Saturday, March 28, 2009

Staring my youth in the face....

I was on a plane earlier this week. Joining me on the plane was a high school marching band. If you don't know by now, yes, I was in the marching band in high school. And in college, as a matter of fact.

So, here I am on a plane surrounded by lots and lots of young, wide-eyed band nerds. Watching them, I was immediately taken back to my high school band nerd days.

My first high school mascot was the Cougars, colors were red and white. These kids on the plane were also the Cougars, colors were red and white. Purely coincidence, as these kids were from a different high school. But, seeing all the band jackets with the red and white and the cougar . . . made it almost a surreal experience.

It was an unexpected trip down memory lane, watching these kids. I saw the "cool" band nerds keeping their distance from some of the other "less cool" band nerds. The flutes huddled together. Drummers were in the back of the plane, air-drumming to their ipods. I even saw the couple of kids who clearly didn't fit in anywhere, even among fellow band nerds.

I was on this plane, dressed in a suit, traveling to NYC for a business meeting with a client. I make this trip often. These kids were dressed in the skinny jean weirdness of your typical teens these days, excited for a big trip to NYC, maybe their first time to the Big Apple.

But, unbeknown to them, we were one and the same in my head on this plane.

I was once one of them . . . but, would any of them be me one day? In a suit, 15 years removed from a band trip with all your friends (and enemies - oh, high school drama . . .)? Headed to the same place (NYC) but in two entirely different places.

When I was that high school band nerd, I don't think I ever would have guessed I'd one day be all suited up, as a grown-up, doing grown-up things . . . business meetings, business travel, responsibilities . . . I do these things now, but I don't feel like a grown-up.

Sometimes I still feel like a kid just playing grown-up because that's what I'm supposed to do now. With years comes responsibility, even if my heart and soul haven't quite caught up to my years. I feel out of place in my suits, leading client meetings, creating reports (while sitting on a plane, no less), having conversations that don't include words like "rad," "totally," or "dude."

Ok, I still say "dude" as much as possible. Just not to clients.

It was weird to see myself 15 years ago through the eyes of my grown-up self right now. Am I where I'm supposed to be? Am I who I thought I'd be back when I had the whole world ahead of me? No harm, no fouls . . . yet. Choices toward a future still to be made. Grown-up decisions a distant thought. Fun of the moment and teenage drama still at hand.

I don't know. What? Yeah. I don't know if I had an idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, and now that I'm more grown-up than not grown-up, I don't know if this is what I had in mind back in the day.

Weirder than that, it's weird to think that I'm ok wherever this is that I am, for the most part, for now. For not having much of an idea of where I wanted to be or what I wanted to make of myself, and for having an interesting road on the way to getting here, I'm blessed to have ended up someplace that's working out okay for me . . . for now.

I thought about all that's happened since high school, since the so-called innocence of my youth. Things that have led me to where I am today, to my seat on that plane earlier this week. Life for me has taken some crazy, unexpected turns. It's hard not to think "what if," had forks in the road along the way had forked the other way.

Yeah, a lot of thinking for an early morning plane ride . . .

I'm glad I'm not still in those high school band nerd days. It was great at the time (don't judge), but I'm glad it's in the past and part of who I am today, rather than where I still am today.

Plus, I'm not done yet. So, there's that.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Random Thankful Reflections

I'm thankful for some random things these days.

Right now, in a moment of reflection, I'm thankful for my house, this fantastic weather we've been having, my patio, and a nice, event-free, relaxing Friday evening that I can sit out here on my patio and listen to my sprinklers . . . alone . . . in the calm and beauty of my grody Texas yard.

I'm just really blessed, y'all.

Lately I've also been thankful for some of the experiences I've been through. Not because I am glad those things happened or that I'm thankful to have gone through them. No question, given the option of changing some things in my lifetime, I'd pick what's behind door #2. Door # 1 kinda sucked.

But, on the other side of Door #1 (or at least on a side of it with better perspective - I can't say I'm truly on the other side or that I ever will be), I can appreciate what I've learned and the person I am today . . . in part due to the things that have happened in my world as a grown-up.

That's a big deal for me, y'all. I don't come by peace in my world very easily.

Sometimes I feel like I had to grow up really fast, really suddenly. And not in a way that I would have preferred.

But, the way I'm thankful for my life's less-than-pleasant experiences thus far is that I can talk. And I can be there. And I can understand what others may be going through, in a way that I would not be able to had I not experienced some downs in my lifetime thus far.

That may be cheesy, but I don't care right now. I am so thankful to be in a place where my world isn't falling a part, right now, at this time. I can be strong when I'm needed. That feels really good.

It's not that I never thought I'd get to this place. And you know, I won't always be in this place. One thing I've certainly learned is that good days come and go, with bad days mixed in there from time to time. All part of it . . . life, growing, learning . . . healing.

But, I've grown to appreciate the significance of the good days and what they mean having been through a world that fell apart, for a long time.

And I can talk. And share. And be there. And listen. And maybe, if there can ever be a reason for things to happen that rock your world in bad ways, my being able to talk, and share, and be there, and love, and support, and listen, and be strong . . . for others . . . is part of why I grew up quickly, suddenly . . . permanently.

It's so hard to see the bigger picture sometimes. To see beyond what is broken and hurting and what doesn't make sense. Getting to a place where I can start to piece together somewhat of a bigger picture, well, it's good.

I don't know. Just some random thoughts on a perfect evening, in the calm and refuge of my homestead . . . sound of the sprinklers soothing me . . . peaceful moments.

I'll take them when I can get them, and I'll savor them for as long as I can.

God is good, y'all. I promise.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I didn't get a bonus this year.

Nope, no bonuses at my company this year.

I did, however, pay my taxes. Which I guess means that today I apparently helped pay some million-dollar bonuses for some millionaires.

As did you, and you, and you and you and you . . .

Since my company just switched our dental insurance to AIG, I think maybe this is the year I need to get a LOT of dental work done . . . maybe several million dollars worth . . .

Diamond-studded grill? A few gold teeth? Extra super-duper teeth whitening? A few rounds of x-rays?

YES. Done and done.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

I am stimulated.

My paycheck this week reflected the first installment of the new-fangled, save-the-economy tax cut thingy recently enacted by our government.

For me, it amounts to an extra $20 per paycheck.

Wow. It's a veritable windfall of funds, if you will.

We'll be back on our feet in no time.

Thanks, Obama!