What language do you speak?

I still don’t get it.  I have never considered myself to be needy…never thought of myself as someone who necessarily needs approval for all of the things I do or decide to do with my life…success or failure.  I’ve also never blamed anyone for my failures.  Circumstances, maybe, but I put myself into them.  I made my life decisions, no one else did, so on days when I found myself laying on my face, I didn’t say it was anyone’s fault or that it was someone’s resposibility to pick me up.  God knows that was the first lesson my mother taught me!  …how to get back on the horse…of course, I don’t remember why she taught me that at such a young age.

Regardless, I do still have dealings with other people.  I may work alone or for a company rather, that employs just me, but I also have investments I made with various members of my immediate family.  Yes, it was my decision to make those investments so the fact that the money was completely lost is no one’s fault, except my own and so I would never hold anyone at fault, except for myself.  But at the same time, these members of my immediate family still don’t seem to understand why it’s so important to repay debts to me.  Having taken advantage of my overly generous nature when I, of course, lent them money when they needed it, I now sit here, asking myself what kind of a person would I have been had I not lent my own brother money to help him buy a house for his family?!?!  

Of course, then I also ask myself how I didn’t expect that same brother to basically tell me to “Go scratch” when I asked him to maybe start paying me back that money.  Seriously?!?!  What does that mean?  I always read funny sayings about how the best way to lose a friend was to lend them money.  Hahaha!  But not my brother!  He’s such an honest, stand up guy!  I must have misunderstood.  Right?  Maybe not.

Now, several years later, after years of fighting and crying and insults being thrown back and forth across phone lines and through gossip chains and through other deals that were thrown in my face to take responsbility for…I pray that something good will come out of it.  Maybe my father will witness this whole transaction and at least, I don’t know, take pity on me or my plight to get my money back.  Help me to understand from what perspective my brother may be dealing from or at least help me see where I must be misperceiving, some comment or action made against me…only to be told how it’s just my fault…how I should just learn to forget the past and move on.  Why can’t I just stop fighting with my brother?  Really?

God, I hope my mother just flipped in her grave!  I live my relationship with my brother and father while experiencing such frustration because we all came from the same household…my brother and I grew up in the same house.  So he must have at least witnessed it when I learned about the difference between right and wrong! How my mother would have sold her own body to pay back a debt…regardless of how small.  I know my brother saw that…I know that his wife saw it while she practically grew up in my mother’s house as well.  Yet, I am still made to feel ostracized by the only members of my immediate family still existing.  Continuously being made to think that I must be the crazy one to be expecting such things as a debt to be repaid or an apology to be expressed for the almost racist comments made to me over the last 6 years by people who are so damn ignorant that I am embarrassed to say we’re even related!  

But why am I raving like this on such a public forum?  Because I need to put this whole thing into the rear view mirror…like so many other things in my life…and this just seems like the best way to do that.  So please, don’t pity me…don’t feel sorry for me.  It was my fault for being the overly generous sibling, instead of the bitch I’ve turned into for being made to feel like the jerk with unsatisfied expectations.  Smack me once, shame on you…smack me twice, shame on me.

Peace out!

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Renter or Owner?

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There really are two types of people out there…Renters and Owners.  What do I mean by that?  Come on, you must know!  We really are two different types. There are those who just don’t…or can’t…find something to tie themselves down to.  They may seem courageous to the outside world…always moving…making fresh starts where most would succumb to a feeling of defeat.  But when they move on…they still don’t tie themselves down to anything permanent.  They stick with something temporary…an apt that they just pay rent for…neighbors they don’t make lasting relationships with because they know they won’t be there forever.  They don’t shop for anything permanent because when their lease is up, it’s all getting trashed anyway.  

Personally, I’ve always been a renter.  But I’ve always longed to be an “Owner.”  I want to find a place where I can grow old.  I want to lay down roots some place.  I want a house that is set to my design…the style that I have in my dreams…I’m tired of still being (in my opinion) forced to pay rent to some other owner to live in their house.  

I tried once to own a place…but that didn’t really work out that well for me.  I feel like I should have gotten an “E” for effort…but I really didn’t deserve it.  I would think that once you have a “permanent” place, then it makes you think more permanently…you choose a boyfriend who may be around for a while…instead of the next cute drug addict you meet.  (I was young…still believed I could talk a guy off drugs…whatever…I learned my lesson.)  

But now I look at the life I’ve had since the end of that relationship 15 years ago…and I am living in another country, have been paying rent ever since, and still have not found the place where I want to lay down my roots yet.  I always think that my next move will be my last…then another relationship ends and I find myself needing to move just to be able to make a fresh start…another fresh start.  Anytime something like that happens, there are always butterflies in your stomach and the thought that maybe going back would be easier.  And then I have to remember that when things appear in the rear view mirror…they need to remain in the rear view mirror.  It doesn’t mean that maybe one day there isn’t a chance that things could be better or different with the people in your life…but it does mean that you still need to change.  You need to stop relying on other people to help you lay down those roots.  

It’s clear to me now.  In order for that to happen, I need to do it alone.  That’s how I was raised…that’s what I was taught…the only person…the ONLY person…I can rely on…is myself.  And that’s for happiness, dependability, love, trust…all those things people look for in their significant others.  If you are not happy within…it makes no difference how many jokes your man comes with!  They aren’t going to make you happy for long.  And as much as he adores you…you must love yourself first before anyone else can get in.  If you have a lot of self-hatred within yourself, it doesn’t matter what that man says.  There’s no beating down that wall into your heart.  

I wish I could be different…more trusting..more open to the love of someone else.  But it’s amazing how much more content I am when there’s no one in my life with the right to judge me or share with me their opinions of my faults.  I see my faults…I recognize when I am rude, inconsiderate, thoughtless, etc….but I also see when I am compassionate, loving, supportive, respectful and just plain nice to others and I feel like those qualities outweigh my bad mood moments when I’m probably just taking a low blood sugar out on the person next to me.  So for now, yes, I continue to be a renter.  But I do see that I need to overcome this obstacle we call “life” by myself.  Once I have crossed over to the other side and have become an “Owner” of a house where I can lay down my own roots, I’m not saying that I won’t let anyone in.  It’s just that I need to do all that before I should even consider it so that I can better identify myself as the person I am…not the person I want to be.

What generation are you?

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sinatra2I never remember which generation I truly am…is it X or Y…I can’t remember.  But I can tell you that I am the generation that grew up before cell phones and computers.  I learned how to make a friend by shaking their hand and looking them in the eye to see if they were someone I could trust.  I am also the generation who listened to the Frank Sinatra show every Saturday night…having grown up in a small apt with my family of four where we only had one radio and my father was who decided what we listened to on Saturday nights.  At the time, sure, I was the kid who would chime in with my brother, “Not Frank Sinatra AGAIN!”  And then we would sit and listen to that Italian crooner from New Jersey sing about life and love and bad luck and of course, New York, NY and Chicago!

Now I’m 41 years old, and one of my favorite things to do is to listen to Frank Sinatra.  It brings me back to the days of when I listened to the lyrics of composers such as Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hammerstein and George Gershwin who wrote about how “I Get a Kick Out of You” or “Shall We Dance” or “I’ve got a Crush on You” even the brave lyrics sung about how “You’ll Never Walk Alone.”  I now find myself singing right along with Frank Sinatra

“I get no kick from champagne,
Mere alcohol,
Doesn’t thrill me at all,
So tell me, why should it be true,
That I get a kick out of you.”

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“When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm, there’s a golden sky
And the sweet, silver song of a lark”

And I realize that this was who taught me about life, about love, about loyalty and fear,these were the words that I heard so many times and were repeated in my ear, for so many years…words that I still hear today.

“I’ve been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate
A poet, a pawn and a king
I’ve been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing
Each time I find myself flat on my face
I pick myself up and get back in the race”…because that’s life!

Children today don’t see the world like I do or did…but how can they?  They grow up idolizing people like the twerker or the Kardashians or the one who always needs a hairbut…Bieber.  What an idiot!  These people are not teaching our children lessons like the ones that I learned while listening to an AM/FM radio.  At a time when we all had record albums that we had to handle with care and that all began with that static sound in the background.  (A sound you never hear anymore because now it’s considered to be an imperfection.)  We learned how to grow up into the person we were because we didn’t know any different.  We spent time with each other, and we adjusted to each other and we all got along and we weren’t glued to a TV set with 1,000 channels.  (My first TV was in black & white and if you wanted to change the channel, between the 7 channels we had, you had to get up and turn a knob!)

So what generation am I?  I’m the Sinatra generation and I want to spend my life singing about “Falling in Love” and “Picking myself up to get back in the race” and about “Wishing on a Star” that I’ll meet a “Stranger in the Night.”  Because that is what life is about.  I will never be perfect, I’ve been up and down and I’ve made my mistakes.  But I plan to spend my life continuing to hold my head high because I know that I’ll never walk alone…if for no other reason than just because that’s what Ole Blue Eyes has always told me.

Road Less Traveled vs. Comfort Zone

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On Saturday I went hiking.  I have always been a big hiker…ever since I was a kid.  Anytime I hear about a hike about to happen, I make sure I’m invited!  Why?  Because as much of a city girl a14520316_10154564179609049_5635474682581688573_ns I am, I just love embracing our great outdoors.  As a child, while on vacation in Vermont or Maine, as a family, we would always go hiking. Then as an adult, while living in New York City, I would take Metro-North up to Cold Springs or Bear Mountain and spend an entire day hiking with work colleagues and friends from Grad School.  Now, while living in Central Mexico, where I am surrounded by 3 active volcanoes, I explore various parks that exist nestled between them where you can literally witness some amazing vistas.

What I found, though, while hiking, was how similar to real life a hike can actually be.  How when we agree to take the ‘road less traveled,’ we discover things about ourselves, things we would be willing to forego in order to achieve something. 14568139_10154564180144049_1938757262039498893_n Yesterday I took a hike in a place where I had never been before and there were some paths that may have seemed impossible to pass for some people (the inclination was intense, the length of each pass was long and I was frequently out of breath…but at the top, these passes lead me to some of the most amazing views I could have imagined.  A view that I would never have been able to see had I given up at the bottom…taken a seat and said, “My group can fetch me on their way back down.”  How much fun would that NOT have been!

In life we overcome obstacles, some placed there by chance while others we expect.  Like when we choose to attend a University that will challenge us mentally, academically as well as emotionally.  (I always used to think, if I had made it into Harvard, what could I possibly had to talk about with my classmates?!?!)  But in addition to that, how about what we choose to do with our lives, professionally.  We all “major” in something in College.  How many of you actually did anything with that degree?  My degree was in Psychology and I never hung my shingle out begging people to come and tell me about their problems and concerns about life!  But I can tell you that I did learn a certain level of understanding for the differences that exist within each of us, based on our perspectives and experiences.

I would not describe myself as being a daring individual, I would describe myself as existing within my comfort zone, pretty boring.  But that’s my opinion.  To an outsider, they may view me differently.  About 6 years ago, I moved to Cozumel where I am able to dive 12 months out of the year.  And I didn’t just become a recreational diver, but rather I went ahead and became a Tech Diver…which allows me to dive to 250 feet.  (Anyone who knows diving, can appreciate the idea of being ‘narked’ everyday!  It was pretty incredible!)  Kind of like tripping on ecstasy…kind of like how you must feel when you jump out of a plane…not knowing in which direction is up or why there are diamonds floating around you and no one else seems to want to catch them.  It’s pretty exhilarating…and the experience was worth anything I had to sacrifice in order for me to have it.  (Even the notion that it could lead me to my grave.)

But even after that part of my life ended and I moved to Central Mexico, I guess I really didn’t have much of an idea about what I was in for…so I guess this was the ‘road less traveled‘ since I didn’t know what it was.  Yes, I had a job lined up for myself to begin once we arrived, but I had no idea what the people around me would be like or how I might be commuting to work each day, what I might be eating or even what types of friends I make be making.  Most say that must mean that I was super brave to take that ‘road less traveled,’ while I may describe myself as being irresponsible or stupid for always believing that things always did, or will, work out.  Though somehow they always do…I have made some unbelievably, incredible friends who I will never turn my back on or run away from in order to return to the States.

I recently published a blog in which I talked about looking beyond imperfections in order to always find happiness.  I am now 40 years old and my standards for life, I’m sure, have changed.  But I could not be happier because I am in charge of my future.  What’s the expression?  “Master of my Fate and Captain of my Soul.”  I’ve always been a big advocate of that!  If someone is not happy…or bored…or just “playing it safe” in their comfort zone, then when they complain that they are unsatisfied with life, I don’t have much patience for it.  Because if you want an exciting life that’s worth living, and sharing with someone else, then get up and go find it!  Take the ‘road less traveled‘ because you have nothing to lose.  Take the risks and chances in life that might result in an amazing experience…view…friend!  When I left my career and apartment and crazy, jet-setting life in NYC 6 years ago, so many people asked me, “What if it doesn’t work out?”  (“It” being diving in Cozumel while bartending to pay my bills.)

14494811_10154564180304049_2275144047963313583_n.jpgMy answer was simply, then I can just come back to the life I have now (using my MBA to manage law firms of NYC while earning a 6 figure income…blah, blah, blah).  But I don’t want to be the person who will ever say, “I wish I had tried that…or done that…or tasted that.”  I want to be the person who did all those things and survived them and now have them to talk about and share them with others who may be afraid to take that leap of faith.  I will never stay home out of fear of the unknown.  I am the person who has nothing to lose except the possibility of ever saying…I wish I had tried that or gone there…or done that.  The worst that could happen is that I spend a sunny day walking up a mountain with some great people, along a river and end up at the top where we see nothing worth talking about later.  What are the chances of that happening?