Everyone Has a Story Worth Knowing

Type type type. Backspace furiously. Type a few more words and backspace again. This is my normal mode of operations on Sundays. I usually have an idea, or two or three, throughout the week about what I will write about but they don’t really come together until Sunday evening when I finally sit down and put hands to keyboard. And then remove my hands, and put them back several more times. Sometimes my thoughts come from “helpers”; my kids, husband, articles I read, or even people out in the world. This week it comes from the story of other people.

blackboard chalk chalkboard concept

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This week, yesterday in fact, I was able to spend a few hours helping my friend do a wedding photo shoot. Her normal assistant who is much more versed in this than I am was drafted away to other duties and I stood in, a little unsure of what I was really going to be able to help with but ready to follow through as best I could. Her work is great (hint: she took my photos I updated recently, I think she’s beyond awesome), and it’s easy to forget the amount of work that goes into these types of things when you don’t do them. After all, my idea of photography is some pointing and clicking with my iPhone. I do okay, but that’s not my medium and I take for granted how much work and how much vision the person holding the camera has to have.

This does not take into account the amount of patience the photographer is using when maybe those who should be in the photo wander aimlessly away, or don’t quite understand the instructions for certain poses. It was a wild flurry of activity much more related to mildly organized chaos (albeit helpful people disguised in chaos’ clothing) than what I imagined photography consisted of, all over approximately six hours – which is the time I left, but she would have many more hours ahead of her at the shoot, not to mention the weeks of editing photos to make sure that everything is flawless for the couple.

I am glad for opportunities like this because it helps me stand in someone else’s shoes. Shoes that maybe I take for granted, or don’t really understand. It is so very necessary to understand where someone else is coming from – be it in the work they do or just their perspective in life – because it gives us a point to understand each other’s story. And I have to say, understanding a story always makes the story better – fictional or otherwise. We can’t bake a cake if we don’t understand the steps, and we can’t make the world the best place it can be if we don’t understand everything that is going into it.

The next time you are out, maybe getting your pictures taken, or maybe ordering a cake, take a moment to stop and appreciate the person doing the work. Let them know you appreciate that they are taking their time to do this, that this means something to you. That will make a huge difference to them understanding your story too.

The Old Adage Knowledge is Power – Unfortunately Still Can’t Beat the Power of the Dollar…

people sitting on desks inside well lit room

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

There has been a lot of buzz about the Forbes article with regards to the idea that Amazon bookstores should replace local libraries. If you haven’t already read the article, the link to it is here. To me, this would be a sad thing to see as a large amount of my childhood is heavily wrapped up in memories of my local library.

I have watched over the last several years as funding for library services has been reduced and reduced and then, finally, cut altogether. Beloved library branches have been closed permanently, and the ones able to remain open have been reduced to limited hours open to the public. For some people this makes sense, they have never had much need for the library, and certainly the world of books is readily accessible online. What could the outdated institution possibly have to offer the digital generation?

Memories. Hope. The awareness that an idea is enough to stir a generation to the love of knowledge.

As a child my grandmother introduced me to my love of reading and the ability to use my imagination to travel the worlds in the books I read. As a result, I found I had a voracious appetite for books, earning as many certificates a month as Pizza Hut allowed with their Book It program – which I am glad to see is still alive and well. The library enabled me to find new books, to always push myself into new worlds that I didn’t have access to otherwise. Running my hands over hard copy books made the worlds I was travelling seem more real somehow.

Through all of this, I think about the giant brick historical building that had been re-purposed to house our local library and the winding staircase I would wander as I picked my weekly stack of books, cutting my teeth on Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. My heroes included Nancy Drew and Harriet Welsch (AKA Harriet the Spy) because they showed me the power books held for anyone, but especially for a shy girl who had trouble making friends. Finding these heroes was so incredibly important to me as a child because I was unsure of how to interact with people and finding worlds in the written word showed me that I could use the same power of words to express myself.

The article calls out the idea of reducing costs to taxpayers, but ultimately what this does is not reduce costs but increases them and removes the accessibility of worlds of knowledge from those that don’t have the money to visit the book store. It also calls out services like movie rentals that have been replaced by streaming services, and free internet access (being replaced by Starbucks?). Think and consider why users might need to utilize resources like the library instead of Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, Redbox, or Starbucks. While more people today have access to computers in their home, this does not account for everyone and the libraries help close that gap.

People who support this idea need to be aware that libraries do not just house books for knowledge, but also access to the community. Local libraries put on a variety of programs that include those for both adults and children to meet with others that share their interests in a safe, monitored space. Libraries offer a place for teens to complete volunteer work towards honor society and college applications. There are even programs hosted at some libraries to teach people to paint, play an instrument, or, in some cases, learn to read.

While I do not fear the idea of technology destroying the written word, I am afraid that we are losing sight of what a place like the library means to those that visit it. The worries that these walls might be replaced by corporate giants like Amazon and what this could mean to the next generations.

Find Yourself, Be Amazing

aerial photography of snow covered mountains

Photo by anna-m. weber on Pexels.com

Have you ever looked at someone and been amazed at how focused or driven they are and wondered why you aren’t? Maybe it’s less about being like that person and more understanding yourself, how you work, and knowing what brings everything into focus for you.

Some people are like the Bishop piece in chess, moving diagonally with single-minded focus across the board as far as it needs to go. Other people perhaps more like the Knight, only able to move in L-shaped motions, or the pawn that can only take one step at a time. These pieces are no less important in the game, each piece has a purpose and supports the end goal. Telling yourself to be more like someone else, to have someone else’s determination and drive or focus doesn’t make it easier to accomplish things. In fact, it makes it more difficult because your mind doesn’t work like theirs. You have to find your own way in order to be truly successful.

Finding your way isn’t always easy – some people wake up in the morning and know how the day will play out, while other’s stumble through the morning routine unsure of what each moment will bring. Both of these people have the potential to be incredibly successful, but they have to believe that they can be successful. An organized person thrives on stability, organization, knowing what each moment brings – they would not do well in an unknown situation and would definitely not be the person I would want to send in to deal with the unknown. Someone who is driven by change and the need to be in less structured environments would succeed in the unknown but might be held back with plans and outlines.

Know yourself and know how far you are willing to compromise to meet someone else’s needs. Use this knowledge to help find your way to the right work styles. Once you understand this about yourself it can impact not only your work methods, but how you look at all interactions with other people. Knowing the priorities helps to adjust the focus to important things at work and in your personal life.

Understanding different people helps us to realize that we can’t follow the same path as someone successful – their path to success is not necessarily ours. We have to find our own way. That path might mean laying outlines for something you are working on, to clearly see what the story might hold, or letting each scene come to you on a whim. Neither person is less successful. Neither person’s way is better or worse. You have to know yourself. Understand what works for you. And then follow through.

At the end of the day it’s the follow through that holds us back or pushes us forward. If you understand how you work best, and you can see what path you should be on, then you have to take that first step. You will never know how far you can get if you don’t take the first step, no one else’s path can show that to you. Only your path can.

No one can show you this path. Only you can find it. And only if you know what you are looking for.

Find your path, know yourself, be amazing.

Knowing Your Reality and What’s in Your Glass

four champagne flutes with assorted color liquids

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about personality this week. And attitude. The different ways that our personalities affect our attitude, and vice versa.

I often refer to myself as an optimistic realist. Instead of a glass half full or half empty, I am very glad that there is anything in my glass and understand that realistically my perception of the glass is impacted by the world around it. I am solely responsible for whether there is anything in my glass or not.

I see myself as someone who hopes for the best, but I understand that realistically that is not always the case. Realism, however, might be different for different people. Ultimately, realism is the process of accepting things that have happened and being ready to deal with those things. How willing we are to accept the outcome as it is, and how prepared we are in dealing with it is going to depend heavily on our personality, which will then inform our attitude.

Outside input like a bad day or bad interaction with someone might result in a negative attitude, but ultimately our personality will find us resuming our normal attitude in no time at all. If you are someone that has a sunny disposition then this is less difficult, but, if you find yourself having a hard time seeing past the negative then it’s important to acknowledge this about yourself so that you can see it coming and react to it appropriately. Regardless of your personality, knowing yourself and how you feel about things will make it easier to tackle the difficult things and keep your footing moving forward.

Knowing my personality makes me realize that it is my call in how I react to things. I determine the outcome of my emotions, and no one else is responsible for my feelings. I can get angry, but someone else’s actions do not make me angry. I have to take ownership for these feelings so that I can better navigate what to do with them, and also so that I can better navigate how my interactions with people might go. I can’t be upset if someone won’t hear my thoughts on something if I always react negatively to things before hearing them out.

The ability to react well to critique goes hand in hand with the idea of knowing our personality. If we react poorly to outside opinions like critique or reviews then it makes it difficult for others to work with us, and makes it difficult for us to overcome the things that hold us back, and even more difficult for us to find our way going forward.

Be aware of your personality, understand how it informs your attitude, and understand how your attitude affects the world you live in. Once you accomplish that you make everything else seem that much easier by comparison.

Remember the glass – half empty, half full, it doesn’t matter, because you always decide what’s in your glass.

Do You Ever Find Yourself Wishing You Had More Time?

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

Depending on where you are summer is already reaching the halfway mark. Parents are starting to get notices from the school about supply lists and teacher assignments. Kids are beginning the yearly “can’t wait to go back, don’t want summer to be over” back and forth. College students who take the summer off may be preparing for the fall classes – registration, ordering books, mentally psyching themselves up for the hard work ahead. I’m doing a little bit of all of these things. The summer is my time to unwind and spend time with the family and already I am seeing the end of it, and trying to prepare for wishing I had more … time.

That’s it, isn’t it? What we all do? After a certain age, no matter what stage you are at in life, you always wish there was more time available. The young are eagerly wishing those hours away, and those of us that have spent a little more time on the planet are shaking our heads trying to warn them. They won’t listen, our own youth tells us this, but we try anyway.

Let’s take a moment and instead of trying to cling to time – as futile as trying to catch air with our fingers – and just be. Instead of worrying what isn’t getting done focus on what is getting done. Did you get your story written today? No. What did you do with that time instead? If it was creating new memories with someone special then you can safely rest assured that the day wasn’t wasted. If you worried the day away over how many more hours you needed to be able to complete something then you will continue to do that tomorrow, and many tomorrows after.

Take time. It’s fleeting, and always gone quicker than we expect, but that is the one thing you can count on. Time will always be charging forward. Don’t hold on to the moments that you missed out on, instead charge forward for the moments you can still forge. The actions that you can still be proud you took. If nothing else, live. Time can only hold you back if you let it. Keep in the back of your mind that time is man-made, and your worry over it is too.

Make this year the year we don’t wish for more time, let’s instead see this year as the year we make the most of the time we have. If you find that you have more on your plate than you feel you can manage, realize that you are not alone. There are so many of us out there wearing many hats, and sometimes you just need to remember that. Whatever hat you are wearing as this summer starts to grow shorter, know that it doesn’t have to be put away once the summer ends, instead keep it hanging on the hook by the door, ready to be put on at a moment’s notice. This year, let’s take time back.