Driving Me Away!

15 Mar

Tanya Harris aka AnonomzMost of us are excited when we purchase a new car or even a used car. We make sure it’s always polished and clean inside and out. The maintenance is done without delay, and we’re overly conscientious making sure there are no scratches or dings on its exterior. The car takes care of us, and we take care of it. As time goes by, however, regular wear and tear occurs, and no matter how much effort we put into maintaining our vehicles, problems, some unforeseen and some imminent, drive a wedge between us and the car we once loved.

I’ve had my present vehicle for a little over eight years and am grateful for all of the many places it’s allowed me to go. It took me on my interview at the college where I now work six years ago. It took me to the hospital to give birth to my daughter almost a year ago. Without it, I would have missed some of the best moments of my life. For a good while, I’ve been driving without a car note which has been wonderful. Unfortunately, within the past year, my car has had one problem after another causing me to put  a substantial amount of money into it as though I’m paying a car note. Lately, I’ve begun to question if it is worth it and if I am better off getting a new vehicle.

The more I deliberate over this decision, the more I connect it to relationships. Most start off where everything is wonderful, just like a smooth ride. We’re happy, do what we need to do to maintain those relationships, yet regular wear and tear occurs. This is typically where some of us are ready to “trade in” the relationship while others are willing to invest a little more time since the relationship has had good moments. Then there are instances where some major problems occur that require much more than basic maintenance.  Some problems may be so costly that they’re not even be worth fixing. Nevertheless, we hold onto some relationships for longer than we should because of the wonderful moments we had in the past,  they are convenient, we’ve invested a lot of time or even money or we are just hesitant to start new ones. Of course, people are not cars and have more value, but I do wonder how many of us keep relationships going when so many issues in them are driving us away. I know I’m guilty of doing this. Are you?

All the best,

Tanya

Is What You Perceive What You Believe?

8 Mar
Duck! Rabbit!

From Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

Not long ago, I attended a workshop  where the presenter displayed a picture of what appeared to be a duck to some and a rabbit to others. Though he said there was no right or wrong answer, I still wonder why I saw the rabbit first? Today, I read a passage in my Taoism book about how there are no objective viewpoints because our perceptions always get in the way. This is very true because I’ve learned that my perception has the power to dictate the direction in which I am headed or not headed.

When I was a child and into early adulthood, I struggled with low self-esteem and simply felt isolated.  Often, I convinced myself that I was not good enough and allowed my own perceptions to control me and how I interacted with people.

Getting beyond my negative perceptions of myself, some of which sadly were perpetuated by others, was a major hurdle to overcome. Clearly, my perceptions impacted my actions and reactions. If I said I am overwhelmed, I felt overwhelmed. If I believed no one liked me, no one liked me. If I thought I would not achieve a goal, I would not achieve the goal, and if I did, then it was luck. A little over a decade ago, I became more cognizant of my thoughts and perceptions. Instead of looking at a situation and feeling defeated, I came up with motivational affirmations and focused on the positive aspects of my life and life in general to keep me moving forward. This is a practice I still employ today.

Sometimes I wonder what my life would look like if I figured out the power of believing what I perceived years ago. How many more achievements would I have? How many more lives could I have impacted in a positive way? Then I realize that I am missing the point and should just be in this moment enjoying all of the many blessings in my life.  No, my life is not “perfect,” but I am so grateful for the life I have. We all are given the opportunity to create our own perceptions, and I have chosen to perceive my life as wonderful. What do you believe about yours? Do you see the rabbit or the duck?

All the best,

Tanya

The Touch of Life After Death

1 Mar

touch-of-life-michelangeloHaving the occasional brush with death has caused me to have an even greater appreciation for life. But sometimes it is not the brush with death but learning about the life of another person after his or her death that encourages me to live life to the fullest and have a positive impact on others. Today, I attended the memorial service of my good friend’s mother who passed away from cancer. I never had the opportunity to meet her, but after attending such a lovely service, I could feel her spirit and came to know how wonderful she was within just a couple of hours.

Something that moved me was how consistent she was. Oftentimes, people are one way with their family and friends, another way in their romantic lives and a totally different way in their professional lives. This lovely woman was compassionate in all aspects of her life. Not just her family, but her friends and co-workers spoke so highly about her. The reverend who gave to eulogy used the word “authentic” to describe her and focused on how she was willing to help anyone in need.

Sometimes we may all get caught up in our daily lives, but it’s moments like these that really make me want to be a better person and to be even more conscientious about making my daily interactions with not just those people I know personally but people in general to be positive and meaningful. It’s amazing how someone’s death, a sad moment, can spark hope and compassion in the lives of the living. Dealing with the death of loved ones is never easy, but if and when you have to, I hope that you will be able to add something something positive to the lives of others.

All the best,

Tanya

Preparing for the Fall in the Winter

22 Feb

slipThere’s a longing for the spring as flowers die and leaves wither from trees. The anticipation for the summer builds as frigid temperatures freeze us to the core and pure white snow morphs into muddy slush, reflecting the depression some experience after days of cabin fever and darkness by 4 pm. If this is not enough, as much as we may try, we cannot always prepare for the fall in the winter. Too many of us take part in the dance where we flail our arms about with our feet slipping and sliding atop of ice patches that seem to randomly appear during our daily journeys.

This past Wednesday, I did a quick two step and took a dip that left me with a sprained wrist.  As I type this post primarily with my left hand, the less dominant one, I wonder how many more others are nursing their winter injuries that range from minor bumps and bruises to broken bones and even concussions. More importantly, as difficult as it may be, I hope those people are not allowing those injuries from the falls to take away their optimism. Put on a happy face; sunnier and warmer days are ahead. That’s my motto!

All the best,

Tanya

Thanks “Snow” Much!

15 Feb

Quinn and Tanya Franklin in the SnowNot too long ago, I published a post entitled, “I’m for all seasons.” Needless to say, after several snow storms in the Philadelphia, PA region, I’m all for spring making its appearance with blossoming daffodils, birds chirping and temperatures calling for just a lightweight jacket. The reality is, however, that we still have a month and a half or more of possible snow and frigid temperatures. Instead of sharing my disdain for the aggravation and inconvenience this snow has caused, I’ll share a few tips I’ve learned as I focus on the beauty of this winter wonderland.

  1. When choosing to shovel a neighbor’s snow or anyone else’s snow, do it because you want to not because you expect it to be reciprocated or even expect the person to show gratitude in return. When you expect it to be reciprocated or for the person to be gracious, and he or she is not, this may lead to bitterness and tension. Who needs that when we are already dealing with the winter blues the “never ending snow” may be causing us?
  2. Instead of suffering from cabin fever or moaning and groaning about all of the snow, search for the kid within. Get out there and build a snowman or even a snow family if you have a lot of snow. Not only can it be a fun activity if you have children, but it can help clear some of the snow out of the way, especially if you live on a street where there is not much room to put the snow you shoveled.
  3. If you are cooped up in the house because of a snow day from school or work and it’s just too cold to go outside, use it as an opportunity to spend time with your loved ones or even to catch up on a task.
  4. Remain positive, and be even more willing to help those in need. Today, I went to visit my mother with my baby girl, and my car tires got stuck on a patch of snow mixed with ice as I attempted to get in a parking spot. As I used my emergency shovel to break up the ice around my tires, not one, but two people were kind enough to help. I truly did appreciate their kindness and will make sure to pass it on.
  5. Driving in the snow allows you to practice patience. A few weeks ago, I was driving home from my job during a snow storm. A commute that usually takes me around 45 minutes took a little over three hours. Yes, it was frustrating, but the experience allowed me to work on being more patient and to practice some of my Spanish Rosetta Stone audio lessons too.
  6. There are some people who may never get to experience the snow, so try to embrace the experience. Hating the snow is not going to make it go away, so try your best to focus on the positive.

Though many of us are longing for fun in the sun, remember, we learn and grow the most through adverse situations. What has the snow taught you?

All the best,

Tanya

The Dead Will Walk Again Tomorrow!

8 Feb
Dead Yourself Tanya Franklin

Me as a Walker

Carol was surprisingly banished, Hershel, the moral compass of the group, was mercilessly slain. The Governor got what has been coming to him for a long time! After a mind-blowing mid-season finale, my anticipation for the return of “The Walking Dead” is at an all-time high. The AMC premiere clip is a teaser that at best only reveals that Carl is still alive, and I just need to know how the group has been divided and who will and has survived. Tomorrow evening cannot come soon enough!

Best,

Tanya

Is Late Really Better Than Never?

1 Feb

Late“I’ll get there when I get there,” people utter. Students protest, “I was only five, fifteen, thirty minutes late.” “Yes, your car should have been ready by 1:00 pm, but we’re backed up, so it’ll be more like 5:00 pm,” is what I was told just yesterday after waiting since 11:00 am with my baby girl whose patience was wearing thin (not to mention my patience).  Some people must truly live by the phrase “Better late than never,” but I, in most cases, absolutely deplore it.

Of course, we may all run late once in a while, but more and more people, at least in the tri-state area of Philadelphia, PA, have no regard for people’s time and see being habitually late as just a part of life. Admittedly, I am one of those type A personalities who tends to show up early to events to ensure that I am not late, so this could attribute to my lack of tolerance for lateness. But it is also because I value and respect people’s time. I wish there was a way for people who have no problem with regularly being late to see how their actions negatively impact others.

Let’s consider if that cliche phrase “Better late than never” is always applicable. Being late involves more than just annoying or inconveniencing the other person who is patiently waiting. Before you blow off being late and view it as no big deal, think about the domino effect it will have on those directly and indirectly involved.

All the best,

Tanya

PS.  One of my biggest pet peeves is lateness, and this week, I’ve had quite a few issues with people being late and needed to vent a little. Thanks for reading.

The DIY (Destination is Yours)

25 Jan
Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Tanya Franklin

Home Show 2014: Ahmed Hassan, baby Quinn and Me

Last week, I went to the Philadelphia Home Show excited to attend  Ahmed Hassan’s presentation. He’s the former host of the hit show  from  the DIY Network, “Yard Crashers,” so I had a few questions about my yard and secretly hoped to be granted a free botanical masterpiece. Though no yard makeovers were given, he offered the audience something else, something special.

Ahmed  passionately and candidly discussed what roads he took to get to where he is today.  I found it to be quite admirable of him to disclose not only his triumphs but struggles with us prior to answering questions about landscaping or the excitement that comes with being a TV host. Listening to him made me feel like I am on the right path.  Many people get so caught up in where they are in life, yet they may not know or even consider what it took to get there.

Even in knowing where we would like to end up, it’s tricky because some maps are still being drawn out as we carry out our journeys; there are hills, valleys and terrain yet to be discovered.  As we come across them, we will eventually realize how they helped us get a littler closer to where we want to be, which is absolutely wonderful to me.  As Ralph Waldo Emerson profoundly stated, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Thanks Ahmed for reaffirming this for me.

All the best,

Tanya

Shop ‘Til I Drop: Well Sort of…

18 Jan

empty-cartAre you a shopaholic with tons of shoes and clothes in your closet worn once or not at all. Maybe you’re a therapy shopper who feels better after buying that $500 handbag. Me: I’m a shop-around-see-items-I-like-load-up-my-cart-then-drop it-off-and-not-purchase-one-thing-shopper (The abridged version: “shop and drop shopper”). Yes, it is a mouthful, but sadly, this is who I’ve become, and I just don’t know how to break the cycle.

It all started back in 2006/2007 when I stepped out on faith and left my full time job to follow my passion to teach college courses.  Initially, I only had a part-time position and struggled to make ends meet.  I’ve never been one to spend frivolously, but I learned how to be frugal and only purchase the absolute necessities.  Now, seven years later with a stable position as a full-time professor, my indecisiveness while shopping has heightened for some reason, and I have such a difficult time even making basic purchases.  It has become a joke for anyone who goes shopping with me.  For example, I’ll select cute outfits, shoes, or items at the local Home Goods store, but by the time we are ready to go to the cashier, I have purged most of the items from my cart. My sister will laugh and say, “I knew you weren’t going to really buy anything,” and my husband will make fun of me for deliberating so long over making even a $10 purchase as I try to determine if I really should buy the item. “You can always return it,” he says.  Even though I know this, I still had my latest shop and drop episode this past Friday.

It wouldn’t be so big of an issue if I didn’t shop for a while in a store, load up my cart with reasonably priced and sale priced items that could be considered necessities, not just “wants,” then put most of them back. Later on, I’ll give it some thought, return to the store  and find out that the item I want has been purchased by someone else. I vow to work on this habit of shopping and dropping as I have let too many good deals slip through my fingers.  If you have any advice, please feel free to share.

All the best.

Tanya

I’m All for Seasons!

11 Jan

Tanya ActingThis was one crazy week of winter weather with a high of 8 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday to a high of 61 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday with the occasional snow, sleet, freezing rain or rain shower throughout the week. While some people complained about the cold and longed for warmer weather, others complained about the rain and unseasonably warm weather today.

For me, this weather is an excellent analogy of life’s experiences. Who doesn’t want the weather and seasons to be predictable? Who doesn’t become upset when the meteorologist gets it wrong? This is understandable, but there is something to learn from this erratic weather we’re having. It helps prepare us for the seasons of life: how quickly something can go from cold to hot or from what seems like never-ending rain to sunshine.

As much as I would love to live in a place where it’s always sunny and never cold, the four seasons have taught me so much, especially when spring makes and appearance in the winter.

All the best,

Tanya