Keep on, keeping on… per severe…

So, I’ve paused my job search to consider what it means to persevere.  Interestingly enough, this has been a huge encouragement to me.

per·sev·ere

Verb:
Continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.

First of all, persevering is a verb.  So, when people tell you to “hang in there”, you shouldn’t literally “hang in there”.  That implies staying put, no action, holding on for dear life.  That would be an anti-verb.  If you’re just hanging in there, you’re not persevering.

CONTINUING in a course of action… EVEN in the face of difficulty… OR with little or no indication of success.

Continuing.  That means “keep going”.  Sounds easy enough.

BUT, then add the caveat.  EVEN in the face of difficulty.  OR with little or no indication of success.  It’s like “keep going” but with a burden added to each shoulder.  A heavy burden on each shoulder.  A burden that feels heavier the more you keep going.

I was thinking about the word persevere itself.  Break it into two parts and you have “per” “severe”.  By way of being severe.  Basically, it’s tough whether you consider it in part or in whole.

se·vere

Adjective
  1. Demanding great ability, skill, or resilience: “a severe test of stamina”.

I can’t say for sure if I have great ability or skill but I know I can choose to have great resilience.

re·sil·ience

Noun
  1. The power or ability to return to the original form after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
I’m definitely being stretched.  22 days without a job and without income.  Having to move out of my apartment because I don’t have the financial means to maintain a place of my own.  Not a great feeling.  None of it.  But I have two choices.  Either be stretched through this experience or be inflexible.
What doesn’t bend, breaks.  And it’s not an option for me to break.  So I’m determined to be resilient.

To revert to the original definition of resilience,  I have a burden on each shoulder.  I’m in the face of difficulty and, even though I’ve sent out countless resumes, I’ve had little or no indication of success.  It would be soooooo easy to give up.  To throw up my hands and say this is impossible.  To say it’s too hard and quit.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve told my son that the only failure is in not getting up when you’re down.  To give up instead of keep going.

My son is now 34 years old but I’m still his mother.  I know he pays close attention to what happens in my life.  That he still looks up to me as an example.

This situation might be hard.  It might be scary.  It might seem insurmountable sometimes but I AM DETERMINED to make something good out of it.  The answer is out there somewhere.  I just have to keep going.

I’m not going to quit.  I’m going to be an example to my son and to others that, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  I’m going to be one of the tough ones.  I’ve been through a lot in the past.  I can still go through a lot now.
Many, many years ago, my mother used to tell me I was stubborn.  I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean it as a compliment.  But, stubborn can actually be a good thing.

stub·born

Adjective
  1. Bullheaded.
  2. Characterized by perseverance; persistent.
“Bullheaded”.  Hmmm.  Ok, maybe being stubborn isn’t always a good thing.  But, “characterized by perseverance; persistent”… that’s a very good thing.  In my opinion, it refers to perseverance twice in the same definition because persevering isn’t easy to do.  It’s at least twice as hard as you’d expect.
Hey, that means I qualify!  I’m stubborn!!So, now what?Well, I just keep going.  At some point, the answer is going to present itself.

Consider storms.  Storms can seem like they go on forever but they always come to an end.  So do the storms in our lives.  Some just take longer than others.

  I’m glad I don’t know how long this storm is going to last.  It makes it easier to persevere.

I’ll leave the final quote to Napoleon Bonaparte.  I’m pretty sure he knew what he was talking about.

Here’s to persevering and to eventually sharing the victory.  Until then, I’ll keep on, keeping on.  Per severe.

Being thankful…

November 1, 1926.

The day my paternal grandparents were married.

I’ve always been baffled why they chose that day to get married.  The day after Hallowe’en.  The first day of November.  I can honestly say I’ve never heard tell of another couple who got married in the month of November.

I wish I’d asked why when I had the chance but I didn’t so it’ll have to remain one of the great mysteries of (my) life.

But, since we’re on the topic of November, I have to admit it’s one of my least favourite months.  Living in Canada, it’s almost always the first real cold month, without it actually being winter yet, and I’m not a huge fan of cold.  It’s also when Daylight Savings Time reverts to Standard Time, which means it’s pretty much dark all the time.  And all the leaves are off the trees so it’s bleak.  Cold, dark, and bleak.  Bleh.

This particular November has been in the running to be my least favourite month this year, and that’s saying something, given the year I’ve had.  I lost my job on November 1st and now, nearly three weeks later, I still have no job, no income, and no immediate prospects for a job.  And, in ten days days and counting, my lease is up.  No job, no money, no fixed address.

Kind of depressing, eh?

Well, all the more reason to get a little perspective.  First of all, my reasons for not liking November are really rather petty.  On the other hand, my reasons for not liking this particular November are really not so petty.

But, regardless, there is one fact that I don’t ever want to lose sight of…

 

 

 

 

Really? Truly? Seriously?

Even when bad things happen?

Yes, especially when bad things happen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think of it this way…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or this way…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or this…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that’s a sobering thought.  If that doesn’t make you stop right now and consider everything and everyone you’re thankful for, nothing will.

Really, the best habit we can ever get into is to…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having an attitude of gratitude.  It doesn’t mean that we ignore our problems or deny our problems or pretend they don’t exist.  It just means we don’t let our problems skew our perspective.

I’m thankful.  I’m thankful I’m Canadian and for the freedoms of living in this country.  I’m thankful for the friend who lives a couple hours away who, this past weekend, offered a place for me to stay even though she’s on permanent disability and really needs a paying room mate.  And thankful for the friends in town who phoned, even as I was typing this part of the blog, to offer me a place to stay in their home (which I’ve gratefully accepted).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And humbled.  Whenever I’m thankful, I’m rightly reminded that life is not just about me.  God has blessed me beyond what I deserve and He will see me through this storm, just as He’s seen me through countless storms before.

Don’t worry about me.  If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s this…

No ordinary Joy…

2012.

This is the year I decided to start really embracing life, to live life to the fullest, and to be as joyful as possible despite what might be happening at any given time.

It all started when my beloved dog, Max, passed away suddenly on Easter Monday from a catastrophic intestinal tumour at the relatively young age of 7.  I was beyond devastated.  He had been in my life less than two and a half years, and then he was gone.

But, as I grieved, I reflected on Max’s zest for life, his love for everyone and everything, and his quirky sense of humour.  The first five years of his life, he had been owned by an alcoholic who mistreated him and kept him chained outside.  Max had every reason to become a vicious, snarly, and confrontational dog, yet he was the very opposite.  His circumstances were part of his story but they didn’t define him.  He was the kindest, most loving, most giving, most caring dog I have ever known.  I miss him.

Max’s death became the catalyst to one of the most important decisions in my recent life.  Two months later, I fled my marriage.  I had been married for just over 11 years, with the last 4 years marked by increasing control, isolation, and verbal abuse.

I learned that, for real change to happen in a marriage, it takes two.  If one person doesn’t want to participate or is resistant, change is impossible.  But, only in the marriage, not in the individual who wants the change.

So, I chose to change me.  I took only what I could fit in my compact car and drove 2720 km across three provinces to start over in a new city.  I didn’t have a job or a place to live but I believed I was in the right city, and that things were going to come together.

I ended up being called for a job interview within minutes of arriving in Calgary, and I found a place to live before the end of the week.  But, things weren’t perfect.  The job wasn’t full-time, and didn’t pay especially well, and I had to live in a motel for several days because the apartment wasn’t available until the first of the month.

The apartment was just a tiny, one room bachelor, but it was furnished and it was affordable.  Within a few weeks, I was offered a full-time job that paid much better.  The only problem was that it was only a short-term contract.

Since the job wasn’t permanent, I kept looking for work.  I recently had three interviews for one job, and they wanted a reference list with at least one current reference.  I gave them the contact information for my current boss, but only on the condition that it be used upon an accepted offer of employment.  They readily agreed but then turned around and almost immediately sent my boss an e-mail, requesting that a reference be given by way of a detailed questionnaire.

I ended up turning that job down late the next day because of the reference and a few other things they had been needlessly dishonest about.  But, three days later – on November 1st – I was terminated from my current job because my boss was still rightfully upset about having been blindsided with the reference request.  My work was never called into question.

Since it was just prior to the three month mark, I was terminated without notice, without severance, and without the ability to apply for Employment Insurance. 11 days later, I still have no job, no income, and no money and, as of November 30th, I also won’t have a place to live.

I won’t pretend this has been easy.  I had never been terminated before, and it was a traumatic experience.

I do have a job interview tomorrow that, if successful, would take care of my employment and a place to live in one fell swoop. But, this is the thing.  There’s no guarantee it’s going to come through.  Life has its up and downs.  Stuff happens.  People are dishonest.  People are needlessly mean.  Money comes and goes, jobs come and go, people come and go, but NO ONE can take my joy without my permission.  It’s MY joy.

It doesn’t mean that I’m never sad, that I don’t cry, that I don’t have a hard time sometimes but I am determined to bounce back faster and higher each time I’m knocked down.  I’m determined to see the funny side of life, to laugh more, to love more, to be thankful more, to be more joyful.

I am ALIVE, and I’m living life to the fullest.  I’m in a better place now than I was six months ago.  All things are relative.  I’m BLESSED.  I have a wonderful son, wonderful friends, and wonderful family.  I have been shown uncommon kindness that I can never repay.  I have seen miracles happen, that are not explainable other than to say they are evidence that God continues to be in control of my life.

I’m THANKFUL.  I’ll be thankful if I get the job tomorrow and I’ll be thankful if I don’t.  There’s a reason for everything, and we shouldn’t get everything we pray for.  If God says “no”, it’s always for a good reason.  I’m GRATEFUL.  I’m grateful to be me.  I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.  I’m grateful for what I’ve experienced – the good and the bad – because it’s all brought me to this moment and shaped me into the person I am today.

“Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.”   – Marianne Williamson

2012.

This is the first year of the rest of my life.  I’m determined to live with abandon, to love unconditionally, to be a better person, mother, friend, sister, and employee, to live my life as an example of Gods grace, to be kinder, to be happier, to be more joyful.  I’m going to succeed, I’m going to finish my book, I’m going to become a public speaker, I’m going to overcome, I’m going to laugh more, I’m going to love more.

I am going to be no ordinary Joy.  You can count on it.

What’s on your mind?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad today.  Dad passed away on Apr. 12, 2010 of complications from dementia.  What’s somewhat baffling is that my stepmother’s mental health has since deteriorated in almost exactly the same way, and she’s now in the hospital unable to live independently any longer.  Both my dad and stepmother fell into the 2% of people who developed symptoms before the age of 75.

Until I heard Dad’s diagnosis, I always thought dementia and Alzheimer’s were the same when, in actuality, Alzheimer’s is the name of a specific type of dementia.  All other dementia has some other origin.  Dad’s dementia was characterized by a series of mini-strokes, and he had a massive stroke the night before he passed away.

People joke about memory problems all the time but, at least in the UK, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have overtaken cancer as the #1 health fear.  So, rather than sweeping that fear under the carpet, it’s worthwhile to confront it head-on.

Some memory problems can be chalked up to simply getting older.  But, the following are 10 warning signs from the Alzheimer’s Association that could potentially indicate a more serious health concern.  If there’s reason to worry, seeing your doctor early could mean far better treatment and a far better prognosis.

1. Memory loss.

Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later.

What’s normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks.

People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps to prepare a meal, place a telephone call or play a game.

What’s normal? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.

3. Problems with language.

People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find their toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for “that thing for my mouth.”

What’s normal? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

4. Disorientation to time and place.

People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhoods.  They can forget where they are and how they got there.  They may not know how to get back home.

What’s normal? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.

5. Poor or decreased judgement.

People with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or not enough clothing in the cold.  They may show poor judgement about money, like giving away large sums to telemarketers.

What’s normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.

6. Problems with abstract thinking.

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are and how they should be used.

What’s normal? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.

7. Misplacing things.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.

What’s normal? Misplacing keys or a wallet occasionally.

8. Changes in mood or behavior.

Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings from calm to tears to anger for no apparent reason.

What’s normal? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.

9. Changes in personality.

The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.

What’s normal? People’s personalities do change somewhat with age.

10. Loss of initiative.

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.

What’s normal? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.

http://alzheimersweekly.com/content/what-10-warning-signs-alzheimers-disease

There’s no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, but the Mayo Clinic suggests some steps you can take that might help. More research is needed, but it can’t hurt to do the following:

  • Keep your mind active. Mentally stimulating activities may increase your ability to cope with or compensate for the changes associated with dementia. This includes such things as doing puzzles and word games, learning a language, playing an instrument, reading, writing, painting or drawing. Not only can these activities delay the onset of dementia, but they can help decrease its effects — the more frequent the activity, the more beneficial the effects.
  • Be physically and socially active. Physical and social activities can delay the onset of dementia and also reduce its symptoms. The more frequent the activities, the more significant their effects. Examples of physical activity are walking, swimming and dancing. Social activities include traveling, attending the theater and art exhibits, and playing cards or games.
  • Lower your homocysteine levels. Early research has shown that high doses of three B vitamins — folic acid, B-6 and B-12 — help lower homocysteine levels and appear to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Lower your cholesterol levels. The deposits that occur in the brains of people with high cholesterol are one of the causes of vascular dementia. So lowering your cholesterol levels can help prevent this condition. Statin drugs, which help lower cholesterol levels, may also help lower the risk of developing dementia.
  • Control your diabetes. Controlling diabetes can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
  • Quit smoking. Although some studies indicate that only current smoking increases dementia risk, at least one large study found that heavy smoking (more than two packs a day) in midlife more than doubles your risk, even two decades later.
  • Lower your blood pressure. Keeping blood pressure at normal levels can significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
  • Pursue education. People who’ve spent more time in formal education appear to have a lower incidence of mental decline, even when they have brain abnormalities. Researchers think that education may help your brain develop a strong nerve cell network that compensates for nerve cell damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is important for many reasons, but studies show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in certain fish and nuts, can have a protective effect and decrease your risk of developing dementia.
  • Get your vaccinations. Those who receive vaccinations for influenza, tetanus, diphtheria and polio appear to have a significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, so staying current on your vaccinations could have a protective effect against developing dementia.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dementia/DS01131/DSECTION=prevention

I don’t know about you but all this information has done wonders for my mind.  I even have a mind to do something about it…

“The patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life.  Don’t take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop.”  ~Quentin Regestein

“If I’d known I was going to live so long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”  ~Leon Eldred

Well, that’s no excuse…

I tend to find polls interesting.

One recent poll, sponsored by CareerBuilder.com, centred on employees and their sick days.  Next to truly being sick, the most common reasons employees gave for calling in sick were because they didn’t feel like going to work (34 percent) or because they felt like they just needed a day off to relax (29 percent).

But, what I found most interesting were some of the excuses employees came up with when they called in sick but weren’t actually sick.

• Employee’s sobriety tool wouldn’t allow their car to start

• Employee forgot he had been hired for the job

• Employee said her dog was having a nervous breakdown

• Employee’s said her dead grandmother was being exhumed for a police investigation

• Employee’s toe was stuck in a faucet

• Employee said a bird bit her

• Employee was too upset after watching “The Hunger Games”

• Employee got sick from reading too much

• Employee said his finger was stuck in a bowling ball

• Employee said a cow broke into her house and she had to wait for the insurance man

• Employee’s foot was stuck in a garbage disposal

• Employee called in sick from a bar at 5:00 p.m. the day before

• Employee called in the day after Thanksgiving saying she had burned her mouth on pumpkin pie

It’s been said that it’s all fun and games until someone puts an eye out.  Well, that would be the part where the employer suspects they’ve gotten a bogus excuse, and decides to do something about it.  After all, 29 percent of bosses say they’ve checked up on an employee who called in sick.

Consider this:

• 70 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have required a doctor’s note

• 50 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have called the employee at home

• 15 percent of bosses who’ve checked up on an employee have gone to the employee’s house or apartment

(This actually happened in my first marriage when my husband played hooky one day too many.  He was fired because he had been playing hooky to go make nooky with someone else on staff)

But I digress…

Which leads to my last statistic.

• 16 percent of employers say they’ve fired an employee for missing work without a proven excuse

The moral of the story?

There’s really no excuse for pretending that you have a good excuse.

And now, if you’ll excuse me…