we moved worlds away from San Diego out to the sticks in Poway – I signed up to run farther than that.

I have no idea how a marathon got in my bucket list.  I never ran as a kid, except on horseback. Workout programs followed the trends.  In college I ran around the track, while the rugby team practiced on the infield, ending up with shin splints. It was then that I attended an information meeting for a fairly new program called Team In Training.  I didn’t sign up because I lacked the vision beyond myself to see how to complete it. Then, 16 years later, the planets aligned! I signed up!

Team In Training benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to find a cure for blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and families.  The training program molds you into an athlete and a fundraiser!  It SO thoroughly trained me, that I still remember the night before my marathon. I didn’t worry about finishing; I worried about not making it to start.  Talk about the law of attraction, when I got to the start area, I stepped off a curve, twisted my ankle, got through it and finished anyway!

Courage to start! John "The Penguin" Bingham

Beyond the event, the support I received, the mental arguments I won, and the people I met made it the most amazing experience ever.  I got to train alongside heroes!  Heroes who showed incredible bravery facing their, or a loved one’s, diagnosis, heroes sharing their stories of recovery or recurrence, heroes who blew past fundraising goals, heroes relentless for a cure.  I continue to draw on the endless inspiration from the experience so often that now my kids roll their eyes. I have done several events with the Team since and make such quality friends! If running is not your thing, they have options.  I highly recommend joining the Team for you and for them!

OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW

After my divorce, I downsized our living space twice in 2 years and landed in what I hoped would be a temporary apartment with a garage holding the rubble of our lives.

Garage - a work in progress

Some were quick to label me a hoarder, but, I stand behind my common sense behind my nonsense:
A) I could make money: I worked at a company that yielded piles of collectables.  With feverish fanatics trolling Ebay for such goods, I “knew” that I had a goldmine.

B) My situation was temporary: Why get rid of lawn chairs when soon I will have a home that I love needing to be furnished?

C) I wanted my kids’ lives intact:  I wanted to preserve their comfort zone, in their room amongst their toys, while their lives swirled.

D) I didn’t want my dreams nickel and dimed:  Although my dream for how I’d imagined my family changed, I wasn’t ready to let go of it in a garage sale.

So, I parted with easy stuff, bought to “pretty up our home” to sell it.  Originally, I enjoyed the parting gifts, but they didn’t feel right.  While fundraising for a cause, I held garage sales and hoped my goldmine would get me to my goal!  It didn’t, but I discovered that my neighbors treasured these gems! I have since given them more collectable delights.

Along the way, we’ve grown roots.  I still don’t love my apartment, but it’s almost the only home my children remember and I value how much that memory means to them. We’ve grown comfortable in the community, we love our neighbors, and we are building piles of memories.

Now, with a moving sale and a new year creating urgency, I am again in my garage.  We are not moving, our neighbors are. As I go through boxes uncovering unused things, I realize that we have thrived without them. I also see a family, setting up a new life, whose baby may love these things. I understand that these are just things. Now their value is based on how much richer our lives are by contributing to others’ joy. The bonus – we are no longer anchored in the past by things!

Ain't it the truth?