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Growing Up

My son is in the throes of the whole transition from high school to college process, and by that I mean he’s scrambling to apply for scholarships while simultaneously working on finishing his IB high school diploma. He’s also waiting to hear whether he’s been accepted to three more universities and from there it will be time to make some decisions. It feels like it’s all happening so fast, yet parts of it (the waiting) feel like slow motion. Still, I think he’s ready (more or less). I’m the one who isn’t quite prepared for what’s coming.

The amazing thing about this kid is that he’s pretty sure he knows exactly what he wants to do. Whether he does it or something completely different isn’t really the point, just the idea that he knows what he wants is mind-blowing to me. I didn’t know what I wanted when I was seventeen, and I’m not entirely sure I know what I want today. Yes, I’m a teacher, and I love teaching, but will I teach forever? And in the same capacity that I do now? Or will I move on to become some type of coach or trainer or workshop provider or something different altogether?

I’m also a writer, but what exactly does that mean? Will BulgingButtons go viral? Hit the big time? Will I become a features writer? Will my pearls of wisdom translate into magazine articles, guest blog spots, short stories, or more? Will the manuscript I penned a while back turn into something? A best seller, even?

When I envision my future, I’m not clear on what I picture. I picture contentment, financial security, and my loving family. Those are the things that I desperately want in the future, but the means to achieving and maintaining them are less clear. I often wish I had the clarity of my teenage son. I know he lacks wisdom, but he makes up for it in enthusiasm. He’s young enough to not care about what he doesn’t know. He doesn’t worry about obstacles, and therefore he doesn’t put any in his own way. I’m the opposite. I’m usually my own worst enemy when it comes to success. I understand this intellectually, but I’m not sure how to combat it, practically.

Maybe I just need to finally make the vision board I’ve been thinking about for so long. I suppose the main reason I haven’t done it yet is that, like I said, my vision isn’t quite clear. It may become clearer as I get to work, though. I know there are certain images I want to include, such as a peaceful writing nook, a stack of books, and my happy family. I think I’ll throw in a stack of money (gotta pay the bills, right?), some healthy foods, and some workout gear too. They say if you can see it, you can be it, so why not?

I think tomorrow I’ll get out the glue stick and start going to town on this project. I love arts and crafts, and this project has been calling my name for a long time. It’s time to get it done and start inviting more success into my life.



Throwback Thursday – School Trouble

pencilMy son is a good kid. A very good kid. He generally does what he’s supposed to do and helps out when and where he can. I know this about him. Nobody has to tell me he’s wonderful, but they do anyway. His teachers always tell me what a great student he is, and how much they enjoy having him in class. I’ve heard the same types of comments from people with whom he’s worked. I agree.

Good kid or not, though, he’s isn’t perfect.

This week he messed up. He made a poor decision and he got caught. He didn’t harm anyone but himself, but his dad and I are disappointed. He’s disappointed in himself. He knew he made a mistake right away and he’s facing the music. I’m so glad he’s taking ownership of the situation and not trying to make excuses or blame someone else. That would have been so much harder to deal with.

Like I said, he’s a good kid. In fact, this is only the second time he’s ever gotten into any kind of trouble in school. The last time it happened was in the first grade. He’s seventeen now.

Back in first grade, the kids sat together at tables. Long story short, he and his buddy Kyle got caught writing on the table. My son swears he was trying to erase K’s writing, and frankly I tend to believe him, because he was such a rule follower.  I can see how he might have thought he was fixing the problem, but his teacher didn’t see it that way. Continue reading


Can You Go Back?

I attended my high school reunion over the weekend. We do this ritual every ten years or so, and I haven’t missed one yet. I was sorry that some of my classmates couldn’t attend due to distance and schedules and the general nuts and bolts of life, but that’s to be expected. It doesn’t diminish the event for me if every friend I’ve ever had can’t be there. In fact, there were more than enough people there for me to try to figure out who’s who.hs1

I have to tell you, overall my classmates look pretty darn good to me. As a group they have aged well. Sure, there are a few exceptions but overall they don’t look a whole lot different than they did way back when, except that now they look like adults. Well, most of them. I swear there are two or three who got stuck in some soft of funky time warp thing.

I’ve been thinking about the weekend and all the people I saw, and what struck me was how much positive energy I felt with that group. It makes sense, doesn’t it? The people who are feeling pretty good about life, and don’t mind spending the time and energy it takes to get to the reunion (even if they live around the corner) are the ones who show up. The ones who are struggling stay at home. Those who hated high school or who hate people in general can’t be bothered to come to this event. That’s okay. I’m not saying high school is the be all, end all. Quite the opposite. In fact, I was struck by how little of the conversation had anything to do with high school at all. Time and again I caught up with people and learned what their lives are like now. There have been triumphs and tragedies, but nobody seemed to dwell in the past.

I was glad to see that. I think of the old Bruce Springsteen song, “Glory Days” and feel relieved that I’m part of a group that isn’t living that depressing reality. Our best days are not behind us. Our best days are everyday. Can you go back? Certainly, as long as you continue to simultaneously go forward.