#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 15 (Final) My Epic Success and Failure

Friday, March 27th, 2020 – 6:24pm – The Ending Of my Challenge.

The good news is, in so many ways, my 30-day challenge, that I only ½ completed, was a great success. It pushed me to write at times I’ve never written before. That was huge.  Breaking out of my systematic way of writing by hand and then transferring written work to a digital format was/is time consuming. I feel comfortable in saying, I don’t need to do that anymore.   Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer to write with pen and paper, especially when it comes to my journal or writing the first draft of my second book, but I’m not against writing straight from keyboard anymore. In that sense, mission accomplished!   

My failure is that this coronavirus situation in our country and world has done me in something fierce.

Emotionally, I’m an absolute mess. I’m keeping it together, mostly for my friends and family. I have family who work in hospitals and clearly we’ve all heard the horrible circumstances they’re dealing with just not having enough of the basic equipment and gear (PPE’s) to do their jobs.  But there’s also a mental toll they’re taking on. Watching people die. That’s hard at any time.  Sure, it’s part of their jobs but it’s never easy. It’s made even harder because it’s continuous. And, I’m sure, some people would not die during this pandemic if we had been more prepared.  If our government… 

I can’t even go there. This is not about THAT. My point is, being there for my friends & family on the front line as best I can – listening to them when they finish a shift, is what I can do to help them.  But hearing them vent and just watching the toll it’s taking on them has been heart-wrenching to say the least. I don’t let them know I’m crying, I want to be strong for them. But inside I’m dying. And when I finish the call, I cry. Deeply.  And then I move onward.   

I have friends – mi familia – with young children who’ve never had to spend this much time with them regularly. In one way, it’s very funny.  I remember these friends wanting so desperately to have children. And of course, they love their kids, but yeah, damn!  I couldn’t spend that much time with a 6 year old either, let alone 4 of them.  I’ve done my best to answer every call and be the “Auntie” who’ll talk to the kids for a bit on WhatsAPP or Skype or Zoom just to give mom or dad a break.  I mean it’s not much, but it’s what I can do to help. Again, I don’t share how bad I feel for them – but after I’m done, I say a prayer for all them. 

I have a couple of friends whose marriages were on the rocks to begin with but now this situation is making it even worse in a lot of ways.  Relationships are hard always. Harder when you’re basically in quarantine and your responsibility is to your kids.  So… I’m happy to hear them vent too. One of my friends shared a glass (or bottle actually) of wine over Zoom.  I literally watched her get drunk via video cam, all while she complained about her fiancé.  Yikes!  

I’ve also had to revamp my own job/business. Like everyone else, I’ve been considering long-term changes to my own industry and possible job/client loss and adjusting accordingly. It’s tough.  I’ve seen major businesses get stuck in this and I’ve heard small business owners and CEO’s cry because they had to let their staff go and can’t pay them anything because they have no sales to cover the costs. Better to let them file for unemployment…  It’s been sad to listen too and yet I continue to do my job as well – even though I know I’m not getting paid either. It’s the right thing to do. 

My epic failure, if you will, is not being able to finish the challenge because by the time 9pm rolls around and I eat my dinner and think about my writing challenge, I end up falling asleep – lately on the couch, with the TV on, watching some show I was sure to start binging, humming in the background.

So, I’m okay with finishing my 30-day challenge today.  I didn’t complete it, but I accomplished my goals and for that I’m so grateful. 

More importantly, I’m so blessed to have so many friends and family who feel comfortable to talk to me or reach out to me when they need a hand. I wish it were like normal times where life was just doing it’s thing and we were all hanging out together because that’s what people do – but this works too.  Our true character is tested not when things are easy, but when things are hard.  And so far, I think I’m doing okay. 

I hope you are too.

Much love & thanks for stopping by.

Carm~  

This just made me feel so good… We all need a little more joy.

#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 4

Sunday, March 8, 2020 9:16pm – LA Marathon & a great 11yr old.

Oh, today was challenging to say the least!  I woke up knowing I wouldn’t be running the LA Marathon, something that I had registered for and had hoped to add to my other three completed marathons. But, it just wasn’t meant to be for so many reasons. And I’m not sure I’ll try again next year. Maybe 3 marathons is enough.  And yet, I can’t lie, a part of me knows in my heart, I’d love to finish one more.  Hmmmm…

Today was also a wonderful day because I got a message from my sweet God-Daughter Julianna, wishing me a lovely International Woman’s day. She’s 11 years old now and we spent the weekend together a couple of weeks ago – we went to the movies, had dinner, talked all things Marvel, the 80’s (for some reason she’s really hooked on the 80’s), did a  work-out with Centr6, went for a 3 mile beach walk and just shared the best time together. Hanging out with her is just pure joy. Clearly, I don’t have kids – and honestly, I never wanted them. But I do love them and I get along with most kids pretty easily.  I used to think that my favorite ages were 3-5ish, but you know, 11 is pretty cool too. Although I think that may have more to do with the fabulous Julianna. She’s always been a great kid and I’m so lucky she has parents who have always wanted me to be a big part of her life.  In so many ways, I have the best of all worlds. 

I’ve gotten super organized today because this week will prove to be a little crazy. I have 4 projects to get through this week and I hope to get it all done. I actually have no choice BUT to get it done so – maybe I’m feeling a little stressed.  Did I mention that none of these projects guarantee any real money?  It’s one of those things you do when running your own business in hopes of generating more money. Gotta invest in your company. Seriously, a lottery win of a few hundred thousand dollars is truly all I need to get a jump start.  Is that really so much to ask for? Hahaha!  Apparently. Oh well. I’m grateful. My life is pretty good and I know that every day. Could it be better? Sure. But I also know it could be so much worse.  So, I revel in the good. 

I wonder if other people have mentally budgeted out how much money they would need to just clean the slate and start over?  $300K would change the entire game for me.  I know, it sounds like a lot of money, but people throw that money around like nothing in this town.  I pass by many cars on my run in my own neighborhood that could change my life.  Ha!  There’s this one house that has a Tesla, Ferrari and a Bentley parked right in the driveway.  I pass by it every day – all the cars are black, with black tinted window. The house is of course lovely – and every time I pass by I think how one of those cars alone could pay my rent for at least 3 years!  Imagine that? Eeeh, I send them a blessing every time I go on by.  Next time, maybe I’ll take a pic with my phone – I think about that every time I go by as well. It is kind of a sight actually.  All three cars are perfectly parked – black against a huge white house, like a canvas…  There’s something artistic about it as well. I’m sure completely intentional.

That’s it. Happy sweet week to everyone!  I hope we all have a GREAT and surprising week that brings us all lots of happiness and hell, yeah, I’mma wish we all win the lottery in some way as well.  Ha! 

Carmen

#30 Days Trying to Find Joy Challenge – Day 2

Friday, March 6, 2020 – 9:00pm – Random, TikTok, Client Advice

I’m already annoyed. Does anyone actually READ people’s blog post? I rarely comment on people’s post because I don’t want to say something mean, if I can’t say something nice.  But I’m shocked most days by how many people ‘like’ a blog post when the content is…well, NOT “likable” enough – and I’m just trying to be nice about saying it that way.  Wow. 

On Twitter today, I reminded people that social media isn’t real life [[[IT’S NOT PEOPLE]]]. I encouraged people to really find a way to talk to REAL people in REAL life because honestly, social media – especially Twitter is toxic as all hell most days. Social media needs to find its place in our lives and I’m afraid it’s finding the worst in all of us. The part of us that just wants to bitch and moan and complain and find fault in everyone but ourselves.  Wow. Horrible. People really need to focus on trying to be kind. Having joy. Seriously. I’m shocked by how much people thrive on being cruel to other people — most times, for no real reason. Sad.

Today was a tough day. Actually the entire week was hard. I had a great conversation with a client out on the East Coast today and somehow, I found some joy in that. She’s in the midst of making some hard choices, but today it felt so good to walk her through it.  It’s such a natural thing right?  When you have perspective, based on experience and you watch someone in the midst of that struggle — you want to assure them somehow that it will be okay, but it doesn’t matter what you say – it’s just something they’re going to have to feel and get through.  But I have this line I say – which is an absolute TRUTH – which always makes people feel better: I don’t talk about what I don’t know.  And I asked her; have I ever lied to you or been wrong about anything?  And the answer is inevitably NO – because again, I don’t talk about what I don’t know, period. End Stop.  So when I talk to a client about their business or project or whatever and I tell them – “A” is going to happen and then “B” will follow – I’m 100% positive.  Yeah, it sounds cocky, but it’s the damn truth so you know… whatever.  Anyways, that was my light this week. That made today a good day, even though it’s been a tough week.

I also posted on TikTok.  Ha!  Honestly, I feel bad being a voyeur on the app, so I have to start posting more regularly. But let me tell you, adults are going to ruin that app just like they’ve ruined every other app. Right now, the app is fun. Dancing, people expressing themselves – magic tricks, sheer silliness and sure, there are serious folk on there too – but the point of TikTok, once called “music.ly” was initially (I believe) to lipsync and dance to music.  You can do these little 15 sec or 60 sec clips. So much fun.  Now people are on there doing all types of things – it’s a mash of bad and good advice, silliness, serious dancing, videos on “how to” and…just everything.  It’s still fun. But of course, celebs are now on there – because it’s a great advertising and surely it’s interesting to watch so clearly a social media app about to change…from fun to not so much fun. I think it’s the legacy of most social media. Clearly Twitter is a mess…. I mean, it’s toxic as all hell. Crazy!  And I really do loathe FB and…eeh, Instagram is also kind of a chore… Oh well. 

So, the week is over. I’m so glad. It was a tough week – but I got so much done regardless. I wish I had finished my list, but there’s no doubt my lack of sleep this week, my stress level and just feeling generally under-the-weather, made it a bad week. But tomorrow’s another day. I’m looking forward to it. 

I did walk today. It was hard though.  I wasn’t feeling it at all.  And I did Centr6, but so half-assed it was kind of pathetic.  I hurt my knees… but, glad I got through it. I hope I feel better tomorrow. I have so much to do this week!!  Honestly.  Maybe that’s why I’m also feeling a little out of it. Do you ever feel like you have so much to do, but it’s really nothing you WANT to do?  I have like 5 of those things to get through this weekend and next week. I’m so bummed. Seriously, if anyone should win the lottery, it really should be me. I’m sure of it!  Hahahaha! 

Well, hasta manana.

Carmen    

Creative Drama – My Writing Issue

I love to write. As I’ve mentioned more than a few times on this platform, I tend to be an old school kinda writer too – I enjoy the feel of a pen against the texture of paper.  That’s my preferred mode of writing.   

The problem, of course, has been the inability to actually transform some of those pieces of writing immediately onto my blog – not that I think I’m writing such extraordinary stuff or anything, but some of that creative work could help someone else, or maybe by sharing it, I might be able to get some insight into what others think and feel about it too. I mean feedback is always a good thing.  But as an artist, as a writer, we want to share our work and I wasn’t doing any of that!

But I can’t lie – with my schedule, it’s tough to spend that time handwriting and then have to consider going back to type it all out just so I can post on my blog. By the time I get my head wrapped around the entire process,  the idea of actually wanting to post something just flitters away. I’ve lost all umph. 

There was a time when I was actually posting pictures of my actual handwritten journal entries.  I got some great feedback about that process. People kind of enjoyed looking and reading those.  But then the problem became I wasn’t writing freely because I knew I’d post it online so I wanted to “mind my manners” while writing. It just wasn’t fun or easy. Writing became a chore.  And honestly, I just couldn’t have any of that! NO WAY! Writing is my everything. My therapy. My outlet. My love! 

So, for the past couple of months I’ve been basically exercising, learning really, a new way to write and to share.  At first, it was a lot of work. Because it was changing the way I normally do things.  I’ve been writing like this since I was a little girl.  I had to re-train myself to do something new – to write in the “afternoon” sort of speak.  Now my early morning pages (cue anyone who has ever read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) are reserved for therapeutic topics.  And whenever I get the urge to write too fully an idea that might be a great blog post or something to share,  I’ve taught myself to jot the idea down in one sentence, or record the thought, and save it to “write in the afternoon” – which really means: save the idea till you finish your morning pages and then switch to the laptop. 

It’s been difficult – because my best “thinking” is without a doubt early in the morning right after that delicious first sip of coffee.  I feel like every thought that’s been resting all night long while I sleep, comes perfectly alive and ready to be released first thing in the morning. Typing out those thoughts just didn’t feel the same. Clearly, what I was doing, wasn’t working. I was frustrated with not really sharing enough.  And isn’t that what this whole blogging thing, social media gig, is all about?  

Well, when what you’ve been doing isn’t working, change things up a bit – it might take a little time to get the hang of it, but it already seems to be so very worth it!  At least for me. 🙂