Saturday, June 26, 2010

OverAchievers, Sit Down

I just did an interview with Marcia Reynolds, the author of the book "Wander Women: How High Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction." I wish it had a different title - it's really much more interesting than you'd expect. Particularly if you're one of those women.

The wandering women she describes are over-achievers, the baby boomers who were raised to believe they were amazing, significant beings put here to achieve great things.

"They were told, 'you can do anything'," Reynolds told me. "What they heard was 'you can do everything!"

And we try, don't we? I've heard the analysis which says that women don't know how to say "no" because they were raised to be helpful. That's never felt right to me. Reynolds agrees. She says women who don't know how to say no say yes to everything because they think they're the only ones who can do the job right.

Bingo. That would be me.

I knew a counselor once who was my biggest fan - as I poured out my frustrations, my fears and my dreams she'd assure me that I was simply amazing, a true powerhouse. But once, just once, she did pull me up short.

"You take on everything because you think you're the only one who can get it done right, don't you?"

I nodded.

"You do know that's neurotic?" she said solemnly.

It is. But there are bunches of us wandering around, women with a burning conviction that they're here to do great things. They do them, too. But it's never enough. We're always looking for the next achievement, the new frontier.

Aren't you tired?

Don't you just want to sit back and let somebody else do it for awhile?

Wouldn't you like someone to step up, grab the reins and say, "I've got this. Relax. Take a break."

Reynolds says the first step is to see what we're doing. Step two is trying to figure out who we are separate from our achievements. What do we want? What do we like?

Finally, sit down. Let someone else do it. Teach them how if you must, but let them do it.

As one person she spoke with in her book told her, "When I raise my hand now, I make sure I know what I'm raising my hand for."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Peace of Mind

Something's clicked. I don't promise it'll hang around, but it's great for now.
Everything's okay with me.

That's a huge statement coming from an award-winning worrier. If worrying was an Olympic event, I'd have medaled every year since I was a kid.

So what's changed? Damned if I know. But suddenly I've just clicked into "chill" mode and everything that's swirling around me seems like no big deal - all just part of being alive and all small stuff in the big picture.

Money? It'll work out. The future? Who can say? It's okay now. My kids? They've got their worries and their concerns and I'm doing what I can to help, but they'll find their way. Selling the house? It'll work out. Moving into a different place that we like as well or better? We'll figure it out. All my aging relatives and their increasingly scary ailments? It's part of life. We'll be okay. My own future? I've done what I can to make it what I'd like and I'll continue to, the rest is kinda out of my hands.

I have a birthday coming up. The big Five Three. And maybe this is the Universe's gift to me - a break in my constant what-iffing, furrowed browing and restless nights. If that's the case, that's a great present. Thank you very much.

My guy, a stellar human being, is throwing a birthday party for me. I haven't had one in a gazillion years. I think this is going to be a terrific birthday. And I'm going to hang on to this serenity with a relaxed grip and enjoy every second of it.

I deserve it. We all do. So maybe for my birthday I get to wish that for you, too.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

My iLife Bites

You can have my iLife. You're welcome to it. It was stressful, frustrating, tense and upsetting.

I'm not blaming Steve Jobs, at least not entirely. But he can take some of the blame.

I do a radio show. I guess that makes me a professional. But in reality I'm just a hack who knows how to do what she has to know and that's all.

I had the opportunity to create my own personal studio and so I took a long hard look at the wonderful world of Mac. It looked good.

My guy swears by it (when he's not swearing at it). I wanted to get out of the "oh no here comes another virus" merry-go-round. So, as I so happily announced not long ago, I bought a Mac mini.

She was a cutey. Small, stylish, incredibly quiet.

I navigated the essentials with no trouble; I've worked with Macs before.
But Logic Express was another story.

Imagine you know how to drive an automatic transmission Chevy and someone hands you the keys to a Lamborghini. "You've got five minutes to catch on - good luck."

It's designed for music. I don't do music. It has a gazillion features I didn't need and I didn't have the time to sit and learn it. And I had an impending deadline.

My hair has all dropped out, I haven't slept in two weeks and I've now taken to drinking vodka for breakfast. Okay, I exaggerate. But really - it was just awful.

So I have surrendered. I packed up Minny the mini and shipped her back. I pulled my old PC out of mothballs, loaded a demo version of Adobe Audition and am trying to get back on schedule.

Why, you ask, didn't I just use the Adobe program I can do in my sleep on my Mac?
Here's where Steve Jobs takes the hit. He's in a snark-fest with Adobe. He doesn't let that program be compatible with Macs. He's got Logic and that's what you'll use if you want an Apple, dammit. Or Pro-Tools...yet another program I'd have had to learn from scratch.

So I returned the mini but I'm eating the cost of the extended warranty I bought. AppleCare, apparently, is non-refundable even if you've never used it and you don't own the computer. Register it and it's yours. Thanks, Steve.

I can't return Logic, either. Software is not returnable. Good thing I'm just made of money., huh? At this rate I'll be working six months just to pay for the equipment and programs I need to do the job.

My employer is totally off the hook on this; they gave me a budget to get what I needed. Sadly, I gave it to Apple and it cost more than they gave me. I thought it was money well spent. Wrong. Now it's coming out of my own pocket.

So that's my iLife. Expensive, stressful and, ultimately, not worth living.

My name is Susan and I guess I'm going to be a PC forever.