Tell the Truth

Once upon a time…I would take my breakfast to work to eat there. But with the medication I take, I discovered how awful I felt before I even arrived because I had not eaten. Turns out I’m a much happier human when I’m fed.

fancy

Which brings me to this nugget of truth:

H.A.L.T

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

By evaluating the words we say, actions we take, and decisions we make keeping the acronym HALT in mind, I bet you can pinpoint where many conversations or big decision making situations in your life went wrong. What if you evaluated your own internal cues prior to reacting to stressors at work, home, or life in general? Taking care of our basic needs is paramount to successful interactions. Hanger is very real, as is allowing lack of sleep to encourage poor decisions. So, next time, before you react or make a snap judgment, try the HALT method. If you need a snack, go for it. If you need to sleep on a decision, do that. If you’re falling back into destructive behaviors, perhaps it’s time to call a friend who will listen.

Unrelated – as I draw closer to the start date (I have one of those now – September!) of my doctorate program, I recognize this will finally unlock the door to teaching higher education. Some may think it’s not even possible, but I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since I was 5 yrs old. Really. Don’t ask me how. I just knew then and still know now in my heart and soul I was called to teach. In every career I’ve had I always find myself gravitating toward teaching positions, opportunities to teach others, or advancing my formal schooling with the intent to teach. Now, knowing what I know now, Higher Ed is very political. I get it. And even though my degree(s) are in Public Admin which cater to elected officials and city/state government jobs, it’s never been my intent to become an elected official. Way too empathic. However, I would take my chances at teaching at the university level.

I ran into a college friend a few weeks ago whom I hadn’t seen in person since 2007ish. She’s now a local principal and an adjunct professor at our alma mater. She had some interesting advice for anyone willing to tackle university-level students; it boiled down to the older they get, the more resistant they get. Let’s land this plane, shall we? Instantly I thought of the HALT method. What kind of service are we providing our youth (and ourselves) when getting older is synonymous with resistant? Absolutely rhetorical! I firmly believe we all have more to learn – there’s no end in sight. Honing your craft, sharing your skills, providing a sympathetic ear are just three simple steps. Imagine what could be done if you tried, if you made a conscious effort.

Perhaps this is where we get it very wrong. When the going gets tough, do the tough actually get going or do they get gone? Think about it.

________________________

I ask you –

Know about good metaphors for deescalating stressful situations?

Do you consider yourself a resistant person? You can lie to me, but don’t lie to yourself.

Tell me something you are very good at (skill, hobby, whatever it is)! Baking cookies!

Box o’Books

I’m very sad to report it’s been months since I’ve been to the library. So when I realized I had a few extra minutes – aka town with trains – I detoured and made my way to the book haven. This time I was able to find a new book I’ve been eyeballing (no pun intended) for some time. What’s with these authors who only publish one book a year? Don’t they have jobs? Geez!

With the opening of our newest base coffee shop, Common Grounds, I find myself visiting about once a week. Sometimes it’s for solace, sometimes for coffee, sometimes just to sit amongst the books. As there’s a large, indoor playground, it has just the right amount of background noise and joy for me to write, read, or ponder life goals. But mostly for coffee drinking. Though lately my drink of choice is hot tea. Anyway.

My goal to read at least one book per month sort of floated away. Hello, distraction. I better get busy reading for pleasure because soon the only thing I’ll be reading is journals on research. And some topics are so flat out boring it can be hard to keep your eyes open. Remind me not to be a dull doctor. In the meantime, I’m going to spend my time reading Michael Connelly and books about overcoming anxiety.

This is fun, right?

______________________

I ask you –

What are you reading lately?

Do you frequent public libraries or prefer to obtain your reading online?

Pick one: coffee or tea! Predominantly coffee, of course.

Yes, I’m Still Thinking

As I continue to traverse the stages of shock within utter humility, my mind is blown that I’m attempting to get a doctorate. You know the Journey song “Don’t Stop Believin”? Yeah, that’s me. Perhaps a doctorate isn’t the wildest idea in my history – I did join the military at age 28 which is still almost incomprehensible. But the smokescreen of doubt lingers. Do I have what it takes? Funny thing is I don’t worry about failure. Once I get started, I know I’ve got this. It’s the getting started part that worries me. When I look back on the moment I received the phone call stating I had passed my master’s capstone (essentially the final mountain), I was speechless. I looked around my big empty gym and took in the silence. Then I smiled the biggest smile I’d ever had until that point. I’d done it.

Shortly after I shared the good news with anyone who would listen, someone asked what’s next? I recall answering something to the affect of this is it for me. When the thought of a higher degree crossed my mind, I told myself ‘that’s not me’. Why not? Because it can be me. In time that passes so quickly, it will be me. In the meantime, much work remains.

I haven’t shared the news with mini yet. Perhaps the scope of it will be lost on her; that’s ok, too. But I did speak with her on the phone a few nights ago. Typically we video chat but she was with other relatives and it was late, etc. I had a tough time grasping how old she sounds on the phone. Not “age old” but “mature old”. She’s very matter of fact and wise in all her 6 years. She was also exhausted so anything she could do to stay awake was fair game. She had been struggling that night with a headache – when I asked questions related to how it came about, her answers were child-like, then I remembered she’s still my baby.

Proof

Me: Have you been drinking enough water?

Her: No, I haven’t drank any.

Me: Well, that may be part of the problem, honey. Did you hit your head on something while playing?

Her: Maybe!

Nothing like a conversation like that to bring life into perspective. I can hear the conversation in my head right now. “Mom, why is (this, this, and this) happening?” Me: I don’t know. “Well, you’re a doctor!” Leave it to a child (my child) to make you question your education.

_____________________

I ask you –

What song resonates with a journey (no pun intended) in your life?

Have you ever limited yourself with the phrase or mindset of ‘that’s not me’?

Share a moment where a child put you in your place. If you dare.

It Might Be That Time

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. A few weeks ago, I began the arduous task of searching online for colleges to make my doctorate degree dream a reality. Perhaps it was just an off day because the only thing it did was leave me frustrated and resigned to not fulfilling that dream. I kept finding programs with projected completion dates near the 8 year mark. And the cost? Guess again. Even with tuition assistance, etc., it was beyond me.

Chalkboard = Dinosaur

Fast forward to end of last week when I attended a brief on how to make civilian programs work for you. You, the commoner. 90 mins later, I returned to my office with motivation, a renewed purpose, and some homework. Operation phD! Using TA in conjunction with the GI Bill should result in a reasonably affordable degree in T-minus 3 years. Doable. I might even be able to maintain my sanity and a slight social life. As long as I can write papers while we talk. That’s normal, right?

I’ve chosen a school, a program, and am in the process of finagling funding. Making military service work for me. Honestly, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it would be useful for obtaining another degree. For some reason I was under the impression it wouldn’t pay for anything beyond a master’s and since I already had one it wouldn’t pay for a second either. During eval season it was difficult for me to show I was progressing professionally outside of the Navy because my points were already full. So I said I wanted to learn how to whistle. And it did not go over well. My goal is to finish in 3 years or less…I even timed it not to interfere with anyone else who may be graduating. No show-stealing. Even though I didn’t quite get going when I said I would (by the time mini is 5 – she’s now 6), this is a valid goal no matter her age. Or mine. She will still get to experience mommy’s rapidly increasing number of gray hairs. And long nights of writing. Welcome to adulthood, girlie!

school supplies

The last time I went to school was over 11 years ago. I’m one of those complete whackadoo’s who really miss school. I love it! My master’s program was fantastic. All we did was write so of course. The feeling of accomplishing a lengthy paper or assignment is like an adrenaline rush all over my body. It’s figuratively my drug of choice. Drugs are very expensive. So I’ve heard. Anyway. I remember switching careers a year into the master’s degree wondering why I thought that was a good idea. Not only did I have to learn a new job but I also had to find time to write double digit papers on a new schedule. No big moves on the horizon this time – in fact I’m hoping this is the final straw I need to progress in other places.

Alas, I still can’t whistle. But I’ll have “Dr.” before my name so who cares.

___________________

I ask you –

Who wants on my commencement guest list? Location: TBD.

Anyone interested in volunteering to teach me how to whistle?

Tell me your highest level of education! I want to share in your accomplishments.