Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

Last summer I started working at a family owned farm. The family that owns the farm decided to start a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and they teamed up with their elderly next door neighbor Mr. Pickett* who has grown vegetables all his life and has been selling his own veggies out by the road in front the farm for a few years now.

A lot of the time I worked alone with Mr. Pickett, picking and selling veggies. I learned a lot about gardening from him, which I thought was really fun, because I would love to have a garden of my own someday.

Mr. Pickett and I were getting along well. He really liked my work, so as vegetable season was coming to an end he started telling me about the plans he had for me for next year. I never really knew what to say to him about his plans, because I hadn’t decided for sure that I was going to work at the farm again this summer, but I hadn’t decided that I wasn’t going to either. Although there were things I loved about the job, there were also a lot of things that made the job not a very good fit for me.

It was this March that I finally decided that I was not going to work at the farm this year. After making that decision I, of course, had to break the news to Mr. Pickett. This was the first time I’ve ever had to say no to a job offer, and to me, it felt a lot more like I was breaking up with Mr. Pickett than just declining a job. I was so worried that he would be upset or hurt by my decision. I knew he was planning on having me around to help him this year, and I felt guilty that I wouldn’t be there for him, but I also knew I had to do what was best for me.

I was so stressed out and nervous about telling him. It took me a few days to get up the courage to call him. When I finally made the call, I told him that working at the farm wasn’t going to be a good fit for me this year, and that I was sorry I wouldn’t be able to work with him. To my relief he said that he wasn’t hurt, he was just disappointed. He ended up telling me that if I ever changed my mind and decided I would like to work there again, he would always have a job for me.

So, in the end, it didn’t feel like a break up at all. I was so pleased with the way it turned out. When I got off the phone, I actually started dancing around the house from excitement and relief! I had gotten myself so worked up over the situation and thought it would turn out absolutely horribly, but it didn’t!

What do you do when you have to break news like this to someone? Have you found ways to handle these types of situations to make them less stressful?

*Name changed for the sake of privacy.

The Pain Was Worth It in the End

I love skiing.

There’s just something about gliding down a snow covered slope that fills my heart with a sense of easy peacefulness.

A couple of weeks ago I went on a ski trip, but I wasn’t planning on skiing; I decided to give snowboarding a try. Not so much because I wanted to… okay, not at all because I wanted to, but because my generous sister was going to let me use her old snowboard, which would mean I would be saving money by not renting a pair of skis.

This was my second time snowboarding. My first time was last year. But that only lasted for an hour, because we mistakenly got to the ski place right before they were going to close, so I was basically starting from the beginning all over again this year.

Last year I had liked the idea of trying something new; I thought it would be fun to know how to snowboard. So for that hour that I spent boarding, I had fun. This year was a different story. This year all I wanted to do was go skiing. It had been a while since I’d been skiing, and I missed that peaceful, easy feeling (no pun intended). I didn’t want to have to put so much effort into learning to snowboard. I didn’t want to work, I just wanted to have fun.

I had been trying to ignore how I felt about boarding, but once I got to the top of my first hill of the season, I wasn’t able to ignore my feelings anymore.

I had cheerfully gotten all of my gear on and walked to the hill where I sat down in the snow to put on my board. It was at that point that my cheerfulness turned to anxiety. The hill was far too steep for my liking. I did not want to go down that hill. But with encouragement and instruction from my sister I managed to make it down the hill safely.

It turned out that not only did I not want to snowboard because of the afore mentioned reason, but I was also somewhat afraid of snowboarding. Skiing had come pretty easily to me. I mean, sure, I’ve taken some falls over the years, but for the most part I have felt in control while skiing. With snowboarding I feel a complete lack of control.

What I am most afraid of is hurting myself. I have this scary picture of myself loosing control, falling off a ledge somewhere and breaking some part of my body. I have never broken a bone to date and I do NOT want to start now!

Well, I didn’t break anything. Thank goodness. I did however take my fair share of spills along the way, and with those came plenty of sore muscles.

The scariest moment was when I twisted my knee after panicking and throwing myself to the ground in a lame attempt to rescue myself from what I thought was inevitable disaster. According to my sister, it was not inevitable disaster. She seemed to think that my reaction to my imagined impending danger was quite comical. And after hearing her recount the event in the way only she can, I could see why.

It was after the knee incident that I had the last of my meltdown that was gradually coming on at the top of the first hill. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I cried. I was feeling sorry for myself. My sister gave me a much needed pep talk during my meltdown. One of the things she said to me was, “You’re so much braver than this.” I remember feeling surprised to hear that. I think my response to her was, “no, I’m not.” But I think maybe I am. I’ve been feeling so completely the opposite of brave lately, but I did used to be brave. And I still am brave sometimes, I just need to remember that I can be.

Something popped into my head after that exchange with my sister. It was the title of my blog: Setting the Bolder Course. I realized this was an opportunity for me to be bold and I couldn’t let it slip away.

During my sister’s pep talk she told me that I could have fun snowboarding, but I needed to change my attitude.

Well, I did change my attitude. And I did have fun!

Remind Me Again, Linus, What Is Christmas All About?

Christmas is coming up fast and like last year and the year before that I am completely stressed out. My mom always worries a lot about gifts during the Christmas season, which makes me feel guilty, stressed for her, and sometimes it makes me want to just skip gifts altogether.

I’m not going to lie, I love receiving gifts (and I love giving them, too). And although we have already purchased gifts for this Christmas, I wonder… Would Christmas really be so bad if, for even one Christmas to come, we chose to forgo the gifts?

How much stress would we save ourselves?

How much more time would we spend thinking about what Christmas is really about?

Wouldn’t we still enjoy the holiday season with all the Christmas music playing, the delicious holiday food, and the company of loved ones?

Yes, having gifts is fun. But gifts aren’t everything.

I think now would be the appropriate time, Linus.

I am dedicating this post to my mom in hopes that someday she’ll realize that nothing she could buy me would ever make me love her more. Because, although I can be really mean and angry sometimes, I love her more than she knows. If I could have my pick of moms in the world, I’d choose her every time. Spending time with her is my favorite Christmas gift every year.

I love you, Mom.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

All of the kids pictures have finally been mailed, and, boy, is it a load off my mind!

Now I need to start working on writing a few thank-you notes that I’ve been meaning to mail. My plan is to have them finished by the end of December 30, so I will be able to mail them on New Year’s Eve.
Then it will be time to enjoy my favorite New Year’s Eve traditions with another task that I’ve been putting off checked off my list.

That will be nice!

I Have Promises to Keep

I used to volunteer in a Sunday school class at a church I was going to with my sister. I had volunteered there for several years, but I decided to stop in the summer of 2009, because my sister decided to switch churches and I hadn’t made any connections at the church, so I didn’t feel any need to keep going there.

My dog Monty

The kids in my class were so sweet! They were second graders, and some of the greatest kids you could ever find. On one of the last Sundays that I taught class there I took my Yorkie Monty to visit the kids. The kids loved him! Before the end of class I took pictures of the kids with Monty. The next Sunday one of the little girls asked if I had brought the pictures with me. I told her that I still needed to get them developed, but I would send them to her in the mail soon.

It’s now been over a year and I still haven’t sent them their pictures. I feel awful about it. How could I let those kids down like that?

If the saying “better late than never” is true, and I believe it is, then I should still send them their pictures.

And that is exactly what I’m going to do.

I don’t want to let another week to go by without having sent those photos. So this week I am going to write each of those kids a note and mail them their pictures.

I hope they’ll be pleased even though it did take me far too long to send them. It could turn out to be a fun Christmas time surprise for them.