Monthly Archives: January 2013


So, it goes without saying that a woman with advanced control issues can’t resist the clean slate that is New Year’s. I’m seduced by the potential of any sentence that begins, “I resolve to…” Heck, I even like the word “resolve.” It sounds so decisive! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered more than 50 shades of grey (no, I haven’t read the book), and I occasionally crave simple, decisive action.

In short, I like resolutions…and while I’ve also been known to make them at the start of the school year and on Ash Wednesday for Lent, what better time than New Year’s to embrace my control-freaky-self and once again Resolve To Do Better?

Sometimes my resolutions are actions I’ve been considering for some time, but need additional motivation to tackle. Sometimes they’re just novelties that pop into my brain–things I think I should try (which explains how I ended up with a pair of snowshoes for Christmas this year). Currently, I have a long “to-do” list of things that other people might consider “resolutions” (you can see some of them on the banner graphic), but this is an on-going, lifelong list–a bucket list of sorts. I’ve been slowly tackling these one-by-one (including the one called “start a blog” wink, wink) and will continue working on them. Consequently, my resolutions this year aren’t going to consist of this type of “action item,” but rather they were inspired by a recent conversation with a friend and a couple of articles I’ve read. They would probably be more appropriately categorized as “attitude adjustments.” Here they are:

  • 1)   Assume good intentions in other people – I decided this would be a good exercise for someone who’s a bit of a cynic (e.g., me) and it has been. But interestingly, I’ve been able to take situations that would have ticked me off in the past and reframed them in my mind, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt. Often my initial negative assumptions actually were wrong (imagine that!) and in general I think this one will help me reap more positive interactions with others and develop a more positive outlook over time.
  • 2)   Do something nice each day for myself and another person – This one sounds a little pathetic—one would hope that this would come naturally and wouldn’t require a conscious effort. But if I’m honest with myself, I know there are complete days (usually workdays) where I operate on autopilot and neglect this very simple objective. I’ve been mostly succeeding at remembering this one, but I’m hoping I can just make it a habit.
  • 3)   Don’t overthink things – This is a great one for me to work on. I’m hypercritical about EVERYTHING and this results in 1) analysis paralysis, 2) dissecting every idea until I decide it’s no longer worth pursuing 3) thinking about an unpleasant task for longer than it would take to actually do it. 4) Generalized anxiety about things over which I have no control over anyway. This resolution has been the hardest one for me to keep. I’ve had some small successes–for instance, it’s been a godsend when it comes to my productivity: When a thought crosses my mind (to workout, to clean something, etc.), I say to myself, “Don’t overthink it” and then just dive in and do it rather than running through mental excuses and stalling. On the other hand, I haven’t been quite as successful at applying it when it comes to those Big Important Thoughts. I still get caught up in worrying thoughts about my aging parents, my husband’s illness, my job, etc.–sometimes looping over and over in my head like that damn Gangnam Style video. 

These obsessing-at-3 a.m.-thoughts are when I truly need to stop overthinking and just get my mind into a different mode, whether it’s getting a good night’s sleep, learning a new language or writing a blog post.

Are there any other resolution-minded, control freaks out there? What are your resolutions and why?

How this came about: KitKat’s story

I woke up one day as a grown up. No one tells you how to be that. Sometimes I excel at it and other times I am tripping through it.

Looking at myself from the outside, I see a woman busy raising two young kids, enjoying great family and friends, and building a demanding but good career. Shouldn’t that be enough? Isn’t it all I ever wanted? If I have it all, why do I fantasize about giving it all up and running away to sell toe rings on a beach? Maybe I need to add another distraction to my already over-scheduled life?

Usually a glass of wine and good girlfriends get me over the hump. Lately, the more I talk with others, the more I find out I’m not alone in my contradictions and craziness. Take Stormy for example, she was my professional mentor, the one who always provided words of wisdom through my ups and downs, gave sound advice on marriage, parenting, and career choices. Yep, the one who had it all together! So as our friendship grew over the years and we became peers, I was surprised (and secretly thrilled) to discover not even she had it all figured out and put together.

Since talking and sharing is what has helped us get through some major and minor internal struggles, we’re hoping this blog will allow other women to know they aren’t crazy – or if they are, well at least realize they are in good company. I also am hoping that by writing down and examining all the contradictions running though my head, I will finally discover that perfect balance between adding new excitement and being content with what’s already there. I have a feeling that this is easier said than done.

How this came about: Stormy’s story

For many of my adult years, I was consumed by activity. I married and started a family when I was relatively young, while simultaneously working part-time in my chosen field (marketing/communications) and earning a bachelor’s degree.

Once I had degree in hand, I redoubled my career efforts and took a challenging, full-time marketing job—where I met KitKat (more on that later). I also began a process I’d been considering forever—adopting a preschooler. This was the Holy Grail of my existence: something I had felt called to do my whole life. I have never felt so full of purpose and clarity as when I was working on my daughter’s adoption. Afterward, with my newest child settled into our home life like she was always meant to be there (because, in fact, she was), I felt a sense of fulfillment, but at the same time, a bit aimless. I felt like a bride after the big day or a kid on the 26th of December and was left wondering, “Now what?”

After crossing such big to-dos off my life’s list, being a standard-issue working mother of three didn’t seem like much of a challenge. Although my company did its best to keep me on my toes by changing its brand monthly (that’s only a slight exaggeration), I felt adrift for several years.

Whether you think nature abhors a vacuum or God has a twisted sense of humor, my world was turned upside down in 2003 when my husband was diagnosed with a serious degenerative condition. Wait a minute, God…This wasn’t what I had in mind when I said I needed a purpose! Couldn’t I just adopt another kid instead?

This kicked off what has been a decade of struggle. I knew in my heart that my new “calling” was to be a supportive wife to my husband as he battles his illness, but inwardly I rebelled against that role. (If you ask my friends, family or colleagues to describe me, I can assure you that “caregiver” will not come up anywhere in the description.) So, while I was committed to doing right by my husband, I felt that rising to this particular challenge might kill me in the process.

Denial seemed easier than acceptance, so having taken a decade to earn my BA as a part-time student, I plunged back into the familiar distraction of school. But once my MBA was complete, I finally had to face my new reality. My relationship with my husband needed to be renegotiated at the same time my kids were leaving the nest. I suddenly had more free time than I’ve ever had in my adult life–time to pursue a lifetime of interests that had always been put on hold. But now my husband’s condition complicated things, and I had a burning motivation to escape the premature “senior” lifestyle that his illness seemed to be forcing upon me.

Which brings us back to KitKat—and this blog. KitKat and I have known each other for almost 15 years. In that time, we’ve supported each other through a number of transitions: marriage, infertility, childbirth, adoption, career changes, unemployment, grad school—not to mention hairstyles and fashion trends. I’m a few years older, more established in our mutual field and have double the experience with marriage and kids. Therefore, she’s always looked to me for good advice and usually I can provide it. However, I’ve recently experienced the Peter Principle where my life’s choices are concerned—I’ve risen to the level of my own incompetence and it’s clear that I need a new approach to the rest of my life.

Although we are at different life stages, KitKat and I have similar temperaments—we challenge each other, but can always rely on the other to withhold judgment and to provide sound counsel. We’re on similar journeys with different motivations, different tactics and probably different ideas of what a “happy ending” will look like. But we’ve decided to tackle our individual challenges together and invite you, our readers, along for the ride. We believe “there is strength in numbers,” “some of us are smarter than all of us,” and “there is no I in team” (oops—that last one slipped in). We believe there are probably others out there who can relate to our thinking, who are attempting to solve problems of their own, and who might offer up a new perspective that provides insight into our own issues.

That being said, we’re looking forward to learning about ourselves as we continue to challenge each other—and to hear your thoughts and advice along the way—even if it’s all “easier said than done.”