Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Something old is new again... go out and see your State Parks

When I was a child, my mom and her bestie brought us kids to Hueston Woods, State Park beach pretty regularly. In our part of Ohio, there are not beaches or even much suitable rivers to swim in but in the 70s and 80s Acton Lake was the place to be.  The drive through the woods seems to take forever. The speed limit in the park is 25 mph and I used to beg to take off my seat belt so I could get a better view into the woods. Hoping to get a glimpse of an animal. My impatience then as a child would boil over until that beautiful site of the water would come over the horizon. We would unpack the car, and set up our perfect spot and have a whole day of swimming, picnic eating, sand in not so comfortable places and inevitable sunburns even though mom covered us from head to toe. But none of that mattered because my brother, his best friend, his little sister and I had a fun day in the sun and didn't have a care in the world except what just touched our legs under the water and what caused the warm spots in the water-- pee? The mystery still remains.

Thirty years later I have found myself drawn to these woods constantly this summer. I have been hiking the woods and not swimming at the beach. I still drive the 25mph roads and I still remember my antsy feelings as a child. But now I love the slow pace, I love the quiet empty space. It is like coming home every time I pull into the Woods.

I have learned the trails and have started to meditate and walk those trails so often that when there was a storm the other day I was saddened and excited to see how the trail had changed. You see downed trees all the time hiking but how often do you get to see trees within hours of the carnage.


That day I was the treehugger. I paid my respects and thanked each down tree for their years of shade and life. I am reminded that none of us know when our last day is. Trees or human.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New World Order-- Are Gen X'ers to blame?

I watched a news segment on the new ways businesses are running to accommodate the Millenials in order to get the best out of their generation. The story discussed how the business world is beginning to realize a 9 to 5 in the office does not work for everyone and produces better outcomes if you can move these boundaries for employees. These businesses have had great successes with employees who now work remotely or work shifts or days.

These changes in the workplaces supposedly by Millenials,  the children of Generation X'ers. So I started to think are we to blame or thank for this generation and their new ways. I think so. When we chose to raise our kids we were the first generation to look and think-- maybe beating the shit out of our kids with switches and belts is not the way to get the best results. We thought maybe we will play with our kids. Maybe we will ask their opinions on things. Maybe we won't make them clean their plates.  We were the divorce generation. We wanted more for our kids.

I never thought my kids would be from a broken home.  I wanted to be a throw-back to my grandparent's generation of working through every problem. Not having disposable marriages. Then my marriage fell apart. Then I separated from my husband. And now I am looking at things in a whole new light. Our family has not broken just our marriage.

Eighteen years and many good times, I have to ask, how can we do this differently than our parent's generation? My parents eventually got it right, becoming friendly and being able to be at events together. But I want more. I want my daughter and son to see that we can move forward as a family in a new way. The family unit that we all used to know is gone. But it will just be different but not broken.  For one person, grandma is part of their family and that is normal. For the next family, daddy is the lone parent. And in another great granny is raising three great-grandchildren on her own. Two mommies can be just as great as the old standard of mom, dad, son, daughter, and spot.

What really matters is the love and time spent with the members of the family. You can live in a house with someone and spend zero quality time or you can see a parent on the weekends and have the best relationship.  It is all about how you spend your time.

Some of us are the parents of the Millenials and Generation Z. We raised them to look at the world differently. We taught them that the ways of the past do not have to stay the status quo. And they have taken our lesson and they are changing things. We have to quit complaining about their ways of enacting change and look to see how we can put some of those new ways in our own lives.

We do not have to fit in boxes designed by others. Our families, our jobs, our kids, us. It's not about thinking outside of the box. It's about getting out of the box and recycling or upcycling the box into something better.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Number two to no one?

No one’s number two
It is inevitable that we cannot all be number one. In a culture where we give every kid a trophy for showing up and paying for the entry fee, everyone wins! Right? Wrong. Many of us grew up and tried out for sports or cheerleading and did not make the team. We were not chosen. And it’s a powerful lesson. We cannot always be someone’s first pick. It puts that horrible drop feeling in your stomach that for a second you think you're either gonna puke or never eat again. Maybe you cry, maybe you scream or maybe no change outwardly happens and life just moves on.
There are lessons in every time a door just in our face leaving the door knocker pressed up against our nose. Am I even at the right house? Or am I early or late to the address I thought I was supposed to be at? But the real point is, the door is closed. And there are other doors, windows,  even smokestacks and keyholes that may contain the avenue that you are meant to follow.

The path we are on and where we have ended up is a series of no’s, yes’s, half-ass choices and strong firm decisions. We cannot go back, Marty and Doc have yet to show up in the DeLorean offering any of us a chance at redemption. So we must make TODAY the one that counts. My neck would look like something from Exorcist if I tried to second guess and look back to every what if in my life.


If you're gonna be number two, it better be to someone awesome like Mother Nature or someone’s mother.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Learning to Fly --- warning blog contains fbombs

When I left college, I was so full of dreams and hopes for the future. Twenty-two years old and the world seemed so open and beautiful. Fast forward eighteen years and I had gotten to a point where I saw life in grey, had migraines every day for over six weeks and I had no pleasure in anything but watching the same movie at bedtime every night.

I never believed in soul searching. Seemed like a cliche thing to do, I need to go find myself. More like you need to go fuck yourself.  How does one not know who they are? But in my cloud of suck, migraines and Fantastic Mr. Fox, I need to find not myself but a path off of the perpetual Merry Go Round at some demented County Fair.

That is how I started to fly. That is how I started to soul search. Damn it, I am one of those flakes looking for themselves when really I was here the whole time-- bullshit. No, I really started to examine and look at what I used to really love to do-- what could I change in my life to make me feel joy-- my job. So I examined hobbies and any topic that used to hold my interest. Further, in the process, I listened to Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails because it was the first album that I felt expressed what I was feeling at the time in my life that I heard it, it was revolutionary and it was not on the radio. It was breathtaking and I loved it. Trent's music is a little angrier than I am now but the feeling of my youth is woven in those electric drum beats.

And now, I am continuing to learn to fly on my own. I have gone back to those years before the kids, before the marriage. To see who I was before I was mom, before I was wife-- when I was just Danyel.

When Danyel could be and do whatever she put her mind to. Still in the cocoon just waiting to pull her beautiful butterfly wings out.

Now, I am back. Danyel has had a Phoenix rising moment. This time out of the cocoon, I come with so much more information, two amazing kids and a great support system helping when this butterfly is caught in a net.