Today?s post contains a few life lessons from Karen Baer, an employee of Terraine with over a decade of experience in the environmental industry.


What is your typical day like? ?I bet if it?s anything like mine, you feel like the Energizer Bunny, minus the energy. You keep going, going, going, but run on Starbucks, Starbucks, and more Starbucks. You get your kids off to school, head to work, tickety-tack right through your lunch break, go to a doc appointment, respond to emails on your iPhone, run to get your kids (5 minutes late), go back to work, make supper that your kids hope doesn?t resemble cat barf, clean up from supper, shuttle kids to swimming and basketball, help with homework, give baths, read stories, tell your kids with selective hearing to go back to bed five times, do a little more work or perhaps study for a class (as if your life wasn?t busy enough), pick up toys and dehydrated 5-week-old cheerios that are stuck to the floor, and hope that you might find just 1 hour to sit on your butt and do nothing before you fall into bed and ignore your snoring spouse.

And that?s just the typical…throw in soccer, church activities, play dates, birthday parties, school field trips, and it?s enough to feel so wound up that you feel like at any given second, if anyone asks you for one more thing, you might jump out the nearest window and run like Forrest Gump.

I?ve had a few Ah-ha! moments this year, though, and as a result, I?m trying really hard to change my life (minus the coffee).

Keep Perspective
I like perfection. I don?t care if my house isn?t super clean or if my yard is imperfect. In fact, they are both quite messy. But when it comes to school and work, I want everything to be just right.

I?m taking a class right now, and I have a 97.5 lecture average and a 101 lab average. After I take a test, I check blackboard over and over and over, as if I?m awaiting the results of a multi-million dollar lottery. A grade below a 95? Truly devastating.

Before publishing a blog article or sending an important email, I may read it multiple times or find myself rereading and critiquing even after it?s published or sent. If I still have work to do at night for the next day, I find myself rushing my kids to bed, selecting shorter stories, and am all worked up when they sneak back out of bed.

Will stalking the blackboard change my grade or make my professor post results any faster? ?No. After an article is published or an email sent, is there anything that can be done about who has read it and whether you used effect or affect correctly? No. Will spending 10 extra minutes with my kids affect anything in my professional life in the long run? No.

Will it affect my kids if I blow them off several nights a week? Yes.

So I encourage everyone — if you are like me — to remove the ginormous stick from your butt and throw it far, far away. ?Then, ask someone to slap you in the face if you find yourself tempted to run after it like your family dog.

Focus Less on Others? Opinions
Continuing on with obsessive behavior, I am a people pleaser — 100%. We all seek validation in one form or another, but for me, feedback is crucial. Absence of any positive feedback or interaction feels a bit like rejection. I fear that I?m not doing a good job, that I have a ?big booger hanging from my nose, or that I?m simply not needed. But once again, I?ve realized over the last year that this is a complete waste of ?my time. Deep down, I know I always do my best as a professional, as a student, as a friend, as a mom, and as a wife, and that has to be enough. People may not like my work; they may not even like me! That has to be ok. ?Otherwise, I am a transformer, a poseur, striving for success living someone else?s life, and that is never ok. Why? Two words: Milli Vanilli.

Run Over Your iPhone
I?m a big fan of being able to answer emails wherever I am, whatever I?m doing. I feel like I?m able to keep on top of things, even if I?m sick or at appointments. I feel more in the loop and less left out. But having work at your fingertips also creates problems. One night, right before story time, my now 6-year old son stole my phone and said, ?You are always on that phone!! ?You never listen to me!? Wake up call. Not only does having your eyes on your phone constantly take away from family time, it doesn?t allow your mind to rest.

Ever.

Rest
I have had some health problems this year, and finally I?m seeing the light at the end of what was a very long tunnel! Yea!! (The exclamation points really fail to express my glee). Recently, I had surgery that rendered me immobile for a couple of days. I had the surgery on a Monday and thought that I?d probably be back to work on Wednesday or Thursday. Often, folks take off weeks for surgery like this! But I couldn?t shut my brain off.

Rest is absolutely crucial to a successful life. Rest doesn?t mean the time you have to take off to go to the dentist. It doesn?t mean the time you have to take off for the flu or, in my case, hospitalizations, a million doc appointments, and surgery. Rest doesn?t mean that you have to take an expensive vacation to Cancun. It just means shutting out the day to day for a while. It just means taking a few days to stop running, to realize the insignificance of the rat race, to sit, to do nothing, to breathe.

What life lessons have you learned over the last year?

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