Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Feel Like a Fraud

I have a confession to make, I feel like a big fat fraud. That seems harsh and I've been working lately on accepting complements but for the past few years I don't like to get complements about me (characteristics, some talents, personality, etc.) except if they have to do with with a big event with work that I have worked by butt off to make it successful. I feel uncomfortable when someone complements me or says that I inspire them. Afterwards I feel guilty for dismissing them. The guilt I think comes from taking the blessing from someone who gave the complement if that makes any sense at all. Its hard to accept a compliment because I see all the places or areas where I feel as though I am failing or lacking instead of looking at what good I have done or how far I have come.

I actually confessed this to my friend last week. She was borrowing my truck and so we were riding together and she said that I inspired her and I told her how much of a fake I felt. In my mind she has so many other people who are much more qualified to inspire her in life. It was an interesting conversation because I told her I wish I was more crafty and able to cook like she does. And she related to me that she didn't think her crafts were that amazing. It started me thinking that maybe in general we are too critical of our own abilities and talents. Maybe we don't see the inspiring parts of our lives because we are so busy focusing on getting the muck and crap in our lives that we don't see the flowers that our crap has created.

A few months ago I had a conversation with a high school classmate who was struggling going back to school and I shared that I had struggled through college and that especially after my mom died that I just didn't really care anymore about classes but I stuck it out and in graduate school I tried kickboxing (before it was a fad) in a real boxing gym to relieve stress. I didn't want to compete, I just wanted to hit something so I could cope with the stress of graduate school. I shared that it had helped a lot. What was so strange that in his opinion, I was one of the smart kids that had my life together. And maybe from the outside it seemed that way but privately I doubted (and even now) my knowledge level. I even would be frustrated that I would study for hours and pull a B and friends would barely study and get an A.

Over the last few years I have felt like I have had to struggle and go the extra mile to accomplish most things that others seem to accomplish fairly easy. It's even gotten to the point in the last few months that when a friend fails or struggles I find some comfort in their struggle. I know that makes me sound like a horrible friend and person and there is guilt there. I am just trying to be honest with you and more importantly with myself. Don't get me wrong, I have a great life and feel very blessed because I have not had to deal with things like cancer, divorce, death of a spouse/child or loss of a job. I live a very fortunate and blessed life.

But back to my conversation with my friend, hearing that she has self doubts and insecurities actually made me think that maybe we all doubt our abilities when we compare ourselves to others. That by taking away or discounting someones opinion that we have inspired them or we have encouraged them in their life we are taking the blessing away from them of being inspired.

Maybe instead of always putting the Sunday Best or the Window Dressing out there for everyone to see we should start being more authentic with each other and really encouraging others in their lives and with their struggles. It means being real with each other.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Bucket List

Remember the movie the Bucket List where two guys- Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman are told they have a terminal illness and so they decide to create a bucket list and cross things off- exciting life experiences that they always wanted to do before they died. I think everyone should have a bucket list whether they have a terminal illness or not. There's something final about a bucket list if you are dying, although we all are dying some just see the end more clearly focused than the rest of us.

I started my bucket list a few years ago, really it was about six years before I actually wrote one out but the difference between their list and mine is I keep adding things to mine as I get braver or discover something new or have accomplished something on the list and want to push myself a little farther. My unofficial bucket list started with doing a vacation to Italy with three of my girlfriends.I caught the travel bug and because I'm such a history nerd made a mental list of all the cool places I wanted to see. I also decided that there were things like traveling, owning a house, etc. that I had always said I would do when I got married. But why wait till your married- experience life as you live instead of waiting for someone to come along to live. Does that make sense?

You can read about how my Bucket List was started and some of the results that came from it here.

If you read my blog at all you know that I stared running because of the bucket list. Two years ago I never would have imagined that I would have done a half marathon and when I decided to do sign up for one and I finished it was a-once-in-a lifetime-never-to-be-repeated event. But it wasn't because it became a form of  exercise and something that I could see improvement in (running time, distance, per minute mile, ect) and I became addicted to the medals and the cool shirts. I even earned a second medal for doing two half marathons in the same year by the same group. 

But I thought I would share my bucket list with you. I turn 40 next year and I've been thinking that I want to do something fun and cool and exciting for my 40th. I usually end up working or just having dinner with family and a couple friends for my birthday but I think I might want to try and do a full marathon. It's really scary and big and crazy and I can't even run a mile but I have over 18 months to train and maybe be able to cross it off my list. Is that too big? Too crazy?

My Bucket List
 Drive a Nascar and or do a ride-along with a Nascar driver
 Learn to speak Spanish 
Hike the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim
Learn to Swim
Take some law classes
Do a Ragnar Race
Live on the East Coast at some point in my life
Go on a mission geared around agriculture
Zip Line
Attend an Olympic Game (most likely a Summer Game)
Read the Bible in a year 
Take a road trip from Maine to Florida
Run 5 miles without stopping
Complete a Marathon
Attend a professional Hockey and Football game
Attend a Nascar race at Talledega, Brickyard and Daytona
Attend a show on Broadway
Completing a triathlon

Visit the following places:
Tombstone, AZ
Kartner Caverns
4 Corners area
Houston, TX
Richmond, VA
A Navajo Village (cliff dwellings)
Yellowstone National Park
Mt. Rushmore
Amarillo, TX
Visit all 50 states
New York City (Time Square, Central Park, Ellis Island, Statute of Liberty)
France (Normandy, Eiffel Tower)
World War II Battle sites US fought in throughout Europe

It may never be complete but I have been able to cross things off my list such as traveling to Europe (March 2006 and April 2007), Attending a black tie event (Dec 2004), sky diving (Aug 2000), completing a half marathon (Jan and Nov of 2012). 

Your bucket list doesn't have to be written down but I think it allows us to live life and experience things that that make us grow as person whether that is through physical or emotion events or even just traveling your state, country or world and seeing what God has created and experiencing life. Because I think that life events not only are just experiences for you to look back on at the end of your life but they are also meant to be shared with others. You can share them as you explain a feeling or as an example for a life lesson. And let's be honest it makes for some great party conversations as well as ice breakers when you meet someone new. It makes you well rounded.