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There’s a low rumbling in America today.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably noticed.  Kind of like the undertones of thunder just before a big storm.  We are hearing and seeing the disgruntled thoughts of many people.  From the election drama to the Black Lives Matter movement to the way we are handling the crisis in the Aleppo and beyond.  To be blunt, people are pissed.  Some of you may think we are already amidst the storm, but I really don’t think so.  I don’t make light of the anger or the demonstrations, peaceful or otherwise, currently clogging all of our newsfeeds.  But, for lack of better terms, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

You see, we are all caught up in a thought trap today.  Whether we choose to acknowledge it or not, we have established for ourselves a parameter of mindset that we will be darned to remove ourselves from. “This is how it is!”   Am I right?  Many of us blatantly refuse to consider stepping aboard any other thought trains.

 

So, this raises a question for me – Why?   Why must our opinions remain steadfast?  Why does it have to be one way or another?  This or that.  Black or white.  Furthermore, who decided that progressives and conservatives should start throwing the playbook at one another?  These are precarious times.  We currently have people who want to transform society and others who want to bring back the older more traditional ways.   Welcome to the thought trap.   What to choose?  That is the question.

 

I see value in both sides of the argument, don’t you? There’s something really special about upholding and continuing traditions that built up and held together one of the world’s greatest superpowers.  However, there is also something thought provoking about the word “change”.  Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but even the noblest of ideas started out as a prototype and had to go through tweaks and upgrades.  Of course we don’t need to throw the baby out with the bath water.  But at the same time, as a country we cannot stay the same as the world changes around us.  At an alarming pace, too, I might add.

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Failure.  We so often associate this word with a sense of impending doom.  Like if you failed to reach that one goal you set for yourself, then you must really suck at life.  Been there.  And then once it happens – once you’ve made that proverbial faceplant – your first reaction is to peace out of the whole venture, right?  Who wants to feel like a ‘has been’?  Or like the “fat guy” forever stuck in Chris Farley’s little coat?

I can assure you, that kiddie pool of self-pity you may be wading in is large enough for all of us.  So move over and let me share a little nonsensical wisdom.  Here are 5 surefire ways to know that you aren’t actually failing at life:

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I took my first ever trip to Las Vegas this weekend.  If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, you got the up close and personal version of the adventure. Sorry not sorry.  I had finally decided that YOLO was actually a thing that deserves conscious measure. So, Viva Las Vegas was my mantra for a couple of days. Initially, I was in awe of all the shiny things.  And believe me, Vegas has a lot of them. But, I took the whole trip in stride.  The night life, the shows, the fashion, the homeless.

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***This story was also published for Elite Daily magazine.  You can find it and all of my other published articles at http://elitedaily.com/users/jwheaton/  ***

I took my kids to the county fair today and came across the coolest critter.  This is Bob.  Everyone in unison, let’s all say “Hi, Bob!”  Bob is a tortoise, as the sign behind him suggests.  Isn’t he cool?!  Normally the petting zoo area of the county fair is for the kids.  However, I prefer to think of it as an opportunity for anyone to get up close and personal with God’s creatures.  That is… if you dare to remain young at heart.  And no, I am not about to launch into an argument with anyone on the humanity of keeping a tortoise in captivity.  I’m just not.

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Have you ever felt like, in some way, you were desperate to renew some motivation?  Like that cup that was so full and overflowing whenever you started some quaint little project is now… empty?  Running on fumes is truly no way to live.  I sound so self-righteous, don’t I?  The thing is, I let myself get this way.  Every darn year.  By about April, I’m out of gas.  Done.  Exhausted.  My stress level is through the roof and my patience takes a hike with all of the end of year school things. If you read “Teacher Tired” a while back, you probably already know this about me.  And, judging by the amount of  traffic on that one, you probably can also relate.

 

It seems like no amount of preplanning saves my sanity, either.  I can see it coming.  I know what’s down the road.  Yet, I stand there on the train tracks and allow myself to be hit by the locomotive anyway. Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” So, why do we do it?  I suppose my “why” is because I have accepted the routine for what it is.  Or my life, rather. I choose these things.  Ultimately, we all choose these things.  We can stand there and argue with each other about a means to pay the bills and the livelihood of our families versus our own personal joy.  But at the end of the day, it’s still a choice.  I’m not here to tell you you’re doing it wrong.   Believe you me, I get myself into the same sinking boat that you do every year.  I’m just over here, thinking out loud today.

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**This story has been previously published for Elite Daily magazine under the title “What Millennials Need to Know About the Greatest Generation on Memorial Day” This is the same story, but with original photos.**

 

“I received a letter from the Clay County Draft Board in September of 1941, explaining that my friends and neighbors had decided it was my time to be drafted.”

These are the opening lines to my grandfather’s memoirs. I’ve looked for this document for over a decade, and I have had those first few lines memorized and rolling around in my head since I was 16. He gave me his accounts of World War II to rewrite at much too young of an age. My sentiments then are much the same as they are now: I am unworthy of such a task. Just like a teenager, I lost them years ago, but I found them about a month ago.

The totality of the above statement is heavy. My grandfather was barely 22 years old at the time. I remember being 22. That’s not adulthood. That was like the peak of my glory days. Having fun is at the top of most of our lists at age 22, not war.

Can you imagine? “Here’s your paperwork, son. You don’t have a choice. Go to war and try to stay alive.”

I am on the fence about a lot current issues, mainly because I see a million shades of gray to every current political issue. However, this is not one of them. As a whole, young people of that era possessed a grit that we have somehow lost.

Memorial Day will soon be upon us. Due to the stories I grew up hearing about brotherhood, and the homage my soul owes to the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this great country, this article is for them.

Before my grandfather, there was another. My grandmother was engaged to marry a young man named Earl. Earl was from her hometown and a well-versed English teacher. They had grand plans to be married and start a life together once he returned home from the war. His penmanship was beautiful, his grammar was perfect,and his wit was amazing. I can surmise all of this by the letters left behind in my possession. He was the love of my grandmother’s life, and I’ve heard about him my entire life.

 

 

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Last photo of Earl Krampe. Age 28.

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My grandmother and Earl

Earl worked his way to the rank of Lieutenant and served in the opposite theater as my grandfather, the European side. He wrote many letters, but the last one is somewhat haunting.

Here is an excerpt of honest thoughts from March 8, 1945 in Paris:

I had an interesting conversation with a Frenchman on a train this morning. I’ve heard rumors that the French people resented the fact that we weren’t supplying them with enough things. Then when you hear of all the provisions, supplies, etc. stolen from the Army and sold over the black market, you wonder what the hell we liberated them for, especially when you’ve seen men die in doing it. But that’s enough of that. If I were sure I would get through it all safely I wouldn’t take anything for being in combat, but it’s the uncertainty about it all that gets one.

Lt. Earl Krampe was killed 17 days later in Germany. He had taken 45 of his men to a basement bunker for safety during a combat mission. A single bomb killed them all. This is one of his two Purple Hearts, which is little solace for my grandmother’s broken one.

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Graduation photo from Indiana State University. Age 22.

 

Here’s something else we currently seem to be losing: resilience. The Greatest Generation was resilient. Even 50 years after his death, I remember the tears when she talked about him when I was a child. And I remember how considerate my grandfather was of her feelings.

They met several years after the war had ended. She never got over Earl’s death, but she was able to get past it. My grandpa honored his memory by inviting his family to all of their holidays and family events. You see, Earl was an only child. His parents were lost and heartbroken.

My own mother has memories of Earl’s family’s presence at most all of their family gatherings. This is resilience and love in its purest form. This is my grandfather not forgetting his fellow fallen, even the one who had his wife’s heart first.

 

As an American, I want our heavily split country to not only go back to that era of grit and resilience, but to the kindness and compassion we once had. One of the biggest things I can’t seem to grasp is how quick we are to cast judgement, sling mud and shout demands in today’s society. Where on earth is the compromise that made this country great?

A major lack of communication and willingness to listen to each other causing this great divide in our nation, which is fueled by anger and hurt feelings. We cannot fix the present by putting Band-Aids on issues and yelling curses toward something or someone we don’t agree with. This crazy train is going to derail if we’re all not careful.

We can’t change history. We can only learn from it, accept our imperfections and take action from there. Aristotle said,

It is the mark of an educated man to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it.

I think I’m so passionate about the Greatest Generation because of all that I’ve learned from it.

From The Great Depression to a war many boys never wanted to be a part of, they never gave up. They rebuilt America, and they learned to accept everything life had to give with a deep understanding of the important things.

People need to know this. This was the message of my upbringing. It may not be the original roots of this great country, but if you ask me, it’s definitely our backbone.

Memorial Day is one Americans should be proud of. The men and women who have fought so hard to preserve our freedoms deserve so much more than just a day. They deserve to be remembered with utmost respect. They deserve our promise that we haven’t forgotten the triumphs and tragedies of this great nation. It is within those highs and lows in life that we become who we are.

My grandfather clipped this poem in 1996 from the Brazil Times. At age 77, he was still proud of his service to the Army and all the men and women who serve. It’s only appropriate to end with this:

 

Perhaps you don’t agree with all I have to say, but my hope is that you can, at very least, entertain the thought.
Happy Memorial Day.

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My grandfather on the right at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. His story has been a long time in the making and will have to wait for another day.

 

I would like to start off by noting two important things.

 

  • “End of the year teacher tired” really is a thing.
  • Without coffee, said EOTYTT would be a whole lot uglier.

My thoughts over the years on this matter have evolved quite a bit.  Truth be told, I can get rather defensive on this topic, actually.  You see, there are a lot of people who think the 3 months (which is technically 2 and some change) that we teachers have off in the summer months is a free for all.  This is absolutely 154% not true.  For onesies, a contracted teacher work day is from 8 a.m. to 3:15.  Sure, there are days when I jet out of there because I have children of my own to get to sports practices or other extra curriculars.  But there are also days that I stay till 5:00 – cleaning up glue and glitter and mayhem that room full of 24 kindergarteners can leave behind.  Or days that I sit at my desk and plow through the paperwork end of the job that seems to be in high demand these days.  Or there’s that blessed thought of ‘I’ll just take some of this home’.  I’d love to know how many professional individuals spend their evenings on the couch doing double duty as parent and employee until bed time.

 

This is not the fault of my administrators.  I get it that the torch of blame can be passed much higher up the echelons.  We’re all being told to produce champagne worthy performances on a shoe-string budget.   And then throw in the teaching part.  It’s like a side-job.  Pardon my sarcasm. The kids.  You know.  Those important living, breathing human things that blink and look at you and need love and knowledge and strategies in order to pass those standardized test things that they’re developing high anxiety over.  Don’t forget the ones that need extra love.  The ones whom you wish you could take home and raise yourself.  The ones you lose sleep over because they are dealing with life trauma. You, the teacher, are the eternal empathizer.  You hurt when they hurt.  When they build chair walls around themselves to keep ‘bad people’ away, you sit up at night thinking about them and bite all your fingernails off.

 

Also, pardon my run on sentences.  When I get the feels about something I tend to add a lot of “and”s.

 

So, Mr. Politician Sir, I invite you with the crook of my finger to come spend a semester, a month, a week even in our worlds.  It would be joyous for myself and my colleagues to sit in the peanut gallery and watch as you maneuver the waters of not only holding short attention spans in overcrowded classrooms, but try pouring exorbitant amounts of knowledge into every single little darling head.  Knowledge that will need retained to the point of regurgitation on a piece of paper that actually proves nothing. I’ve personally been a real good test taker for my whole life.  (And if you knew me well enough, you’d know that was just said in a long slow, deliberate drawl.)  It’s called short-term memory. I aced my way through a lot of courses by storing it somewhere in this little brain where I could dump it out later.

While you are there assuming a teacher role, sir, please note that there is little to no time for eating or chit chat in your work day.  Most of your ‘down time’ will be spent planning and prepping what’s to come the following week or the following day. Also, those kids of yours with emotional disorders – I believe the new and awful legal term is ‘Emotional Disturbance’ – those kids don’t generally qualify for extra services according to IDEA.  At least not based on the ‘disturbance’ alone.  IDEA is the acronym for your shiny federal guidelines at work.   So, we’ll all just suck a lot of air in through our teeth over here in the peanut gallery and drink our coffee real slow like and give you our opinions.  We sure hope you’re likable and have good friends within those four walls who want to help you.

 

Oh, and don’t forget, we’ll be evaluating your performance based on how well your students score on a test. Yes, even the ones who came to school with little to no nutrition or sleep.  Even the ones who tear up at the word “test”.  It may determine your rate of pay for the following 365 days and potentially cause a lot of hard feelings in your building. We hope you have a lot in savings, too.  You’ll be spending a lot of your own money on things.

Now, let’s handshake and share toothy grins!

 

The good news is that those of us actually in this profession love children.  End of story.  And we love what we do and the lives we impact on a daily basis.  The reality is that most politicians and their opinions wouldn’t last a single day in our shoes.  Although it would be terribly fun to watch, people who want to come in and tell us how to do things don’t deserve 10 minutes in my classroom.  They don’t deserve the joy I get by watching a child start the year with no letter knowledge and leave my room reading sentences fluently.  They don’t deserve the hugs or the high fives or the ecstatic thrill of being a part of a little person’s “A-HA!!” moment.

 

I will wholeheartedly take that joy and all of the work that comes with it.  So, yes – end of the year teacher tired is a thing.  And I will be spending several hours a week in my classroom in June and July.  I might take a class or two. I will be reading books for fun, but also books on how to better myself in my profession. I may even prep things for next year so that EOTYTT is a little less so.  I will also sit out on my deck in the sunshine, enjoy my own kids without time constraints, and drink coffee because I like it.

 

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I remember hearing the words so vividly growing up.  “She has such a pretty face.”  The first time I heard it, I wondered what the hell that was supposed to mean.  I ran to the nearest mirror to inspect.  What was wrong with the rest of me?  Sure, I was never going to break any records on being tall or svelte.  I am rather on the short side. But, I had curves in good places.  That comment sounded so specific and sad.  I wasn’t sad.  At least up until that point.  Then I started overanalyzing.  I mean, if someone else is commenting on my shape with a hint of melancholy in their voice, clearly I should be concerned.  Right? This is exactly the type of comment that activates “the lie”.

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Remember being 21 and feeling like you were fat? And now you wish you were that “fat” again. Irony.

The lie is something we buy into, usually as teenagers.  It’s the poison apple that sends young girls into the downward spiral.  All along the way we’re seeing these images that slowly embed themselves into our brains.  Scantily clad, winged models with angel faces torment our self-esteem.  Mean girls and pimply, adolescent jerks stoke the fire as we learn to hate ourselves and believe the lie. This notion that skinnier is better.  Skinnier is smarter.  Skinnier means fitting in to the cool crowd.  Later in life we even buy into the tragic notion that skinnier means more qualified.  Comments like, “She would be so pretty if she just lost a little weight” continue to echo inside the caverns of our minds.

 

It’s no wonder the weight loss industry is one of the biggest money makers of the world.  Women everywhere have become desperate to downsize.  Literally. Smaller is better, right?  Smaller means we can feel good about ourselves again.  Size 2 means the world is going to accept me as a person! And so we starve ourselves.  We learn to compare our reflections to the airbrushed models in magazines.  We try the beauty tips, workout tricks, and fad diets to become less – in all senses of the word.  Sad.

 

What are we telling the younger generations?  I have a daughter at home.  She’s four, yet I’m already worrying about the day she comes home to tell me her feelings are hurt because someone commented on her size.  Or worse, what if she is one of the mean girls?  Do I want her buying into the parameters that society has set – that size 8 is considered “plus sized”?

 

Amy Schumer voiced aggravation recently about being called plus sized with good reason.  The last time I checked, a person wearing size 6-8 clothing is pretty darn normal.  Yet, the media continues to shove visual collar and hip bones down our throats as ‘stunning’.  To this Midwestern girl, those ladies just look hungry.   And unhealthy.   It burns me to know that my daughter may someday flip through a fashion magazine and aspire to be less – in all senses of the word.

 

So in lieu of “the lie”, here’s the sad truth: We currently live in a society that teaches young girls that our physical size trumps our accomplishments nine times out of ten. Women specifically are being held to an unfair standard.  We are letting society dictate our self-worth based on our size.  You don’t see too many statistics or reports on men suffering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia.  In most cases, these issues haunt women.  How many times have you heard of a male “plus sized” model making news headlines?  Never.  But, just try Googling Ashley Graham.  You’ll see more about her size online than you will about her as a person or the fact that she is a highly successful, drop dead gorgeous model.

 

The bottom line is this.  We need to stop feeding the lie.   Skinnier does not equate to better.   And our current standards for what is a healthy and average weight are terribly skewed. The sooner we rectify this belief, the sooner our young girls will get back to worrying about more important things than their appearance.  Like how powerful and influential a woman with a strong sense self-worth can be.

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You know that old cliché, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”?  I think in some creative avenues that is probably true.  To understand joy in a thorough sense it must be seen.  I think the same is true for most emotions and major life events.   My grandfather understood this very well.  I like to think that he was somewhat ahead of his time in many ways.  Upon being drafted for the war back in the 1940s, he only asked for one small thing from his parents:  a collapsible camera.  He knew he was about to embark on something big and he wanted to remember it.  He was the only one he ever remembered seeing with a camera, aside from the press like when Bob Hope came to boost morale.  (I have pictures of that, by the way.)  Fast forward 70 years later and here I am.  A girl blessed with 3 full scrapbooks of life in the South Pacific during World War II.   He would send film back every month to his dad.  And his dad, in return, would send him new film.  Of course, many pictures were censored and discarded by the government before they made it to Brazil, Indiana.  They were deemed inappropriate.  Grumble grumble.  I suppose as a military policeman of the time he saw and had to do things that the government didn’t think his parents or the world needed to see.  But, many made it home.   So this was the start of many blessings.  My sister and I grew up with his stories, his pictures, and his memorabilia.  Don’t worry.  I plan on sharing these someday.   I just haven’t quite put all those ducks in a row yet.

 

And then you had my grandmother.  Small town girl with big dreams and artsy flair.  She was tiny.  About my height.  Heh.  But she never allowed that, or the idea that most women of those times should be homemakers, stop her.  She also understood that pictures were worth a thousand words.  But, when she met my grandfather (post war time, long interesting story – don’t worry, will tell it too someday) and saw his photos, she decided that pictures will someday need words.  Everything needs words.  Because no one lives forever.  She had the foresight to know that without written stories, pictures lose meaning over the years.

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Some say the greatest efforts we make should not be concerned with results.  By some I am referring to those who strive for that inner peace.  I love this idea.  It sounds so peaceful.  So noble. Like if I screw something up royally that it’s all good because at least I tried.  Close your eyes for a second.  I want you to picture in your mind the current state of your life.  Let’s all pretend to hold hands for a minute and take an internal assessment.  Soul searching requires a good hand hold.  What type of personality do you bring to the proverbial table?  Do you stand at the pillars of greatness with those who seem to ooze perfection and rainbows?  Does everything you touch turn to gold?  Are your life plans etched in stardust?  Deep inhale in. Pinterest was not created FOR you.  Rather, it was created BY you and other over achievers.  Are you one of these people? And exhale out.

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Some work days call for laughter. Lots, really.

If you can do no wrong, I tip my hat to you.  Because when I breathe real deep and take that internal life assessment, my right eye starts to twitch. For serious.  And I don’t do hand holding very well.  Even the pretend kind.  Because I’m probably thinking about whether or not you’ve washed your hands lately.  I spend enough time around small children to know that germs are a thing.

 

I don’t suppose any of us will ever understand all unspoken laws of the Universe.  Like why some people just continue to make their journey down the yellow brick road look so annoyingly easy.  Most of my life has involved a least a fraction of “worst case scenario” come true. It’s amazing that many of us remain as optimistic as we do, considering the highs and lows of this crazy life.  I fall into this category.  I love the idea of having a Zen state of mind.  Watching the train wrecks of life just come and go without reacting to them sounds amazing.  However, my emotions and I continue to ride the Bipolar Express.  I continue to attempt being that perfectly organized Martha Stewart.  And life continues to serve me a good throat punch every now and then to remind me that I will never fit into that Type A persuasion.  So here’s the good news. I do have a sense of humor.

 

Some times, scratch that, A LOT of times I can plan out every little necessary detail for my life and invariably it will all still go to Hades.  No amount of Pinteresting can save me. Perhaps you are smirking right now.  You can relate to this.  Are we having a “Namaste” moment?  My imperfect soul will acknowledge yours and then we’ll all get on our merry ways.  Ready?  Here we go.

 

My Diet – Vegan, gluten free, dairy free, paleo, ramen noodles because I was in college and had no money, grapefruits and hot dogs only for two months – So many choices these days.  I am your classic diet failure.  I have this love for cooking, entertaining, and all things food.  This makes trying to lose a little bit of poundage harder than pretty much anything else I’ve ever done.  The more I plan, the more I self-sabotage.  I find myself wondering if reverse psychology would be successful.  Like, what if I told myself to eat all the chocolates and drink all the wines?  Would the angel on my right shoulder guide me in the right direction?  Probably not.  More than likely the devil on the left would give me a high five and toss me a Hershey’s.

And also, stress eating. HELLO!  Who doesn’t need a carton of ice cream and 12 Oreos after a really rough work day?  This is ointment for my soul.  This is my Balm in Gilead. I’m sorry – the kale smoothies that I have convinced the semi-grown up version of myself to drink at least once a day don’t wipe away tears.  They do not.  You will find me slumped over my desk double fisting Skittles some days and cursing the little 21 Day Fix containers, still in my lunchbox, that I want to set on fire.

 

My Schedule – If you are a parent you will appreciate this one.  Because, you see, after giving birth life is no longer about you. The Dr. should really do you a solid and hand you a Life Manual as your tiny miracle is exiting the birth canal.  It would have saved me so many “You’re doing it wrongs”.  Your schedule does not matter anymore.   Nor does your hairstyle, your reddest lipstick, or your need for basic things like sleep and showers. Rather, you must find ways to squeeze your schedule around the little people that consume your love and also your time.  No regrets here.  My kids are my whole world.  Scouts honor. But some days are harder than others to remember your own identity when trying to raise productive and respectable members of society.

Plan all you want for that perfect day.  You know, the one where you get up early enough to exercise before work. Your boss thinks you are one of those rainbow oozing people I brought up earlier. Your kids are so kind and well-mannered all the time.  They never whine.  You leave work and take nothing home with you because you have everything all done! You sit around that dinner table and enjoy a perfect pot roast on fine china. You get the kids to all sports practices on time. Homework and baths are done by 7 o’clock. The kids willingly jump into bed, smiling at 9 p.m.  And then you get to sleep shortly after, still looking like a beauty queen in full makeup.  Because that’s how we all look going to bed.  Right? Slow clap for you.

In your freaking dreams.  I recently left work with a migraine that made me want to gouge out my left eye. This was bad enough.  Then my son got sick on the drive home and threw up in the backseat. It was projectile enough to hit the back of my head. This is real life.

 

 

My Budget  – I’m a big fan of simplifying in this area.  I actually enjoy getting all of the bills out once in a while and combing through how much I owe and to whom.  I make big plans. Huge.  I will pay X amount on my ridiculous college loans before the next decade.  Then I shall attack with vigilance that car loan and that mortgage!  I’ll be debt free and big pimpin’ soon. All teachers and other college grads who hover so gracefully along the living wage lines aspire to such, right?

Also it is important to note that Dave Ramsey is right and I should probably cut up my credit cards into a million little pieces.  I can write all of these big plans for my budget out.  I can allot certain amounts for groceries and gas every month.  It looks simple on paper.  But there’s this thing called impulse control and it’s a beast.  And shopping is so darn easy these days.  All I have to do is check my e-mail or click on the right link.  I get overcome by “ooh-shiny” and start typing in my credit card number.  I’m sorry, Dave!  I’ve failed you.  Again.

 

My Coveted Sleep  –  Maybe you have kids.  Maybe you have finals to study for.  Maybe you just have insomnia.  Whatever it is, a lot of us plan to get to sleep earlier and it doesn’t happen.  Life gets in the way a lot, but I also blame technology.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love the gadgets of today’s world.  I love how connected we are as a planet.  A lot of good has come from the opportunities right here at our fingertips.  I don’t think some people even realize the doors that could open for them out here in the cyberworld.  But here’s where I fail. I plan every night to go to bed and get a full night’s sleep.  Instead, I find myself lying in bed scrolling mindlessly through social media.  Before I know it, it is way past bed time and I have jumped down so many rabbit holes that I’m looking at vacation pictures circa 2006 of the cousin’s cousin of some dude I knew in high school.  Or going through the ‘suggested friends’ list on and trying to figure out why on earth they would suggest this person to be my friend. Like, seriously?  Why do we do this? Don’t act like you haven’t!   So, in short resolve to shut down the technology by a certain time every night if it’s one of your vices, too.

 

My Zen  –  By the end of every work week I faceplant in this area.  I’ve read the books.  I’ve listened to the podcasts.  I’ve even attempted the meditations.  Plan all you want.  But, at least for me, life moves at light speed most days.  And I struggle to not lose my shiz when things don’t work out the way they are supposed to.   So here’s a new idea.  Are you ready?  Plan to fail.

Yep.   You heard me.

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Don’t allow Life Friends in the antique store. Because shenanigans.

 

Not all the time, but make an allowance for it.  Your train is going to derail every once in a while.  Those people who post perfect cakes, and hot workout bodies, and DIY furniture that looks so easy on Pinterest.  Those people do not exist.  So stop comparing your entire existence to them.  On the other side of all of that fluff is probably a normal person just like you and I who happens to be really good at something, but also has their own circus of drama and parody. I like the Robert Pirsig quote that “The only Zen at the top of the mountain is the Zen you bring with you.”   If we can make this a mantra and laugh at the dysfunction when it comes to call, I think we’ll all make it through the week alive.

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Fur real.

Cheers.