Why I haven’t bought my dream house (yet).

I was talking with some friends last night and I said that I had a lot of big decisions to make but that I’ve had difficulty making them (which is not the norm for me … I’m the person who can make big decisions and quick). We agreed that this was typical and started to explore the individual decisons. One decision is my desire to find a house on Medicine Lake (to be fair, they don’t come on the market very often but when they have, I’ve opted out, for a variety of reasons). The other is the decision to keep or move our offices out of DT. So what gives? Why am I having trouble making these decisions?

One of the things I’ve learned (and talk at length about to my kids) is not pushing a decision. Sometimes not making a decision and just being open to what happens next (having faith) allows the “universe” to put the next steps in front of you. I remember when I was teaching and was thinking of law school, I just could not decide what to do. When I got into law school, the pressure was more intense. But, I decided to just give it a week and I asked the “universe” to help me make the decision. That week, my teaching contract was not renewed – for a bizarre reason one could never have predicted. The universe gave me the answer.

The question is, how do we get the universe to listen and work with us rather than against me?

I have four things I think about when I need the universe to give me some direction:

  1. I employ the law of actions. I keep engaging with the universe. I keep moving forward. Standing still will not help and no action means no results. I also engage in actions that support where I want to go (I don’t mean looking at Zillow every night … but I do it anyway!)
  2. What you do (or don’t do) is what you get. I don’t believe in chance. I think every decision I make takes me to the next one. Procrastination has a consequence. There is no escaping the law of cause and effect.
  3. I believe my thoughts and feelings matter. I think they attract energy. Don’t you believe that negative attracts negative and positive attracts positive? I force myself to focus on the positive, even when it feels like I am in a big, black hole.
  4. The last one … and I struggle with this because of all the injustices in the world … is that we all have the power to change the conditions of our lives. I believe that our power of choice is pivotal to how we live our lives. We can choose nothing, to sit still, to be negative or we can choose the opposite (no matter how tough our situation is).

Maybe these are just so basic, but for me I need to remind myself (like a mantra) that action, consequence, energy and choice are what creates or continues my relationship with the universe.

As for these decisions that I’m struggling with – I think there’s something else out there that is going to happen, and it is that next “thing” that will put these other decisions in a place where I can easily move right or left. But whatever that “thing” is – I’m not waiting for it. I will continue to move forward and put out the positive energy to help me understand and be open to what is next.

XOXO

Jessica

Rinse Only

I’m busy. Too busy? Maybe. Sometimes I find myself not totally present in my own life. My feet not on the ground. I’ve been stressed out about something I needed to take care of, but didn’t want to. You know what I mean? When you have to do or say something, and you just keep putting it off …. hoping it will get better? That stress has kept my mind on things other than the present.

Yesterday, after the fifth time of running my dishwasher, and nothing getting cleaned, and a call to the repair person, I realized that it was on Rinse Only. WTH.

We all (read: me) live in our own little bubble. It feels like what is happening in our lives and with our kids are the most important things in our world right now. But, of course, we know that’s not true.

When I have things to do they weigh on me, I lose sight of all the other things that are happening around me. Even my dog was so sick of me looking at my phone on our walks that she would stop. In. The. Middle. Of. The. Road. until she watched me put my phone in my pocket. S***!

I realize after the dishwasher “incident” that I’ve been stuck in a mindless cycle, where every day was the same (Groundhog’s Day) and I was letting it just happen to me. I beautifully justified it … “the dog needs a routine (she does!),” “I need a routine,” (I don’t!). The Rinse Only Cycle forced me to stop thinking about work, every second of every day (other than my calls to my kids about lost credit cards, doing well at school, alcohol …. blah, blah) and recommit myself to paying attention to the present moment.

I started by playing a game when I am out (and I’m always masked right now). What I do, instead of looking at my phone, is look at every person that walks by (not in a creepy way, I hope) and smile at them with my eyes. I see how many people “smile” back. I think I’m at 90% right now! I also went back to giving away umbrellas (long story for those of you that don’t know me) … I called my friends … Snap Chatted my kids! All these things allowed me to focus on my moments, rather than everything else.

So, I challenge you to find a way to step out of your “world” today and see what you see. I promise, the sky will look bluer and your dog (I think!) will be happier.

XOXO

Jessica

The words I used to raise my kids.

The other morning I got a snapchat with a TikTok from one of my kids. It was an Italian guy talking about his dog or his mom’s dog … I’m not sure. But every other word in his thick NY accent was f***. They said that the video sounded just like me. It did. I was laughing so hard, that I was crying. I would post it here if I didn’t think some of you might think it was over the top (but who the f*** and I kidding – if you know me, and put up with my language – this video would not be offensive!).

I guess, if someone were to say what word(s) did you use to raise your kids, some might say – “she used the word f***.” And that wouldn’t be too far from the truth!

However, included with that word were three other words that I always had in my mind when I was talking with my three. I’m not sure if I ever articulated it to them or I just pushed the ideas in my own Italian/Jewish way. 🙂

I have always lived by kindness, hard work, honesty. Those words form the basis for everything I do. Whether it is for my clients, my friends or my family. It is these words that I use to make a positive personal impact on the world. While I believe that your personal impact should be uniquely you, I believe that kindness, hard work and honesty (or integrity) is enough for any successful personal brand. 

Being an honest giver not a taker, and being a hard worker – are the clearest characteristics that you’ll find in most successful people. I know I’ve made that statement to the kids. whether they listened or hot,

If the foundation of your personal brand is honesty, integrity, generosity and hard work, you will be unlikely to go wrong – whether you choose to become a doctor, a lawyer or the lawn maintenance person.

So, to my kids – please remember, no matter how unique and creative your personal brand, if it is not built on a strong foundation of kindness, hard work and honesty, in the long run, you’re going no where.

XOXO

Jessica

Parenting Adult Children – Take 19.

This is a process for me…

Parenting our adult children is one of the most difficult parts of parenting and yet it’s the least discussed. Many of us are just now facing these life transitions. My kids’ tantrums, meltdowns, and just plain shit-show behaviors, were difficult. But there were a lot of resources to help out and I would frequently see my parenting friends at games, school functions, etc. and we could talk about how we were managing these situations. That’s not happening anymore.

For me, the diaper-changing, driving them around, watching sports events are over. But how the freak do we take it to the next step? I’ve been thinking about the upcoming stages for my kids when they are in their 20s and then in their 30s:

Their 20s. Finishing college (or attending other post-secondary institutions), applying to/attending graduate school for an advanced degree, looking for jobs, dating, exploring identity, defining career and life success.

Their 30s. Career advancements, relationship changes (longer-term dating, marriage, living with a partner), travel, saving for/buying a home, starting a family.

These are big life shifts in short spans of time for them and just as we navigated (sometimes with big missteps) so will they.

I’ve been making a list of things that I want to pay attention to and I’ll write about them periodically, but I have two for today: (1) respecting differences; and (2) sharing wisdom without being a pain in the a**.

The conflicts I had with my kids when they were younger surrounded the ways I thought they should do things. THAT. IS. NOT. going to be a highly successful topic with my 20-somethings. For sure, we can and should give our opinions on topics. They may not respect this right now, but we do have more experience and have seen way more of life. So, our opinions are valid.

However, I recognize that it really is a time to let go of those differences. To accept—and celebrate—the uniqueness of my children. We are not going to always agree with their life choices, but as their independence grows, I want to find the joy in connecting without conflict.

Finding a way to share wisdom is a tough one. Each of my children have different temperaments. Which means that they each respond to my suggestions in different ways and also depending on what is happening in their lives at that moment. I notice that if they sense criticism, they sometimes shut down and just don’t hear me. When they were younger I could make sure they heard me because they lived with me. It is not so easy when they are on their own. 

There are many layers of complexity in this stage of life, and resources are few and far between. So, I think we should stick together. Share our crazy stories about how to enter this new stage of parenting. I’m going to need help!

xoxo

Jessica

I was alone but not lonely.

“Our language has wisely sensed these two sides of man’s being alone. It has created the word “loneliness” to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word “solitude” to express the glory of being alone,” wrote theologian Paul Tillich.

Today I was swimming – alone – in an outdoor pool filled with beautiful leaves floating around me. I was alone. It felt like a glorious type of alone. I was not lonely.

But that beautiful young woman’s face, the one who is all over the news, the one who when she was stopped by police, took all the blame, the one who was murdered. She was lonely. I know that look. I know that feeling. There is no place lonelier than an abusive relationship.

What makes it so lonely? A lack of safety. Destruction of trust. Lack of love from the partner. Lack of respect. Endless blame and fault-finding. Complete crazy-making.

Being alone is a state of being, while loneliness is a feeling. We can be perfectly happy being by ourselves, but we can also be lonely even if we’re with someone. I can think of many times that I was with someone, and I was lonely. Loneliness stems from feeling like our true self is not seen or understood either by others or from within. 

I’m a lawyer, not a psychologist (shout out to my son!) but I’m pretty sure that if you enjoy being alone, that’s a good sign that you have a healthy relationship with yourself and with others. If you find yourself avoiding alone time at all costs, or feeling lonely, then that’s something totally different. Being lonely can be a deep, deep hole. She looked and sounded lonely. My heart breaks for her family.

But my alone time today was a quiet time of inner reflection. It felt like a moment of time that I can now take with me even when I’m not there. I feel lucky to have had that hour today.

We start and we end our lives alone; But hopefully not feeling lonely.

XOXO

Jessica

The stupid s*** I learn from working at home.

Working from home has been interesting. For one, I have an entire wardrobe that is getting dusty. Additionally, and most importantly, I’m learning a lot of stupid shit that I could have gone an entire life time not knowing.

  1. Squirrels hide nuts in the ground. Look, I’ve not taken a lot of time to examine what squirrels do in the fall. I hear them eating and cracking but true confessions, I likely thought of them like bears … they just eat them all and get fat and then live on that for the winter. DO NOT JUDGE ME on this one. 🙂 However, I’ve noticed, of late, that there are a lot of “holes” in my lawn. Today, while I was looking out the bathroom window (don’t ask), I watched a squirrel start to bury something. I literally heard myself say “Hey, what are you doing?” and for a split second, my dog looked up and the squirrel looked up. Time stopped. Then, the nonplussed squirrel simply went back to digging. WTF? I quickly triggered Google so I could understand what I was seeing. Honestly, this was a total time suck for about 45 minutes. In my DT office, I would not be watching squirrels.
  2. My dog farts.
  3. There is dust under my book shelf.
  4. Woodpeckers are really dumb. Almost every morning a woodpecker tries to find food in the wood siding of my house. I hear and I see it. When this happens we have a few options. Put an owl on your roof (how the hell am I going to do that??); listen to them while the hunt for bugs or grubs; or three (my favorite choice) bang the walls and go outside and scream. They do this pecking almost Every. Single. Morning. The other day, it was pecking at my metal gutters. Really? Gonna find a bug there?? They are pissing me off.
  5. That trying to make a tiktok on your own is not that interesting at my old(er) age. It’s also a time suck.
  6. That my daughter was right and my failing to push in a chair would result in my tripping and falling in an unpretty way. 🙂

If you feel so inclined, let me know if you’ve learned anything new. I would much rather learn second-hand!

XO

Jessica

And … I lost it today.

It’s got 4 legs. A cute nose. And loves me and I love her. But I lost it today. Too much of the in, out, walk, no walk, fussy, but won’t play with the 10,000 balls I have here at the house. Today was an exercise in patience.

What’s crazy is I raised three kids (and they tested me – and still do!) but they understood English. I’m pretty certain that Lily’s vocabulary is quite limited and she doesn’t understand half the shit I’m saying to her.

When I realized I was losing it, I decided to find some “me” time. I thought maybe Lily and I are getting sick of one another (month one out of 10!). So, I went outside to do some work. She barked until she followed me outside. Then, she ate some of the paper towels I was using to clean. So, I went inside to do some work. She barked until she was allowed to follow me back inside. Then she tried to eat one of my socks. Do you see what I’m saying??!!

So, I turned on the camera, gave her a treat and went for a drive. She slept. Then when I came home – chaos again. So, I put her in the car and took her to the park for a walk. We got there, get out of the car and she refuses to move. I mean it. Refuses to move. So, I put her back in the car and go home. She got out of the car, ran to the neighbors and grabbed their kids’ ball at which point I had to chase her before she killed it! I am not sure if she’s training me or I’m failing her!

By this point I needed a cocktail and chocolate!

It is now 7:39 p.m. she sleeping. I’m exhausted. Thank g-d for doggie daycare. She’s headed there tomorrow.

Love this dog, but some days … 🙂

Have a great start to your week!

Jessica

To my children: We are only together for a spell.

One of my favorite poems is from the Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher Kahlil Gibran:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The heartbreaking genius of Gibran floors me, especially considering he never had children of his own. Maybe childlessness gave him an objectivity that I can’t see. I don’t always have level-headed detachment when it comes to my children.

From the very beginning Gilbran hits us in the gut (your children are not your children). That first line evokes a visceral response in me (maybe you too). It just pokes at the emotional and spiritual instinct I have about my children. We chose (perhaps) to have them. We are conscientiously raising them, teaching them, loving them, unconditionally so. How could they not be our children?

But it’s true. They don’t belong to us. We don’t own them. We chose (or not) to have them, but we didn’t choose who they are. We didn’t design them. That’s the force greater than us.

Most importantly, this poem hits the topic that’s been on my mind during my reset – my mortality. He reminds me that I won’t be here forever, not even in my dreams.

We can care for them and offer them what we can, but we can’t make them think like us or believe like us. Which makes sense because they will need different thoughts and beliefs to navigate a world we can’t even foresee.

To my children: we are only together for a spell. You will move humanity a few feet farther than I’ll be able to see. You will have your own destiny and your own purpose separate and apart from me. You are my children but you are also children of the universe. I love you with my entire soul.

XOXO

Momma (Jessica)

Our Visit to a Dog Park – Take One

I’m in a boot and not moving as quickly as I would like so I decided to take our “energetic” dog to a dog park. Let me give you my initial observations:

  1. What’s with the gate locks? They are so complicated. What happened to the latches we used on gates in the “old days.” I was so confused by the circles that needed to be lifted and moved that someone had to come over and let us in. Clearly an engineering degree was needed there.
  2. You must move through the gates quickly. Two dogs ran out of the inner gate once I opened it trying to drag Lily in. Like an escape from prison – they were not going to be stopped/ Of course, there was still a second gate and no way were they getting out of that one because who can figure out how to open it anyway??
  3. There is a lot of butt sniffing. Enough said.
  4. I was wrong. I didn’t stand around and watch her. It was a mad dash trying to keep up with her. It would have been easier to take her on a lease for a walk! In fact, at one point she came up to me and looked up – hoping I would put her leash on and take her back to the car! What’s wrong with this ac/dc dog? She want’s out. She wants in. She wants to run. She wants to go home. She wants in the car. She won’t get out of the car. It’s exhausting!
  5. It felt like a dog form of Costco. Way too big but a lot of things to look at – but way too overwhelming. She just wanted to smell every blade of grass but her butt was getting sniffed all the time and that made her want to run (It made me want to run!). It was a simple way for Lily to meet new “people.”

If only it was that easy for humans and we simply sniffed each other to determine whether we wanted to be friends. 🙂

XOXO

Jessica

My romantic view of … me (as a kid)

As I compare how my kids are with me, to how I must have been as a kid, I realize that I may have a romantic view of how I was as a kid. My mom is gone, which affords me this opportunity of distorted thinking.

Of course, I’ve romanticized that I called my mom every day (we paid for every minute on our cell phones in those days and I KNOW I didn’t call her every day). Or that I checked in to see how things were going when I knew she wasn’t feeling well (I did not). Or even that I never asked or needed money (really?).

When I was growing up and a young adult, I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand my relationship with my mom. I wonder if she felt bad about that. I think she knew, as I know for my kids, that the world is a complicated and fast moving place. That regardless of differences we might have, at various times, we parents have a great influence on the attitudes, beliefs, and the course of our children’s lives .

Sometimes our children’s behavior trigger unhappy recollections of undesirable aspects of our own personalities; or perhaps our child resembles some other person who has been, in our eyes, a major disappointment. It is at these moments that we sometimes feel stress and concern about our kids.

We all have similar expectations for our children:

  1. To be happy with themselves and others.
  2. To have a good relationship with us the parents.
  3. To take a growing responsibility for themselves.
  4. To have a good education for life and earning a living.
  5. To be happy, contented individuals who will be able to accept the ups and downs of life.
  6. To have a value system with which they are comfortable.
  7. To be healthy.

I’m pretty sure my mom had these same expectations for me. So, maybe not much has changed in 30 years.

Friends, as many of our kids move on to the start of a new part of their lives (their own reset) let’s not forget (and let’s appreciate) that we play a huge part in their lives and we need to be there for them in the good and the bad times. We set the example for them of interests and attainments – which they may or may not imitate. Unfortunately (or in my case, fortunately!) abilities, skills and interests do not pass on automatically from parent to child.

We cannot predict how our children will turn out; they are all different, and some of them are very different to ourselves. But it’s clear that our kids are individuals in their own right, who need to be guided and advised, listened to and loved, who need to map out their own destinies and have ultimately to live with their own choices. But, they need us. And, they need to know that we are available to offer them our unconditional love and support even if at times they seem to be acting like a sh** (which can be frequent with the self absorption of the 20-something child!). I mean seriously, weren’t you a sh** as a kid? I was!

XOXO

Jessica