Who Are You Living For?

Who are you living for? Are you fulfilling your own dreams or someone else’s?

Yesterday, chatting with one of my closest friends, the topic turned to what matters most in life. See, she wants to do something for herself. This got me thinking about goals and how we go about achieving them. The first thing that jumps into my mind is the question of who am I doing this for. Is this goal in my heart, or am I living out a dream for another person?

This question seems easy, but the truth can be hard to come by.

I used to think I lived for myself, but that was untrue. I lived to be accepted by others, when what I needed was to accept myself.

Rarely have I decided to pursue a dream all on my own. That mentality is starting to change. Life is about doing the right things for the right reasons and chasing after your dreams. YOUR dreams. Not your friend’s dreams, or your boss’s dreams, but yours. When I think about what I want my life to look like in five years, I am creating a vision for me. That is a far cry from how I used to live.

Living for another person has been a major stumbling block in my life. I have no one to blame but myself for this.

When you please others while ignoring your own wants and needs, resentment can fester and grow. If life is meant to be lived, why put all of your eggs into another person’s basket? Why? To be accepted? To not challenge the status quo?

When I die, I don’t want a lengthy list of goals and dreams I allowed to die. I want to be remembered as a person who stopped caring so deeply about popular opinion. Living life catering to the ever-changing world of what friends and acquaintances have to say is a set up for disaster. Forgetting yourself means you are living by default.

This can have all kinds of consequences.

Years ago, I went furniture shopping with my boyfriend who was pretty successful. We went to a few furniture stores, and he talked me into buying seven thousand dollars worth of furniture for my apartment. At the time, I could afford the payments, but in all reality, this was a bill I didn’t need. I kowtowed to him and in the interim, bought myself a nice hunk of debt. What I should have done in retrospect, was to be far more budget conscious. Thank goodness I no longer do stupid things like this. It seems silly, but I got that furniture to impress him. Pathetic. If I were a stronger person, I would have said no.

I needed to stand up for myself instead of living for others. It has been a tough lesson to learn, but these days I have stopped looking so much for approval. I approve of me, and that is what matters.

Are you looking for others to approve of you?

Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Where would you go if money were no object? My answer is simple. If money were no object, I would be wearing a white suit while I crossed Abbey Road.

That question was asked by the anesthesiologist’s nurse. She told me this was her way of making sure patients felt less fearful about going under. I thought that was a beautiful concept. She commented that she liked taking people to a pleasant “dream spot” in their minds as they went under general anesthesia. She was excellent. In fact, all of the nurses who took care of me were great.

It leads me to those stupid, ignorant women of The View. A bunch of has-beens who are lucky enough to keep working. Shut your mouth about nurses. Do you know any nurses? Or EMT’s? I hear they use doctor’s stethoscopes too.

How did those idiots ever think this was an act? Stupid is as stupid does I suppose.

When I went to nursing school, I had several patients who just wanted me to hold their hands. I was not a nursing student to them. To those people, I was their nurse. Those privileged fools on The View disrespected an entire group of people who are more than deserving of our respect.

The nurses who worked on my father understood he was a scared man who either had early stage Alzheimer’s or dementia. It was their job to take care of him no matter what. My brother and I often received calls from the nurses to give us updates on how he was doing.

When I got admitted to the hospital with gall stones in 2008, my nurses took excellent care of me. One nurse liked me so much she hugged me when I was being discharged. I am going to take a wild guess that those people from The View are not all that likable. Nurses can be a sick person’s best friend. Insulting them is a bad, stupid idea.

I almost forgot, I had one of those “doctor” stethoscopes when I was in nursing school.

What did you think about the ladies on The View?

One Can Hope

I face the blank screen once again. Geddy Lee just finished singing about living in the Limelight. This gets me thinking about fame. See, I live here in New England where the whole Tom Brady “deflate-gate” controversy never really died down. In my head, it just seemed like a bunch of blowhards posturing for position. Kind of like a circle jerk, but with expensive lawyers. Truth is, I grew up wanting to be rich and famous, but no longer. The scrutiny must be exhausting. The biggest loser in that whole mess of course were the fans who got sucked into that dog and pony show.

What does this have to do with anything?

Well, watching both sides of this rank stupidity, I realized something, we exert tons of energy on shit that doesn’t matter. As a group, many of us cared so much about what the NFL was doing, that we spent hours reading and watching news broadcasts about something that has virtually no impact on our lives. We fill our brains daily with nonsense.

We live in a day and age where “fat shaming videos” are a thing. When did we all lose our minds? Nothing is sacred or off limits any longer. Why? What gives us the right to make someone feel bad about their body be they fat or skinny?

What happened to letting others be who they are?

Making a person feel bad because they have a different point of view, or look is not acceptable. I do not care what your sexual preference is. I don’t care if you do or don’t follow any spiritual beliefs. Whether or not you pick your nose in the bathroom is not one of my many thoughts in a day. Bottom line – you are free to be you and I will not make fun of you.

Unless you are a Dallas Cowboys fan. Then all bets are off.

The world needs fewer idiots running around. It would be great to see people en masse standing up to these fools. Then, perhaps we could have a real discussion about keeping your nose out of everyone’s business. When that happens, maybe then we can go back to human decency.

One can hope.

The 5,000 Pound Gorilla

Fear has governed my life with an iron fist for as long as I can recall. Growing up, I had a horrible fear of abandonment, which came from finding out I was adopted at five days old. Fear gave way to anger and angst in my teen years. It was far easier to have an attitude and keep people away than be honest and tell anyone how badly I was hurting.

Hurt was a feeling that got turned into anger. My rage knew no limits. I was a ticking time bomb in those days.

I still have issues with fear and anger, sometimes it can be over something insignificant. Many times fear starts the ball rolling, then anger steps in. Fear is a normal part of life, and there are situations that would make almost anyone scared. Remembering I am not the only one to feel this way can lessen my load.

This may seem strange, but for years I did not know who I would become if I walked away from fear and anger. What would be left of me?

How could I stand up for myself if I wasn’t feeling so defensive? How could I make sure injustices were being put right?

Why do I think all of this is my problem to solve?

Oh boy, that is the 5,000 pound gorilla in the room. Somewhere along the line it seems, I decided I needed to be the one to right all of the wrongs and take all the evil doers to task. This complex drives me crazy. Before my brain can kick in, I am busy telling someone off who richly deserves it. Maybe they do need to be told they are an ass. It is not my job to be the one to tell them all of the time. I can leave others to deal with their own problems without my assistance.

When I let go of outcomes, life goes better. That is a fact.

Telling my fear and anger to take a hike is not so easy. I reach for them the way Linus often had his security blanket. Fact is, no one wants to be around a person who is always upset about something. We all have issues. It is time for the 5,000 pound gorilla to go back where he came from. I don’t have to be so afraid any longer. The days of my past are gone. I no longer reside in the past.

Do you have a 5,000 pound gorilla you need to let go of?

Beer Drinkers, Hell Raisers, and Bloggers

Ideas can hit me out of nowhere. The idea for this post came while I was at what could be described as the most boring wedding on Earth. These people were neither beer drinkers or hell raisers. They were lazy karaoke singers. At one point, I thought I would hear Rod Serling announcing that “Nancy and her beloved boyfriend think they are at a boring wedding, but they have entered into the Twilight Zone.”

I sipped on a glass of beer, watching the odd display of people in attendance. It was then that Hemingway popped into my head with his epic advice “Write drunk, edit sober.” Now, I have never written drunk, mainly out of fear that what would come out would be gobbledygook. Writing with only one or two drinks could be beneficial if the subject is painful to write on.

All of this thinking was interrupted by the worst rendition of Beyonce’s “Halo” I had the misfortune to hear.

What does writing drunk have to do with lousy singing anyway?

On the surface not much, but look again. They both are about losing control of oneself and letting go. Sometimes the result will amaze you. Other times, the only amazing thing is how bad it can suck. Singing karaoke is fun to do drunk, but at a wedding made it feel like it was part of a Twilight Zone episode. Thank God I had beer. This was a moment when I wished I still smoked. This would be an ideal time for a cigarette.

A word to the wise, if you are going to a wedding in the near future and you see an attendee with a wireless microphone in hand, go to the bar and get yourself a shot of Jack. Tell them your buddy Nancy D. sent you.

I Can Do That With One Hand Behind My Back

We have all heard the saying “I can do that with one hand tied behind my back.”

A few weeks ago, I broke my left wrist. The worst part is that I am left handed. My right hand is becoming much stronger as a result. Finding ways to do things one handed got me thinking. I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that we don’t think much about having two arms or what tasks we do on a daily basis requires two hands.

A typical day goes like this; “Honey, I need you to help me bag my arm so I can shower.” I am in the uncomfortable spot of asking for help. I am the person who tries to do all kinds of things herself first. Pride does not allow me to ask for help even when I really need it. Since breaking my wrist, I have been given no alternative. There are certain things I am unable to do without help. Losing my left hand has taught me to rely on others, especially since I now need help with something as basic as taking a shower. I even need help squeezing out shampoo from the bottle.

My ego screams that I should be able to do all of this stuff with one hand. Failing to do so labels me a failure.

I tell that voice to go fuck itself. Having only one arm has taught me how to think outside the box to get certain tasks done. Circumstances can make us quitters, or it can make us dig in our heels and refuse to give up.

The other funny part of losing one arm is the cast itself. I have a bright pink one. Friends have been signing my cast since I got it a few weeks ago. It reminds me of a high school yearbook with all the funny hearts and cute expressions. Back in high school, I had an odd collection of friends. Nothing has changed. My group of friends is just as eclectic today as it was in those days.

Yeah, now I can do stuff with one hand behind my back. I just wish it wasn’t my left hand.

The Great Equalizer, Or Why I Like My Birthday

Another year is in the books. One thing that never changes is the march of time. The greatest equalizer is this – we all get older, we all eventually face death.

“Death is very likely the best invention of life. It is life’s change agent.” – Steve Jobs

Time marches on whether we want it to or not.

I don’t think I fear dying as much as I fear being alive, yet dead inside. I don’t want to live my life to please everyone around me since that is an impossible goal. I would much rather do what I love and follow my heart. Doing this the past few years is how I have been cheating death. Aging happens to all of us. A fate I work to avoid is getting old and brittle in my heart and mind. Writing is what I love. I will get my life story written before I die. It is a story worth telling.

If you ask me why I like my birthday, it is because I should have been dead a few years ago. Celebrating my birthday is like giving death the finger.

I love the fact that I am still happy in spite of all that I have been through. A few weeks ago, I listened again to that Stanford commencement speech. Steve Jobs talks about connecting the dots. There certainly have been times where life made no sense at all. As I look back now, I see how many situations in my life worked out for my good without me realizing it at the time.

When I first moved here, I met a person who would become one of my closest friends. We are a year and three days apart in age, so we celebrate our birthdays together. I love this idea. Not just for the celebration of our birth, but acknowledging all of our successes large and small in the past year. How we stick together through all sorts of nonsense. That is why I love my birthday.

It isn’t about gifts. It is about being around those who matter. For me, it is a day to realize how much life has changed in one year and be grateful for those changes.

No one is going to escape death, so enjoy life while it is here!

Below is the speech Steve Jobs made at Stanford University. It is well worth your time, trust me.