It Gets Hectic…

Life has been a bit busy in the past few weeks. Boyfriend has been looking for a different job, I tried to qualify for a part-time work-from-home job that didn’t work out, I have family coming to visit this weekend, and Boyfriend has had to make somewhat unexpected plans to visit family due to some, shall we say, difficulties beyond his control and he has be the better person in a no-win situation. We have both been busy and stressed out, to say the least. 

I have not forgotten about the blogosphere known as Word Press and I have been reading Daily Prompts and blogs when I have a few minutes, but time has not allowed for me to sit down and get creative myself over the past few weeks. I plan for that to change in the next week or so. While I am not the greatest writer ever, I have enjoyed the months I have spent posting on Word Press and I have enjoyed seeing the thoughts, pictures and other acts of creativity and free speech that people have exercised for both theirs and others benefit.

Life, it seems, gets harder for a lot of people, not easier. The news, real news, if you can find it and read it has been tough, too. I try to remain hopeful that the best is ahead of us all, not in the past. I shall look forward to writing about my upcoming family adventures as well as the challenges of life.

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© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

I Walk The Line

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt from 03/27/15: “I Walk the Line.” Have you got a code you live by? What are the principles or set of values you actively apply in your life?

I am not perfect, and I would never claim to be. I attempt to be a decent human being by exhibiting  honesty, trust-worthiness and the authenticity of  being myself. I am generally liked or disliked because I don’t kiss ass, I don’t do phony very well and I will not embellish or misrepresent myself or my feelings, like many people I know are willing to do. There is no in between. Whatever I don’t say my face will usually say for me. As my dad would tell me when I was younger, “You might as well wear a sign.”  I don’t like to be lied to and, in my work, lying to people gets you in trouble as it does in real life –  people remember what you said or promised and will call you on it, leaving you discredited and untrusted. Over the years as I have matured, I have learned that honesty can be delivered with care, rather than with a sledgehammer, and can help someone hear you with less conflict. Sometimes honesty elicits anger from the other person, but also respect for your candidness.

I try to be considerate of others’ time, space and their peace. It would be easy to let my door slam as I come and go from my apartment, but I tend to be cautious because I noticed how aggravated I become when I listen to my neighbors let their doors slam all day long. One thing I don’t tolerate quite as well, though, is constant dog-barking. This will usually cause me to yell out my window, mostly likely on a nice day when not only do I have my window open, but the annoying dog owner also has his window open. I  try to be considerate of my co-workers, as I work in a room with two, soon to be three, people along a hallway with other offices. I take my personal calls outside and try not to shout when I am on work calls because that is all you can hear, and it is easy to get distracted. I try to park my car in the lines. I try hard to be like Boyfriend, who is thoughtful, considerate, organized and caring, though he has been on the receiving end of complete opposite behavior for a good portion of his life from many people, especially his family. He picks his battles and saves his energy for other things, which I have yet to master. You can’t win against an under-handed narcissist…

If you are a friend in whom I can trust and depend upon, I am loyal until you break that bond. Although I am argumentative at times, I actually don’t like conflict and try to get along with people. This is the result of being a kid in a conflict-ridden household with parents who tried to get you on their side. Even as an adult, this continues today, and I get the what-for if one parent thinks I am on the other parent’s side. However, I have experience doing conflict resolution in my work and with co-workers rather successfully. I am better at solving others’ problems than my own. I believe that you should say what you mean and you should mean what you say, and that you can do it without being mean. I don’t always succeed but I try, and try, and try again, even when giving up would be easier. And I don’t expect others to be perfect either, I just expect them to try to be cautious, or considerate or even conscious that their actions affect other… is that too much to ask?

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

It’s a great life if you don’t weaken…

Growing up, I remember my Dad saying, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” I looked up the origins of this saying, and found that it was featured in a cartoon a long time ago, that has been attributed to John Buchan, a Scottish novelist, unionist and Canadian politician, and that it has been used as song lyrics, first by Maurice Chevalier and later by the Tragically Hip. No matter where my Dad got it from, I can relate to it and the words have stuck with me.

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I have worked in social services in some variety for the past 15 years, with youth, family, elderly, homeless, mentally ill and drug addicted people. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like helping people whether I am at work or among friends. This does not mean that my job(s) has been easy, that I have not gone through burnout, and that I don’t have days when I fantasize about winning the lottery and walking away from the world of social services, and work, forever. I try to have more good days than bad, I do the best I can to do my job, and I try to not bring others’ problems home with me, which is a lot easier than it used to be. I have a set schedule now rather than a mostly fluid schedule, which means I am usually done with work at a certain time, but my day lacks flexibility. I don’t have to take phone calls once I am off the clock, which fluctuated when I scheduled my own appointments and I was trying to get in touch with working parents.

“It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.”

Some days I find it hard to get up and go to work to deal with others’ problems and dysfunctions while I am dealing with stress and dysfunctions in my life and coupled with the reality that life is not getting better or easier for most people, me included.  I struggle with the limited time I have in the evening and on weekends to relax and do things that keep me sane, after I help Boyfriend with daily apartment tasks, such as dishes, cooking, shopping, cleaning, laundry, playing with the cat, and getting enough sleep. Exercise, writing, watching baseball, talking with family/friends and playing tennis are things that I enjoy. The tough thing is that if I take time to write, I am probably not going to exercise, play tennis or do much else, especially during the evening. It’s a juggling act for me, and I know this sounds like nothing for someone who also has kids, but this is enough for me. On good days, I feel like I can do what I need to do, I relish in getting all of my home and work tasks done and I believe that things will, and can, get better.

I doubt that I am the only one who feels this way. Life can be great and yet we all have days when we not only weaken but we want to hide under the covers and not come out. I find strength in the support I get from Boyfriend, who has a bad back and other injuries that ail him, but he never complains. I find strength in our one-year old cat who loves us and brings us her toy mice in the night, and in the clients who are truly grateful for my assistance. I find strength in my ability to get up, even when I don’t want to so I can fulfill my responsibilities. “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken,” and I try my best to keep going.

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Choose Wisely

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “IMHO.”

When I worked with youth, I would complete a service plan with each of them, which included questions about hobbies, future plans and college/career interests. Part of my job was to not only address the negative situation (these youth were enrolled in a juvenile court diversion program), but to help the youth look beyond today to the future. I emphasized the importance of learning from mistakes, because we all make mistakes, and that you can make choices to improve your situation even if the options are not ideal. Great advice that even I needed to hear from time to time. Other advice I gave was for youth to make a plan and a back-up plan so they could change course if needed.

It was a foregone conclusion that I would go to college when I finished high school, and I did, on a tennis scholarship. Although my parent meant well, especially my Dad, they scoffed at a few of my career interests with statements like, “your grades need to be higher to get into the right college to be a lawyer,” or “Journalism is very competitive, and you often start your career in a Podunk town until you can move up to a bigger market.” I was a city girl, somewhat shy and lacking in confidence with mostly B+ grades, so I didn’t pursue these avenues. I’d like to think that if the internet was available back then that I would have found a way to pursue one of those careers, but…there is no way to know that for sure. My Dad is someone who plans for the worse-case-scenario and is big on “doing your duty,” including working a job you don’t like to provide for your family. I appreciate that he did this for us, but I wish he would have pursued some of his interests and talents that might have still allowed him to provide for his family.

I think that some things happen for a reason, and that some situations are of our own making. Although I had an interest in Psychology, I basically pursued my bachelor’s degree by default- I wasn’t interested in the careers suggested to me, and I was advised against other careers, so I kind of just went in a familiar direction without a plan of how to proceed after I got my degree. It didn’t help matters that I made various poor choices (friends, relationships, and how I spent my free time), struggled with my management of these choices, and that I didn’t live up to my academic potential.  There were times when I figured I would just get through whatever was going on, and that “it” would just work out. There were other times when I just didn’t care, as much as I hate to admit it. If I had just figured out ME, what I wanted, where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do without worrying about what others did or thought, I would have been fine.  Easier said than done, especially after years of being the outsider with few friends. Ultimately, I have learned that it is best to be who you are, and let others accept it.

I believe that there is more than one path to success, including paths that don’t involve college, but I believe that you should make a plan and a back-up plan, and that you should try to map a way to your goals without too many pitfalls and without going into massive debt. Before you pursue a degree, look into the options it will offer you long-term. Unless you plan on becoming a psychologist or a professor, or you plan to obtain a master’s degree with licensure, I would advise against getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology. You will take interesting classes but you will be limited in career opportunities. Being a case manager (or other social service worker) can be very rewarding but typically doesn’t allow for too much advancement or big money-making, and is a career path with a high probability of burnout. This is why many people working in social services move around, in addition to the frequent changes in funding their agencies deal with each year.

If I had it to do over, which would now cost me too much, I would have been a journalist. I like helping people, but writing is something I have done in some form or fashion for a long time. Thank you, Word Press, for giving people like me a healthy outlet for their passion and their daily stress!

 © 2015 blogdaysofchrell