2014 Wrap-Up Blog Challenge – Present Your Gifts

Litebeing Chronicles has planned a month full of gifts via her 2014 Wrap-Up Blog Challenge – asking us to look back at 2014 and see what we were presented with – – since I tend to do this exercise each December anyways-

(remember? I list my accomplishments, back date it to January 1st and quickly, efficiently tuck another fulfilled New Year’s Resolution list away!)

and, since I enjoy reading the wrap-ups of others, figured I’d best be a part of it all! 🙂  Thanks litebeing for this wonderful idea!

There are still some dates left – visit 2014 Wrap-Up Blog Challenge to sign up!

What were the Gifts of 2014?

Which lessons did you learn?

Blimey! (is that even how you spell it?) there are so many to choose from – – I learned that by taking steps/actions to care for myself and protect myself, I actually ended up doing a ‘great favor’ for someone else – In July/August time frame, I was frantically busy getting a huge website done, working on extra projects at work and getting extra hours at the library – – I was starting to get overwhelmed and my health started to suffer.

One day, as a long-time volunteer and I were shelving books, I listened as she talked about the direction her life was taking, how’d she’d like to find work nearby, etc.  I, thinking purely of my own overload and how wonderful it would be to not be the only substitute available for call, encouraged her to put in her application to substitute.    And ran the idea by my boss – –

Why not?   Yes, it was a grand idea for me – but wasn’t she already doing the work?  Didn’t she say she’d like to find work locally?   Sounded like a win/win to me –

But honestly, though I was listening to her, liked her and her work ethic, in reality, I was thinking of numero uno when I suggested it – –

Then I got really sick, ended up giving my notice.  I worried somewhat about letting my co-workers down, but I had hit that momentum line in my small business where I could either work myself to death or pick one endeavor to follow – I picked my business.

Last week, I was in the library to research business tax law (yes – I can hear you yawning from here) – As I checked out my tomes and prepared to leave, she leaned over, grabbed my hand and said,

“Thank you so much for getting me this job.  You are the kindest, sweetest person I know and it’s all due to you that I have this job.”

I, surprised, stuttered out,

“It was your good work ethic and performance as a volunteer that got you the job.   But thank you.”

Lesson Learned?  For decades I’ve believed that if I just blindly followed what was best for me, I would leave a path of destruction 5 miles wide behind me – littered with the bodies of the innocent who foolishly got caught in the wake – Having been on the other end of the stick many a time when the actions of others jerked the rug out from under me – Turns out, maybe I don’t have to worry so much about what will happen if I’m good to me first.

Reminds me of a line from the Prayer of Jabez – “Lord, today, bless me first”

The author then clues you in to why – – “…so that I may go forth and help others.”

Oh and though I still haven’t gotten over my tendency to play down any compliment given to me, I did remember to say ‘thank you’ and almost, almost left it at that – – 🙂

How did you serve others?

I’m always trying to serve others – whether they want me to or not – – this is one of my flaws.  At work, always looking for a way to make their job easier.  As a friend, acquaintance, the person standing in line behind you at the store – I listen to your tale of woes, then respond with one of the following:

  1. Alrighty then, that’s horrible, but why don’t we make up a story that you can believe and serves you better – here, let me tell you one….
  2. You want me to go kick their arse?  Cuz sounds like someone needs to…
  3. What you need is (fill in the blank) – now, let’s go get that problem fixed
  4. Here, let me do that for you – it’s my special talent and you’ve got yours – quit wasting your time on this stuff when you could be off somewhere being brilliant at what you’re good at – – –

🙂  So, I’m trying to get better at serving myself, so I’m up to the task of serving others in a more balanced and helpful way.    I know this sounds highly arrogant, but truly, I’m definitely Ms. Fix-It and ya know what?  That’s not always a positive.

It means I often offer advice when someone just needed a friendly ear – – (yes, I’m a very good listener, but at the end of whatever spiel, I’m gung-ho and giving examples on what I did in a similar situation as an option for them to consider – in fact, even in face of my own promises to myself, I’ve once more engaged heavily in this kind of behavior the last 36 hours – but I’m told the dialogue is wanted, so, I continue on – – being me – – ).

It also means that I communicate to others believing they listen to me the same way – and become resentful when I’ve clearly asked for help, but no one realized it – – 🙂

So, I’m trying to back off on performing ‘unasked services’ for others, getting better at taking care of myself so I don’t have to ask for help and we’ll see what I have to say about it at next year’s wrap-up!

Here’s a quote from a counselor I worked with during my marriage –

“I hear that you think anticipating others’ needs is a way to love them and be a good person, but it’s also highly arrogant – can you let them be adults?  Can you wait for them to ask before helping?”

13 years and still trying to learn that lesson – – 🙂

What Blessings did you Receive?

Too many to count but here’s the highlights:

  • Work, glorious paid work and, for the most part, a body healed enough to perform it.
  • Friends have arrived in both physical and cyber form who are more in tune with the ‘me’ I am now – not the one I was before.
  • Some of my personal ‘fix me’ projects have been hugely beneficial to some relationships and allowed me to let go of ones that weren’t good for me.
  • A daily routine that allows me to spend more time on activities I enjoy and less time on ‘have to’s’ – which was my M.O. years ago, but financial fears drove me temporarily back to old, bad habits – fortunately, my body clued me in to the need for course corrections – – 🙂

Was there something you lost that turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Until the ex announced he was dating again and planning on moving in with her next summer, I didn’t realize that at my core, I was still waiting for him to wake up from what I had dubbed his mid-life crisis and want us to be a family again.   Even while swearing I would never allow someone to hurt me like that again – turns out, if he had followed through on his words (which I thought were indicating a reunion, but in actuality were buttering me up to deliver the news)  I probably would have made the same mistake all over again.

So this summer, instead of years ago during my separation and divorce, I went through the grief stage over my failed marriage.  As I went through the process, different scenes played out from our time together and I realized – I had been lying to myself for a long, long time.

Like Scarlett, who took the perfect suit of a man and draped it over Ashley, I, too, had to admit to myself that the signs reading “Danger – won’t turn out good” had been there from the very start.   That I had believed love, support and a willingness to put my emotional needs to the side would make the space for him to heal his own hurts.

Still can’t see where I’ll ever think it wise or safe to date/have a relationship ever again (I didn’t heal that much this summer! 🙂 – on the other hand, think if the time ever comes, I’ll be less likely to wear rose-colored glasses –

Simply because, I threw them in the trash – – 🙂

Did you receive any “gifts” in terms of powers or skills?

Technically, I didn’t receive new ones, I’m just finally acknowledging what I do isn’t easy for everyone else.

I like to read, research, experiment – so to me, if someone is interested, can read and determined – they, too, can do what I do and much, much more….

Apparently not.   For some reason, my ‘view’ of the world allows me to see connections/big pictures that others don’t – sometimes, the connections/root causes I see/deduce can’t even be seen by others once I’ve explained it in full – because they are so focused on the details at one level, they have no room to shove in or decipher information from another slice of the universe – –

Which is good – because I hate to live in one slice of the Universe – – or on one level of a business – or be an expert in one field while letting a million other possibilities slip by the wayside – – I need people like them!

I value their expertise – the way they see things – I depend on them to tell me when I missing key information from that level of detail – but I always assumed that while I couldn’t do what they did, they, with time and effort, could do what I do.

Have had so many examples of why this isn’t true, for so many years, and yet, this year is the one when I finally ‘listened’ – – 🙂

So there you have it – examples for each….but you know what?   They all stem from the same root change in me – the bottom line that if I were truly ‘the kindest, sweetest person in the world’ I would have declared at the beginning of this post and saved you from reading all this – –

“I’m learning to value and take care of myself – without waiting for permission to do so from the external world and you know what?   The world is trucking right along, it hasn’t fallen apart and in many ways, is better because of it.”

Thank you for being a part of my journey this year – – I’ve enjoyed being a part of yours.


Next up in the Present your Gifts Blog Challenge is Leigh!