Monday, November 1, 2010

How to Become an Expert

In one word - LIVE! I'm breaking with my original promise to not write about personal matters. But since my personal life has dwarfed the professional one, I have no choice.
In between looking for an appropriate job for myself, I've become an expert on matters I never thought I'd have to delve into. I've learned about what it means to part of the "sandwich" generation. The analogy of 2 slices of bread, squeezing the filling to an unappetizing point, makes perfect sense.
In between the trials of teenagers, college decisions, monetary issues and the challenges of taking care of aging parents, there's little left in the middle. I've learned about assisted living, home care, CNA's, LPN's, HHA's, and the best walker for Mom. (her Cadillac as she calls it)
I've learned that you can get very lazy in a long relationship, take things for granted, ignore problems and differences, and then find you've wasted a lot of precious time.
I've learned about breast cancer as two of my friends were diagnosed in one year; the differences between stage 1 and stage 4, intra-ductal, and invasive.
I've learned a little real estate law, discovering how difficult it is in a buyer's market to get a mortgage, buy and sell a house, and the term "in good faith".
I've also learned about how the inexperienced teenage driver can change his or her life and other's in an instant. I carry around a batch of my favorite adages, "What doesn't kill me, will make me stronger." It's hard to gauge your strength while you're going through a difficult time, but I'm assuming, I'll be rock hard pretty darn soon!
Here's another one, "Live one day at a time." That's a great one, and I love the Zen, don't get me wrong. But on the other hand, there's something to be said about planning for the future. True, no one knows what the future holds, but gaining a sense of security will help you sleep at night. Unless you're truly interested in doily embroidering machines, or the plight of the Alaskan sloth, 4 a.m. is a lonely time of night to be up.
In the face of adversity, I've learned that searching for the best pizza has its rewards. I've been trying to check out DiFara's in Brooklyn, but finding them closed for one reason or another. Finally, I timed it right, and did experience the best pizza I've ever eaten!
I'm grateful for friendly cashiers at CVS, who say, "Today's your lucky day, you've got new coupons!" I appreciate my pooches that wag their tails and greet me like they haven't seen me in days, when I've only left for an hour.
In this time of economic insecurity, many of us live day to day, and look for comfort in various forms. I've become an expert in that too, listening to music, or playing the piano, sometimes even bumbling through Beethoven. Exercise and yoga are part of my stress relief, as are watching comedy and chatting with friends. Although, lately that has taken the form of texting and facebook chat...if only!
In my spare time, I've learned about how capable social media is for marketing, as I do some consulting work for a friend. It was amusing to me that I came across so many who purported to being "social media experts", so I took that with a grain of salt. In the seconds it takes to tweet, someone savvier will trump your product, website or blog!
I've become an accidental expert by living, making some mistakes and learning new skills; I've learned to take hard knocks, welcome soft nudges and develop resilience when bumping into things. Hopefully, it'll pay off one day. I will try not to lose myself, as I take care of others, by seeking out and finding joy in small pleasures.