Accomplishments and Goals Part 2

musings

In part one 1 I began the discussion on the importance of taking note of your accomplishments and note of your goals to compare the two. This keeps one grounded on the road through life and aware that even small things are meant to be celebrated. Small things can be profound, and even our mistakes can mean we earned something. At the end of the day, the morsels from our achievements are sustenance to carry on, to be better, to be stronger, to carry on. While the journey may be rough, the goals are worth it.

Here is my shortlist of accomplishments I have made based on my own goals.
  • I graduated High School
  • I graduated from my Undergraduate program with a double major
  • I graduated from my Master’s program
  • I moved out of my childhood home and have not gone back
  • I financially support myself and help with my family expenses
  • I am happily married with a great husband and step-child
  • I have a job moving into a real career
  • I have a roof over my head
  • I have a newer car
  • I have plenty to eat
  • I have a fantastic circle of friends that love and support me
  • I have hosted a radio show
  • I have been published in a newspaper
  • I have survived the loss of loved ones
  • I have been to Paris
  • I have been to London
  • I have been to Rome
  • I have been to Florence
  • I have been to Edinburgh
  • I have had champagne in Champagne
  • I have cried at the Isle of Skye’s beauty
  • I have cried at the rolling hills of Ireland and their beauty
  • I have recovered from illness
  • I have danced on a table
  • I have held management positions
  • I have made positive changes to companies and organizations I work for
  • I have over 130 subscribers to my blog
  • I have made friends at every stage of my life
  • I have hiked all day
  • I have traveled to 13 different countries in two continents
  • I had a beautiful wedding
  • I made my wedding dress
  • I have photographed beautiful weddings
  • I have been to a beer festival
  • I have worn crazy outfits in public
  • I have loved deeply
  • I have had my heart broken
  • I have eaten exotic food
  • I have danced at a Burn’s Night
  • I have been to countless concerts
  • I own my own business
  • I create art
  • I have sold art
  • I have tattoos
  • I have tried different piercings
  • I have made mistakes
  • I have left things that don’t serve me
  • I have abandoned abuse for instability
  • I have found peace in therapy and support
  • I have an innovative eye
  • I inspire others to see the world
  • I have started to write books
  • I have shared my stories with others
  • I have delivered a eulogy to a crowd of people
  • I have shared pitches with my bosses
  • I am learning not to fear authority
  • I am learning new skills at my job
  • I am challenging myself each new year
  • I am a Girl Scout Troop Leader
  • I make art for those I love
  • I have a growing blog
  • I can read and write
  • I have read more books than I remember
  • I have worked since I was 17
  • I have worked to pay for my travels
  • I have traveled three times by myself to Europe
  • I did a study abroad program in Italy
  • I have cried at the Mona Lisa
  • I have made countless costumes for myself and others
  • I exercise 2-4 times a week
  • I have shared a love of history with children
  • I have acted in pays
  • I have adopted a pet that was homeless
  • I have been on a cruise
  • I have been to an all-inclusive resort
  • I have taken an airplane multiple places
  • I have taken a train multiple places
  • I have taken ferries to cross oceans
  • I have taken children on daily and travel adventures
  • I have witnessed nature’s unparalleled beauty.
  • I have woken up to bagpipes playing in Scotland
  • I have had my makeup and hair done professionally
  • I have had my nails done professionally
  • I have helped build homes
  • I have laughed so hard I have cried
  • I have survived being very ill
  • I have sang and drank with friendly Germans
  • I have danced and celebrated with happy Scots
  • I have been soaking wet due to bad travel planning
  • I have carried too much luggage
  • I have had flight delays
  • I am paying off my student loans

Part 3

Share your story in the comments!

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My Diploma Hangs on the Wall

musings

My diploma hangs on the wall

It’s best friend by it’s side

One has a $60,000 price tag

The other $40,000

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Expensive as they are.

 

They have a lot of memories attached

Memories of fun and learning

Memories of personal growth

There is travel mixed in there

and summers abroad.

 

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

Representative of education and time

They’re beautiful pieces of paper

that show my passage of time.

 

I even had them framed so that I am reminded

of all the hard work I’ve done

And of which I should be delighted.

 

Yet they hang there on the wall while I struggle to pay my bills.

 

They hang there on the wall while I try to keep my head up.

 

They hang there on the wall while I can’t pay my debt.

 

They hang there on the wall while I wait for my ship to come in.

 

The Cult of Bootstraps

musings

I am a strong believer in personal work and development. I am living proof that determination can actually attain goals and do things. I’ve been able to achieve a lot in 25 years of living, and 26 brings more goals. Yet, there is also a wall that exists that many of us hit and only a few can crawl over. I’m banging my head on that wall right now.

The reality is that outside factors play largely into whether or not someone will succeed in the way they want. These outside factors come in many forms. They’re income-based, education based, socio-economic based. Sometimes it comes down to sexism or racism. And even though we all want to believe that we have to tap into some type of well-spring that will fix our lives the reality is out of our control.

One applies for jobs they really want, one is maybe perfectly qualified and ready for the commitment. Your write a stellar resume and provide great references and update your website and you pray for the job. Yet 70 people apply 50 are just as qualified as you but 5 are more qualified and have more experience. Guess who gets the interview? Guess who stands out. Probably not you.

It raises the point that for every job in a certain field there are possibly hundreds trying to break into the field. Add onto it a later retirement for most people, which isn’t opening up jobs like it once did, and less jobs to go around in many industries and one is stuck in a bubble of underemployment.

For people in the millennial generation our wages are low and our potential to move ahead is harder. We buy homes less, because we can’t afford them. We’re loaded down with student debt, buying into the idea that our education was worth it. We don’t have benefits with many jobs we have, and we are having a harder time breaking into the fields we went to school for. If we ever get there. Many of us are still slinging pizza and selling clothes at Kohl’s to try and make it.

Many of us that went to school for a try at the middle class are facing an existence that has had wages stagnate for our lives and that of our boomer and gen-x parents. Add on the great recession which knocked a lot of people out of careers and into a downward spiral and we have a hot mess.

While I admire the idea of creating happiness and creating wealth in little things it’s also important to understand the crunch that basic survival takes on those living it. So much of one’s energy is placed in how to pay all the bills and come out with enough to buy food. A lot of energy is placed on figuring out summer camps and how to afford it and stressing about credit scores and if one can ever get ahead.

The increments are tough too, we might get a new job and make more, but then we lose our medicaid or other benefits such as income-based rent. So one has to earn significantly more to make a difference permanently in their lives. If you live somewhere like Fort Collins it’s even harder to pull ahead as the cost of living and cost of rent is harder to afford. 

The reality is that every single person living in the lower class or lower middle class, is literally pulling themselves up every single day by their bootstraps, just to get out of bed. The reality is that it is often so hard to want to even be alive. I believe this feeds into the drug epidemic and why so many people rely on medications of various kinds.

Much of this is compounded by a lack of well-paying and benefit-heavy jobs. Which I also understand. When a business is trying to employ people but it lacks significant profit it’s hard to pay raises and insurance and taxes and vacation and everything else. Sometimes companies can’t even fathom employing people full time, or only employ a few people full time for these reasons.

So what do we do? As the gap between rich and poor grows so wide.

A few ideas that would help would be single-payer healthcare for everyone, education for everyone, improved high school education that is heavy on teaching valuable skills, more corporate taxation and oversight, and more programs to even the playing field. Of course this comes down to taxation and taxing either everyone equally, say 20%, or a higher tax rate for those that earn more.

Historically, the United States had it’s largest economic boom in the post WWII years as a result of higher taxation and more education with the G.I. Bill. We also held onto manufacturing jobs and “built” the United States and much of the world. While globalization has changed much of where we manufacture, we also have opportunities to create more equality and affluence. Perhaps those that worked on the oil rigs could be recruited to work with renewable energy sources?

Much of this starts as early as high school and is a goal of lifetime improvements and learning. It also has to be backed by money going to actually helping teachers and educators and not for-profit systems. We also could take a look at higher education and why the hell it has skyrocketed (administration costs) at such a horrifying rate.

While I respect the idea of self-improvement and fighting for what you want, there is also a lot to be said for the people that can’t afford to meet their basic needs. It’s expensive to survive and to have kids and when a family can barely pay their bills month to month, it’s hard to see where the next spa day and yoga retreat are coming to calm the mind.

There are little things every day that improve one’s mindset when facing hard odds, but at the end of the day we must ask if this is the continued existence we want and want for our children, or are we going to fight to make sure everyone has more opportunities?

Watch these for more information:

Summer School

Colorado Events, documentary, geek, musings, United Kingdom

Some of you may or may not know, but I am working on my master’s in International Journalism.

As a result I haven’t been blogging so much lately.

So attached is my summer work, a documentary on geek culture in Fort Collins, Colorado.

ENJOY!

back to the basics

Photography

When I was 9 my dad was going to swap meets, gun shows, antique stores etc. Same as he does today, same as he always will. Yet at one of these events he found something that would change my life forever. At one of these little meets he found a Canon 1980 AE-1 35mm camera. The body was in pristine shape, and the basic lens was also functional, it even had a cap that alluded to the sponsorship of the 1980 Olympics by Canon. My dad bought this camera with its hideous rad and yellow strap, and sentimental lens cap; he took it home, he dusted it off, he bought a camera bag and presented me this for my 10th birthday.

https://i0.wp.com/www4.images.coolspotters.com/photos/120648/1980-canon-ae-1-profile.jpg

I was ecstatic at this gift, and to this day I think it was the best present I ever got as a child. This meant I would no longer waste film and energy with my grandma’s ole and clunky point and shoot and that I too could have an SLR, just like my dad’s Pentax and take photos. Lots of photos.

Yet it was not just taking photos it was everything that came with the responsibility of owning and using an SLR. It meant that my first roll of film was ruined when I tried to wind it up because I didn’t understand the method of pushing one little black button on the bottom of the camera, shredding my work. It meant that I had to learn how to patiently adjust lighting, shutter speed, focus etc. It meant walking around outside and in my house with a piece of cardboard with a square cut out of it to see what framed well or not. It meant months of waiting to save up money to develop film. It meant being the weird kid in middle school always taking pictures on her SLR or a throw away. This was before smart phones, and the time when it was cool to be shutter happy. 

So why bring this up?

Well in Italy this summer another student at my school, a professional photographer that owns his own business and has since he was a teenager (now 24) was going back to basics. He was going to art school for photography to get an actual degree. Granted it seemed that he knew about 95% of what he was relearning, but he felt happy learning it all over again. 

So, here I am, back at Colorado State, 22 years old, meaning I have about 12 years of experience, I’ve shot two weddings, I have another on the way. I have a decent portfolio and I believe a lot of talent and experience but I am taking a bare-bones basic photography class, where I am relearning most of what I know or instinctively do when I am taking photos.

Yet, there is something thrilling about relearning these little things, or reminding yourself about all the little functions of a camera or the importance of aperture. As frustrated as I was in my first two weeks of a game of repetition all the sudden today I feel refreshed. It is not as if I am learning something new, or having a major life change as a result, I just feel excited again. 

Not only am I going to be shooting some neat things for the class, which is a minor challenge and mentally stimulating, something I need in a course, but I am getting to slowly sink into a pool of photography. I don’t have to explain to people, I can just do photos, I don’t have to be perfect for a client, I can just do photos and once again I am tasting what it was to be 10 years old taking photos of plastic dinosaurs. 

I can breath in the smell of equipment, and though the gelatin plastic sweetness of film is tucked in the back of my closet, there is so much with digital that I can be excited about. 

Which brings me to my point. Maybe we can all use to go back to basics. Maybe just baking sugar cookies until they’re perfect, or doodling, or sewing draw string bags. Because I am finding a thrill in relearning, in being more present, in going slowly. I am also learning to not look down on “the simple” because there is some chunk in there for us to gain something from. So experts and professionals, where did you start? What could you go back to to reclaim part of you?

~Rebecca Lee Robinson