Monday, May 5, 2014

Living In the Future

I started this post a few weeks ago--finally finishing it.

I am *finally* on vacation.  It's been long overdue.  Last time I took off more than one day+weekend was in November.  Work has been busy, life has been busy, what else is new?

I am noticing a habit that I have, and am interested to hear if anyone else does this.  I live in the future in many ways, both grand and minor.
  • On my way in to work, I am thinking about what I will have for lunch: salad, or something heartier?  at my desk for max productivity, or try to book a friend?
  • About 2pm, I start wondering about dinner...takeout or cook at home?
  • On Thursday, I am thinking about the weekend already.  Usually cataloging the long list for the "weekend chore-a-thon"
  • On Saturday, I am thinking about what is coming up the following week at work, anticipating deadlines, working out carpool schedules in my head
Much of this is a good thing.  This long-range thinking allows me to foresee potential problems and take steps to work around them.  It is what makes me a kick-butt Project Manager.  I can credit this habit of thinking for anything I have ever achieved in my life.

But I recently noticed that it kills some of the joy of being "in the moment".  One Saturday afternoon I was so stressed about the coming week that it felt like Sunday evening.  I had completely skipped over the rest of my Saturday, lost all of Sunday and gone right to Monday morning.

I know someone who is very "in-the-moment".  He could not hold onto a grudge if it had handles.  This frustrated him as a child, when he wanted to stay mad at his parents or his brother, and could not hang onto that feeling. It would just slip away and he would get bored of pouting and life would go on. 

The upside to this is that he is one of the happiest, and nicest, people I know, and very easy to get along with.  The downside is that he is not very organized, and often fails to anticipate things he will need even a mere 5 minutes in the future.  Lots of return trips to get things he has forgotten.

While I shake my head at his lack of planning, I do very much envy his ability to enjoy his life as it happens.  I am trying, daily, to savor the moments of joy that come along--and they are many.  I live a blessed life, with a healthy family, if not quite wealthy, certainly comfortable.  Wise?  Working on it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Mitten Mood

In my quest to use up stash, I've gathered up the odd balls of chunky yarn, some left over from other projects, and some that just caught my eye at the yarn store or on sale.

I balls before I stopped counting.  There are another few bags that I hadn't looked in.

If these were all the same color, that would be enough for a whole sweater, maybe 2 even.

Since they are odd balls, 1 or 2 each, they are only good for knitting mittens or hats.  With all the cold weather around the nation, mittens seems about right.  Fortunately they knit up pretty quick.  Here are 4 pairs heading to family on the East Coast.  (4 down, 18 odd balls to go) Stay warm, everyone!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Girl Talk: Say It Loud!

Today is the first day back to school after the winter break.  It seems the right day to send out a reminder to all the girls I know, and my friends who are now parents of girls.

When I was in high school, I noticed something odd in geometry class:
  • When girls gave an answer out loud, they did it in this tone rising, often phrased like a question more than an answer way, sometimes whispered: "Is it 7?"   
  • When boys answered, they answered quickly, confidently, loudly, "7!"
I thought at first, maybe the boys were more confident because they knew the right answer.  Nope.  The confident loud boys were just as likely to be wrong, and the whispery, anxious-sounding girls were just as likely to be right.

Maybe I noticed because we had a woman teacher.  I loved her, and I loved geometry.  I was a bright student, diligent, straight A's, and of course, I almost always knew the right answer.  And because I had noticed this subtle thing about how kids answered questions in math class, I answered strong and loud, with full breath support.

Sounding uncertain of your answer didn't make it any less embarrassing to be wrong.  And when the boys got it wrong, it wasn't any big deal, even if they had answered confidently.  The teacher didn't pick on them, no one laughed at their hubris.  They just offered what they thought was the right answer, got corrected, and we all learned.

And I learned to project myself, which has served me well throughout my life.

I owe inspiration for this post to Bad Mom, Good Mom, the blogger I most want to be.  I came across her post about Admiral Grace Hopper, an interesting woman STEM pioneer.  What really caught my attention, though, was the part about Professor Jenny Harrison (halfway through the post), and her battles in academia as a woman teaching mathematics.

I used to love math as a girl.  I was one of the top math students in my high school, and if not for some poor choices my senior year, I would have expected a career in physics or mathematics.  I could well have been a genius computer programmer, or financial whiz.  Fast forward three decades, and I have come full circle, back in software and accounting but from a different side of things.

I'm not really sorry for the route I've taken.  Reading postings from Geisha School Dropout, I have a feeling I wouldn't have been that happy if I had stayed on that course.  In the road I did take, the times I was in male-dominated fields (sales, consulting, e.g.) were the times I was least happy.  Not because I was harassed--I wasn't.  Not because I wasn't successful (I was sometimes).  Mostly it was the culture.  Very competitive, hardly nurturing.  I'm happy to have lived the life I have, but still I wonder, what if...?