Positive Energy

Today, two different people from two completely different aspects of my life told me that I have a “positive energy” about me.

My knee-jerk reaction was to make a snide comment in my head about how I must have everyone fooled. But if two different people both see it — one at work, one at karate — maybe I’m just not seeing myself as others see me.

Truth be told, I couldn’t keep the smile off my face during my second-ever Krav Maga class tonight… even when I gave myself a wicked bruise on the top of my foot from doing round kicks, or when I couldn’t quite figure out how to leverage myself to spin around on the floor after blocking a stomp to the face. So, yeah, I’m having fun. Positive energy.

It’s the guy from work who confuses me with his claim that I exude positive energy. Sure, I make a point to be pleasant in my interactions with others, and I’m a little irreverent by nature… but I don’t exactly see myself as the person who lights up a room when I walk in, or who people gravitate toward, or anything like that.

I guess I really just don’t — can’t — see myself as others see me. If the persona I’m showing is one with positive energy, though, I’ll take it.


Character Fail

I’ve known for some time that I’m not the kind of person to take immediate action in an emergency. For example, when I was 21 and saw someone I knew fall from a scaffolding some ten feet in the air, I froze.

Today, I learned that I haven’t changed as much as I’d like to think.

I was on my way in to work this morning — around 7:45am, a little late for me these days, but early compared to the rest of the building. In front of me was a gentleman with crutches. I’ve seen him plenty of times: he’s slow but steady, and he gets where he needs to be on his own.

As I neared the first-floor elevator lobby, I saw him trip and fall.

I froze.

I stared at the soles of his shoes as a fellow co-worker rushed in from my periphery to help. Convinced that he’d be fine, I walked right past him as he lay on the floor and I got into the nearly-full elevator that he had been ambulating toward.

”I’m gonna need some help,” I heard him say. I had thought he’d be OK with just the one man there helping, but I heard him repeat again, “I’m gonna need another person.”

One of the ladies already in the elevator, probably older than my own mother, called out, “Do you need help?”

”Yes,” the fallen man answered, “I’m gonna need another man.”

The woman left the elevator to help, anyway. The doors closed, and the rest of us rode up in silence.

It’s disappointing to note one’s own state of… herd mentality? Cognitive paralysis? I wasn’t the only one who didn’t rush to help, but the rest of them were already in the elevator.

Maybe the discomfort I’m feeling about this situation will help me make a better decision next time something like this comes up. The person I want to be — the person I had hoped I was — would always want to help.

Goals and Priorities

It’s that time of year again, where I aggregate all the interesting (or not) things from the year, think about what this year meant to me, and make some goals for the next.

I haven’t even started the 2017 Year In Review post yet, so my brain is still kind of in The Now instead of in retrospective mode, but I’ve been thinking about things I want to focus on in 2018.

But there’s too many.

I want to read more — fiction and magazines, mainly.
I want to make recipes from my collection of cookbooks — some of which I’ve never cracked open.
I want to meditate daily, and get sweaty from exercise at least once a week.
I want to watch more movies — mainly older ones that I keep meaning to watch.
I want to interact with my friends and acquaintances more often, and more meaningfully.
I want to write more, and blog more long-form posts (like this one).

That’s not even touching on the more mundane stuff, like getting my weight back on a downward slope, or paying my revolving credit balance back down to zero, or taming my backlogged to-do list(s), or catching up on getting prints into my photo albums.

I’m longing for that feeling of having things under control (which I totally don’t have right now), so I’m trying to figure out how to get myself the biggest head-start on that feeling, for the optimal snowball effect.

I’m over 40 years old. Aren’t I supposed to have myself figured out by now?

Love Languages

I had occasion recently to be thinking about the different ways people express affection for each other — their “love language,” if you’re referring specifically to significant others, but I think it applies to some degree to all friendly and loving relationships.

I’d heard of this concept of a “love language” theory some years back, but hadn’t really looked into it until now, when I found myself wondering: what is MY love language? How do I express affection for someone? How do I show them how much they matter?

Once I looked up the Wikipedia article (rather than actually reading the book by Gary Chapman), I pegged my style immediately — and some of my friends’, too.

1. Gift Giving
2. Quality Time
3. Words of Affirmation
4. Acts of Service/Devotion
5. Physical Touch

My one friend is primarily a giver of gifts (to friends, at least; I don’t need to know about her romantic M.O.) and secondarily one who does acts of service. My other friend skews toward words of affirmation. I’m definitely quality time and physical touch (there’s lots of hugging in our house), and I feel like my husband is, too, which works out well.

When I think about it, it makes sense to me why I feel the need to host gatherings at our house: Come spend time with me, so I can show you that you matter to me. I don’t host parties because I think I make awesome party food and have superfun games — I don’t. I provide an excuse for us all to get together at the same time, because we’re all grown adults with jobs and lives and schedules that may or may not be conducive to hanging out with friends one-on-one (especially if they live in another city).

My gift-giving friend pointed out last week that I don’t need to be exactly like her, especially when it comes to ways of showing affection or friendship. At that point, though, I hadn’t realized that quality time counted as a way to show someone you care. I thought maybe I was just taking my friends and husband for granted by not doing special things or giving gifts or whatnot. I thought of quality time as a basic part of having friendship or affection for someone, not so much as a way of showing that affection.

It explains the disconnect I had with friends when I was younger, too. Specifically, with the one friend from church who used to give me rides everywhere right after she got her driver’s license. I appreciated it, but I also thought that we were just hanging out together because we were friends. Imagine my surprise when I found out through the grapevine that she felt like I’d been taking advantage of her, since I didn’t explicitly thank her for the rides very often. That experience made me more aware of my interactions with my friends… but also more self-conscious of those interactions.

On the physical touch side of things: Aaron and I were in a parent-teacher conference a couple weeks back, where we were discussing our son’s current behavior and emotional maturity as opposed to, say, six months ago. One of the questions revolved around whether we were affectionate at home, and I was unsure how to respond. Isn’t everyone affectionate at home? Doesn’t everyone hug hello and goodbye, snuggle just because, give goodnight kisses, and dole out I love yous like water?

Actually, no. Everyone doesn’t. So, yes, we do have an affectionate home life.

(Turns out that Connor’s individuality and independence grows out of his feeling of safety and stability at home — but that’s a story for another day.)

I’m not sure if this newfound theory of love languages is going to make me second-guess my relationships with others or make them stronger. Only time will tell, I suppose.

Six Years and a Lifetime Ago

Just for fun, I launch up the Timehop app pretty much daily, just to see what I posted to social media on this day in years past. Today, as I was scrolling through photos of my son, tweets about weight loss and running, and photos of snow, I swiped to see this face staring back at me, with the one-word caption, “Worried.”


It was a feeling I remembered well. It was the day I learned I was pregnant. Continue reading