Monthly Archives: February 2011
This year I am turning 40… It’s a bit hard for me to say some days. Its months and months away still, but I’ve already been planning. My goal is not to accept it rather embrace it and celebrate it. Part of the reason for starting this blog is embracing it. I had thought of blogging for a while and finally decided to put a stake down. A friend from college turned 40 this past year and she had an inspiring idea calling it Forty for Forty http://sharpteamblog.wordpress.com . 40 Experiences in the birthday month for Turning 40. What a great idea to hijack (giving credit of course). So I’m putting my own tweak on it. I’m still working on my 40 for 40 list. Some are experiences, others one time goals, and others are hopeful bigger changes in my life. The complete list is yet to come. But starting to blog is on the list. It’s not a simple experience or task to check off as anyone can sign up for a site and pick a theme. I’m guessing that signing up really doesn’t qualify as blogging so I’ll have to evaluate at the end of this year. I’ll give it a 1/10th of a check so far. The list is in process and new ideas emerge as I dream and reflect. There is a difference in this list than the one I make nearly daily to prioritize my day at work. It’s different than my weekend to-do list which I put on special paper so I don’t lose it. Those lists are not made or completed with the great anticipation and expectation of joy that my 40 for 40 list has. The 40 for 40 list makes me smile when I read it over, affirms my commitment to grow, and helps me feel that I am embracing rather than missing out on this year. I don’t want to miss planning a great 40th birthday year.
I’m sure this will be one of many times I share about one of the young adults I work with. I wish for everyone to have a glimpse of their strength, struggles, and stories. As a social worker I’ve walked along some of “my kids” for 10+ years. One young woman who is dear to my heart, I’ll call her Beth, has a personal story that I explain this way…think of all the bad things that can happen to a little kid… that’s it. Due to the severe trauma she turned to self-injury. When a little kid finds self-injury and makes it her own personal way of coping it is a bit overwhelming. She did not hear about self-injury from a friend, at the lunch table, or on the internet, rather as an elementary age student she found a way to harm herself uniquely in a way that still makes me wince. 100’s and probably 1000’s of times she has tried to manage pain and memories. It is not exaggerating when I say that due to being removed from her family (safety-wise a good thing) and the subsequent care, but also trauma and treatment, she has had millions of dollars spent on her by the state… her surrogate parent. She did not find her way into a permanent home or family and by the time I met her at age 12 ½ they had stopped looking for a family (though technically they weren’t allowed to say this until age 14). I have been humbled to walk with Beth and she helped me grow. This past week I was visiting with her. She was feeling good and we were just shooting the breeze before we started a meeting. And then she said it . . . like we were talking about the weather . . . “Remember when I used to cut?” I looked at her and started laughing, she did too. Yeah, we both remember, it’s pretty hard to forget. There is not that much distance between the last time and our present day and I wonder if it will last. Today though I don’t want to miss celebrating…. she is healing. On the best of days Beth lets me into her world through her journal and some amazing talks. One of her life goals is to learn more about God and grow closer to him. This past year in simple faith she made a step to follow Christ. That story in and of itself is amazing (I’ll share another time). So Christ’s healing continues to come… and not just to Beth…and I don’t want to miss it. Beth has a long road ahead of her yet today I celebrate healing.
Treating Self Injury by Barent Walsh, PhD is a recommended book if you need more information on self-injury. Dr. Walsh is extremly knowledge and having sat in on an assessment I can say he is amazingly repectful and skilled.
It was a beautiful New England day and President’s Day Holiday as well. The light was streaming through my windows perfectly. A dose of Vitamin D was calling my name but I didn’t really want to go walking or snowshoeing, and it had been too icy to go downhill skiing today (I’m picky about my snow). What I wanted to do was go sledding. There is a perfect sledding hill that I drive by on my way to work. It’s huge and often filled with kids yet with so much snow this year there hasn’t been the urgency to get out and sled. I have actually seen the hill empty at times. So I don’t have kids and couldn’t think of any kids (or parents) to call to come out and play. Yet I didn’t want to miss out on sledding this perfect day so I headed out solo. I did think to call my friend Karen on the way there. With a little encouragement she found a snow tube and joined me for the second round of runs. (Karen is a mother of college age kids and she had a doctorate from Harvard – she’s also a great softball pitcher and soccer goalie).
The sledding was fast (I clocked 16.1mph on my GPS but it seemed faster) and my sled doesn’t really give. The bruises on my backside will make me smile all week as I think of the wind and sun on my face. I don’t want to miss out on activities that I love that are not necessarily associated with adulthood. Yes adults go sledding but most often with kids . . . today not me . . . and not Karen . . . it was all about the joy of sledding . . . and without kids. I encourage you not to miss out.
I don’t want to miss out on beginning. Sometimes I get caught in trying to get everything “just right” or perfect. I want to write the perfect first blog post with the perfect (for me) blog name. Yet I don’t want to miss out on starting something because I get caught in a false perfectionism.
“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life..” Anne Lamott in Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
This quote is above my desk at work. I have a problem with perfectionism and it impacts me starting things or sometimes ending them. I always have in mind how to do things a bit better. Maybe making a present just a little nicer, a note more personalized, a work project more complete, my office more organized, a workout harder faster or longer. Sometimes this idea of perfectionism nearly paralyzes me. The gift isn’t given before the baby has suddenly turned 6 months and can’t be squeezed into the 3 month outfit. I don’t have time to work out for an hour so I decide 30 minutes just wouldn’t cut it. I rewrite a thank you note twice because my handwriting seemed messy. Did I mention I have some perfectionism challenges. I do however start and finish many projects and end up being happy with them, content, joyful, and often wishing for the feeling to last. There is often a feeling of accomplishment and that I have embraced, rather than missed the opportunity in front of me. There will be more on why I chose the domain name for the blog and what I was thinking but for today it is about beginning and that I don’t’ want to miss the opportunity to start blogging as I expect it to be wonderful. The blog, and journeying is not about perfection (in this case a perfect blog name or design) but moving forwarding and not missing what is in front of me. More than that though… in the coming posts I will explore what it means for me not to miss living out faith day by day.