My Six Million Dollar Life makeover: Better, stronger, faster

When I was 19, I realized that my family, as I knew it, was coming to an end.  Oh there had always been warning signs, but they just seemed like a constant presence of smoke, with no flames.  However, there was a day when I knew there was more than just smoke – things were burning down.

All this may sound a tad melodramatic. After all, separation and divorce were not that unusual at that time and it’s not as if were the Waltons, despite how fervently my mom wanted us to be.  But it was still a very sad and unsettling feeling.

I was at an age that I was still young and self-absorbed enough to only really worry about myself, but old enough to head out on my own.  And that I did – determined to establish my own place and own family.

Now, fast-forward some 20+ years and I’m faced with the same sadness and anxiety that I felt at 19 when I faced the reality of what was out of my control.  My daughter is heading off (under much better and supportive circumstances), my son is distancing himself from both his parents (as is his god-given right and obligation as a 14-year old boy), and my husband and I struggle (together) to make sense of our careers, our future and what we want to do with it now that the focus is changing.

I truly feel as though I am on the cusp of my family unit, as I have come to know it, ending.  We all still need each other and will be there, but not the same way.  It will never be the same way.  I am really lucky to have the great kids that I do and the amazing husband that I have…not matter what I might gripe about some times…but it does scare me to think about the free fall that will happen immediately after we take this big leap of faith.

I understand that to make something stronger, sometimes you have to break it apart and reconfigure it in a way that is more effective and resistance.  I get this, but what we can’t overlook is that generally speaking, the breaking process hurts.

[Like the six millionaire dollar man, “…we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was. Better, stronger, faster.” ]

In the past few months, I have focused so much on the planning and execution of what’s to come, that I really didn’t put too much thought into what to do and how to handle the aftermath.  How to focus on that rebuilding and reconfiguring. And it’s become apparent that without this part, there is a potential for all the parts to just drift away.

I know this from experience.

And when it’s happening, I don’t need to hear any of the following:

  • Don’t worry you’ll get over it soon
  • Be grateful you can afford to send your kid away / have a job
  • It happens to everyone
  • At least you have your health
  • You need to embrace change

The last thing I would expect or want is a pity party, but some recognition that going through change is more than simply rearranging furniture or getting used to a new role – it has an emotional component that can leave people feeling vulnerable, and lost.

I may be a stronger person because of these changes that I have gone through, but I also recall how it felt to go through them and gratitude for the pain was not top of the list.


Life’s big questions

I’ve made no bones about saying that there is so such as thing as a stupid question.


Okay, I’ll clarify…asking a question when the answer is blatantly obvious or re-phrasing a question that was just answered, just so that you can ask a question (or were too lazy to listen to the earlier answer) is stupid.

We all deal with this.  Especially in HR, where we pull together and roll-out guidelines and policies that assume that those people working for us are fully functioning adults capable of making reasonable decisions.  Ah yes, the infamous “assumption”.

And you know that a policy roll-out isn’t official until someone asks a “what-if” question.  You know, the really obscure variation of what may possibly happen…and likely never will, but you never know…and it’s just good to know in case.

But I’ve come to realize that there may be somewhere that gets even more inane questions than HR: food blogs.

I love food blogs – they are my lifeline to new recipes, inspiration, and help when I need something that I can make with almond meal, honey, coconut milk, and chocolate. Stat.

What drives me crazy about food blogs (and I cannot even begin to imagine how those bloggers feel) are the questions.  I mean some are completely legit and useful.  Others…not so much.

Seriously people do you not have any kind of imagination whatsoever.  If the recipe is called cherry chocolate chip cookies, and you a) don’t like cherries, b) don’t have any cherries, or c) are deathly allergic to cherries then a) use another freakin fruit or b) don’t make these…don’t ask the blogger what to do.

Or if the first 10 people who commented asked ” what could I substitute for maple syrup” (although that begs that question, why the hell would you NOT want to use maple syrup…unless you have run out…in which case, my sincerest condolences).

So, these 10 people have all asked the same question and the blogger has patiently copied/pasted her answer to each and everyone, “you can use honey”, then WHY, WHY, would you ask it AGAIN?  Why would you not take a moment to see if maybe someone else had the same question. Because you are special? Because you are too busy to read the other comments? Or do you think that maybe the 11th time this question is asked it’s like an Easter egg and the blogger will reveal something new and exciting…like a portal to a secret ingredient list?

Honestly people.

I blame Google Search.  It and any other search engine out there that has made people slaves to the instant answer.   Can’t decide what to wear on a first date to a baseball game? Google it. You are allergic to all nuts and want to know what you can use as a substitution for peanut butter in a Peanut Butter Cookie recipe?  Google it (or be the 100th person to ask the blogger).  Wondering whether it’s okay to wear your capri yoga leggings to the office, as long as you wear a blazer with them?  Ask your HR person.

But whatever you do…do not try to figure these things out on your own…common sense is over-rated.

(Image from