Knowing My Bliss

It’s the middle of July. If you’re anything like me, your Facebook news feed is filled with vacation pictures from near and far. Lots of people are at the beach, and too many think sharing a photo of their feet is what their friends back home really want to see.

Although I have taken a few days off from work, I haven’t traveled anywhere this summer and I don’t have any plans to do so. Money, or lack thereof, is the primary reason. As a single parent, my funds are tight and a trip to the beach just isn’t in the cards right now.

At times, it can be depressing. Part of my job is managing social media, so bypassing those sunny vacation pics on Facebook isn’t exactly an option. I can minimize my exposure, but I can’t ignore it completely.

But the truth is that most days, I’m OK with it. I know this is a temporary situation — I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel. Besides, I’d rather wait and save my money to go somewhere I really want than do a super cheap vacation just to get away and risk being disappointed.

10384537_10204212334687704_987358305142080850_nIt hasn’t been all “summertime blues” for me, though. Last month, I saw Hall and Oates live for the first time with a college friend who is a huge H&O fan. It was amazing. Have you ever gotten goosebumps at a concert? I love it when that happens, and that night “She’s Gone” gave me serious goosies. And the icing on the cake? I got a little Twitter love from John Oates after the show.

It was around that time I realized that, in a lot of ways, concerts are my vacation, my escape, my “Liz time.” They always have been. I haven’t traveled as much in my life as I wish I had, but concerts? I’m well-traveled in that department. If I had a concert passport, it would have nearly 100 stamps in it. Having lived in either the D.C. area or Nashville for most of my life, I’ve had the opportunity to see a lot of great artists, and I’ve done the occasional road trip for a show too. I just love seeing and hearing a favorite artist or band bring their music to life.

There is something about being in the middle of your life and knowing your bliss, to paraphrase a lyric from Hall and Oates, and knowing what feeds your soul. Once you know that, it’s easy to figure out how to spend your time and, just as importantly, how not to.

So rather than beat myself up about not going some place sunny this year, I’m still feeling the glow of a great night of live music under the stars. And I’m planning my next show, and the next show after that …

What do you think? How have you fed your soul lately?

The Red Hot Life

I was honored to be asked to guest post recently on my friend Rhonda’s blog, Bramell, Party of Five. Here’s a preview of the post…

There’s nothing quite like a birthday to help you take stock of your life.

Liz and Rick SpringfieldIn 2010, I turned 40. To mark that milestone, I did something I’d been wanting to do since I was 11: I signed up to meet Rick Springfield, my first love. It was amazing, and he was as cool in person as I thought he would be. The photo of us together can be described in one word: bliss. Well, that’s how I would describe how I felt at the time. He might remember it differently.

That day was really more than just a “girl meets her favorite rock star” moment. It was an epiphany. I had spent the five years leading up to it devoted to the needs of my family (like Rhonda, I’m a mom of twins) and to my job. I rarely took time for myself. I believe with all my heart that self-care is essential to surviving in this life, but I had been doing a lousy job of it. On that day, I did something for myself and it felt great.

Please head over to Rhonda’s blog to read the rest of the story and check out her blog while you’re there.

Me Time vs. The Meltdown

timeMe time, or as I call it, “Liz time.” Have I ever mentioned I’m a fan? Lately, I’ve been doing a better job making time for myself. Not everyone has been happy about that.

Case in point: I recently planned a last-minute night out with a friend. We had some good news to celebrate, so I quickly started calling around to find a sitter for my boys. Fortunately I was able to find someone on short notice, thanks to my growing list of sitters. (Can I just say, for those of you reading who have young children, that having people you trust to watch your kids occasionally is one of the keys to happy parenting?)

So when my boys came home from school that day, I told them that I would be going out for a few hours that night and a sitter was coming. My oldest son was not happy. Actually, he had a meltdown. He was mad that I was going out. He was mad that a sitter was coming. “I’m almost 9! I don’t need a babysitter,” he said. But if I was going out, he wanted to come too. He cried. He slammed his door. It was awful.

I tried to reason with him. I explained that grownups need to spend time with other grownups sometimes. I explained that he gets to see his friends during the day at school, but I don’t often see my friends during the day and that’s why I occasionally go out at night with them. I would have been better off talking to the wall because what I was selling, he wasn’t buying.

I began second-guessing my decision to go out and was *this* close to calling the whole night off. I asked myself, “What kind of mom leaves her kid at home beside himself because he wants her to stay home with him?”

I suppose it wouldn’t have been wrong if I had cancelled my plans, but I didn’t do it. Instead, I asked my son what we could do together to make up for the time I was going out without him. He said he wanted to go to his favorite pizza place. Twice. I’m not sure if that’s bribery or extortion, but I went along with it. And just like that, the meltdown was over.

That night, I went out with my friend and as usual, we had a great time. We celebrated, we talked, we laughed. We drank an amaretto something that came out of a glass skull decanter and used a smoking gun. It was great fun.

Now here’s the kicker. I got home that night to find three happy kids, who all got a great report from the sitter. After she left, my oldest son — the one who didn’t want the sitter, who had the meltdown, who I had almost cancelled my plans for — asked if the same sitter could come over the next time I went out. He had a great time while I was gone!

So here is the moral of this story: Make time for yourself and do what it is that helps you re-charge and feel alive. Don’t let other people tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t, whether they’re big people or little ones. I’m not saying every day or night or even every week. You know when you need it. Trust yourself, and never feel guilty about living a RED HOT life.

What do you think? Have you ever felt guilty making time for yourself?