Pause and Reflect

The email subject started out “You are a Hero”.  Although it was an email from Christy Whitman (good motivational speaker) advertising her coaching course – It took me back for a moment.  And then I realized, why yes, yes I am.  I am a hero to someone. Someone right now who may be reading this, has me bookmarked or is passing me on to a friend.

I don’t normally pause and take a moment to reflect.  Pausing and reflection have always been two luxuries I could never afford. I’ve had to continuously move forward in all of my situations.  I had to take care of myself – no one was going to do it for me.  Pausing, completely foreign concept. Today I realized after reading that subject line – If I don’t pause and reflect I can’t give myself props for what I’ve done.

If I take a moment to pause and reflect – I scratched and clawed and I’ve made myself who I am today. My parents never gave me the college speech or even asked me what I wanted to do. I just knew I wanted to get out.  I grew up in a southern community where a lot of my classmates got married after high school. Not a lot of people left, not a lot of people had worldly experience – However, after graduation, I enrolled in the local community college because I had no clue what I wanted to do.  And then my father died.  I am the eldest.  Life changed – two part time jobs – paying 1/4 of the household bills, plus what bills I had all to help my mom who had been a stay at home mom for 18ish years.

After my brother graduated – I left. It was the first opportunity that opened itself – not the best.  However, I fled. I enrolled in college and again I was working two part time jobs.  I can’t remember having new clothes, I couldn’t afford cable or luxuries like to go to the movies, new cd’s or new clothes.  Hell I never went on Spring Break or on a vacation because I didn’t have the cash.  I was 22 and that was too old (mature) to live on campus.  I had my own apartment and a car that I needed to pay for. I can remember shopping at Super Walmart giving myself a budget of $40.00 for the week to eat off of.

And two years later I received a notice that I had come close to my student loan limit.  WTF – apparently my father had been taking out loans in my name and not paying for them like I thought he was.  It totally makes sense.  We were poor. For some reason I don’t know, my father left his place of employment to run his own business.  That did not work out well.   I can remember my parents fighting a ton about not having enough money and that he should be thankful I  wasn’t a normal teenage girl and hate to shop.  The lack of funds combined with the No Child Left Behind Law made me drop out of school.  I was going to be a high school history teacher and I had finished my student teaching and then Bush signs the law.  I don’t agree with some things in there.  I got a real job.

Two years later I would be married to the jerk of an ex.  I say that lightly he was a freaking piece of work.  On top of my full time job, I worked a part time to save up money to leave him.  Even after I left I had to work that part time job for two years until I entered a new tax bracket and had to pay out. But I did leave a cheater and an abuser. I also did earn my BA.

My current job – I’m not where I would like to be – I’m working on it.  I took a job that just opened my foot in the door.  Not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life – and now I’m in the position I wanted to be in.  The raise / promotion is coming.  Growing up I never knew anyone in my industry – doing what I’m doing now. Again, I had to apply for this – I got this job on my own merit.  I simply want more out of my life – my old job wasn’t for me.  I didn’t sit still – I moved.

I could say not pausing  is  perhaps my way of avoiding coming to terms with the abuse in my marriage or the fact I came from nothing and had to claw my way up to where I am now.  Sometimes I gets really embarrassing admitting I’ve never seen X movie because I couldn’t afford cable or I haven’t traveled anywhere because lack of funds.  Or currently I have to chose what I do because I’m on a tight budget. I know that’s not what the world is made of. But integrity doesn’t pay for a trip.

Whatever the case pausing and reflecting will now be activities of mine on achievements. I have to give myself props even for the smallest achievement. I know how to stand when things get tough – I know how to really work hard and take care of myself. And I also have a life I need to live. Balance. The achievement doesn’t have to be large like pulling off the largest project of my life – case in point last week – it can be something as simple as realizing that having the last word isn’t worth it.

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