Fortune cookie wisdom #9

The sky seems small if it is looked at from the bottom of the well.

Well, that’s deep!

Life is a matter of perspective.

Where did you start?

Do you see things as they really are?

Do you see things like I do?

Was your view obstructed by the wall of the well that surrounds you?

Do you live in murky waters that make the blue sky seem gray?

Even the clearest of waters can distort and refract our reflection.

Maybe the well is dry but you can only see the things around you with tunnel vision.

Does the sky matter? Or are you only concerned with what you are surrounded by?

What do I see when I look down at you? Only a poor reflection of myself?

I shouldn’t judge your views if you see things from a different angle.

I wonder…How did you get inside the well in the first place?

Were you born that way?

Did something push you over the edge?

Did you fall into it unexpectedly?

Are you trying to hide from your demons behind the cool dark walls?

Were you seeking satiation and got trapped in the drink?

What if you need help?

If you are at the bottom of a well, perhaps you have bigger concerns than the size of the sky.

It’s too bad, the sky it a beautiful baby blue today without a cloud.

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #8

Begin…the rest is easy.

I find this fortune cookie to be very inspiring.

Beginning is the hardest part, right?

Remember starting a blog? How terrifying was that??

Now it seems so natural, so easy, so ingrained…like I’ve been doing this forever.

Every decision to begin something new is fraught with worry. Or at least it is that way for me. Getting married, starting a family, starting a blog, running a marathon, getting on the stage of a community theater, sailing, going to college, moving to a new community, doing a Half Ironman, traveling, etc…insert dream here..

Beginning a new adventure can be terrifying. Fear can prevent someone with great potential from even starting.

I remember my first 10k. I was horrified. I was so afraid I wanted to run in the opposite direction. This summer, I’m going to run my 4th marathon. A lot of people find that inspiring, motivating, or downright crazy. It is all of those things. If I can do it, anybody can. It started with taking the first step. I started running about 5 years before I ever signed up for my first race. People don’t see everything I do when they hear about everything I’ve done.

Running can be very intimidating if you haven’t yet learned to crawl.

I am very motivated to achieve. I can’t sit still. My brain never quiets.

I am also a very competitive person. This has been harder to overcome. I want to be the best runner. I want to be the best blogger. I am secretly (well, not anymore) jealous of people who have thousands of followers after a few months of blogging. I am jealous of people great enough to qualify for the Boston marathon.

I have to get over comparing myself to others and learn to enjoy my own journey…

Sometimes people ask…How can you be a marathon runner? How do you run a successful business working with your husband? How can you blog regularly year after year?

I’ll tell you how I do it. Begin…that is the first step. Keep going. Keep doing your best even if you aren’t the best. Seek the advice of others who are successful. Maybe I’m not as good of a runner as ______ or as good of a blogger as ________. Who cares? I really love it and that is what matters.

Fortune cookie wisdom #7

You will travel far and wide, both for pleasure and business.

I really love this one!

I have a dream to see the world, near and far…

I’m never going to stop until I reach the end of the path.

As of right now, I visited 32 out of 50 states. Of these states, I visited California, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and Tennessee for business. Next month I am planning on crossing Nevada off of my list.

It isn’t on my bucket list to visit all of the United States, although it would be nice. My plans are far more grandiose than that. I want to visit all of the continents. So far, I’ve crossed off North America and Asia. I plan to cross off South America and Europe within the next 5 years. I even warmed up to the idea of visiting Antarctica.

A couple of days ago, I visited my friend Jen. She recently found out that she has an aggressive type of terminal cancer. The prognosis is not good. Next month will be Jen and her husband’s 25th anniversary. They booked a trip to Hawaii to celebrate. It doesn’t look like they will be going. They wanted to go to Alaska for their 20th anniversary, but never did. Now it is too late.

I don’t want to travel for special occasions anymore. I want to travel because I want to travel. I told myself that after we got back from visiting Thailand for our 20th anniversary. Time is too short.

We couldn’t travel far when we first started out. We didn’t have the extra money. We were tied down to the business. More importantly, we didn’t have anyone to help with the kids. We were lucky if we were able to get away alone one weekend a year for many years.

My husband was 40 before he stepped foot on a plane for the first time. But once he did, we both decided that we would like to travel more.

We never went anywhere as kids, but our kids went to many places already.

We took the kids to Disney World, their first time on a plane.

We showed them a world of wonder that we never got to see growing up.

I guess the moral of the story is not to wait until it is too late to cross things off your bucket list.

It doesn’t have to be a trip to Asia. When the kids were in their middle childhood years, we traveled extensively around the state. We went tent camping to over a dozen different places, mainly state parks. We braved a couple ferocious storms. We biked many trails, went to nature programs, swam in many lakes, picnicked on gorgeous beaches, hiked through the woods, fished, and watched sunsets while the crickets chirped.

After Paul got into sailing, we started similar adventures on water.

 

It doesn’t have to be expensive to be fun. Take what you have and work with it..

I have a dream to see the world, near and far…

I’m never going to stop until I reach the end of the path.

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #6

Advice comes in all forms; some help you and some hurt you.

My husband received this fortune cookie over the weekend. He wouldn’t let me read it and teased me about it for hours until I started giving him advice. **Please note that I said hours before the unsolicited advice arrived.** Once I started giving him advice, he handed over the fortune cookie laughing. He knows how much I love giving advice.

I am good at giving unsolicited advice. Turn in your homework. Get good grades. Drive carefully. Be sure to turn off the lights when you leave the room. Should you be eating ice cream before supper? You will find things easier if you clean your room.

Hey, sometimes people even ask me for advice. Notice that my friend Cindy asked me, instead of her husband, to help her pick out a dress for her son’s wedding.

Now before I start a ‘Dear Alissa’ blog, I’m going to tell you something shocking. There was a time in my life when I didn’t give good advice.

Well there goes my opportunity to make $$ reading two paragraphs of someone’s life and telling them in one paragraph to trust their gut instinct or follow their heart. Damn, I really wrecked that for myself by coming clean with you.

It happened a long time ago back when I was in college. There wasn’t a way to get advice online, so we actually had to rely upon the opinions of real people.

One of my best friends from high school and roommate, Mary, asked me for some advice. She was dating a guy that dropped out of high school and was threatened by her going to college. He had no money and couldn’t hold a job for long. He slept on a dirty mattress (without bedding) on the floor in someone else’s house. His hobbies included drinking and doing drugs.

Now Mary wanted to get married to this guy. Her parents and family advised her not to. She asked me what I thought she should do…Do you love him?? What could possibly go wrong? I mean, love is all you need. Right??!?

Several years down the road, Mary had dropped out of college and worked several jobs to help support her 3 kids because her husband didn’t have a job. She lived in a house that later became condemned. Her daughter had health problems because of the lead paint on the walls. Her husband still had his hobbies of drinking and drugs. He had no interest at all in being a family man.

Not surprisingly, the marriage ended in divorce.

I wish I could’ve given Mary the advice I would’ve given her now. Stay in college. That guy is a loser and is no good for you. You can do better than that.

I wish I had the knowledge and experience then that I have now.

So, here I sit sequestered to a life of giving my family unsolicited advice that they probably won’t heed. But at least most of it is good advice.

Fortune cookie wisdom #5

You are careful and systematic in your business arrangements.

Boooorrrrriiinnnggg! I’m not sure why I kept this fortune cookie. It is true, I am careful and systematic in pretty much everything I do.

However, I don’t think I am very careful about what I say when it comes to blogging. I talk too much and that is something I am not known for doing. Look at me! I sit down almost every single day and talk about myself. No one cuts me off. No one is thinking about what they are going to say in response. I don’t have to worry about having to get a word in edgewise.

It got me to thinking…Is this blogging platform dominated by introverts that don’t talk a lot in real life??

Bear with me for exactly 286 seconds…

Here are some top characteristics I want in a friend that I also offer as a friend:

  • Honesty, I want friends to tell me the truth instead of saying things to make me feel better.
  • Introversion, I would rather not hang around with loud bossy people.
  • Integrity, I don’t want to have to worry about friends hitting on my husband.
  • Humor
  • Intellect, I need deep conversations not small talk.
  • Structure, I don’t do spontaneity.
  • Neurotic, totally sane people drive me crazy.
  • Eccentric/crazy
  • Adventurous
  • Justice, I want fairness…I want a clearly defined right or wrong. (I tend to see things as black or white/all or nothing).
  • Determination, I don’t want a friend that bows out when things get tough.
  • Motivation, I want a friend that strives to be better than they were yesterday.
  • Industrious, I can’t stand laziness. I can’t sit still.
  • Realistic
  • Reliable, just do what you say you are going to do.
  • Trustworthy

So, I pose this question to you…

Are most bloggers introverts? Do we think this is a good place to tell our story because people in real life don’t listen? Do introverts still have a need to speak up quietly? Why would I tell strangers more about my life than friends? Am I inadequate at having real life relationships? Why does it feel safer to talk here for the world to read versus talking to a close friend behind a closed door?

I really want to know…Do most bloggers have the above characteristics?? Or am I just attracting the people that have these characteristics because that is how I am??

What are your thoughts?? If you follow my blog, how many of these characteristics do we share? If you are just passing through, what about you??

Am I making a sweeping generalization that most bloggers, especially those that post in the personal genre, are introspective introverts like me?? Or do I just attract people like me??

I notice your personality shine through in every word you write…Why wouldn’t you notice mine?

I know I totally got off the fortune cookie topic today. Whoops!

Fortune cookie wisdom #4

Good beginning is half done.

This one seems rather obvious.

It serves as a reminder that my life is half over.

Midlife.

Soon I will be 44. Will I make it to 88? I think so..

It is scary to think about. Death, decline..

 

I fear death. Maybe by the time it happens I’ll be ready for it.

I fear decline even more. I want to always have the energy that I have today.

Or maybe it means that my marriage is half over. We’ve been married almost 21 years. Will we make it to 42?

I fear the death of my spouse. He is 6 years older. Plus women outlive men by 6 to 8 years. So just doing the math, I should outlive my husband by 13 years. So if I live until 88, he would live until I’m 75 which would be 46 years of marriage. My estimates based on nothing makes it pretty close to being half over.

I worry about that, I honestly do. I have longevity on my side, Paul not so much. My parents already outlived Paul’s only parent.

Maybe if I find his real father, I will find longevity on his other side. But then again, maybe not.

The first half of my life went by so terribly fast.

I think this serves as a reminder to enjoy every day of breath we are given. Don’t take life for granted. Take time to listen and love. Remember what is really important.

You will not be here forever and neither will the ones that you love.

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #3

Even the toughest of days have bright spots, just do your best.

Life.

There is always darkness and light, morning and night.

But some days seem so dark that we cannot see the path in front of us.

Then for a brief moment the clouds part and a bright light pierces through illuminating the way.

A ray of hope…

Things won’t always be this way forever.

Some days it takes everything we have just to plod down the path.

But if we do our best, it is always good enough.

Be certain, we can’t truly appreciate the good days unless we’ve had a few bad days too.

Fortune cookie wisdom #2

Blessed is he who makes his companions laugh.

I absolutely love this fortune cookie.

Growing up there wasn’t a lot of room in our house for happiness or laughter.

I was so serious, I rarely cracked a smile or a joke.

My youngest brother Luke was the household comedian. He would do outrageous things to try to make us laugh.

Then over time, Luke changed and so did I. Luke is now the serious one and I am the comedian. I don’t know when we exchanged the baton. I can’t explain it. How do roles change? Can the childhood caretaker become the adult mascot??

Did we just fill the roles that we needed to to survive? To function in dysfunction?

Now can we be who we really are? Who are we really? Are we who we were then or who we are now? Or is it a mixture of both?

Now when I get together with friends and family, I play the part of comedian. I love making people laugh. Life is too short to be serious all of the time.

I try to mix some of my serious blog posts with a pinch of laughter. There is nothing like adding a dose of humor to topics relating to death, despair, and disaster. It makes for some interesting post tags. Hmmm…death and humor?? Really now?

What is wrong with Alissa? I think she has a warped mind. I can hear your voices in my head already.

I don’t even know what genre I’m blogging in. Personal?? And everything else outside and in between. Real life? Your guess is as good as mine. You never know what you’re going to find.

I love following blogs that are able to mix seriousness with humor. It’s really difficult to master and even more difficult to consistently find in writings. They don’t seem to naturally mesh.

Why does it have to be one or the other?? Life is a mixed bag of sunshine, rain (blizzards), laughter, and tears. Most of the time the opposing spectrum cannot cross the center line. Tears from laughter. Sunshine and rain. Both are rare to find combined. Maybe that’s what makes a rainbow so beautifully profound yet elusive to capture. It is mysteriously bent outside of its natural boundaries like the top and bottom ends of the bell curve.

All of these deep thoughts over a fortune cookie about laughter…Geez…It’s not even funny..

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #1

The price of greatness is responsibility.

My husband received this fortune cookie last week when he was touring our state on a public speaking route. It was meant for him.

My husband is a great man. That being said, he carries a lot of weight on his shoulders.

My husband is a great leader of our house. It is no easy task raising 3 teenagers. It requires the perfect balance of love and discipline. All this he has done without having a father to show him.

My husband is a great business leader. He started a successful business out of an idea. He had no clue what he was doing, but was willing to learn. He earned his MBA. Over time and hard work, he became the expert in our state. Running a business is a heavy weight to carry. The responsibility is enormous, but so is the reward.

Over the years, he has been involved in many boards and committee chairs. He volunteered to get the finances in order for several organizations. If there are conflicts or issues, his phone is the first that is ringing for advice, problem solving, and resolution.

He gives, and gives, and gives..Someday he said he might retire from it all. But I’m not so sure that will ever happen.

I don’t say it often enough, but I am proud of how great Paul is and everything he does to help others. So often I am guilty of heaping more problems on him instead of showering him with appreciation.

I would thank him personally, but he is at a meeting right now.

 

 

 

 

Bracing myself

I received a fortune cookie this week. It read, “our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist.” Sometimes I feel like I have the opposite problem. I have the mind set of an iron pumping 17 year old male trapped in the body of an iron popping 41 year old woman with a sore knee. I am not the only one of my siblings to have knee problems either. My brother Mark blew out his knees and pretty much the rest of his body years ago from intense physical labor. My youngest brother already had 2 knee surgeries from being a hard core competitive volleyball player. We have been known to beat the crap out of our bodies, I wonder why I thought I could be the exception. My daughter said I may have to quit running and take up knitting. God forbid!

I bought myself a knee brace this week and ran with it yesterday for a 6 mile run. I wrapped it around my knee tight as a tourniquet. About half way through, I did feel a twinge of knee pain. What I did notice, however, was that I had a lot less pain after the run. I can imagine myself running in the future with a full body brace. I am bracing myself for that. Lol. Did I tell you that I also have a carpal tunnel brace? I need to wear it if I spend too many hours at the office or if I have a jigsaw puzzle marathon. C’mon, you live through decades of Wisconsin winters and tell me what you end up resorting to. Then my sanity level should not “puzzle” you. Just another thing I will have to brace myself for, a long winter. I am going to tell myself that it is summer as long as I can. 

I did see something interesting on the road yesterday. It was a young man walking covered head to toe in camouflage. He even carried a large camo bag. What wasn’t covered in camo was covered in tattoos. He had long dishwater blonde hair with a bit of a beard growing. He meant me no harm on his long journey. I imagined that he was discharged from the military in Texas and decided to take the long way home. It is strange how we can meet up with strangers that converge for a very brief moment on our path. Here he is in my blog, unaware. Maybe for a second I was strange to him too, bracing myself for the path I chose to tread upon.