Seeing the Finish Line

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Guys….guys…guys. I’m almost done with school. This week is going to end week 10 of 11 for my last class in my MBA program. I can’t celebrate just yet, I still have another paper to write, and a final, plus I have 3 days of military training this weekend, so I’ll have to do it all when I get home.

My graduation isn’t scheduled until October, but Lorenzo is already planning things for us to do to relax and spend time together. I feel like I have been almost ignoring him for the past year and a half. I’ve literally had to tell him one day not to plan anything for us to do without speaking with me first because there was always too much for me to do. So I know he is just as excited as I am.

Its been 5 years since I started my MBA program. After a really bad Economics class I took a semester off, which later turned into 3 semesters because I was spending my time looking for another job. I went back, and then took another semester off because Lorenzo and I had to move and were buying our house at the same time. I even took a break from my blog last year, so I really didn’t get to document any of it. Now here I am, about 10 days away from being completely finished. It makes me so happy because I knew that the time would pass anyway, and I’m glad that I stuck with it and had the determination to finish.

We’re not going to talk about my GPA right now because this class has been sketchy for me. I’m sure it will take a hit, but I am preparing myself to deal with that. Its not like they are going to put it on my the degree anyway…so….

But, its not like this is the end for me, there is still lots more for me to work towards, the first being a job that is more in line with my degree, certifications, and retiring from the military next year. So I’m still going to be a busy lady– just without homework.

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Sometimes its Good to Say ‘No’

Personal Story:

One of my sisters used to think I was mean. She used to tell me I was too hard on people and that I was too mean to one of my brothers.

I used to tell her she had a “Mother Theresa” complex and needs to stop trying to save everyone.  She disagreed.

Ten years later she is finally gets it.

My sister and I are complete opposites. She’s loud, hot-tempered, intimidating, but funny, extremely nurturing, and entirely too trusting. I’m quiet, determined, I’m “the nice one”, but I trust no-one, and I say no with a smile on my face.

I’m the kind of person who will move on from someone if they betray me in some way just one time. This took strength, because I used to keep people in my life that never had my best interests in mind. So maybe it hardened me some. My sister is the kind of person who will trust you and forgive you multiple times until the damage is severe. Sometimes she’ll even forgive after that.

We’ve had conversations about this over the years, how our behaviors differ from each other. I recently told her that even though it’s great to help others, she needs to learn to take care of herself first and there is nothing wrong with that (the saying ‘you can’t give from an empty cup’ comes to mind). There are some people in the world who you just can’t help because they will ALWAYS need it. They will rob you of your resources, energy, time, and patience and then blame you when things don’t go their way.

I don’t mind helping people, even when it comes to giving money. I just have rules that I go about before I do those things. For example, I never give anyone money that I might need later on; if I’m going to need it, I don’t have to lend out. I’m picky about who I give money to as well; my younger sibling who works and just might be falling behind this month, sure. My unemployed adult cousin who I don’t speak to very often and always seems to find money to support their bad habits, probably not. I’ll offer time, help, and advice, or just flat out say no before I take on the financial obligations of another adult.

So its not that I’m mean or just like saying ‘no’ for the sake of it, I’m just making sure that I can take care of my own obligations before I’m giving my last to someone else. Especially to someone who cannot reciprocate the favor if the shoe was on the other foot and I was in a bind. It may sound crazy to some, but I will say that it has saved me a lot of time, money, and awkward situations with people.

Three Signs In Male Fists Saying No, No and No Isolated on a White Background.

 

Why its Time to Retire… A Letter to my Future Self.

March 3rd marked the 19 year anniversary of when I joined the military. Just the paperwork portion of it, I didn’t actually go to basic training until a few months later. Every year on that anniversary I usually post a picture on Facebook or something and every year someone whom I’ve served with will jump in and encourage me to stay in longer.

I’m so sick of that.

Of course it happened again this year, and I think that no one believes me because I’ve been saying I wanted to get out for years and I kept re-enlisting. Once I hit the 14 year mark, I knew that I would stay long enough just to get my retirement. I figured if I completed 20 years, I can leave with no regrets because I did enough to finish and if I stayed in any longer than that it would be purely because I wanted to.

But I know me. I know that I will second guess myself half to death and end up staying out of fear (fear of what? I have no clue) and re-enlist again and ending up miserable. So I’m going to write a letter to my future self to remind me of this feeling I’m having right now and I’m going to put a reminder in my phone to check it also.

Dear Pat,

Enough is enough. Twenty years of your life is enough. You’ve been saying for years that you are tired of doing this, and you mean it. You have nothing left to give. The only way I can justify staying is if you’ve found another job that is relevant to your civilian career (which I doubt you’ll do in less than a year). Your back hurts, your knees are getting worse, you never really liked doing push-ups, you HATE running, and the food is terrible. Don’t be afraid to let go, don’t be afraid of the unknown. You have other things you want to do with your life so its time to move on.  You’d be doing a disservice to anyone you’d have to lead or mentor because you know your heart isn’t in it (and lets be real, you don’t even like half the people you work with anyway). You want your weekends back. You want to be able to plan a trip that’s not around their schedule. You actually want to travel to cool places, not middle-of-nowhere Arkansas. You can make extra money doing other things that won’t have you end up in the hospital because you threw your back out again, or because your asthma started acting up. You shouldn’t feel this way about your job. Don’t let anyone else convince you that you need to stay because they chose to stay. There was a time when you loved it, but I think that time has passed and now your heart is pulling your towards something else. If you decide to stay longer than planned stay because you want tostay because you’re happy, not because you feel like you don’t have any other options.  CREATE other options.

Love, Pat

Time to create some options…

 

To All the Books I Haven’t Read

Do we have any bibliophiles here?

If you’re anything like me you have a shelf, drawer, room, and Kindle full of books you haven’t read yet, but it still hasn’t stopped you from purchasing more. I used to have a lot of books. A lot. When I was in college, I was a member of a mail order book club (I can’t remember the name) and somehow managed to read for leisure in between classes. I think I would’ve gotten better grades if I paid more attention to my school work but that’s water under the bridge.

I’m not sure what happened to them, but most of them are gone now, probably donated after I came home from Iraq. I managed to save some good ones, and I can’t wait to get started on them (and re-read some others).

Here is a short list of some that I am going to start, and some I have to finish:

Successful Women Think Differently, Valorie Burton (just started this one and I also have the sequel Successful Women Speak Differently)
Think and Grow Rich for Women, Sharon Letcher (just finished)
Understanding Stocks, Michael Sincere (re-read)
The Emperor of Ocean Park, Stephen L. Carter
Reading Like a Writer, Francine Prose
The 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene (need to finish)
Growing Up Black, Jay David
And I have about 50 other “Want to Read” books on my GoodReads app, plus a few classics that are just sitting on my Kindle as well. I’m sure I’ll eventually get to them all but honestly, having the convenience of a Kindle and being able to download them so quickly is making it hard to keep up.

I almost miss the days I would walk around old bookstores and spend an hour or 2 looking for a book or three, now I can just download them on my handy-dandy iPad. I told Lorenzo I would eventually want to turn one of our rooms in a library or turn one of the walls into a bookshelf.

I think he thinks I’m kidding… but I’m not.

I’d be happy to take any suggestions as well. Read any good books lately?

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How to Not Kill Your Husband 101

I’ve been trying to figure out for the past few weeks how to write this in away that won’t be held against me later on in court, in the strange event that something does actually happen to my husband and for some reason it looks like I did it. Let me preface by saying: I don’t ACTUALLY want to kill my husband. I think that sometimes I get so irritated with him that I think I want to kill him, but I don’t. He’s just happens to be irritating me at that particular point in time and I don’t know how to handle it.

Is this what marriage is? Dealing with someone whom you love so much, yet at the same time can’t stand the sight of, but yet if they weren’t around you’d be sad? Just me? Probably. Lorenzo irritates me sometimes. Half the time I don’t know why, but I just really understand why some women keep cast iron skillets in the house. They are not just for grilled cheese sandwiches. I don’t even know if he knows that I want to strangle him sometimes. I think he does though…I can’t hide my facial expressions.

I asked my sister if she ever felt this way with her fiancé. She agreed. She said she really wants to kill him sometimes, but then she knows she’ll be pissed at him for actually dying so she doesn’t chance it. I remember having dinner one night with another couple, I am not even sure what happened but one minute everything was cool and then the next thing I know my friend is calling her fiancé annoying. He asked what he did, she said, “You’re breathing. You breathing annoys me. Ughh, you’re so annoying.” After a minute, Lorenzo laughed. I looked at him like he was crazy and said, “What are you laughing at? You’re annoying too.” I had to ask my friend who’s been with her husband for a total of 20 years how she doesn’t kill her husband every week. Her answer, with no hesitation: lots of prayer.

Am I just crazy? Seriously, that’s a real question because its like, one minute I love, love, love him, he’s #BAE, and he can do no wrong; and the next I want to throw things at him. Or vice versa; he’ll purposely do things to get under my skin then turn around and be super sweet (usually in the form of getting me food). Maybe I’m just hungry. I don’t know. And I’m about 175% sure I get on his last nerve as well, but if I ask he’ll probably feel like I’m trying to set him up or something, so I’ll never get an honest answer. On a good day.

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If I’m Cursing, I’m Not Trying to be a Lady

I had military training this past weekend and one of my friends was bothering me. When we arrived to our barracks we had to wait for someone to get keys. A friend of mine walked over to me and said:

“The females have to sleep outside” To which I promptly responded, “Fuck that.”

He laughed and said that he can never quite get used to me cursing because even though he knows that I do, that I don’t look like I do so it always throws him off.

I use profanity and I like to use it quite often. I’ve been doing it (properly) since I was 18. I’ve tried to quit in the past, and even had a swear jar at work for a few months (yes… MONTHS)…twice, but I can never seem to kick the habit completely. Why? I guess because deep down I really don’t want to. One of the biggest annoyances I have about it is that when people turn to me and say, “Its not ladylike”, especially coming from someone in the military, because dude…really? If I’m dropping f-bombs like nobody’s business, the LAST thing I’m trying to do is be a “lady”. I don’t know if I ever really was  one, but that’s another story for another day.

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Now don’t get me wrong, I do have some self control. I don’t curse around children or my elders (mother-in-law, my father, older family members/friends), professional settings, etc. so its not that I don’t have enough words in my vocabulary to express what I’m trying to say without cursing, its just something I choose to do. Its something I like to do. Most of the people in my life curse as well, including some coworkers so I am  almost surrounded by people who are fellow profanity users. Which probably doesn’t help…

I think for me that swearing is one of those things that I will just stop doing when I’m just tired of doing it, like when people smoke for 30 years and then just quit cold turkey and never go back. I think for now I still do it for shock value; I get a kick out of the faces that people make when they hear me curse for the first time…or the 70th (some never really get used to it). I always say that if I had my own kid I would finally quit, but then I think about all my friends who curse their kids out on a regular basis. I mean, I learned profanity from MY parents…so there’s that. Oh well.

 

Shout Out My Husband for Being Awesome

I swear that my husband is the most patient man on the planet. He has to be. He’s always calm and even when he is frustrated he doesn’t raise his voice. He’s never overly emotional and he so far above any pettiness that its inspiring for me to stop worrying about things and opinions that don’t matter. But of all that, most importantly, he puts up with me. Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes I feel like I am a walking train wreck. Other times, I feel like I have it all together and I’m the shit and you can’t tell me otherwise. There are days when I get so caught up in my own madness that Lorenzo will stop and ask me, “What are you thinking about?” because my emotions ALWAYS show on my face. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I never met him. Would I have ever given up this ridiculous pattern of dating men who obviously didn’t want the same things I wanted? Would I have ever fallen in love again? Would I have ever gotten married?

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Honestly, about a month before I met Lorenzo I’d decided that I was just going to be single for the rest of my life. It wasn’t that I was refusing to date, I just didn’t think there was a man out there for ME-someone who could be compatible with me and my personality that I actually wanted to spend my life with who didn’t get on my nerves. I was even super skeptical of Lorenzo when we met, and it didn’t help that the first 8 months we were dating one of my co-workers almost had me convinced that he was going to kill me (she’s since given up on that idea but I haven’t, he IS a Marine for crying out loud).

Anyway, I’m grateful and blessed and happy to have my husband. He’s taught me so much about who I wanted to be, just by being himself. His maturity level is on 98 (he has his petty moments), he taught me what it feels like to have someone take care of me without wanting anything in return. He holds me accountable, challenges me, and doesn’t tolerate any of my crap. He’s never disrespectful and his communication skills are immaculate. Having a chance to know the people in his circle has helped me pick better friends- his friends actually help each other in times of need, there is no drama, and they all take care of each other. Its really something to strive for. He’s always really warm and he massages my scalp if I ask. He knows how to cook and doesn’t get all bent out of shape if I want to go shopping.

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Don’t get me wrong, there are times where we end up on the wrong side of each other’s attitude, like when we went to Pappadeaux and bought gumbo and he took mine to work… (*sigh*) but, so far, its nothing we can’t handle. So…shoutout to him.

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