Living in the Moment

Despite the fact that I still have a few gifts left to buy, I find myself feeling pretty stress-free this week. It could be that I’m in Florida – my “happy place” as I like to call it. And not much stresses me out in my happy place. I also find myself becoming a little reflective – thinking about all that has transpired this past year and looking ahead to 2016.

This was a year of change and transition for me. In March, we let go of our nanny of six and a half years. I was still working, but the kids had become pretty self-sufficient and I wanted to be more involved in their day-to-day lives. I scaled back my work commitments to facilitate school drop-offs and pick-ups and the multitude of after-school activities. I was expecting the transition to be hard on the kids as they adored our nanny. And while they certainly miss her, I think they were equally ready for me to be more present in their lives.

I left my job in June, a decision that I agonized over for months and months. Some people might see this as an easy move. For me, it was possibly the hardest decision that I have ever made – leaving “work” in a traditional sense. So much of my self-image and self-worth were wrapped up in my job. But it felt like the time had finally come.

This transition hasn’t exactly been seamless… There are days when I desperately miss work. Mostly, I miss the people and the feeling of being challenged on a daily basis. But I have found a new “normal” and have been surprised by how busy and fulfilled I actually feel.

I am embarking on a very different path – embracing my creative side and following a dream. My great ambition is to write a fiction novel. I took a writing course this Fall and learned a ton. Now it is just a matter of putting in the time to get it done (a trivial task, really!!). I am terrified by what this next year will bring and plagued by self-doubt – but also exhilarated by the challenge.

By far and away, the biggest change that I made this year was to start consciously living in the moment. In the past, my attempts to balance work and home often meant that I was just going through the motions. I tried repeatedly to remind myself to soak it all in when I was with the kids – but, truth be told, part of my brain was always focused on my “to do” list. Nowadays, I often catch myself just staring at the kids, marvelling at what incredible little human beings they are becoming.

Life unfolds in the here and now. But so often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to rush by. I know that I, for one, was guilty of squandering my precious time with the kids as I worried about clients and deadlines. I am nervous that I will fall into old habits once I dive headlong into writing. At the same time, I am hopeful that this newfound mindfulness will persist.

I am not big on New Year’s resolutions, but I have a lot that I want to accomplish in 2016. So this might be the year to make some commitments.  In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy holiday. I hope you are able to enjoy some mindful time with family and friends!

May the Force Be With You

My blog posts have been few and far between as of late.  What with the Paris attacks, the Syrian refugee crisis, the California shooting, and Donald Trump’s general hateful antics, I have struggled to find inspiration.  But then it occurred to me that if we give in to the negativity, then the bad guys and the haters win.  And I, for one, am not going to let that happen!

With all of this bad news dominating the news cycle, let me focus on some good (and lighter!) news.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that Star Wars:  Episode VII – The Force Awakens opens this Friday, December 18th.  This has been a much anticipated date at our house.

My husband started watching the Star Wars franchise with my son when he was far too young to be watching such movies.  Each movie took about four hours to watch due to all of the pausing and explaining that had to be done.  I’m not convinced that my son was leading the charge in watching these movies.  Rather, I think my husband was hoping to get him hooked.  And it worked like a charm!  We own all of the movies.  We have various Star Wars characters, ships, and weapons (some of which date back to my husband’s childhood – my saint of a mother-in-law held on to them for decades!) littering the floors in our basement.  And my son has constructed many Star Wars Lego vehicles over the years.

One of the things that I love about the Star Wars franchise is that it brings together different generations.  Episodes IV, V and VI were released between 1977 and 1983 and Episodes I, II and II between 1999 and 2005.  The next three are slated for 2015 through 2019.  That’s more than 40 years of Star Wars movies!  In a day and age when there is so much divisiveness, it is nice to find something that unites us – even if it is a sci-fi movie!

Several years ago, I met George Lucas at a work event.  I was working in executive search at the time, so the connection is not particularly obvious.  Let me explain…  George Lucas is married to Mellody Hobson, who is a prominent board director at Estée Lauder, Starbucks and DreamWorks Animation.  And the event in question was the Black Corporate Directors Conference.  While the event itself was incredibly inspiring and full of the “who’s who” in corporate America, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t star struck by George Lucas (who, I will add, stuck out like a sore thumb at the Black Corporate Directors Conference – as did I, by the way).  Sadly, of all of the things that I have accomplished in my professional life, this is probably the one and only thing that my son has retained – Mommy met George Lucas!

I’m not going to try to stretch this and say that the Star Wars movies are educational.  They are what they are – entertainment.  But, if you will allow me, there are a few quotes that I think we can all learn from:

  • Your focus determines your reality.
  • Fear is the path to the dark side.
  • There’s always a bigger fish.
  • Do. Or do not. There is no try.
  • You can’t stop change any more than you can stop the suns from setting.
  • If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.


  • When 900 years old, you reach… Look as good, you will not.

Happy watching!


You’ve Got Mail

There are so many things that I love about this time of year:  decorating the Christmas tree with the kids (minus the inevitable broken ornament); Jack, our Elf on the Shelf, making his first appearance of the season; attending holiday parties (minus the inevitable drunken party-goer); going to school holiday concerts; and, of course, feeling the kids’ general excitement and anticipation for the upcoming holiday.

But perhaps at the top of my list is sending and receiving holiday cards.  In an age where snail mail all too often means bills and flyers, it is such a welcome surprise to receive cards from friends and family.

My love for holiday cards is rooted in visits to my grandparents’ house as a child.  I can remember my mother collecting all of my grandmother’s cards and finding a comfy chair to sit in so that she could pour through them undisturbed.  It wasn’t until I was in university that I personally discovered how much fun this could be.

I remember feeling like a bit of a voyeur as I examined my parents’ cards…  looking at other people’s family photos and reading their personal messages.  It was fun to see pictures and receive news of people that I had known as kids but had long since lost touch with.  Above all else though, I loved reading the sickeningly upbeat holiday letters that were filled with the past years’ accomplishments and highlights.  You know the ones I mean… They typically went something like this:  “It has been a wonderful year for the Jones family.  Mindy graduated at the top of her class at Harvard.  Cindy Lou and her husband Chip made us first-time grandparents.  Amazingly, Cindy Lou ran the New York marathon the day before she gave birth to little MacKayla!  And Biff Jr. made partner at his law firm earlier this year.  We couldn’t be more proud.”  My Mom and I used to joke about how much fun it would be to send out a similar letter, but focused solely on the negative events that had occurred during the year.

I must confess that I wasn’t particularly into the whole holiday card tradition until my husband and I had kids.  The opportunity to take pictures of our babies and send them out to family and friends was just too good to pass up.  In the early years, I personally took hundreds of pictures to land on the one perfect image (meaning that the kids were both looking at the camera – and weren’t fighting!).  We also hand-wrote personal messages on all of our cards.  Over time, this has given way to a picture taken by a professional photographer and a generic message.  Both are signs that our lives have become more hectic as the kids have gotten older!

I absolutely love opening holiday cards – especially the ones from friends that I haven’t seen in a while.  I am most aware of the passage of time when I see how big my friends’ kids have become.

I am hoping to finish addressing all of our cards today and get them into the mailbox by tomorrow.  I can’t wait to see what awaits me in the mail this week!