Thursday, April 30, 2009

"See? I told you so!"

My number at the expo (6/14/08)
Recently, Boxer Girl (another friend of mine) brought to my attention a quote:
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."

I know in my life, this is definately true.

When I drive into the office, dreading my day, and something doesn't go my way, my negative attitude beams with pride. The little voice in my head picks any number of the following responses: "See?! I told ya you should have stayed in bed today. Nothing will go your way. Ha! The world's got it out for you today. You suck!" And my funk deepens as I come to expect the worst will continue to happen to me. Any tiny triumph is very fleeting and I subconciously set myself up to fail. I call this "self-sabotage" (and as my wellness journal will show later today, I've been REALLY good at that lately).

When I drive into the office, expecting to have a good day, and something goes my way, even if it's a tiny "Thank you" from a co-worker, or a completed task, my inner Polly Anna does a dance of joy. That same evil little voice blurts out a, "See?! I told you so! Everything is going to be okay! Good things are comin'. Good things! I can feel 'em!" When something doesn't go my way, whether it's big or small, I'm more apt to see it as a challenge or obstacle to overcome.

I find it funny how that predisposition - that first choice when I get out bed, can set the tone for the entire day.

Everyone needs a good honest friend to translate what we're really saying. I love Sista' Girl for that reason. We get to do that to one another and it's great. If I say, "I can't" do something, it probably really means that "I don't want to do it badly enough" or "I'm scared of that." And we catch each other on that stuff all the time. It's really helpful when one of us calls the other out on things we really just don't want to do or are too scared to do. If I understand that she's scared of something, I can build her up and support her and be there for her. If I understand that she doesn't want to do something - well, we're both stubborn and ain't nothin' gonna move that boot!

So I'll end this blog with a quote I learned in High School that really brought me hope:

"What would you do if you KNEW you couldn't fail?"

I went into last year's Danskin Women's Triathlon not really thinking I could do it. All I knew was that for me, quitting was not an option. During each event, early on into each, I kept hitting that mental brick wall. I found myself rationalizing quitting. "It's too hard." "I can't." "I'm hurt." Like Randy Pausch said, "The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people." Moment by moment, I got through that feeling and just kept going.

And ya know what? I dragged my 5'8, 200lb, out of shape body through it.
Free from the water leg!


Damn that last hill!
I didn't pose for any of the above photos. That's the true, unexpected joy of triumph because I underestimated myself...for years.
I'm eternally grateful to my friend, Bon-Bon, for pushing me out of my comfort zone to do it. She has left a hand print on my heart, and a milestone in my life.
Do what you don't think you can do- just to prove you can. Prove to who? Yourself. As I focus on the upcoming triathlon this year, that's exactly what I intend to do (and I intend to do it at my best shape in years, but that's for the wellness blog).

Embrace those who push you to excell. They are your true friends who are just waiting to say, "See?! I told you so," when you succeed!

Flexing muscles after the race
(Will be posting the official, complete, triathlon blog on my wellness page soon!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trying to control the uncontrollable

"Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it."

Yesterday was a bit of a rough work day. Through some poor communication, I ended up with the surprise duty of taking on a special project that needed to be done yesterday. This was on top of my regular duties, and helping my fellow coders. With school, I don't have time for much overtime, so I'm down to what I can do in 8 hours. And it's a project that doesn't really require a coder's expertise. A clerical person could do it...

Needless to say, I was frustrated.

During my lunch break, I realized that I have no reasonable option other than to do the project to the best of my ability. It was one of those 10% situations I couldn't avoid.

I could control how deeply and how much I let it effect me.

So I vented to a Fly Boy and Sista' Girl and Art Board Girl - all good friends of mine, and I decided to stop resisting the assignment and instead embrace it. I never have to like it, but I have to do it. My options were clearly:

A) Do the project and drive everyone around me crazy with my bad attitude and continued frustration, day after day, until the project is complete,


B) Accept that I have to do the task and focus on getting it done in a productive manner. The sooner it's done, the sooner it will stop needling me.

I chose B. When I got home, I was chatting with Sista' Girl about our upcoming vacation, triathlon, and weight loss plans. Using an old rule I had evoked many years ago, I enforced it on myself - leave work at work.

After a good night's sleep and a productive night at home, I came back to the office today with a clearer head, ready to dive in to whatever they put on my plate. It could be worse. Afterall - I could be out of a job rather than entrusted with a special project.

As they say, "Even though you shake your sword at the sky, you can't stop the sun from setting."

You can either try to fight the sunset (the uncontrollable factor), or you can embrace it and gaze at the sunset. But whether you're glad the day is ending, or wish it never would, it doesn't effect the sun setting. Since frustration and negativity only really serves to bring you down and those around you down as well, embrace it, feel it, and choose your reaction with the best interest for yourself and those around you in mind.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Marathon running = Adult life And the Swine Flu

If I could liken my adult life to anything, it would be running a marathon. Sometimes I run. Sometimes I jog. Sometimes I all out sprint. Sometimes I walk it. But I'm constantly in motion - and I wouldn't have it any other way. I know it's difficult to keep up with, but it's a pace of life I wouldn't trade for all the tea in China. Maybe it's a bit of a "type A personality", though I think I'm type A with a VERY long fuse and more patience (and stubborness) than is probably healthy at times.

This weekend was a great example of my "Marathon" life. And it actually started on Thursday.

After working overtime at my job, I went home, worked out, and crashed for a bit before going out to kareoke with friends.

Friday, I worked overtime, went home, ate, and went out to a movie.

Saturday, I woke up early to take one of the April Birthday Folks this month out to breakfast. We strolled around the streetfair for a bit too before I had to bail to get to San Deigo. There I had dinner with some co-workers, did some shop talk, and passed out the final "Wicked" ticket I had bought for someone. After that, I headed back home for about an hours worth of R&R before going off to a game night with another group of friends.

Sunday, I slept in before taking another one of the April Birthday Folks to a Padre game (where they lost, of course, but good beer and sushi were had by all). After that I headed home for a change of clothes and a rest before going out to another celebratory April Birthday dinner.

Now, it's Monday and I'm looking at a full week ahead of work outs, overtime, homework, and finding time to write an article as well.

It definately seems like the year is flying by, with me only catching streaks and glimpses of it, but the glimpses I've gotten are all good.

Now... if only 1/2 my office weren't out sick today, I'd feel MUCH better!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

EArth Day (no, that's not misspelled)

My company did one of the coolest things for earth day. Since the CEO is a vegan and we're a "certified green" office (whatever that means), we try to leave a small footprint on the environment. It also means we tend to make a BIG DEAL our of this little holiday.

But this year was probably the coolest by far!

In a quick meeting, we were given little pots, soil, and our choice of vegetable seeds. I took a pack of the Beefsteak tomatoes and a pack of Ringmaster onions. Here's the contest:

Each week, for 12 weeks, we are to take a picture of our plant and post it on the company blog. For each week we do this, we'll get a raffle ticket. After 12 weeks, they will draw 2 tickets. Each winning ticket recieves a $50 gift card to Henry's (the local farmer's market style store). I adore Henry's! $50 would mean pretty much a month's worth of food for me (and I mean good stuff, like fresh fruits, veggies, and meats).

Not to mention, I wouldn't have to buy tomatoes and onions. ;)

Keep your fingers crossed for me! Little Red (my tomatoe plant) and Peely (my onion plant) will be going for bust! Let's just hope the bunnies in my area don't get a whiff of this!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4 magic words

This week, I've been reminded of something.

There are four sincere words that can alter the course of just about any reasonable person who is on the anger/war rampage.They might not be what you think!

"Thank you." and "I'm sorry."

I'm quick to apologize. That's not to say I hand out insincere apologies all over the place, but I do know the steps to making a heartfelt apology work.
1) Admit what you did and that it was wrong.
2) Apologize for it sincerely.
3) Ask what you can do to improve the situation.

Step 3 is tricky. There may not be anything you can actively do. It may be something that has to happen on the other side. The person has to decide wether to forgive you and stop hurting or being angry, etc. But that's their decision and out of your control. Most acts of true forgiveness take time.

I still work hard on the "Thank you". Most people get angry when they feel underapperciated or that their efforts have not been acknowledged. (I know this is usually the reason I get peeved.) Even the most giving person appreciates having their efforts acknowledged.

In the end, if someone is on the war path and just wants to be angry, there's not much you can do to soothe them. So that leaves you with the choice. You can take it as a personal afront, or decide to let it roll off your shoulders.

You can't always choose your situations in life, but you can choose your reactions. This is something I keep in mind when faced with an emotional situation that seems overwhelming. I can choose to let it drown me, or I can take a tip from Dory and "Just keep Swimming".

Speaking of swimming... I better get over to my Wellness blog to update that one!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Calling

It's simple. It always has been. I've always sung. Always. According to my parents, I've been at it since I could talk.

After taking almost 4 months off of it, I found myself going back to Kareoke night at a favorite little joint (at the fervent invite of John-boy, one of my dearest friends visiting from out of town). And I'm so glad I didn't pass it up. Now, it's probably going to be a weekly adventure once again.

There's just something about when the music starts, everything seems to come into focus. Singing isn't as much "work" for me as my other passions (acting and writing coming to mind first). It only took a few notes from that first song that night ("Call Me When You're Sober") for things to "settle".

I equate finding your calling to that feeling of coming home after a long absence. After awhile, you get used to missing that feeling. You don't even realize you miss it. But as soon as your back, it grabs your soul and doesn't let go.

So it's back to the studio and back to a regular kareoke night for me! You'll be able to catch me at Mr. C's () at least twice a month (most likely weekly though).

- J. Darling

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

While we're on the topic of dreams...

I've been giving a lot of thought to my ever-evolving list of dreams. So here's a short list of some things near and dear to my heart in the coming year...I only had 3:30 seconds so I couldn't mention everything, but here are some biggies.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dreams, passions and Disney

A word about passion -
I believe it's one of the most important reasons for living life. If you're not persuing something your passionate about in ONE aspect of your life... well, I think that's what they call "depression".
I was definately blessed with a healthy dose of passion! I've been a passionate dreamer from day one. A few of the things I'm desperately passionate about are:
Reading (especially fantasy literature)
Art (all kinds)
Music (and musical theater)
and Disney.

That's right... on that last one, Disney has been a life long passion that has hung in there. Other than sucking my wallet dry from time to time, I never really thought that it would do much for me. Turns out, it sparked a deep appreciation for art, attention to detail, and storytelling. None of those things have ever changed, or even decreased over the years. And I'm, glad to report that it seems to be doing me good!

As I get more active in the "fan" community, I've started to write a regular column for the Celebrations magazine! You can subscribe at to check out the articles. I will not be posting them ANYWEHERE ELSE. However, I will start up a blog pretty soon with trip reports, reviews and the like.

Lately, I've stumbled over a love for, well, love at Disney. I'd been following several Disney World wedding posts on various fan sites just for fun. Yes, I know - they are extraordinarily expensive. But, hey, everyone (male or female) needs a decent does of dreaming daily. (Afterall, dreams breed hope, even if they fall by the wayside or are forgotten from time to time as life moves on.) Today, I treated myself to videos on one of favorite Disney Wedding Bloggers. Since I've been following her blog for probably over a year not, here's the address for fellow Disney dreamers to check out. . Carly and Kyle have been great about documenting their experience and their joy and love of each other and life (and all things Disney) just overflows from the screen. I hope to start up a blog that's NEARLY that well recieved.

In the mean time, I'm about to jump into the shower and head up to Disneyland for the night get some photos of the Tiki Room for my most recent article.

Some people have said that dreams are useless. That they prefer reality. They can't seem to fathom that things like dreams have any use when it comes to everyday living. Well, I'm not completely opposed to that way of thinking. We all have difficult realities and challenges to deal with, but dreams keep us inspired, motivated, and they give us hope for a brighter tomorrow.

I may never live my millions of Disney dreams. Or perhaps my dreams won't turn out like I imagine they would - but that's the fun of life - seeing where this great adventure takes us.

So as I pack up to head up to Disneyland solo for a photo trip, I encourage my readers here to keep dreaming and instill in others the value of those dreams. They are what makes us unique. They are beyond any monentary value. And they remind us that we aren't "stuck" or "trapped" in our lives (though, when I'm working 6 days/week, 10 hour days, it can certainly feel that way!). We are architecs of our future.

And when two dreamers come together, like Carly and Kyle, the sky truly is the limit.

Congrats you guys!