Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Year Ago....

Life as I knew it at the time would never be the same. A year ago yesterday was when I heard that the job I loved so much at the company that I thought I might retire from was potentially going to be letting me and others go within a month. Life as I knew it at the time would never be the same again and I was afraid...very very afraid.

At that time, I imagined that I had to maintain a standard of living that proved to be no longer in my list of capabilities. At that time, I was living well beyond my means, I just didn't realize it at the time.  The potential  "threat" to my job became a reality a month and a half later. But at the time, I just going into my Labor Day weekend and that news alone ruined the weekend for me because on top of wanting to chill and relax, I had a set of new worries to ruminate over.

It is often said by others that sometimes the lowest times of our lives are the best because the most personal growth seems to come out of them or things happen to us that change our lives for the better. During that weekend, I also made the decision to do something that definitely changed my life for the better. I decided on a whim to do something only to pick up my sagging spirits.

As a diversion and a cheap and free way to pick up my spirits, I decided to attend the St. Pete Beach VW Beach BASH. It was held at a park in St. Pete Beach. At the time, I thought old VWs were cool as hell. I had no clue that the simple act of doing this would help to change my life in ways that I never imagined. So off I trotted on a hot Sunday armed with my camera for the sole purpose of seeking the new and different.

I took a lot of photos and typed up a nice write-up for this blog. It was a great way to use a Sunday and it had done the required thing for me which was to give me something cool to smile about and for an afternoon, not have to think about how much everything sucked.

After attending the VW Beach BASH that hot sweaty Sunday, a new hobby and passion was born and soon I wanted to check out more of these events which led me to make the long journey from St. Pete to Dade City in early November to check out the mighty event known as Bug Jam. By then, I was in the midst of unemployment while at the same time applying for job after job. At this event, I took a crapload of VW photos.

From there, I planned to attend and be a vendor at the glorious weekend long event known as 'VWs Over The Skyway'. The fever had set in big time by then and there was no turning back. I try to make it to a lot of the larger VW events now with the sole intention of taking as many photos as I can. Who knew that the simple act of salvaging my ruined Labor Day weekend would set forth such a huge change in my life for the better?

All of the photos used in this article were taken that day by the way. Since then, I have become a bit more educated about older VWs and feel as though I love them even more.

I think it is amazing that a snap decision to help myself feel better could lead to something so amazing. Sometimes I am in awe of how life ends up working out for the greater good.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Go Your Own Way

Yes, 2014 has been a lot of  this. I don't think I've done more of the 'Go Your Own Way' in years. So much to tell and this is the first time I've had to sit down and take stock of my life and where I want it to go.

The first part of 2014 was the Great Undoing. This was the time period where I shed a lot of things that no longer served me. It was something that was years in the making and long overdue. One of the reasons that the Great Undoing didn't happen in 2013 is that I was flat out afraid to let go of the familiar and step away from the path into the unknown. The thing about ignoring something like this is that it's going to keep coming up, that not-so-still, not-so-quiet voice inside that compels you to make a move, a decision or a better choice.

I will go on record to say that we are all different and all walking our own paths. Not everyone would be behind what I've had to do and that's okay because it's not about them, it's about me. As I like to say 'I've spent the first half of my life doing what everyone else thought I should be doing. Now that I've come to the second part of my life, it's time to do what I think I should be doing." 

I had to let go and give up a lot of things that I thought I could not live without. I gave up my home, willingly, I might add, because I had outgrown it. It was proving to be far too expensive while my income slowly dwindled. I am happier now, living in one third of the space I lived in for years. There is less overhead and less responsibility. I was able to secure housing through a friend and am grateful every day for this chance to live here.

I left a position with a nice big company because it no longer served me. The position was temporary and no one in charge seemed to care nor did they know if I or the other temps would become permanent employees. The stress level while working there was through the roof and I began to cast my net far and wide. I found a great new job within an industry that is thriving, thankfully. Granted, I am making a bit less at the new job but the opportunities and benefits while working here completely outweigh that.

I am working in a position that I'd always been afraid to try because I doubted my ability to have what it took to do this job. Well, I'm here to tell you...I love what I am doing now! I am good at it, which completely surprised me because I never worked in his position before. I just gave it over to faith and let the chips fall where they may.

In other areas in my life, I am cutting out the fat so that I can live the life I want to. The thing is, I don't need a lot to keep me happy. I used to think that having a lot of stuff  was the way to go. Um, no, not so much. The more stuff you have, the more stuff you need to worry about. I also gave away a lot of stuff to move into my present living situation. I feel happier, lighter and more satisfied.

If anything, letting go of the old and figuring out what it takes to make me truly happy has had the effect on my gratitude level. I think that when you have a loss, whether you choose it or it chooses you, you begin to look at things differently. I am grateful for the smaller things now than I used to be. I am grateful for a nice new job with wonderful coworkers and a boss who gives more than a crap about her people. I am grateful for a roof over my head in one of the coolest spots in Pinellas County. I am grateful for the talent that God gave me and the chance to share it with people. I am grateful to know the people I know and meet the people I've met through doing a variety of things in my life.

So, if you're thinking of going your own way and doing your own thing, I could not recommend it more. You will feel like a different person and perhaps a better person for it!