My friend was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer recently. She had surgery and now they are evaluating her condition to see if she needs chemo or radiation.
I was in the women’s sauna at the YMCA feeling sorry for myself. All the ladies had great lean bodies. I do not. But I’m working on it. A lady came in and I thought ‘Finally someone that’s a bit plumper like me.’ Then I noticed she had one breast. She didn’t try to hide her scar with a towel and met my gaze with beautiful hazel eyes. I was glad I was in the sauna and no one could tell if it was tears or sweat rolling down my face.
I thought about another friend who is going through a tough time with a family member and another whose love life didn’t work out the way she thought it would. And I cried/sweated some more. I don’t know who I was crying for: the woman in the gym? She didn’t need my tears? My friend with breast cancer? Nah. She’ll kick cancer’s ass. My friend whose love life didn’t turn out the way she thought it would? I don’t thinks so. She’s wickedly tough. Or were the tears for my friend whose loved one is having a rough time? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.
I’m great at wishing people happy birthday or cheering people up when they are blue. But for hardcore events, I’m speechless. I want to say something nice, caring, and inspiring but don’t know what’s appropriate.
I went to school with a woman for several years (middle school and high school) whose young son died in a tragic accident. It was obvious that she and her family were in terrible emotional pain over this event. I looked at everyone’s responses on Facebook but still didn’t know how to express my feelings to her. I couldn’t say “God has a plan for us all” or “Trust in God and all will be well” because frankly if I were in her shoes, I’d pretty pissed off.
My good friend’s husband asked her for a divorce in an email. This happened right in the middle of the holidays. And to make worse, he left her for another woman. You can’t come back with “Better luck next time” or “I always thought he was a loser”. Oh no.
So I turned to Google. It turns out there are quite a few resources for these experiences. Search for “Condolence on a divorce” or “death in the family – what to say”. There are even resources on how to write a sympathy card. It may take you a few searches to find what you are looking for. I have saved some of the sites for future use. Don’t let not knowing what to say keep you from saying something heartfelt.
Recently I was hanging out with my friend Amy and we were discussing women in our lives who weren’t good friends. You know who they are. They either ignore you until they break up or have a fight with their significant others. Or they just talk about themselves and their interests non-stop. Or (my favorite) they only contact you when THEY need you.They don’t ask you about what your occupied with or show any interest in you. You know, your basic fair weather friend. Why are we still friends with these people? That’s another blog post.
So how do you be a good friend? You need to regular quality time with your friend. Maybe you having a standing lunch date once a month or you visit the antique warehouse a few times a year. Perhaps you both enjoy the weekly spin class together. It doesn’t really matter what you do but it should be regular and it should be a shared experience.
Then you need to communicate with one another. In normal healthy relationships, one person talks and the other person listens. With bad friends, one person talks while the other one wonders when her turn is coming. Ask questions like “What are you working on now?” “What are you passionate about?” “How did the Brazilian waxing go?” “Did you ever get that infection cleared up?” (just kidding) Each person needs to feel that they are valuable and so are their thoughts and feelings.
A real friend will help you bury the body and never ask a question. You need to be there for each other no matter what. A real friend will pick you up from the drunk tank or from jail or perhaps from an abusive boyfriend without judging or making comments. A good friend will take you out for drinks to celebrate your promotion or bring you soup when you are sick or in the event of your death will clear the history on your computer. I’m being intentionally dramatic to make a point. It’s easy to celebrate the good times but you need to support each other during the downswing.
Have their back. This goes along with supporting each other during a downswing. Don’t gossip about them. Have their back when they aren’t around. If you know they are going through a rough time, call them. Send them a nice card. Take them out to lunch. Notice the small things.
I think being a good friend goes back to being the type of friend you want to have. You can’t keep score. You have to be a stand up kind of person. Have respect for them and their situation. If you can’t do the small stuff like phone calls and supporting each other, why are you friends?
I was unlocking my bike after working out at the 24 Hour Fitness and overheard a conversation that literally made me want to run after 2 guys and punch them. Two sweaty guys who appeared to be in pretty decent shape walked past me talking about triathletes.
Guy 1: “Cause you know only about 10% of them are gifted athletes…”
Guy 2: “Yeah only about 10% of them.”
Guy 1: “And the rest are….”
Guy 1: “Yeah real wannabes”
Please note: neither of these guys appeared to be a professional athlete. These guys looked like they spent a few hours a week at their local sports bars harassing female servers. I was aghast at what they said. Wannabes? Really?
Urban Dictionary defines wannabe as the following:
Poser, follower, a charlatan of sorts. One who copies or immitates all or most of the aspects dealing with their idol. They may wish to have certain clothing, skills, vocabulary, etc., of their idols instead of their own. Most likely a wannabe is lacking in self confidence and is looking for guidance.
Anyone professional athlete, weekend warrior, or a newbie who trains for something like a triathlon is not lacking in self confidence. Someone who sacrifices personal time to complete a goal is not a charlatan. These individuals deserve much more respect than what the two jackhole’s gave them. And I along with a lot of people I know are wannabes according to the definition provided by these two geniuses.
I didn’t know what else to call this post. I mean I all ready do A LOT of self improvement: classes, exercise, and read but I think I need to focus on two areas to make my life better or more meaningful. Ok. I need to back up. I am reading Jen Lancaster’s “My Fair Lazy” where she embarks on a
“Eliza Doolittle-esque project of cultural self-improvement”
I started thinking about my own relationships with people After my friend Amy (for the 4 billionth time) encouraged me to quit wasting energy on ranting about a specific individual who manages to crawl under my skin with ever Tweet and stupid comment on my Facebook page (see I’m all ready getting irritated). I’m not sure why this person irritates me so badly but I have a few theories I am too ashamed to admit. I read an article aptly named “How to Deal with Difficult People”. I have a history of dealing with these people quite poorly. From family members to strangers to coworkers, I am have a difficult time letting issues go. For me there is no letting it go. I will analyze and theorize on why someone said this or did that until I am feeling crazier than Courtney Love. Please understand I don’t get violent or scream at people but sometimes I want to.
So my project is to learn how to deal more effectively with these difficult people and letting it go…..My first stop is the public library. I have all ready found several books that hold the promise of teaching techniques that don’t involve physical violence or verbally assaulting others. I’m on board with techniques all the way.
The second part of my life that I feel I need to work on is harder to put into words. It’s a mishmash of creating the life you want/finding motivation/ time management if that makes any sense. I feel I have a lot going on and need to bring some structure into the chaos. It’s not really chaos but I would feel better if I had a plan of some sorts.
So off I go to the public library in search of knowledge and peace.
I’ve outgrown my neighborhood gym and am moving up to a bigger ‘corporate gym’ that has multiple locations, pool, group classes,etc. I’ve been going to the same gym on and off for over five years. For some reason I feel guilty about moving on. Last night after I ran, I spoke to the owner about my upcoming half marathon knowing this was probably going to be the last time I sought his advice in his gym. I felt sad.
But along with the guilt is the realization that I need more for my money. With my swimming and gym fees, I was paying almost $45 a month. I cannot afford that. The new gym is about $30 a month and has a pool. The old gym is slowly but surely falling apart. There are water leaks, broken equipment, and the place could use a deep cleaning. I am seriously about the cleaning part.
In preparing to move away from the old gym, I did discover that almost every gym will allow you to work out for at least 7 days on a guest pass. I really encourage you to take advantage of this option. I went to a couple of different gyms each at different times to get a feel for the amount of traffic and potential issues that might arise. I went at lunch and at 5pm which are high volume times. I also read a lot of online reviews of the gyms to look at the experiences other people have had. And I talked with friends about their experiences. Then I worked out at my old gym for the last 30 days of my six month prepaid membership to ensure that I did indeed want to leave.
So today I embark on a new adventure. It’s an adventure to me as I work out as much as my busy schedule will allow (which lately has not been as much as I would like). I’m excited about some of the group classes as I’ve always wanted to take a spin class. The new gym has a variety of classes that I want to try out. So I will let you know how the adventure turns out.
I know you were all waiting with bated breathe over my skin issue. Quick recap: the last few months my skin has been breaking out so badly I thought I was going through puberty again. My face was so greasy that OPEC could have drilled. People suggested it was hormones, stress, allergies, etc. Like most women I’ve bought and tried new products in the last couple of months so it could have been allergies. I’ve been under a lot of stress. And hormones! It can always be tied to hormones.
I changed face lotions to a product that is hypoallergenic and won’t clog my pores. My skin is doing much better. I will post some photos as things start going back to normal. Thanks for all your help and concern.
There are times that life seems dismal and all hope is gone. Then I talk to my mom. She talks about her job and more specifically her boss. Then I know that all hope isn’t lost. Everything is going to be okay. Or I check the mail and there is a letter from my mother-in-law with two gift cards in there. And I know Andy and I will soon be drinking some two buck Chuck (actually it is 2.99 in Oregon)!
What my pathetic brain is trying to say,despite the overall lack of sleep, is that we are so blessed to have such a wonderful family and great friends. I know I can call my father-in-law (and overall favorite good guy) Bill and ask advice anytime he’s not teaching or flying (which I believe might be sometime in August 2010). I can bug my brother for financial advice or brag about my current GMAT practice score (over 500 so far!!) My dad sends us care packages with enough peanut products to keep me happy for at least a few weeks. What an awesome family!!
My friend Amy has patiently (really!) listened to me talk about grad school for almost a year without complaining or smacking me. She’s always good for a game of air hockey and a few beers. Andy’s friend Dave has helped both of us out too many times to count. Our other friends like Anne, Leah, and the rest of the gang are too awesome for words (mostly because I am so exhausted).
Love you all! And thank you. For everything.
Posted in Feelings
If you’re like many Americans who have recently been laid off, you might be thinking now what? I know I was. Here is my advice for those who suddenly find themselves with a lot more time on their hands.
Day one (the day of the lay-off):Tell everyone of your personal contacts that you are now exploring your options or open to new adventures however you want to word it. Give them no more than three different jobs you are looking for: event planning, social media, and marketing assistant. Send them copies of your resume. Next apply for unemployment.
Now go and lay down for awhile. Getting laid off is nerve wracking, stressful, and painful. Change into your comfort clothes, grab your blanky and lay down for awhile. You cannot make good decisions when you are in this state. I suggest taking a couple of hours to rest.
Now after you’ve had some time to rest and clear your head, call your mom or the person who always believes you are special and wonderful. (If you don’t have one of those, let me know. I have several and could loan you one.)Let them tell you how great you are. Don’t interrupt-it’s rude. Just sit and listen.
Fix yourself a nice meal or take one of your friends up on their offer for a meal out. Enjoy yourself. Eat some butter, have a second roll, or add sour cream to that potato. Your problem is still going to be there tomorrow. When I got laid off, my mom told me to wait until the next day to do anything. Her rational was that I wasn’t going to solve anything that night. She was right, of course.
So eat your icecream or drink your beer. Remember that it really is going to be okay. Really. Bad things happen to everyone and it’s how you deal with those situations that is really the true measure of your character.
I dedicate this blog post to my mom who is one of the most amazing people ever. No matter what happens to her or the people around her, she always has a plan. I think President Obama should give her a call. Seriously. I also need to thank all of the people in my life who have helped me through my ordeal. You know who you are. Thank you!
Tomorrow’s blog post: Day Two It’s Time To Get Busy So Get Out of Bed!!
This afternoon I got a call from a headhunter. An acquaintance of my mine had provided my information to this individual. Although I was glad that someone who didn’t even know me wanted me to work with them, I was slightly disturbed by the call.
This headhunter wanted me for a sales position and spent about 23 minutes explaining what the difference between account management, marketing, and sales. Wait- I think I am getting ahead of myself.
First the headhunter asked what I did at my current job. I explained my duties as an Assistant Account Manager which include taking care of customers. Then he asked what I was looking for in my career. I explained that I had a Bachelors in Marketing and felt that although I enjoy what I do now, I would be moving in that direction. He asked what I enjoyed about marketing. I replied that I enjoyed the creativity among many other aspects.
I’m not sure if I offended him or what. He then launched into a monologue of what sales meant in detail. He explained the differences in a Business Development, Account Management, and Sales Manager positions. He kept using the word traditional and seemed to have a fair amount of disgust for companies that advertised for a Sales Manager when the position didn’t actually manage any people.
He felt that traditional marketing had two different positions: branding or lead generation. I didn’t interrupt at this juncture because I felt that he didn’t understand how the world was evolving. Or was it me that didn’t understand how this traditional world worked.
The phone call really bothered me because this guy insisted that what I was currently doing was sales. Not account management but hard core sales. Over the last few years, I have resisted every effort to become a sales person. I think it’s because of the idea I have of a sales person. You know tacky suit, winking, and giving the thumbs up. Never mind that I work with several sales people who wear very fashionable clothes (Leah has great shoes!) and have never given me a thumbs up.
I like being creative and coming up with new ideas on how to reach potential customers. I like the lead generation aspect of marketing. I like the messaging and strategy part of communication. I like events such as new product launches and trade shows. I like researching competitors. I like packaging. This is MARKETING!!
I think what also bothered me is that this guy was attempting to define me, my company, and my work. What I forgot is that this guy is also a salesperson. He’s trying to sell a position and a company. Once people start blurring job descriptions, it makes his job really tough. Imagine if your sales channels started mixing around. It would make your job harder as a salesperson.
So define yourself. Don’t let others do it for you.