The Latest Moments as Time Flies By

Goodness, I’ve let the trials and tribulations of life get in my way.  It’s been ages since I’ve written about anything.  It’s cold, still some snow on the ground, we had carpeting issues in the house, and there are changes at my church that are weakening my connection and therefore the support I’ve relied upon while I go through my life change due to my severe sensitivity to synthetic fragrance chemicals.  Oh, and I tried going dairy free, and cut back on gluten as well, thinking it might help with my fragrance sensitivity, but this just made me feel deprived.   But hey–only two more weeks till spring! Even though this seems like it’s been a long winter, it also feels like “wow! it’s almost over already!!”  I recently read an explanation of why time flies by as you get older.  Wish I could give credit for this, but I read so many things (love that internet!) that I can’t remember what site I saw it on.  If you know, would you let me know?

The article, that I’m soooo ad libbing, talked about being a little kid, and how when you’re 5 or 10 years old, a month is a long time.  Remember how summer break seemed to last forever and you were actually glad to be going back to school because you were so bored?  If not, you had a lot of planned events in your life!  I didn’t.  My summers consisted of pretty much just gardening and housework, riding my bike and playing with the neighbor kids, running through the sprinklers and reading books.  Oh, and the 2 week vacation that I could hardly wait to get home from because we drove everywhere for a gazillion hours, and I couldn’t read or I’d get carsick.  No portable DVD players back then.  And very little TV time either, when we were home, because there wasn’t much to watch.  No world wide web either.  Ok,  I’m talking about back in the dark ages.

So here’s the thought process:  Around age 35, time starts getting away from you.  When you’re 55, that month zooms by quickly.  When you’re 75, I hear it zooms past seemingly in the blink of an eye.  Here’s the rationale–it’s all in regards to ratios.  When you’re 5, a month is 1/60 of your entire existence outside your mother’s womb.  When you’re 35, that month is 1/420 of your life, 55 = 1/660 of you being here, and so on.  As you get older, that month is just a drop in a really big measuring cup, if you’re lucky enough to live a long time.  We’re also busier living our lives, as we get older.  Have you noticed?  There are more and more things that you need to do, want to do, get asked to do, asked to participate in, expected to participate in…  When I read this article (source?????) it all seemed so logical.  Clarity hit.  And that helped me not stress as much about how time flies by.  Suddenly, that flitting time thing is just part of life, something to keep in mind and work around, but not worry about.  I’ve been semi-housebound for over a year, and was beating myself up about how I haven’t “accomplished” much of anything.  Other than reconnecting with my creative side as well as nature, making a stronger home base, finding out who my true friends are, discovering healthier alternatives in our synthetic (fake) world, working on getting healthier and fit, and getting caught up on my sleep.  Well, that’s a lot when you break it down!

I’ve officially begun disability retirement.  That’s what they call it when you can’t teach anymore due to health issue.  So odd, to have only taught for 10 years, but be retired.  For over a year, I was without my income in our two income household.  Thank goodness we had decent savings and retirement accounts to draw from.  It was scary for a while, watching new withdrawals occurring from those accounts for every day living.  We cut back where we were willing, always thinking this was going to miraculously improve and I could go back to work.  It really rearranged my thought process about what we really needed to buy.  I discovered how wasteful I/we had been living, even though I thought we were frugal.  I’m thinking maybe I was supposed to learn that lesson, that my comfort isn’t so dependent upon the newest, best, tastiest.  I’m discovering less costly ways to do stuff–mercy, we frittered away a lot over the years!!  And now that I’m “retired,” we can breathe a bit easier, be a bit less stressed about money, yet utilize the skills of living more simply.

My liaison at the school system retirement program said the supervisor didn’t hesitate signing my request, as I had many doctors confirming my status and my “story” was so sad.  Wow–my story is sad according to a supervisor with authority who’s seen it all.  This actually helped me a lot, because I recognized that the sadness of this saga wasn’t just in my head, like a pity party.  It’s for real.   You know, it’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that the sophomore girls who intentionally sprayed my classroom to make me have a allergic reactions so they wouldn’t have to do homework (!) or take tests (!) or take finals (!) were never brought to the light, and will always know that they caused a life altering health issue in my life.  Do you think they’ll remember with the glee that I saw other students boast about “breaking” a teacher??  Bet they will.  Maybe not all of them, but most of them.  Here’s something–there’s another plan for me that I don’t know about yet.  Still opening up to find out what that is…

All those moments really do matter as they’re pieces of the whole.  And Happiness IS the Journey, not the Destination, after all.  (One of my mantras that I keep forgetting about, ironically!!  So my framed version is now sitting next to my desk, eye level.)  Remember this as you wonder where your time goes.  And remember to do the important stuff in life, not just the time wasters.

2015-03-05 Happiness is the Journey 001

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

Advertisements

100 days of happy

I signed up today to do a photographic “happy” memoire over the next 100 days. On the website, it states that only 71% of participants succeed. They don’t have enough time is the main reason. In our extremely busy lives, we forget to be HAPPY. Or we don’t have time to note that we’re HAPPY. How sad is that???!!!???

I’ve been feeling pretty low lately. There really are legitimate reasons. Hubby is looking for a replacement job since his employer lost their contract; having broken my foot 1 1/2 weeks ago, I’m wondering if I also damaged the tendon (which will then require surgery;) still trying to come to terms with my uber hyper-sensitivity to fragrance. OH — and I resigned from teaching next year, by not signing the contract. Maaaan, what a hard decision. Even though teaching is becoming more and more challenging, the threat of violence hang over our heads the whole time we’re there, and the fear of more fragrance assaults that could literally kill me, I procrastinated with my final decision until the day the contract was due. And I still didn’t notify my principal until the next day because I just didn’t want to finalize it.

With all of this going on, a friend informed me that she was signing up for this challenge of showing/finding/honoring 100 days of happy. She’s a pretty happy soul, in my estimation; life seems to be going well, she’s young and healthy. Well, heck–if Kendra is going to do this, me too!!

I like the idea that by consciously thinking about what is making us happy, we become happier, more appreciative of what’s in our life, filling our minds and hearts with gratitude. As Kendra said, can’t hurt!

Today, one of my big moments of happy came from my 4-legged daughter, Gracie Jane. She’s a spazzo, crazy, joy-filled dog. Can you see her smile? Hard not to be happy with a creature who’d never had a home until ours, is so thankful when you come back to the pack that she smothers you in kisses and talks about how much she missed you. Watch it–she’ll jump up and give a kiss on lips if you’re not watching–she’s part border collie and jumps like she’s got springs in her feet! If we humans kiss on the lips, why can’t she? I mean, we’re all family aren’t we? Yeah. no. I almost lost my cookies one time when she even got her tongue in. blech. I do love her. But no French-kissing from a dog. nope. But, she sure knows how to make me feel happy!

Gracie Jane

Gracie Jane

What was your happy moment today?

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

 

Responsible is the New Sexy

Reading through facebook this morning and discovered this statement from The Art of Simple:
“I think I have now created a system that will work for me as I strive to create a life of intention that is rooted in my values, not just compulsions. I’m calling this personal project, “Responsible is the New Sexy.” Why I chose that name is a long story. Part quirky, part serious. The idea is to focus on one area of my life each month and make specific, but realistic progress in that area.” http://theartofsimple.net/wearing-a-watch-being-sexy-and-changing-habits/

ohmygoodness I love this! Responsible is the new sexy!!! LOVE IT! It’s what I’ve been thinking, but didn’t realize it–I’m trying to live a life of intention based on my values, being present in the moment, and here’s my new slogan!!! Thanks, The Art of Simple!!!

With warm wishes for your journey,
Nance

Who Am I and Why Am I Here?

Image

4.15.2014

As I looked at this glorious full moon this morning that I renamed The Blossom Moon (true name is the Rose Moon for it’s coloring,) I felt insignificant, yet so very real and whole.  Almost giddy!!  I’m here for a purpose, and am in the process of trying to figure out what it is and where I’m headed.  I’m taking a blogging “class” to learn how to be a better blogger, one whose messages reach those who need them, a person providing comfort, information, some humor, a connection to the greater things…  My purpose for this blog is to provide these things as well as give myself an outlet for myself as I bumble my way through life’s journey. 

I have a unique health issue in that I am super hyper-sensitive to some ingredients in many fragrances.  Guess what–artificial fragrance is everywhere in our world.  Air fresheners, cologne and perfumes, clothes detergents and softeners, shampoo, conditioners, deodorants, lotions, hair styling products, cleaning supplies, …  It’s almost everywhere.  The problem is that the doctors can’t narrow down the culprits and treat me for those allergens because there’re too many of them. 

I know I’m not the only one with this problem–yet when this reaction really hit my fully, I felt like I was alone.  Five doctors later, multiple medicines tried, finding alternate ways of doing things, missing many, many gatherings and events, and still it continues.  Friends and family have encouraged me to provide a resource to others, be the someone experiencing this real life challenge to perhaps give moral support or help others feel less isolated. I hope I do that, plus find ways of bringing me/us back to what is real and important. 

I thought about Blossom Moon, how many times she’s risen over this planet, how many times she’s been photographed and gazed upon with awe and respect and almost disbelief in her beauty.  It’s the first time I’ve noticed our moon with a pinkish tint.  How many other things have I simply looked upon, utilized, ignoring beauty in a different format?  It’s rather exhilarating to be recognizing some of my potential.  My life is based upon the thought  that the journey is to provide the happiness, not the destination being the provider of that.  The further I travel on this journey, the more I recognize how important it is to keep my eyes, heart and soul open to the energies of the Universe, finding the simple happiness that helps make my heart sing.

With warm wishes,

Nance        

Honestly, the moments matter

It’s such a joy to watch others recognize that the moment they’re experiencing, whether it seems good or bad, positive or heavy, exhilarating or exhausting, is an important part of the creation of who they are and will become.  It’s not solely, but I tend to live vicariously through others. I’ve been on medical leave since the middle of January, this year.  I’m working through the frustration, the fears, the loneliness, the worry, as well as the joys, the peace, the love that comes forth when you have a health issue that people really have a hard time relating to.  I’m hyper sensitive to fragrances.  Some, not all.  It’s manmade chemical compounds, we think, which cause me to have severe facial hives that burn, swell and itch horribly. If the exposure is dangerous enough to my body, my eyes burn, redden and swell as well, so I have to carry an Epi-pen everywhere I go, just in case my body goes into anaphylaxis. There are thousands of ingredients in fragrances, so my allergens cannot be narrowed down to be treated.

My health challenges stem from female high school students, mine, who thought it was so funny to watch me go through the stages I just mentioned.  I’ve always had sensitive skin, but have been able to cope with the world quite happily without endangering myself. Also, for these students, it was great that I’d get ill enough to have to get a sub, because everyone knows that you don’t have to do any work when there’s a sub!  Therefore, you don’t have any tests, or even a final!  Those things can’t be expected since the “real” teacher wasn’t present.  WRONG.  A good teacher still creates a learning environment, which I did through my sub plans, but most students didn’t choose to participate in that particular environment.

So, three of my five classes were exposing me with increasing frequency and intensity during the first semester of this school year.  I’m a FACS teacher (Family and Consumer Sciences) aka Home Ec.  You know, it hasn’t been called Home Ec. for over 20 years, yet if you say that’s what you teach, everyone knows basically what you teach.  Funny.  Only it’s so much more now–it’s not about “homey” stuff per say, but about possible career options young people might find interesting.

My classes for the past few years have been Housing and Design, Family Living and Parenthood, and Child Development.  I could NOT have gotten better classes to teach!  I love these three subjects.  Seriously love helping young men and young women find out stuff that may make their lives easier, better, more comfortable.  Confirming stuff they’ve hopefully heard at home, or sharing unknown but VERY important information that could make a difference in their lives, now or in the future.  Opening up lines of communication, providing the ability to see other versions, and maybe teaching empathy.  Making them THINK about the pros and cons of spanking or hitting children, for example, as well as learning other options to use instead.  Helping students understand that their environment, whether a house, condo, apartment, mobile home, basement, room, or wherever they call “Home” is important for emotional and mental health.  That colors really do matter differently to each one of us.  That you don’t have to have the newest and the biggest to seriously be content and happy.

I love what I teach.  I’m supposedly adored by a many of my students (according to them, according to how many former students came by for daily hugs as I did hall duty, and according to my subs sharing with me.)  Yet, I cannot be there, due to a few.  They ruined it for all of us.  And are probably really proud of themselves.  Those poor children.  What on earth would go through your mind, making you feel like it was okay to accost someone who is “nice and really cares” with a substance so dangerous that it could potentially kill.  And how is it that no one, not one single student, would dare come forth to tell on those students.  And how is it that those who supposedly cared wouldn’t step in as they saw the attacks happening to stop the perpetrators with a few words.  It tells me that there’s too much fear.  Don’t get involved.  The payback will be so much worse, you’ll wish you’d never done it.  I cannot imagine living in a world like some of my students.  I step forward, at the store, when a parent is losing control with their child, and maybe provide a way of handling it.  Maybe they just need a moment of support from another adult, or a second to catch their breath. I’ve interacted with children, reinforcing the caregiver’s ideas, because sometimes, even toddlers need to hear that the adult is right.  I step forward to say something’s not ok or acceptable.  Apparently I’m unusual.  I wish I wasn’t.

If I wasn’t, I’d still be teaching the stuff I love to teach.  I’d be living a normal, outgoing life, instead of a semi-hermit lifestyle.  I’d be moving forward, instead of struggling day in and out, worrying as I enter the grocery store or a restaurant, wondering if there will be a dangerous exposure to a scent that smells lovely.  I found out something this past weekend. A hose broke on the washer and we have to wait for the part, so we went to the Laundromat.  No biggie, right?  We’d dry the clothes at home.  Not a favorite hangout, but I did it for years before I got a washer and dryer of my own.  Guess what’s there?  Lovely, clean scented clothes.  Clothes detergent that caused me to get hives; burning, itching, swelling hives.  It didn’t progress to my eyes or respiratory system, but ohmygoodness.  I cannot go to the Laundromat.  huh.  I knew some detergents bother me, because I can’t go down the cleaning aisle at the grocery store.  And a freshly laundered jacket belonging to one of my son’s friends caused hives when he came over to play.  In my own house!  I hadn’t thought about GOING to the Laundromat, and the possible danger.  Now I know.

All of this is due to some 10th, 11th, and 12th grade girls “playing a joke” on a nice teacher.  My life is changing.  I don’t know where it’s headed, but I’m on a journey.  All the moments matter and it’s very important for me to remember that happiness comes from the journey, not the destination.

Warm wishes on your journey,

Nance