Road Rage Ah-Hah!

How often have my fellow drivers taken the brunt of my day’s frustration? Probably seven days a week — unbeknownst to them. “Sonofabeetch,” I yell as I pound my fist on my steering wheel. All that happens is that my blood pressure rises and my hand stings. No one yields to my brilliant driving skills or takes the lesson that I am so determined to teach. photo

“Just wait till we get out into the parking lot,” my dad would say in church after we shared “peace be with you’s” with fellow parishioners. “See how spiritual they still are behind the wheel.”  I’ve heard a friend say that she can measure her spiritual fitness by her behaviors whilst driving.  I totally agree!

Recently, I had a road rage ah-hah moment. I was driving to meet a friend for a dinner and I recognized the Jeep in front of me. It was my dear friend who just lost his son to a heroin overdose a few days earlier. I pulled up next to him and blew him a kiss. It dawned on me that no other car surrounding us in that moment had any clue of the tragedy that Jeep driver endured, how heavy his heart was.

On any given day that I buzz by a pokey driver or curse the sudden turn without a proper signal, I may have just encountered an individual on the worse day of his or her life. Or even her absolute most joyous. I aim to bring joy to the lives of my closest friends and family. Why don’t I aim to do the same to all those whose paths’ I cross–even protected by steel on four wheels?

With this road rage ah-hah moment in my head, I’ve at least gained more awareness of my ridiculous rants on the streets. Are you a road-rager or have you had any negative or positive interactions with fellow drivers?

Is It Better to Be Right or Happy?

Who doesn’t love winning a good debate?! It’s a proud moment when eloquence and substance take down a flimsy argument. There’s a time and place for a healthy debate and to stand up for beliefs. Then there are times when it’s just plain silly to stand ground on hard and fast lines.

As a commission-only employee, I’ve seen arguments brew between fellow sales professionals (myself included) and conversations heat up with customers (guilty here, too). We make our living by closing deals and often sink our claws into every opportunity and hold on for dear life. We fight for our customers to our employer and we try reason with our customers on behalf of our employer. We squabble among each other to defend “rules of engagement” and “prospect ownership”. This week I was caught between two co-workers’ battle to “own” a prospect. Each one of these sales professionals threw professionalism out the door in attempt to prove who was right. I just listened and encouraged each to drop it and move on for the sake of salvaging a professional relationship. I needed that reminder–just a few short weeks ago I engaged in a similar argument. I wanted to be right and as a result I was miserable—until I just let it go and apologized for my part.

I’ve taken that to extremes in personal relationships, too. In relationships past, I berated my love interest until he fully understood how badly he messed up. “Do you really understand? Sorry isn’t enough. I need you to tell me exactly how you screwed up! Do you get how that has affected me?” Me. Me. Me. This firing line bordered on abuse. I’ve been on the other end of the squad, too. And it felt awful. I would surrender because I didn’t even understand the argument anymore. It wasn’t worth putting up a fight—I just wanted him to be quiet.

Some wise and experienced people have taught me that I can stop the madness without fully conceding a defeat. I can say, ” You may be right,” or “When I said this was all about me, that was very selfish. For that, I am sorry.” I don’t have to own the whole argument or become a door mat. Sometimes the only way for me to find peace is to take responsibility for my less-than-attractive behaviors and move on.  Beating my head against a wall just isn’t enjoyable. And I still do it from time to time. Then, eventually, I remember that I’d rather be happy than right.

How about you? Would you rather be right or happy?

5 Things I’ve Learned from Candy Crush Saga

Candy CrusSeveral nights over the last few months, I’ve had good intentions of going to bed early to read a book. But only after I exhaust all my Candy Crush lives. Then it’s midnight and then I don’t read. And then I’m mad. I even cried last week playing Candy Crush. The tears didn’t fall for Candy Crush, but the frustrating addictive game didn’t help the situation. There really was no situation–I just needed to cry.

At any rate, I’ve gleaned some things in the midst of this addiction. I’ve spent a lot of time on this game. Too much time? Yes. Probably. Well, definitely too much time. But lessons have been learned.

Things I’ve Learned from Candy Crush Saga

  1. I can recognize my Facebook friends by their profile pic moving along the game board with me. It’s kind of like the game Memory. When I need a life or to unlock the next episode, I can recall a person’s name simply by looking their game piece.Then I can bang on their Facebook door to help a sister out! I’ve gotten to know some Facebook friends better. I know I can always count on Lisa, Kimmy, and Janelle to rescue (enable) me!
  2. Bombs are bad. I hate bombs–virtual colored ones and ones that fall from the sky. All bombs. Bad. Even photo bombs-stupid. I especially hate Candy Crush bombs. (Oh! Did you know that bombs have a shorter life on the mobile app than on the computer version???)
  3. I have threatened to delete the app from my phone…after one more set of full lives…multiple times. But Candy Crush doesn’t care. It laughs at my idle threats. It says, “You failed!” Yet I come back for more. This is what I know about addiction. Until I am absolutely-unequivocally sick and tired of being sick and tired–and not a moment sooner–I won’t let it go.
  4. There’s always room to learn. For example, just last night while I toiled with Level 147, I learned that a vertical striped candy combination will shoot the candy horizontally and vice versa! Good to know! I didn’t discover this on my own. I watched a YouTube video on Level 147. There are numerous videos for every single level. I do not consider this cheating because I will never get the same candy combinations as seen in the video. It’s research. I am learning. And I’m not ashamed for seeking help!
  5. Here’s my biggest take away from Candy Crush: the very thing (Level 147) that has been troubling me for weeks suddenly gives way and is over. The candies stars align. I beat it or luck prevails. Either way, it’s over and done. I get to move on. It’s time to just move on. And what had been the thorn in my side, is just gone and resolved. Thank you, Sweet Baby Jesus and  Buddha.

Anyone out there get what I am saying? Am I alone in the madness of Candy Crush? I know I’m not…I see your face!

Been There. Now Where?

20130911-224548.jpgI am finally letting go of my Tevas that came into my life circa 1995. These bad boys and I have been places. Lots of places. Phish shows at The Gorge and Alpine Valley, Ernie Pyle Hall, a raft in the Blackfoot River, scuba boats in Anguilla and Maui, Hoosier canoe trips, 18 countries throughout Europe, The Vatican, Belize, Pacific Beach-San Diego, Puget Sound, Nantucket, Cape Cod, Lake Michigan.  There’s a chunk of foam missing where Indy, my Airedale Terrier in Seattle, informed me of her boredom. The Velcro barely adheres anymore.

Letting go of them has never entered my mind. They’ve soaked in buckets to defunk and moved to and from more than a dozen houses and apartments. My friend Devon and I recently did a moonlit canoe trip on Eagle Creek Reservoir. We had a near tip and I dipped my Teva-strapped foot in the muck. I almost lost one well-traveled Teva to the moonlit reservoir. I left them out on the back porch to dry…and to not stink up the house. Yesterday I just decided to pitch them.

passportWhy was I holding onto them anyway? When a little sand shook loose from them, I wondered which beach just fell to the floor. These sandals can’t take me back to the places I’ve been. Nor would they be much use for new travels. So, I pulled out my expired passport, passport photos and renewal form. It’s time for a new pair of sandals and new adventures. Not sure where I’ll go next, but no pair of sandals or expired passport will hold me back when the opportunity presents itself!

Have you held onto something long past its expiration date? Is there something you cling to because it is so much than its inanimate form?

Everywhere I Go…

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Photo: Jill Herakovich

There I am! Ever get the urge to bolt out of town in search of a new adventure? I sure do. All too often. Ever since the recent dream smashing, I’ve been dreaming up new dreams—all of which involve somewhere other than here. You probably want to know what the original dream was?!

For years and years, I’ve wanted to go to grad school.  At one point I wanted to get my MBA and be an unstoppable marketing maven. Then I thought I’d like to be a high school English and Yearbook teacher. I’ve even considered fine-tuning my Journalism skills with a master’s degree. The last consideration and my most recent dream-plan was to pursue an MFA in Creative Writing.

My writing instructor/mentor pointed out that fact that I have not been writing every day—specifically working on my fiction project—and said he didn’t believe that I really want to be a writer. I shared with him a few chapters of a novel I’ve started, two of which he’d already read. I hadn’t changed the story much or produced many more chapters (and still haven’t) since our workshop ended in December.

I want to be writer. I am a writer. Perhaps I’m not reading and writing at the caliber of many MFA candidates.  Fair enough. My visions of this pursuit mostly included me wearing leather boots over my jeans and walking through a university campus strewn with fallen autumn leaves—in a new place. New faces and new ideas. Time and space to pursue fiction writing in an supportive environment.  And much of that holds true for me still today. I feel a pull to go explore a new place.

Since it’s unlikely—at this point—that I would be accepted to one of my top 5 programs, I’ve conjured up a new dream. This one also includes packing up and going…here, there, and everywhere. Moose would of course come with me. And writing remains center of it all.

After reading Cheryl Strayed’s Wild this summer, I grew very envious of her Pacific Crest Trail adventure. So, I want to do exactly what she did…except totally different. She hiked hundreds of miles with a monstrosity of a backpack. I’m not going to do that. Not sure I have the guts to camp alone yet either. In my dream, I journey by vehicle mostly—specifically a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, preferably Cashmere Pearl or Billet Silver Unlimited 4×4. I dream to travel the great American National Parks and visit my friends and family speckled across the states.

But here’s the main problem—everywhere I go, there I am! This urge to bolt is a suspicious urge. I’ve sought geographical cures before that didn’t turn out super awesome. I don’t regret them but I don’t want to repeat them either. I’m going to keep dreaming of adventures even though they propose only a temporary fix. Mostly though I’m going to dig into what’s here—right here, right now. I’ve been taught that if I’m seeking outside fixes, there’s an inside job needing attention. I’m actually a very happy person. But I’m always asking myself if this—the here and now—is enough.

How about you? Have any good or bad geographical cure stories to share?

Does the Truth Hurt?

truth_resizedI was fed a large, juicy piece of truth recently by a writing mentor of sorts. Sitting in a bustling coffee shop, I had to fight back the tears with all the pride I could muster. Basically, he took a sledgehammer and whacked my dreams that lay on the table. Just whacked my dream into shards. I wanted to wail and scream, “Who in the world do you think you are?”  But I didn’t. I took it.

It wasn’t like I just sat there and took a beating, though at first that’s what I felt—beaten. After I left the coffee shop with my tail between my legs, I took the juicy piece of truth to heart and then uploaded it to my wobbly mind. My brain waves finally latched onto my go-to mantra from William Shakespeare, “To thine ownself be true.” If I can’t tell myself the truth, I am so screwed!

Now, this mentor by no means gets to define my truth—that by which I live and that drives my core being. That’s between me and the Big Guy in the Sky. For some of my friends, truth is the only god they know. Think about how many famous quotes there are about truth. Or Google it. I did.

  • Three things cannot be long ridden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. – Buddha
  • The truth is controvertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. – Winston Churchill
  • Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth. – Mahatma Gandhi
  • If you are about to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor. – Albert Einstein

Sure there’s brutal honesty, like “You look terrible in those jeans. If I did, I would want someone to tell me.” The person delivering that type of truth is seeking some fulfillment of his or her own, not to be helpful.  Then there’s the blabbing of one’s indiscretions to his wife, relieving himself of a burden only to burden his wife. Yes. Of course the roles could be reversed to a cheating wife. Either way: selfish!

“Speak your truth with love in your heart,” my dear friend Lori tells me. I didn’t quite like the package in which this writing mentor delivered the truth in the coffee shop–not sure I would’ve liked any package. He said that I was being childish, or that’s what I heard anyway. At some point in the conversation , I could see that he was coming at me from a spiritual angle with love in his heart. He was digging at that core in my gut, and my truth bled out onto the table so I could see it.

My coffee shop conversation did not and does not define my truth. But it did make me dig to seek my own truth. I believe that he was trying to just be real with me—truthful. I can recruit an army to cosign on my b.s. any day of the week. It’s not every day that someone cares enough to tell me the truth. The next day I started this website because the truth is that I haven’t been working on my personal writing daily. I’ll tell you more about the smashed (now revised) dreams another day.

So, I ask you, does the truth hurt or does it set you free?

Do You Have Any Children, Meghan?

I get asked this questions at least five times a week. Currently, I am selling new homes and meet lovely families all week long. Most of them have children, whom I give lots of attention.  I love kids and can usually make them giggle. The moms almost always ask me if I have children of my own.

“Nope. No children. Just me and my dog, Moose,” I answer. “Would you like to see pictures?”

Credit: Carrie Hettle www.carriehettle.com

Credit: Carrie Hettle www.carriehettle.com

Is the expectation that a 35-year-old professional female should have children? Or is it just people making light conversation, trying to find a connection? It was recently suggested that I freeze my eggs for future motherhood. That doesn’t sound pleasant to me in the slightest. I can barely imagine having children let alone pulling a potential one out of the freezer. Lord knows I have zero-zilch interest in trying to become a mother all on my own. People, I haven’t even had a date in nearly a year.  The Big Guy in the Sky has other plans for me right now. And I’m cool with it.

Instead of 24-7 baby care, kid carting, and short-order-cooking, I get to love on all of my friends’ wee ones. I get the honor of being Godmother and Auntie Meghan. I get to give Eloise May chocolate cupcake and frosting in her precious pink outfit on the day of her 1-year birthday invite photo shoot–instead of the vanilla that her mother wanted her to have so it wouldn’t ruin her outfit. I get to share blueberry pancakes doused in butter and syrup with the hunkiest 3 year old, Memphis. I get to tell Beau how much I love him even though I only see him once a year.

Eloise. Photo Credit: Sarah Owen

Eloise. Photo Credit: Me

Memphis. Photo Credit: Celeste Brinson Ware

Memphis. Photo Credit: Celeste Brinson Ware

So, yeah, I have children and Moose. Love comes in all shapes and sizes and I have an abundance of it. What do you think? Can a girl live a fulfilling life without fitting into the marital mold and thwart societal expectations with grace?

 

 

Meghan and Moose Make a Website

Meghan and Moose

Welcome to my new site! When I started Random Thoughts and Corn Stalks in 2010, I wrote every single day…for a while. Then I didn’t.  The time has come to get serious–but not too serious–about writing again. I hope to reach and connect with many people and ideas here. But mostly, I need to recommit to my writing. I’m not promising amazing things will happen here but let’s not rule it out.