“We don’t accomplish anything in the world alone and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry off one’s life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that create something.” ~ Sandra Day O’Connor

I finally realized that if I want to connect – or re-connect – with people, then I might have to, you know, actually do something. Like reach out to them. My mindset was that yes, I wanted to connect with people, to make friends and rekindle old friendships, but that it was the other person’s responsibility to initiate the connection.

What, did I think they were going to read my mind?

I finally had to get over myself – and what I admit is a strong fear of rejection and / or inadvertently offending someone – and just, well, reach out.

So far, some successes and some misses. In the sense that I haven’t heard back from people I emailed, or messaged on Facebook.

But I’m trying to be okay with that. I reached out. I said what I wanted to say – for example, in one case, an apology for ghosting someone years ago – and it’s now up to them to determine if they want to get back in touch with me. But I certainly feel, well, better, for having at least sent the damn email.

I can say I want to connect but then hole up in my little apartment. I can say I want to have friends but then… never go anywhere, or accept any invitations. It doesn’t work that way. Putting myself out there is hard – particularly for an anxious introvert, ha! – but I hope it will be worth it.

To put it even more simply…

Image result for nothing changes if nothing changes quotes

Random thoughts

I know I usually start with a quote and then write about that, but this morning my brain is just full of random thoughts… So rather than start with a quote, I thought I’d just write then see if anything fits it. We’ll see how this goes…

1. I don’t usually talk to anyone until someone else shows up at work – usually around 8 am. By that time, I’ve been up for, well, let’s just say a while. (I get up really really early. It’s an odd quirk of mine and drives my spouse crazy; a topic for another post, to be sure.) That’s not to say that I don’t encounter people, but that I either just say hi, good morning, or say nothing at all. The other people at the gym – I know who they are, I see them almost every day, but we don’t interact other than the occasional comment or wave. I say good morning to the bus driver. I rarely if ever encounter anyone in my apartment complex who’s also up at that time. So by the time someone else gets here who I can have a longer conversation with, well, this introvert is actually ready to talk. It’s interesting – and so different from how my mornings were elsewhere.

2. I had to do a brain dump this morning to remind myself of all the different things and projects and analyses and grants I have going on. I was having a hard time this week remembering where, exactly, each project is, who’s working on it with me, and what the next necessary steps are.  It helped, a lot. It also reminded me that I have a lot going on.

3. I can so easily set goals in my professional life; not so much in my personal life. I don’t know why this is. I try to, I really do, and then I usually don’t achieve them. It’s odd. Maybe I just need to try harder? Write a personal to-do list, the way I do with my work-related stuff? I don’t know, but it’s something I should probably work on, as there are things I want to try and change in my personal life. Or, perhaps a bucket list type of approach would work. Hm. I need to think about this one more.

4. 2 vacations coming up with family. I hope I’m ready for this. I’m eagerly anticipating them, but my mother is now involving me in the minutiae and I’m reminded of why I love having her just do things, rather than asking me for my opinion and my input. It’s so, well, easy when someone else does the work. Time to step up, I guess. And time to come to grips with the fact that I actually, despite some major differences, really like my family. I’m lucky.

5. We finally got some good news medically for a family member who’s had some issues recently, which was a huge,  huge relief. It seemed like the blows just kept coming, and this was a welcome reprieve. Here’s what’s strange – I haven’t shared this information with anyone. Which is strange, because usually when there is good news I want to share it with at least a few close others, but this time… yeah, not sure why I’m keeping it close, but I am.

6. I love sports. I love watching SportsCenter in the morning. I have a lot of random knowledge of sports, but I never, ever use that information in the rest of my life. It’s like this separate little piece of my brain. One that very few know about it. It’s just another thing that’s weird about me.

And, oh, there, that might be the common thread here. I’m weird. I’m strange. I’m trying to embrace it.

And here’s the quote. I think I used this one before, but it’s still so appropriate.

“I’m fine with being strange, but I’m tired of people telling me I’m strange.” Carolyn Hax (wonderful advice columnist for the Washington Post)

Books of my childhood…regrets, nostalgia, and paths not taken

I wrote about nostalgia a few days ago…then had another bout of it this weekend.
There was some regret woven in there, too, and that makes it harder to move past it.
It reminded me, again, that the path I am on may not be (well, is not) the path that I thought I’d be on.

I don’t know if I’ve written about the fact that I do not have children.

I don’t. It was a hard choice, but one that we came to after trying for a long time, attempting some relatively noninvasive interventions, and deciding that we did not want to go further down that road. So we veered off. I took another path, one that I rarely regret.

But this weekend, I felt a pang of nostalgia and a tinge of regret, at a library book sale, of all places. I was digging through the children’s books, always on the lookout for books of my childhood, old favorites that I’d love to add (back) to my shelves. So many books I remembered, so many covers that immediately looked like old friends. And I wished that I had a child with whom I could share those books, that passion for falling into another world, going through the doors that books open wide.

I know this would have been my role in parenting – to say my spouse is not a reader is the understatement of the year (he didn’t know about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle!!?!? How is that even possible?). One that I would have embraced wholeheartedly.

One that I was not able to take on.

I felt the pang of regret, the nostalgic longing for the relative simplicity of childhood, the momentary second-guessing of the path I chose over 10 years ago.

And then I returned to my quiet apartment, to an afternoon of reading a bunch of different books (I can’t be reading just one at any time…) and was reminded that the path I’m on now is a pretty good one. 


Never assume…it just makes an ass out of you and me. 
So, my 6th grade teacher was the first person I ever heard say this. I could not believe that she said “ass” in front of a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds… But I still think it on a regular basis, because honestly I have never learned my lesson adequately when it comes to assuming. 
Yesterday it came back to bite me because I just assumed that I had not received an expected email with an assignment for a meeting yesterday because something had changed on the other person’s end. I didn’t want to be a pest – this is a pretty important person at my university – so I just assumed, went about my business…. and then found out that I did not get the email because of a typo on their end, and a failure of the system when it didn’t reject that email (because the email address they used does not exist… who knows where it went?). 
By assuming, I set myself up for an afternoon of frustration and annoyance, and then time spent afterwards trying to figure it out. Sigh. 
I also made an assumption about my spouse’s career goals – I can’t go into detail, but suffice to say that they are not as ambitious as I thought they might be. Not wanting to go after a potential promotion. I had always assumed that if the opportunity arose, they would take it but apparently that is not the case. So, yeah. Bad assumption on my part… me, as someone who would take the promotion, who strives to succeed in her field. 
So, trying – AGAIN – to remember not to assume. But I know I’ll make an ass out of myself more times that I can count in the rest of my life. Such is life as a human, I suppose. 

Convergent and divergent views of the world

I don’t have a quote for this one, but it’s been in the front of my mind for a few days now, as I start thinking about an upcoming vacation I have with my parents. Well, 2, actually.

And here’s the thing: we could not have more divergent views of the world. I don’t know how and when it happened, but my perspective on life and others and how things should be is, well, completely different from theirs. They watch Fox News (sigh…). I, to put it mildly, do not. I choose not to respond to many of the opinions and perspectives they put in their emails to me, because I simply do not want to engage. Suffice to say that we just view the world very differently. I’ve come to terms with that. I know that we will never, ever agree politically. It’s so hard to just walk away sometimes, but I do love them, I do want them in my life, and to do that I have to be willing to NOT engage even when every fiber of my being screams at me that I need to speak up, respond, make my case for my approach to life.

Yet, I also find myself hearing their voices in my head, multiple times per day. I don’t think we ever get away from our childhoods and how we were raised. So there are vestiges – ghosts, perhaps? – of their beliefs that still flit across my mind (and apparently my inner ear) on a regular basis.

Yesterday was a classic example. I was confronted with two instances where people were complaining but not taking action. This is a pet peeve of mine, to be honest – if you’re going to complain about something but not try to actually change the situation or address the problem (assuming, of course, that it can be changed and / or addressed safely), then it’s really hard for me to listen to you complain about that situation or problem.

The first was a colleague complaining about not having help and not being able to get anything done. Part of me wanted to say, well, if you worked on what you want to accomplish instead of spending all this time complaining about it, perhaps you could demonstrate that having help would actually make your work move forward faster. But instead, I bit my tongue and tried to make helpful suggestions.

The other instance was a bit frustrating – I went in to heat up my lunch, and encountered a microwave with a post it on the front that had “Wow, gross” written on it. So I (of course) opened the door to discover that someone had managed to explode tomato sauce all over the microwave and… had not cleaned it up. All I could think was that the post it note could not possibly be LESS helpful. If you’re going to take the time to do that, perhaps you could rouse yourself to clean it just this once, then follow up by asking people to please remember that these are shared spaces. I mean, really. It took me 1.5 minutes with the cleaning spray and a paper towel to get it cleaned up and usable again.

And the voice I heard in my head during both of these instances? My mother. Saying her classic slogan, “Just do it!”

Despite my growth away from their beliefs, there are still some things that are so ingrained in me that I think them almost automatically. I’m okay with this – as long as I don’t start watching or following Fox News. (Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen…)