Free Your Mind Monday…

Here we are…at the last set of questions.  And after I answer them I can cross one more thing off my 101 list!

46. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Not much.  I don’t much care what other people think of me.  Well…sometimes I care, but I don’t let other people opinions or judgements dictate my choices.

47.  When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?

Often.  Life is noisy…the dogs are barking and the TV is always on and there is traffic and the phone is ringing.  So I seek out the times that are quiet so I can just sit and listen.  When it is quiet, I like to just sit and enjoy the quiet…and often, the sound of my own breathing.

48.  What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?

The first part of this question is stupid.  How are you supposed to list all the things you love?  So I’m skipping the first part and moving on to the second.  Life tends to get in the way…work, housecleaning, errands…there is always something.  But I make sure that I make time to spend with the people I love and doing the things I love.

49.  In five years from now will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?

Well…not yesterday…but Saturday and last Wednesday and two weeks ago Tuesday.  Days can get routine and start to blend into each other…but I think I do a pretty good job of making days count.  There are enough days that are special and memorable to break up the routine and to keep things from getting boring.

50.  Decisions are being made right now.  The question is, are you making them for yourself or are you letting others make them for you?

There was a long period of time when I let other people make decisions for me.  But I’ve taken back the control.  I make the decisions now that affect my life.  I am in charge.  And I’m so much happier for it.  If you let someone else take control of your life you might not like the outcome.  Make sure that you are in charge of your own life.

 

Well…there you have it.  I’ve answered all 50 questions.  Some of them were great…and some of them were stupid.  Some made me think…and some just irritated me.  But I am happy I went through the exercise.  I feel like I learned a little bit about myself.

What did you guys think of the questions?

Free Your Mind…Um…Tuesday…

I’m freeing my mind a day late this week…but it’s just as freeing!  And even better now that my mind is not so clouded with cold medicine…

41.  If you knew everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?

I would like to just start by saying that this is a freaking morbid question.  However, the people I would want to spend time with would be J, my family, the girls and my two best friends…who are of course, in different states…but I’m going to suspend reality of things like air travel in this instance.

42.  Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy to become extremely attractive or famous?

Hell no.  I never had much interest in being famous…and I’m perfectly content with myself just as I am.  I certainly wouldn’t give up years of my life to be more attractive.

43.  What’s the difference between being alive and truly living?

Being alive is going through the motions…getting out of bed, breathing in and out, working, etc.  Truly living is enjoying every day…finding the joy in everything you do.  Truly living is making the most of every minute you are alive and cherishing it.

44.  When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just go ahead and do what you know is right?

I think it depends on your comfort level with risk.  Personally, I don’t like to take forever to make a decision.  I will weigh my options, do a bit of research, give myself a little time to think about the situation…and then I make a decision.  I don’t think there is a right or wrong way to make a decision.  You have to do what you are comfortable with.

45.  If we learn from out mistakes, why are we so afraid to make a mistake?

I don’t think anyone enjoys being wrong.  I know (and J will tell you) that I hate it.  Yes, I will learn something from that mistake…but I hate being wrong.  I’d much rather learn from other people’s mistakes.

*****

Wow…only 5 more questions left and one more thing gets crossed off my list.

Free Your Mind Monday…

I just made myself some oatmeal and I put a drop of maple syrup on top…and the smell of it is sending me into a trance of maple-y goodness.  So I’m going to eat this delicious goodness and I’ll leave you with this week’s questions…

36.  Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?

Well…I don’t believe in absolutes.   There are too many shades of gray.  I don’t think anything can absolutely good or absolutely evil.  I believe that everything has a balance…neither good nor evil could exist without the other one.  So everything is made up of parts of good and parts of evil.  Certainly one factor can largely outweigh the other…but I don’t believe it can cancel it out completely. Therefore…my answer is no, I do not believe it’s possible to know without a doubt what is good and what is evil.

37.  If you just won a million dollars would you quit your job?

Hell yes.  It’s that simple.  I do what I do because it pays well and it allows me to enjoy the other parts of my life.  However, what I do doesn’t really make a lasting contribution to society.  I don’t help anyone and I don’t do anything that I really consider important.  So if I had a million dollars, I’d worry less about my salary and I’d find something to do where I felt I was really making a difference in the world.

38.  Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you enjoy doing?

I’d rather have less work.  I work a lot and I often feel like I’m missing out on other things I’d rather be doing.  Even if I could get paid to do something I love, like write my blog, I still think you must have a balance in your life.  You have to have diversified interests.  If you don’t and you focus all your energy around one thing, you will come to despise it…no matter how much you loved it in the beginning.

39.  Do you feel like you’ve lived this day 100 times before?

Sometimes.  There is definitely a monotony to wake up, shower, dress, go to work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV and go to bed.  I’ve been very focused lately on changing up the routine…keeping it fresh…doing things outside the norm.  It’s so refreshing to change the routine…even slightly…and to do things that are interesting and exciting.  So to answer the question…yes, some days feel like I’ve been living them forever, but mostly I keep things varied enough that life is never boring.

40.  When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?

I guess when I started this blog.  I had no idea what I was doing, no clue how to make it work and very little faith that anyone would actually want to read it.  J was completely opposed to the idea…he didn’t want our life splashed onto the internet for anyone to read and he gave me a lot of shit about it.  But I had something to say and I really believed that I could make it successful.  I don’t have thousands of readers a day and sometimes I still feel like I have no clue what I’m doing…but I think it worked and I think the blog is a success.  It makes me happy…and really, that’s all that matters.

 

Happy Monday everyone!

Free Your Mind Monday…

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to tell you something?  I feel like this week’s free your mind questions are coming to me at the perfect time.  Like the universe is sending me little reminders that the decisions I’ve been making lately are the right ones and I should stick with the current course.  Or maybe it’s just a coincidence…

31.  At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?

Not too long ago, I realized that almost every decision I made was based on what was going to make other people happy.  What I wanted and needed was a distant second to what everyone around me wanted and needed and my decisions were very much influenced by what other people would think about them.  It was making me miserable…so one day I decided that I’d had enough…that I no longer cared what anyone thought…that I was going to make my own happiness my top priority.

Just making the decision made me feel better than I have in years.  But when I actually started doing things for myself it was amazing.  In the past few weeks, I’ve felt better…happier…more alive.  And you know what?  Everyone around me is just fine too.  No one’s world ended when I made this decision.  No one got mad at me.  In fact, I think a happier me is making for happier people around me also.

32. If not now, when?

That’s a great question.  There is no time like the present, right?  I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for things and I’ve learned that there is never a good time…for changing jobs, for buying a house, for having a baby.  There is always a reason to wait.  Then a week passes…a month…a year…and before you know it, a decade has gone by and you’ve done nothing but wait.  Don’t do it.  Don’t wait.  There’s nothing to wait for.  Live your life now…while it’s happening.  If you don’t…you might wait too long and then you’ll regret it forever.

33.  If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

Sometimes there is a lot to lose.  One of the earlier questions asked whether it was worse to fail than it was to never try.  While I think it’s worse to never try and I think it’s important to have goals…I also think that sometimes there is a lot at stake and you should always consider your options really carefully when making a decision.  Being reckless is dangerous.  Thinking things out and considering all the possibilities is smart.  You should follow your dreams…but you should be smart about it.

34.  Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?

No…I’m a talker.  I’m not good at being quiet.  I’m not good at communicating without words.  I wish I could have that with someone…but I can never manage to keep my mouth shut long enough.

35.  Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?

This is a very complex question and I don’t think there is a simple answer to it.  I think there are lots of reasons wars happen in the name of religion…although I think the biggest reason is because people use religion as an excuse to further their own personal agendas.  The true message of most religions seems to have gotten twisted along the way and there are too many people shouting “Believe what I believe…or suffer the consequences!!!”  I don’t think that’s what it should be about.  I think you should be able to do what you want and believe what you want…as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.  And you should never hide behind God to further your own interests.

Free Your Mind Monday…

I spent the entire weekend sitting on the couch, watching movies and TV shows and playing Angry Birds…and killing brain cells.  I don’t think I used one ounce of brain power all weekend.  I didn’t even cook anything more complicated that macaroni and cheese.  It was a nice, relaxing, restful weekend after the past three weeks of craziness.  But now my brain is ready for a little exercise.  So here we go…

26.  Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

I hate impossible choices like this…but I guess that’s the point of these questions.  I wouldn’t want to lose my old memories.  There are people who were very important to me who have died and to lose all memory of those people would be horrible. It’s like they would be erased from my life forever.  But at the same time, I have a lot of years yet to live (I hope) and a lot of experiences I haven’t yet had.  I wouldn’t want to lose memories of getting married or having children…and grandchildren.  So as painful as it would be to lose the old memories, those are the ones I’d have to sacrifice .

27.  Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first?

No.   Think of it this way…I can hand you a box and tell you it’s empty, but until you open it yourself, can you really know for sure that it’s empty?  You can choose to accept an answer as the truth without challenging it, but in order to really know, you must challenge it.

28.  Has your greatest fear ever come true?

My greatest fear is dying in a horrible manner…like drowning or burning to death…so no, that hasn’t happened.

29.  Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?

Yes…and no.  There was something that happened 5 years ago that caused me to be extremely upset.  It was something real and valid and meaningful.  The fact that I got so upset caused someone else to do something they might not have done otherwise and that decision changed both of our lives.  At the same time, there was something else that happened a little over 5 years ago that I lost sleep over at the time…and now, it doesn’t matter at all.  In fact, I didn’t even think about it until I had to answer this question.

30.  What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?

There were so many happy memories that it would be impossible for me to only choose one.  I guess the ones that really stand out are the ones that include my entire family…parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins…all together in one place.  These get-togethers happened a lot when I was a kid…sometimes at my great-grandmother’s with my mom’s family and sometimes at a restaurant or my aunt’s house with my dad’s family…but they were always loud and boisterous…and awesome.  Having everyone together in one place is what always made it special…especially since so many of those people are gone now and the gatherings just aren’t the same.

 

Wow…my brain is feeling better and more productive already.  That’s probably good since it’s Monday and it’s going to be a busy week.  I  hope you are all having as good of a Monday as me.

Free Your Mind Monday…

I drove to work today and heard no less than 8 Whitney Houston songs on the way here.  I’m pretty sure that is enough to last me forever.  Sadly, I’m sure I’ll hear at least 8 more on the way home. 

Anywa…I don’t know how much more free my mind is now that I’ve been answering these questions…but I’m really enjoying them.  They have certainly made me think about some things I wouldn’t have ordinarily.  And after today I’m halfway through!  So here goes…

21.  Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

A worried genius.  I think it would be horrible to go through life without questioning or learning anything new.  Knowledge gives you the power to take care of yourself and to make your life better.  It might come with some worries, but I’d rather have those worries that be ignorant.

22. Why are you, you?

We are all a collection of our life’s experiences.  Our families, where we were born, the friends we make, the jobs we do…all of these mold us into the people we are.  I am me because of the things I’ve experienced in my life.  If I’d been born in a different place or had different friends or done different things, I would be a completely different person.

23. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?

Not when I was in high school.  I let my lack of self-confidence and my desire to be popular influence some decisions I made and I ended up hurting some of my friends because of that.  However, now that I’m older and I’ve grown up and I’ve figured out what is important in life, I’d say that, yes, I am the kind of friend I would want as a friend.  I love my friends and I value my friendships a great deal.  I work hard to make sure I’m always there for them and that they know exactly how much I care for them.

24. Which is worse, when a good friend moves away or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?

Definitely losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you.  Many of my closest friends live far away and, although we can’t see each other very often, we manage to stay in contact via phone and email…and we make the time we do spend together count.  So having a friend move away would be upsetting, but it would certainly not be the end of a friendship.  If it’s possible to maintain close friendships with people who live far away, it’s really a shame when you lose a friendship with someone who is close by.  All friendships take an effort, but a friendship with someone who is close by should be easier to maintain.

25. What are you most grateful for?

I am grateful for so many things.  In fact, I once wrote a list of the 101 things I’m grateful for.  But if I have to choose one thing I’d have to say it’s my family.  We are close and we are always there for each other no matter what.  That’s a wonderful gift to have and I consider myself extremely lucky to have it.

*****

Wow…halfway through.  I’m really looking forward to the rest of the questions.  I was skimming them yesterday and there are some good ones coming up.

Free Your Mind Monday…

I’ve mentioned before that it was taking me a long time to answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind.  Well, for the past two weeks I didn’t understand why it had been taking so long.  I flew through questions 1 -10.  Then I sat down last night to answer 11 -15 and I suddenly remembered.  The questions get harder as they go along and now we are in a place where the answers aren’t coming to me so easily. 

But I’m determined to keep going.  So here are my answers to 11 – 15…

11.  You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire. They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend. The criticism is distasteful and unjustified. What do you do?

This happened to me once at work.  I was with several people, most of whom were my superiors, and they started saying bad things about someone else that I was friends with.  What they were saying was not entirely inaccurate, but I felt they were being unnecessarily mean about it.  I listened to everything they said and when they were finished I explained that I was actually friends with the person they were discussing and I would appreciate if they would not speak about her like that in front of me.  I also told them that they didn’t have their facts entirely straight.    Then I warned my friend that she couldn’t trust the people she thought she could.

Looking back, I wish I’d done more.  But I was young and it was a relatively new job and I was intimidated by the fact that these were my superiors.  I’d like to think that if I were put in the same situation today, I would take additional steps or do something more to defend my friend. 

12.  If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?

Find your happiness and never let it go.  Life is too short to be unhappy all the time.

13.  Would you break the law to save a loved one?

That would depend on what laws were being broken and whether or not helping my loved one would hurt anyone else.  I would absolutely not do something that was going to hurt anyone else.  I believe Kallay said it best when she said “there’s loyalty and then there’s stupidity”. 

14.  Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?

Yes.  I see it all the time now.  When I was younger, anything that I saw that was slightly different I thought was just insane.  Now that I’m older (and less superficial) I can see the deeper meaning behind things.  There are things I dismissed in high school and college as crazy nonsense, that I’ve revisited in my adulthood and recognized as brilliant creativity.  The lesson I learned from this is to never judge a book by it’s cover…or by the slight eccentricities of its author. 

15.  What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

I would love to think that I’m all unique and completely unlike everyone else…but the reality is that I’m a lot like most everyone else.  I don’t have a special talent or ability that makes me stand out.  I guess if I had to choose one thing I’d say that I’m pretty creative and I don’t think everyone is.

*****

Wow…those were a little more difficult.  I didn’t think I’d be able to get them all answered.  Now that I did, I’m really looking forward to next week’s questions.

 

Free Your Mind Monday…

Wow…on my second set of the 50 questions.  I finally feel like I’m making some progress.

6.  If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

It certainly wouldn’t be accounting!  I’d have to say it would be helping people.  I really like to help people.  If I didn’t have to worry about pesky things like paying bills, I would love to start a charity where we’d provide people with whatever kind of help they needed.  A loan…job training…interview skills…tutoring…whatever was necessary.  The only requirement to receive help would be that once you were able,  you’d have to give back and help someone else.  That is the kind of work that would make me rich.

7.  Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?

Well, I’m an accountant and I work for a wealthy family…I’m basically their financial babysitter.  So no…I’m not doing what I believe in.  But I have bills to pay and I get paid well for what I do, so I keep doing it.  Someday, hopefully, I will be in a position to do something different…something that is more meaningful to me.

8.  If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

I’m 36 and I’m not married and I have no kids.  I’ve spent so many years waiting for things…work to settle down, my career to be established, my relationship to get better, to buy a house, to be settled.  I’ve always felt that there would be more time and that I’d get to having a family eventually.  And now I’m 36…and I’m not married…and I have no kids.  And I regret that.  I regret that I waited so long.  If the average life span was 40 years, I never would have waited.  I would have had different priorities.  I would have made having a family more important than anything else.

9.  To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?

I’ve controlled it some, but not nearly as much as I should have.  In my career, I made all the decisions that have led me to where I am.  But in my personal life, I sat back and let J control the course of things.  I wish I could go back and change that a bit.  I wish I could go back and take back a little more control.  There are some things I wish we’d done differently.  But it’s been a good lesson for the future.  Only I can control my own happiness.  It’s a lesson I will never forget again.

10.  Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Doing the right things.  Sometimes you have to break the rules to make sure you are doing the morally responsible thing.

*****

Come back next week for 5 more questions and answers.

Free Your Mind Monday…

One of the items on my 101 list is to answer the 50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind. It was one of the first things I started, but over a year later and I still haven’t gotten through all of them. So I’ve decided to answer them here…5 each Monday for the next ten weeks. This way it will force me to finish…and it will give me a guaranteed topic for Monday mornings when I have trouble getting my brain working.

Here are the first 5…

1. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

It depends on the day.  Sometimes I feel like I’m 100 years old.  Today, for example…I slept funny on my arm and it hurts every time I move it.  And I have a terrible pain in my back.  Days like these I feel like I’m ancient. 

But then there are other days where I feel like a kid still and think “I cannot possibly be an adult…I cannot possibly be older than 15…how did this happen?”  On these days I often spend time doing something very childish…like making inappropriate “that’s what she said” jokes and giggling like an idiot. 

Either way…I very rarely feel like I’m 36…which is how old I actually am.

2. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Never trying, for sure.  I mean…yes, failing sucks.  No one wants to fail.  But at least if you try, you have the potential to eventually succeed.  If you give up before you even get started you’ll never know if success was possible or what you are capable of.  You should always try…and if you fail, you should try again. 

3. If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

I think it’s because we don’t fully grasp how short life is.  Time goes really fast and sometimes you don’t realize it.  In the moment, you find yourself doing things that are expected of you or things you HAVE to do…like going to work.  I know that I always think things like “Oh…I’m so busy now…I’ll just get tickets for that concert next time they come to town” or “This is really not a good day…I’ll just see my friend another day”.  I always think that there will be plenty of time.  I’m only now starting to realize that there isn’t plenty of time.  We are all so busy all the time…we forget that we have to stop and slow down sometimes. 

4. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

If it was all said and done tomorrow…yes, I will have said more than I will have done.  Like I said above…I tend to put things off until tomorrow.  I have big plans, but I let so many things get in the way of those plans.  I love my 101 list for that reason…it’s forcing me to accomplish things I’ve been putting off for years.  It’s forcing me to slow down and do things that make me happy.  It’s been a great lesson.  I really hope that it’s not all said and done tomorrow…because I have faith that I can turn things around.  I have faith that someday, when it is all over, I will be able to smile and say that I did everything.

5. What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?

I would love to make people more accepting of one another.  There is so much hate and so much intolerance.  I wish people could just embrace those things that make us all different.  Those are the things that make the world an interesting place.  In my perfect world…people would celebrate their differences…they would learn from each other…they would find ways to get along.  I think it would be a much happier world.

*****

Is anyone else taking on the 50 questions?  Do you find that some of them are really hard to answer???