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Notes to my 10 year-old self

17 Apr

Preamble: As I look back at my 10-year old self, it’s hard to believe so many years have passed.  I’m still the same person by nature (DNA) but experiences (nurture) has shaped me.

Back then, I was a painfully shy Catholic schoolgirl who was book smart, curious (about science, boys, other countries, languages), scared stiff about God (the fear of dying in the night didn’t abate when my father said it could happen), and a bit of a tomboy.

Woman Standing on Brown Wooden Plank

My life at 10 was one of discovery: I felt I was in perpetual winter (Alberta had 8 months of snow!) and longed for trips and travel. As the oldest of 5, I was fiercely independent and I already had a bucket list — self-made millionaire (still on the list), finding true love (ditto), living in the tropics (check), and growing up to be someone I’d admire (self-love is key.)

Hind-sight is 20/20 and yet somehow maybe my 10 year-old self (or someone else) might benefit…

Notes to my 10 year-old self

  • YOU deserve LOVE, KINDNESS AND RESPECT from everyone (start with yourself)

No matter what anyone tells you to the contrary – this is critical.  You practice the Golden Rule now, but know it’s a nice cliché without any basis . People who love you will tell you what you deserve/need/what’s best for you – in truth, they only know what they need from you.You Are Worthy of Love Signage on Brown Wooden Post Taken

Treat yourself at least as well you would a best friend. Walk away from anyone and anything that who does not. (This might sound obvious but it’s taken me years to embrace this.)

  • Life isn’t fair but it usually works out.  In other words: Let go, let God, and have some cake.

Life isn’t fair, period, but time moves on anyways so live with it.

Sliced Cake on PlateYou’ll learn that life is like a birthday cake – some people will grab the end pieces (with lots of icing and sprinkles); others will get more filling; others will be left with crumbs.  No matter what you get during life, in the end, we all run out of cake and the ice cream and move on to the great party in the sky.  No one gets out alive or gets to take extra cake with them.

Find something that makes YOU happy (no one else matters) – pursue what you love (usually it’s  something you’re good at) – and you’ll find happiness.

  • No matter how hard the situation, BREATHE, and get through the next 5 minutes

EVERYTHING in life is temporary, including life itself:  the good times, the bad times, best friends, lovers, family squabbles, beloved pets, sunsets, moods, jobs.  Everything. Is. Temporary.  It’s like waves in the ocean, sometimes they join together and crash, other times they build into a huge surf. Waves are not connected (bad things might seem to come in threes but they’re not related) and simply need to be waited out.  Breathe and make it through the next 5 minutes (at a time.)

Person Standing on Boardwalk

EVERYONE has down days and sadness, everyone goes through hurt and rejection – when you see it happening, be there for others (and yourself.) them.  Be kind to everyone you meet for you know not how they live behind closed doors.  (“There but for the grace of God, go I” is one of my favorite middle-aged sayings.  We were fortunate to be born in a free country in a family with a house and food. Never take that for granted, and be grateful.)

  • CELEBRATE often!

Woman Holding Firecracker

Take time to CELEBRATE and take credit for your achievements, even if it means you celebrate alone.  The energy and appreciation that comes out of celebrating will help tide you through the bad times.   (We were raised to think that anything good was because God saw we’ve been “good” – despite hard work; and the contrary was because we offended God.  I do not believe this – don’t you. Crap sometimes just happens, not because of anything you caused.)

  • Not everyone is grateful

White and Black Heart Printed Accessory

You (and I) have a great life – one filled with blessings and good things.  Because of this or in spite of this, people will treat you well/poorly/horribly and get angry at you for not fulfilling THEIR dreams.  Know that you are not crazy or weird or somehow not good enough – you are whole, complete and perfect just as you are. You are kind, thoughtful and compassionate and always will be. Be grateful.

  • Better (to) be single than sorry

Women's White and Black Long Sleeve Shirt

Trust your instincts about people and situations.  NEVER settle for anyone (a friend or lover or partner or boss) who doesn’t treat you well.  The idea that “you have to be a friend to have a friend” goes out the window when “friends” ask you to lie, cheat or give up on your values. Friends treat friends well – and you get to choose!

In terms of dating, believe me this: you’re going to attract men who want to use your confidence and kindness (they want to be nurtured) or who want to topple you as a challenge (narcissists.) You wouldn’t let a best friend be emotionally abused so watch out for this with yourself!  You’re better off alone (in great company) than with someone who takes you for granted and walks over you.  You may not notice at first but know that you deserve to be in the sunshine with a partner, not lurking in the shadows.

  • You are only responsible for your own actions

Close-up Photography of Gray Cairn Stone

Immature people blame their behavior on others – don’t take it on.  You are only responsible for your own behavior (and partly for your children until they are adults.)  You do not need a man (or anyone) to complete you – you are complete on do your own.  If you CHOOSE a mate, please choose one who will ADD to your life, not detract.

If you hurt someone (unintentionally or otherwise,) take responsibility and apologize quickly and often.  BUT, other people’s anger is not transferable to you. Know that co-dependent “disease” runs in our family –  don’t become the next victim.

  • Everyone is a bit funky – but you are NOT CRAZY.

Multicolored Plastic Slinky Toy in Close-up Photography

I know it’s one of your “trigger” words, but you are not and never will be verifiably CRAZY.  The “normal” you believe now (Catholic, observant, subservient and kind) sets you up for abuse by others.  I know you’ll figure this out on your own, but you need strength in your own convictions.  Love you for you – you are unique, creative, generous, and compassionate. The world needs YOU to be present and ready to stand up against the bullies.  Crazy people can’t do that.

  • Follow the 10/10/10 and rule of 17

Six 10 Euro Banknotes

There’s two philosophies that will make your life easier:  Suzy Welch’s 10/10/10 rule (will the decision I make today matter in 10 minutes, 10 months or 10 years?) and my own “Rule of 17“ (Let children be children… they will outgrow childish habits by the time they are 17.)   I wish I had followed these more often.

  • Lastly, become your own BFF

Woman Doing Hand Heart Sign

This IS THE KEY PIECE OF ADVICE that trumps everything else. Become your own best friend forever (BFF.) When you enjoy your own company – you’ll never be lonely again. Accept the you that you are, the good, the bad and the ugly – and fall in love with yourself.

The airline motto of “put on your own mask first” couldn’t be more true.  Love you first and then you’ll have love to give. I remember that mother often chided me about being stuck with myself for life:  “Wherever you go, there you are,” she’d say.  When I was in your shoes as a 10-year-old, this was utterly depressing.  Today, it has a beautiful meaning and I hope you find this out soon.

That’s it for now.  Let’s stay in touch – let’s transform the space and time continuum – and become our own best friends forever. Love you.  xx

Note to Self: Soooooo much distraction… pause and focus

20 Feb

Note to self:

I apologize, I’ve been an absentee blogger for too many months. I’ll be the first to admit that you are my most important reader (I’ve learned that through my discovery of self-love) and it was often the pure satisfaction of having you read and admire my work that kept me writing. Until it wasn’t.

I stopped blogging partly because I lost my focus – I became distracted by too many “squirrels” and reading other people’s blogs and believing that others had more guidance than I could get from you.  I was wrong.  Now I realize that it is important to take time to consciously observe (there will always be sooooo many squirrels to distract), pause (with intention) and then focus back on the love we share (unconditional love and acceptance is wondrous!) This has been a cosmic discovery.

You know I never really left you when I stopped blogging — we’ve been on a journey of exploration and discovery. We’ve read so many new books, gone to so many new places, listened to so many inspirational and enlightening CDs, loved and lost and loved again, and in the process I found you (maybe for the first time.)  I’m happy that you are open to the belief that our best life and deepest love is yet to come!

So, today, I address you, the Royal We (me, myself and I) with a commitment to start blogging again… sharing thoughts through this virtual paper so that we can discuss, savor, create, enjoy and relish with the manifestations they inspire.  It’s a life journal open to the universe – a tracking of where we’re at and where we’re going… I finally appreciate what my mother meant years ago when she said “you can never run away from yourself… wherever you go, there you are.”  It’s so true and it’s refreshing.

I love you to the moon and back…

Your BFF.

p.s., If this sounds esoteric or self-serving to anyone reading this far, that’s okay. This blog has always been about observations and ideas about interpretations of life (for my benefit.) If it happens to inspire or resonate with even one other person, that’s gravy and I’d be grateful to know about it.

p.p.s. Life is good!

Sharing is caring (including blog posts)…

28 Nov

Time goes by in an instant and before we know it, we’re at the age we used to scoff at!  I’m there… The good news is that growing older (as opposed to the alternative) comes with great benefits!

One is being more tolerant and patient (with others and myself.)  I don’t always reach my goals, but I like to revisit them (hoping to set less and more realistic ones going forward.)

In 2017, I wanted to focus more on what nurtures and nourishes my soul (like blogging and happy relationships), and steer clear of those things that detract (like eating too much and hanging out with toxic people.)  I didn’t succeed enough, but I feel that it’s working just to have the goal in mind.

When it comes to creating content, I’m discovering that friends (and fellow bloggers) often post similar experiences before (and with better words) than I do.

Case in point, a friend put up a Facebook post that mirrored a recent experience I had (s/he allowed me to share):

“I may not be perfect or even nearly so. I may not be soft or gentle with words or actions. I may not even be someone many like .
I am however a true friend. A caring person and a person that has feelings and heart. #heavyheart #hurt #movingForward

Reading these words made me realize I’m not alone with my experiences, and I can deliver more and better content (at times) by sharing what is already written.

A new direction for 2018 – More sharing…

Watch this blog for more content from others with great posts that resonate with me (and hopefully also with you.)

And, may I suggest that blogging is meant to be a social experiment?  Would you do me a favor and leave me a word or two when you read something you like (or don’t like)?

While we all forge our own way forward, I’m hoping you’ll agree that our experiences are not always unique – and sharing makes us connected even if we’re a continent away or a generation apart.

My first share – 9 Essential Life Lessons…

9 Essential Life Lessons

I loved this… what do you think?

Have a great week! – Carol

Own Your Day or it will Own You…

17 Jan

Thanks for joining me here today!  It’s going to be an awesome day ahead – or is it?

It’s been almost 18 months since I’ve posted on this blog and today is the day I do something different and start posting again.  Since June 2015, a lot of things have happened in my life – both positive and negative (I’m sure it’s the same for you!) – the most notable that I haven’t earned an income since May of last year, despite having the expertise, experience, putting myself out there, having tons of positivity, optimism, and donating my time to my industries (through various volunteer Board of Directors work.)

For whatever reason, I’ve hit a brick wall in terms of income (I can’t collect unemployment as an independent consultant,) and… yet I’m surviving, and it’s time I got back on the road to financial abundance.  I’m not sure exactly HOW that will happen, but meanwhile I’d like to share a few of the survival tips I’ve learned as I start posting twice weekly from now on.

attitude

I’ve found a couple of awesome life coaches/friends who encourage me to stay positive despite the financial lull and sometimes a lack of positive supportive people in my life.  Maybe this resonates with you?

I’m grateful for so many things in my life (health, friends, opportunities, partnership, inspiration….) and as my world changes and I become more abundant (here’s hoping!) I’d like to encourage others, through my blog posts here, to know that life doesn’t end when you hit a gap in earnings!

I’m a Big Proponent of Positive / Optimistic Thinking

I love books and motivational speakers and reading anything that promotes good health, self-love, and the Law of Attraction (making dreams come true!) – and I love promoting people and things that create positive energy, so I’d like to share two great inspirations I found today: (Thank you to both Maria and Marie !)

  • One Wise Life – daily Facebook motivational sessions.  Maria Flynn of OneWiseLife.com hosts an incredible, daily 9:30 EST Facebook Live session. – Today’s session was very relevant to me:  “If you Don’t Own Your Day, Your Day will Own You.”  Here’s the link to the rebroadcast (click on the pic)

one-wise-life-own-your-day-jan-17

  • MarieForleo.com videos  – today’s segment was about the importance of a positive attitude with some great advice:

marie-forleo-attitude-jan-17

Becoming my own Cheerleader…

One of the ways I’ve discovered that I can be productive, do market research in customer service and put myself out in the mainstream to find new work (hopefully in my specialty) is to bartend at major sporting events.  While the financial gains are yet to manifest, it does remind me that cheerleading is an important part of sporting events – and also in life.

One of my goals in 2017 is to finally write (and take the journey) to become my own best cheerleader!  I hope you’ll join me along the way, keep reading, and share this blog if it resonates with you.  Sometimes I feel like a lone eagle who joyfully supports, inspires and (hopefully) motivates others – and I’m learning that I need to do the same for myself.

I’d love to hear your comments – or brickbats.  Blogging can be a lonely sport – and I’m hoping something I say might inspire you along the way.  And if you have ideas on how I can find contracts, speaking engagements and just to say hi – drop me a note (caroldekkers at gmail dot com.)  Thanks for reading and…

Have an awesome week!

Carol

Graduation day revisited… it’s never too late for your dreams!

4 Jun

I graduated from mechanical  engineering many moons ago with the wide-eyed dreams of youth backed by a zest for the future and a century’s worth of wishful thinking.  For the next few years, life was a dream… jobs were plentiful,  I was a newlywed and new mother,  and even though finances were precarious (my husband went back to university to pursue a new career in a new city when my daughter was 4 months old) I had nothing but optimism for the future ahead.  What was woefully missing, and I never realized it, was a sense of self (as in self-acceptance, pride and self-love.)  While my business sense of self was intact, my personal worth and persona was based on the views of parents, husband and friends. As such, I found happiness only when others accepted me and I was making them happy.

Fast forward to today with grown children,  grandchildren, years of experience, age and financial uncertainty.  Jobs in my niche are scarce, ageism is rampant, savings are small and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to retire… hardly the image of success according to the “others” in my past, BUT, that’s all secondary to the fact that I’m truly happy.

Life has had many twists and turns, highs and lows, successes and failures, and I  finally realize that all of the external success and acceptance by others in my life was a red herring.  Happiness comes with self-acceptance and self-love, and without those, happiness is fleeting. Certainly love, parenting, friends, adventure, money and other things are important,  but not when it comes at the expense or with the exclusion of self.

Good things from others in my life are the icing on the cake, but the cake is a foundation of self-love and self-acceptance.

Today as I see so many celebratory posts about parents and graduates, I find that I am revisiting, with new eyes, the dreams and hopes of graduation.  The difference this time is that the hopes and dreams are based on being in love with myself first… and others second.

I’ve included below some of my favorite motivation/graduation style sayings. They resonate with me and I hope that a few will do so with you – no matter where you are in life and in love.  Celebrate who YOU are and reach for the stars!

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Is it just me or do we thrive on missed connections?

21 Aug

I’m old school and seemingly a dinosaur today…  I like intelligent one-on-one conversations, phone calls that connect, seeing people in person, in other words, connecting on a personal level.  Does anyone else still value these things?

Two-way communication used to be so much easier. I don’t know about you, but I’m wondering what’s happened to make communication as difficult and complicated as it is today.

Today’s frenzied, busy busy world of over committed parental family units, the quest for maximum productivity, and cramming more work into every day, is, in many ways disconcerting.

Certainly technology makes instant contact a possibility, but it is also more screened and more pretentious than ever before.  It is common place to send emails five or six times before you get a response. Text threads that are initiated by another abruptly stop without reason, seldom to be picked up again. Voicemails go unattended and unreturned.

Is not communicating the new societal norm?

As an extrovert who works from home without the support of an office group, and as a single female whose friends have younger children and busy lives, I find that the smarter our phones and technology become, the dumber our relationships become.

I like people and it gives me energy when the connections are genuine, but I’m finding so many misinterpretations and disconnects today. I am a happy, communicative, upbeat person who values relationships but I’m feeling a bit frustrated.

Here’s some examples of why:

– friends/family send and receive multiple texts then simply stop mid-conversation, despite further attempts to continue.  Sometimes the conversation never picks up again despite retries. Interruptions are inevitable, but sometimes contact lapses for days;
– male friends text me on a moment’s notice on a Fri or Sat to go out on a date and become offended when I say I’ve already made plans. Often they never ask again or refuse to ask me in advance and do the last minute texts again and again;
– friends won’t pick up the phone and despite voicemail, are too busy to call back, even about mutual plans;
– meeting times are fluid and people seldom call to say they’ll be late. Some arrive (if at all)  consistently 2 hours after the pre-arranged meeting time (even if they’ve set it). When they do sour up, the cir a litany of things they had to do first;
-emails to business associates go unanswered despite clear subject lines that they created.  Sometimes the urgency of the topic is critical (high) but it doesn’t change their (lack of,) response. Certainly priorities change, but there is no follow-up to let others

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– misconstrued texts that incur offense, disdain or anger based on assumed meaning (I’m as guilty as any in misinterpreting texts.) Then when time passes between texts, the emotion escalates unnecessarily. People seem reluctant to pick up the phone to clarify what they think they (mis)understand;
– plans fall flat or change without notice and the other person neglects to get in touch.  To  compensate for this, I routinely make plans to either do something I can do alone (when others cancel) or make backup plans for no shows (or they find something better to do);
– conversations end because a device dies and there’s no charger around. I’ve made plans to meet up with friends where I’m essentially stood-up because the other’s phone died and they didn’t attempt to find me;
– people bring tablets or smart phones and then do emails or Facebook when we’re out in groups (not posting pictures or checking in.) One friend ignored me entirely one night (on his day off) because he said his work was “blowing up” and he was buried in his smart phone doing emails;
– many more examples of non-connection…

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Is the world changing, am I too tolerant (or sensitive) of others, or is it something else? What is your experience communicating today?

For me, I’m happier than I’ve ever been before, but (mis) communication seems to translate into others not caring (at least that’s what I was taught.)

Comments…recommendations…observations?

Hope you have an uplifting week of great connections and wondrous experiences.

Carol

GE was wrong, puppies and cartoons bring good things to life!

17 Jun

Marketers throughout the world know how to make money and gain attention – involve puppies (or cute kittens) or make people laugh (through cartoons) and you can move a nation.

YouTube videos that go viral usually center around the cuteness factor (puppies, kittens, adorable babies or wild animals doing cute things,) or hilarity (which can be country specific…)  And, even more so, when our emotions can be stirred about either one, a mass outpouring can occur.  I just realized this today, when a news story was aired about a childhood cartoon character’s demise (Calvin of Calvin and Hobbs.)

In life, we want to feel connected, to be accepted, to be happy in our human experience, whether through real-life-human contact or stories about it.

Here’s a couple of examples…

What stirs YOUR emotions today?

I’ll bet it has nothing to do with technology or TV, but rather human relationships, puppies (or kittens) or childhood memories.

Am I right, or out to lunch?

I learned today, and I believe, it’s puppies, cartoons, and living that bring good things to life!

Have a great day!

Carol

 

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