Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | January 1, 2016

New Year Resolutions

Let me start off by saying that I am not a big fan of the New  Year’s holiday.  It’s an arbitrary day marked by nothing in particular.  For the Celts to celebrate the new year at the harvest festival of Samhain (pronounced Sah-wen) makes more sense.  To celebrate the new year at one of the solstices or equinoxes would make more sense.  The line between December 31st and January 1st just isn’t significant enough to me to merit the attention in gets.  Don’t get me wrong, though, a day off from work is never a bad thing.

So with my feelings about New Year’s out in the open, I’m sure it is no surprise that I’ve never been really fond of New Year’s Resolutions.  Why can’t we just start or stop things because it’s a good idea to start or stop them?  I understand that the best resolutions are also SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) so starting at a specific date like January 1 helps with the timely component.  Then of course, with the invention of a date calendar you aren’t really tied to an arbitrary date like January 1, are you?

In conclusion, I did not celebrate the pants off of the new year and I’m not usually one for making resolutions.

That being said, I have made a few resolutions for 2016 that I plan to document with this blog and the multi-media components that I hope to post to it.

  • Blog regularly (preferably once a week)
  • Increase Spanish fluency to 75%
  • Try at least one craft, sewing project, or recipe from Pinterest once a week
  • Learn about a different president every week (should finish just before the election)
  • Finish writing business plan for my educational resources business
  • Develop my computer science skills by coding 7 hours a week
  • Write at least 1 book and submit for publication

Okay, so they’re not all SMART goals, and as resolutions they all have the generic deadline of December 31st, 2016, but it’s still stands as list of things to achieve in 2016.  There are a few goals that are not on that list – and for good reason.  There is nothing about weight loss, dieting, or exercise.  I have omitted any mention of my efforts to become a mom.  I definitely haven’t promised to keep the house cleaner than in the past.  The resolutions above reflect actions I firmly believe will help me become a better Becky.  I’ll be more knowledgeable.  I will have tried things that put me outside of my comfort zone.  Ideally, I’ll have gained new perspectives so that I approach 2017 with new eyes.

How do you feel about the changing of the wall calendar?  Are there goals you have for 2016?  Are you resolved about anything in particular?  How would you like to be different than you are today when December 31st 2017 rolls around.

It’ll be here before we know it.

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | December 31, 2015

About the Blogger

That's me!

That’s me!

Hi, my name is Becky Lemmon and you’ve found my blog.  I wish there was some fantastic prize for your discovery, but alas there are only my thoughts and ramblings.  If you’ve visited my blog before or if you already know me then some of this might be old information, but in case this is your first sip of Lemmon-ade . . . .

I am a thirty-something with an amazing other half and two adorable dogs.  We currently live in the Albuquerque metro area where I easily commute to my job as a software training coordinator in Santa Fe.

My twenties were challenging, but I graduated from Oregon State University (Go Beavs!) in 2013 with a B.S. in Mathematics, focusing on secondary education.  My coursework and research also focused heavily on adult education.  Professionally, I have two goals.  One is that I want the most is to teach mathematics and computer science at the community college level.  Don’t ever tell me you’ve chosen a different career path because the math was too hard.  I will take that as a challenge.

While attending OSU, I became increasingly aware of myself.  This included who I was from a social and political standpoint, as well as how my background gave me specific privileges I am still discovering with surprise and often disgust.  My other professional goal is to establish a business whose purpose to provide underprivileged children, teens, and young adults with the same educational resources as students with means and vast support networks.

I originally hail from Bloomington/Normal, Illinois but have lived in a variety of places.  I spent the better part of a decade in Southern California and several years in Oregon.  My current job as a software training coordinator has also landed me in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.  At the moment, as I said above, I’m a New Mexican.

I don’t want to give you my entire life story.  For one, the vast majority of it is boring.  Secondly, I expect you’ll learn more through reading my upcoming posts.  This blog was, and still is, designed to be an outlet for me to think out loud.  I have a 45 minute commute and there are a lot of musings I can come up with in 45 minutes (each way).  Some posts might be philosophical in nature.  Some of them might be informative.  It’s 2016 and I expect that a fair few will be political in nature.  Please feel free to leave me comments or suggestions for other topics.  If you’re capable of a calm, rational, adult debate/argument, feel free to express your disagreement.  Please know that I will delete any and all profanity, obscene content, or blatantly offensive content posted to the comments section.

Thanks for checking out my blog and happy surfing!

 

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | April 8, 2014

If I’m So Smart Why Am I So Dumb?

Oh my gosh, this is SO me! And I don’t say this about every little thing I read. This is excellent for validating your place in your own life.

Your Rainforest Mind

Have you ever asked yourself this question? People may have told you that you were smart. But you may not feel smart. Why? Because you graduated from college with a 2.65 grade point average after changing your major 5 times. Why? Because you never finish any of the projects you start. Why? Because you can’t decide what color to paint the bedroom and it’s been three years. Why? Because you still daydream all the time and forget to tie your shoes. Why? Because you haven’t won the Nobel Prize. In fact, you haven’t won anything except the spelling bee in third grade. Why? Because you still cry when you gaze at the stars. Why? Because you know how much you don’t know.

Let me explain. It’s complicated. 

1. If you have multiple interests and abilities (multipotentiality), you may want to study many topics and not want to narrow yourself down…

View original post 226 more words

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | February 13, 2014

What is a bigot?

It has occurred to me that some clarification is needed on what is and is not bigotry.

Since Merriam-Webster defines bigotry in terms of a bigot, let’s define bigot:
a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)

So some are arguing that since their belief (and attempt to legislate on that belief) is based in religion, it is therefore not bigotry. Or they argue that they simply have an opinion different, however equal in merit, from someone advocating equality and social justice.  Some claim that since they’re not advocating for Jim Crow style laws, their attitudes cannot be bigoted.  After all, no one wants to be called a bigot. Being a bigot is bad. So lets put it up against the definition, shall we?

The following 2 conditions must BOTH be met:

Do people who attempt to criminalize and slander those of a particular group STRONGLY dislike that group’s members or ideas?

Strongly is a qualitative adverb.  One can expect that if someone is trying to argue that they are not a bigot, that their dislike is average at most.  So let’s add a common sense litmus for “strongly”.  Are any of the following conditions true?  If they are willing to spend money to demonstrate their dislike, their dislike is strong.  If they use social media to engage in hate speech or to bully those they dislike, their dislike is strong.  If they are willing to set aside the constitution of their country to facilitate their dislike, their dislike is strong.  (note that anyone voting or working against equal rights for all within the United States falls into this category)  If they vote for a candidate whose platform is otherwise contrary to their self interest except for the shared dislike, their dislike is strong.  So consider again:

Do people who attempt to criminalize and slander those of a particular group STRONGLY dislike that group’s members or ideas?

No?  Then okay, they might be a bit of a jerk, but they are not a bigot.

Yes?  Then continue to the next criteria of bigotry.

Do people who attempt to criminalize and slander those of a particular group UNFAIRLY dislike that group’s members or ideas?

Unfairly is another qualitative adverb and harder to define, so I will defer to Merriam-Webster again — treating people in a way that favors some over others.  Since the treatment in question is to dislike, let’s rephrase the definition — disliking people in a way that favors some over others.  That sounds very odd and perhaps impossible, but consider the following scenario.

Mr. Square is moving to a new a city where there are circles, pentagons, and triangles.  He goes to a mixer to meet some new shapes and sure enough the groups is very diverse.  Mr. Square has never met anyone but other squares.  He’s heard about pentagons, though, and doesn’t even look at one.  He takes once glance at a circle, decides they’re too strange and decides they’re no good, but those triangles seem okay and he has no pre-conceived notions of what to expect.  So he decides he is willing to be social with triangles and only triangles.

This sounds insane, but the psychology of this happens ALL THE TIME!  This situation is unfair, because Mr. Square does make any attempt to get to know the pentagons or circles, despite having the exact same personal experience with them as he’s had with triangles.

The other way to unfairly dislike a group or idea is for it to behave identically to other groups or ideas that are not disliked.  Simplistically modeled, this would be like having Mr. Square meeting someone online  where he doesn’t know what shape they are, and discovering through conversation that they are “brothers from another mother” or “soul mates” or something like that.  Mr. Square is sure he’s made a new friend until he finds out the other shape is in fact a circle.  GASP!  So much for finding a new friend.  So as before, consider again:

Do people who attempt to criminalize and slander those of a particular group UNFAIRLY dislike that group’s members or ideas?

No?  Then okay.  Not everyone is going to like everything or everyone.  It happens.

Yes? Then they are a bigot.

The question for society is whether or not their bigotry adversely affects others.  Is it okay to be a bigot as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone?

The thing is, being bigoted hurts others by definition.  If you strongly dislike a group or idea your actions are either directly causing pain to others or aiding those who cause pain to others.  Personally, I would define a mentality of bigotry without action to be prejudice.  It isn’t a great personality trait either, but at least it doesn’t harm others.  Fair warning, though, it’s a short step from prejudiced thoughts to bigoted actions.

The only thing left to decide is whether bigotry really is a bad thing.  After all, if it is morally right to hurt someone due to religious convictions, then freedom of religion stipulates that bigotry be tolerated.  I find 3 major flaws in that statement:

1)  I have looked and looked and looked and looked for a religious endorsement of hurting others.  Islam is the only one I’m still not sure about, because my research has turned up conflicting information (please feel free to comment if you can respond to this).  Christianity however, using the New Testament as the trump card it is, makes it very clear that the only sin anyone need worry about is their own.  All other religions look upon hurting others negatively, no matter the reason.

2)  Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.  Thus a bigot cannot use their misguided religious interpretation to impose their religious views on others.  For those that claim they are adhering to the tenets of their faith by protecting their children, refraining from bigotry does not endanger the child.  You can still teach your faith of intolerance and the government will continue to remind them that those beliefs cannot be inflicted upon others.  If it bothers you that your religious beliefs can’t dictate policy in America, then you have two options: move to a country with an official religion that espouses beliefs similar to your own or legally change the 1st Amendment and then establish a specific brand of Christianity as the state religion.

3)  To condemn intolerance is to be intolerant.  This is a common complaint of bigots these days.  They complain that the liberal media and liberal America is intolerant of their intolerance.  If the government sanctions intolerance towards anyone through policies, intolerance-based legislation can affect anyone.  And someday, that might include those so ardently screaming for their right to hurt others with their hate.  Additionally, if an individual’s intolerance becomes hate speech or bullying, it is no longer a frame of mind, but a set of hurtful actions.

I know that this is a very emotionally charged subject and that you, dear reader, may suddenly realize my definition makes you a bigot.  The thing is, you don’t have to be a bigot.  You don’t have to out yourself, though apologizing to someone you’ve hurt is never a bad idea.  This is not designed to bully you into wearing a sign on your back that says, “I’m a bigot”.  However, you can educate yourself and treat people fairly, regardless of your personal views.  You can refrain from taking action that harms others based on your personal views.  I would love it if you would stop being hateful at all, but that’s the cool thing about America — you can be hateful as you want as long as that hate doesn’t cause harm to your fellow Americans.  So with President’s Day upon us, I will leave you with just a few quotations from some of our country’s presidents, because they usually say it better than I ever could.

“We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt

“America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses.” — Woodrow Wilson

“I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” — Thomas Jefferson

“Laws made by common consent must not be trampled on by individuals.” — George Washington

“The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe with blood for centuries.” — James Madison

 

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | November 1, 2013

Gratitude

I want to be clear that I wasn’t tormented the way children are today — certainly not by my immediate peers anyway.  Yet I seemed to be just socially immature enough to receive quizzical expressions from my classmates; expressions that seemed to ask, “Are you for real?”  There were moments of blatant teasing, but for the most part, I knew my “coolness” standing by who was willing to play with me at recess or invite me to slumber parties on the weekend.  While that group of people changed over the years between 5th grade and graduation, the size of the group was pretty consistent.  I felt like I had 5 to 10  good, secret-sharing friends at any given time, a slightly larger group of friends that I would be willing to help if they needed me, though I wasn’t always sure if the sentiment went both ways, a slew of acquaintances that I got along with when we were together at school, and then a few people that didn’t want me in their “cooperative learning group” any more than I wanted to be in theirs.  The biggest surprise of Facebook has been that I’ve received friend requests from each category, including a few of the relentless teasers.

As a teen, I battled depression and anxiety for the first time.  It got relatively dramatic and resulted in finishing high school a semester early.  I wanted to walk with my class in June, though, so I showed up on Graduation Day just like everyone else.  A few people apparently thought I’d managed to succeed in my suicide attempt and were surprised to see me there.  And THAT is how I left childhood.  I was still socially immature, took some weird comfort in the idea that at least someone had noticed my absence, but felt like less than a nobody, because the fact that I was literally still alive seemed to surprise some people.

When you don’t know how to develop emotional maturity, and there is no one to really guide you, it’s a long process.  It meant getting out of my hometown and the mold I’d voluntarily let people put me in.  It meant making some awesome mistakes and dealing with the consequences.  It meant watching friends and acquaintances get their degrees, get married, and start families while I was trying to decide who I could tell that I was bisexual without losing their friendship or love (in the case of family).  It meant flip-flopping between which future I should pursue versus the future I wanted to pursue only to figure out that they didn’t have to be separate at all.  It meant 3 different community colleges and 3 different universities, each transition feeling like another failure.

Then I came out to my family.  I came out to a number of my friends.  My partner’s grandmother, whom I’d been living with for 9 years passed away, and almost immediately afterward, my own grandmother passed.  Something in that single year (May 2009-April 2010) changed me.  I let my partner talk me into finishing our degrees at Oregon State University and all I can say to her is THANK YOU!

Oregon State meant pursuing my interest in math education, getting involved with student government, and discovering that just because I am an only child, doesn’t mean I don’t have an army of sisters who genuinely care about each other and include me in their sisterhood.  I learned to recognize and value my natural talent for instruction, particularly technical instruction to those generally adverse to STEM subjects.  My eyes were opened to what it means to be privileged as a white woman from a well educated, upper-middle class family.  My anger towards injustice focused into ideas to counter it when I could.  I became one voice in a choir of strong, brilliant, beautiful inside and out women who are going to change the world in countless ways.  I became a woman who has far more than 5 to 10 real, secret-sharing friends and finds turning strangers into acquaintances and friends much less challenging than she did 10 years ago.

So I want to say “Thank you.”  Thank you to my readers.  As a historical chatter-box with more than a few incoming requests to play the “quiet game”, having people voluntarily check out what I have to say is pretty cool.  Thanks to everyone in my past that sent me a Facebook request even though I was sometimes eye-rollingly awkward when you knew me.  Thank you to all the adults who always encouraged me to be myself even when I thought that was the worst idea ever.  Thank you to my family who have been nothing but supportive regarding my sexuality and thank you for loving Jaina just as much as you would have loved a guy I brought home.  Thank you to Jaina’s family for so lovingly opening your arms to me as well.  I could not have asked for a better family to “marry” into.  Thank you to the Associated Students of Oregon State University and the your leadership teams over the years.  You prove that extra-curricular activities can be just as educational as the classroom.  To my sisters in Sigma Delta Omega, thank you for creating and maintaining an environment where even a woman like me can feel welcomed, appreciated, and significant.  You have no idea how much you’re missed.  PPSS.

Mom and Dad, thank you for your love and support, even when I’m sure it was difficult.

Jaina, thank you for taking this journey of life with me.  We didn’t expect to be traveling companions, but I can’t imagine this road without you on it, and I’m so excited for the miles to come.

Finally, to the One I belong to:  Thank you for your perfect patience with me and steady presence.  Even when I didn’t think I could feel you, you were there.  You’ve known what I could do and patiently waited for me to discover it in my own time.  You’ve led me to all right places, even though I didn’t know I needed to be there and you’ve shown me some of the most amazing people that I didn’t know were missing from my life.  I am proud to say that I am finally eager for what you’ve in mind next, rather than terrified that you won’t understand or care what I want to do.

November is the month Americans celebrate the things they are grateful for.  If Christmas gets a whole month (4 if you ask the retailers), then a full month of active gratitude is the least I can do in honor of Thanksgiving. (don’t worry, not every post of November is going to be about gratitude and sappy stuff).

<img src=”https://www.blogher.com/files/NaBloPoMo_November_small.jpg” alt=”NaBloPoMo November 2013″ height=”255″ width=”298″>

<img src=”http://yeahwrite.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/nablo_13_175.png”>

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | November 1, 2013

Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry . . .

Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…

by michelle w. on November 1, 2013

…for tomorrow we die. The world is ending tomorrow! Tell us about your last dinner — the food, your dining companions, the setting, the conversation.

 

Choosing a last meal has never been easy for me.  In fact, I think I always manage to deflect the question if it ever comes up.  Choosing a last song to listen to, movie to watch, book to read, etc. . . . I could choose each of those with ease.  Yet food is so much harder!  Different flavors and textures spur different memories and instigate varying types of satisfaction.  On one hand, my mom’s shepherd’s pie is what I think of as comfort food.  It is just the right combination of salty, savory, and buttery.  Alternatively, my favorite “cuisine” is BBQ and a helping of brisket with baked beans and a baked potato is also VERY appealing.  Mmmmmm, this post is making my mouth water!  If I had to choose, though, I think that my last dinner would have to be my family’s version of Beef Bourgenion (with spaetzel instead of egg noodles).

As much as I enjoy a variety of proteins, beef is still my favorite.  A red wine sauce is always high on my list, and I absolutely love mushrooms and bacon!  While living in Albany, Oregon I became completely enamored with Novak’s Hungarian Restaurant and their Beef Porkolt which is served with spaetzel.  How I lived for 29 years with spaetzel in my life, I’ll never know.  For sides, I would like asparagus spears and whole cranberry sauce.  To drink, I would want all the milk I can drink, and for dessert:  black forest cherry cake.  I really hope that I’m not the one who has to prepare said last meal, because I might be too exhausted to enjoy it!

If I knew today was my last day, I would definitely want to see my family and friends.  During my dinner, however, I think I would want it to be just my partner and me.  Sharing a meal is a significant interaction and the last meal makes it all the more significant.  Maybe it reflects my introverted nature, that the idea of spending my last hours in a hoard people (even people I love and cherish) to be more than a little stressful.  No, my last dinner would have to be just the two of us and we would probably talk about all of the amazing times we’ve had, places we’ve been, and people we’ve met.  Can this dinner be days long, because that’s going to be a long conversation!

I’m honestly at a loss for the setting of this dinner.  It couldn’t be at the kitchen table.  That’s too “everyday”.  Just the two of us in a dining room always feels weird, like we’re eating before everyone else is supposed to arrive or something.  I think I would like a nice outdoor space or four seasons room that makes us feel like we’re in nature without the feeling of camping.  I’d like to be able to hear a fire crackling, evening birds singing, and the smell of summer.  A little John Williams, Hans Zimmer, Howard Shore, Mozart, and Bach coming from the house would top it off nicely.

Yes, that is exactly how I’d like my last meal on this earth to be.

 

Related Links:

http://www.novakshungarian.com/

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 31, 2013

Desiderata Reflection Part 4

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

You would think that the whole “be yourself” is so obvious by now that it is hardly worth saying.  Yet it persists as a piece of advice.  Why?  Because people still don’t follow it — and I include myself in that.  But I can admit and attest that when I allow myself to relax and just be myself, my social experiences and the opportunities that unfold in my life are far more positive and uplifting than when I’m trying to figure out what or who I am “supposed” to be.  It’s worth noting, though, that being yourself doesn’t automatically mean everyone is going to like you and think you’re the greatest person ever to grace the earth.  In my experience, however, I find I can accept those people due to the number of relationships I have that are based on authenticity.

Need to carry a bunch of balloons AND carry other stuff?  I got this figured out!

Non Trad Picnic    Non-Traditional Student Picnic June 2011

Sure, I’ll wear this silly clown bow-tie and let you take my picture!  I’ll even post it on  Facebook and my blog. 

LOA 2012 Laws of Attraction dance (Sigma Delta Omega) Oct 2012

The pictures above reflect me being me despite my initial reaction to tone it down, because people might think I’m weird or something.  Who cares if I’m weird?  Some of the best people in history were weird!

Striving for authenticity in my relationships means that I adhere to the second piece of Stanza 5.  If I don’t like someone, I’m polite and pleasant, but I don’t go overboard or agree to socialize with them in an effort to make it seem like they’re my friend.  Luckily, there are very people I do not like something about so this happens rarely.

The last sentiment of Stanza 5 just seems to resonate in the air when you say it.   It’s along the same lines as a silver lining of every cloud and lights at ends of tunnels, but it’s so true!

I take Stanza 6 to be all about accepting your aging and perceiving it as a blessing.  I couldn’t agree more.  For some reason, getting older has never bothered me.  I’ve had to learn not to “should” myself about what I have or haven’t achieved at various age milestones, but I have very little trouble valuing the experiences that have shaped me today.  Like many in their thirties, I know that life is sometimes difficult and even unfair, and I know that you often get more than one dose of garbage in life.  So its important to learn from past experiences and prepare for the inevitable future.  The trick, as the poem warns, is to avoid confusing preparedness with paranoia.  After all, it would be a shame to miss out on something amazing, because I was too preoccupied with what might happen in some stretch of the imagination.

Are you good at being yourself?

How do you feel about getting older?

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 30, 2013

Daily Prompt: First!

Daily Prompt: First!

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.

GO BEAVS!

First Day OSU

This was me on my first day at Oregon State University in 2010.  I had enough credits to be a senior thanks to may years finding myself in community colleges, but I was pretty much starting as a third term sophomore.  Oregon State happened because my amazingly supportive and driven partner decided that working minimum wage in Oregon wasn’t for us.  We were going to hunt for the scholarships and the grants and work campus jobs and finish our degrees, dang it!  (I know we were blessed to have this option that not everyone can feel secure in taking)

The coming year was full of learning experiences both in the classroom and out, but on that day, the world was at my feet, I was in the old familiar orange black (also my high school colors) and it was actually a nice day in Oregon (those a rare).  Three academic years later I graduated with a degree in math, emphasizing secondary education, a job offer, and a network of amazing professionals, academics, and friends.  All of it, though, goes back to that first morning.

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 29, 2013

An Attempt to Be a Better Blogger

It’s been almost 2 years since my first blog and this will be post number nine.  That’s just pitiful.  I had hoped to be a regular blogger, but being a math major was sort of draining.  I’ve graduated, though.  YAY!  So now I have more time to devote to writing and thinking about things outside of math.

I have recently started following Crow Arrow, Inc (Angela Death) who is a fantastic, regular blogger, and through her got turned onto to the National Blog Posting Month that starts this Friday.  If it takes two weeks to establish a habit, then 30 days ought to really cement blogging into my routine.

Thanks to Angela for including me in a list of bloggers to keep an eye on.  If you’re not already following her, you should definitely check out her blog at:  http://crowarrowinc.wordpress.com/

Also, check out NaBloPoMo 2013 at http://yeahwrite.me/.

Thanks!

 

Posted by: alittlesipoflemmonade | October 29, 2013

Continuing the Reflection Again: Stanzas 3 and 4

I know I started this reflection over a year ago, but it drives me nuts not to actually finish things so I’m going to try to finish it by the end of this week.

As a reminder, the following is an excerpt from “Desiderata” by Max Ehrmann:

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

These stanzas feel like they go together as they deal with work and money, or what an ancient Greek may have prayed to Hermes for.  “Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.”  Anyone with Impostor Syndrome needs this post-it noted to every flat surface of their home — including me.  In case you don’t know, Impostor Syndrome is a mindset where an individual finds great difficulty accepting and internalizing their own accomplishments.  It can affect men and women, but is more pervasive in females.  Even Meryl Streep and Maya Angelou battle that feeling of self-doubt when you wonder how long people will go on believing you’re any good at _____________, that you’re really a fraud.

It’s important to acknowledge when you are awesome, though!  There are so many steps on the road to achievement, that frauds are usually found out long before the recognition is actually given.  I also think that besides acknowledging your accomplishments, its also important to take credit for them graciously.  So when you receive a compliment for a job well done, don’t tell the complimenter all the ways it could have been better.  Say “Thank you” and move on.  I have striven to adopt this for some time now, and I think I’m getting much better.  The reason to do it is two-fold.  One, it’s polite.  Adding a “but” to someone’s compliment is like questioning their judgement to their face.  No one likes that.  Two, it forces you to really enjoy your accomplishment as the poem suggests.  It doesn’t hurt to bathe in a little admiration every now and then.

I find the next bit of the sentence “. . .as well as your plans” to be pertinent especially to young people as they decided what to do with their adult lives.  I think we’ve all had an idea or a dream that we dared to share with someone only to have them throw it on the ground and stomp on it like a little bug.  I was unceremoniously told I wasn’t smart enough to be a math major (the degree on my wall disagrees).  I know other people with similar experiences, and all of them are going to be amazing at whatever they choose.  It’s because choice makes such a huge impact on success.  While you can be successful at something you hate, it is very hard to be completely unsuccessful at something that inspires you to pursue it passionately (I’m guessing musical/theatrical/sports dreams may be the exception to this?).

The last bit of Stanza 3 has me flip-flopping.  On one hand, that sort of thinking leads people to stay in bad, unhealthy work environments.  They think, “I should be grateful that I have a job and just take what I get.”  On the other hand, to have the opportunity to be industrious, feel the security of self-sufficiency, and simultaneously benefit the greater world is something valid to appreciate about your circumstance in life.  So the solution must be in the entirety of that stanza.   As long as your profession allows you to enjoy your accomplishments, keep your interest and attention on it.  If you are expected to depreciate yourself, then reconsider how great of a “possession” your job actually is.

I’m going to sum up the first sentence of the fourth stanza as:  Be an informed consumer/investor.

The juicy bit of Stanza 4 is the second half:  “But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.”  Could there be any more truth in this?!

The first responders to the World Trade Center on 9/11/2001, the volunteers that drove to New York over days to help in whatever way they could, and the good-hearted people who are always lending a hand after natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornadoes all show us that a hero does not need to wear a cape and tights (Edna Mode advises against the cape in any case).  There are a myriad of ways that people demonstrate their kindness and sense of community, including holding doors and elevators at the office.

These may not be the deepest stanza of entire poem,  but they still contain valuable messages for advancing any goals we may have for peace with ourselves and our world.

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