Friday, September 26, 2008

Ask the Question

Do you know anyone who might not be registered to vote? Don't assume too easily. My best friend told me AFTER the primaries this spring that she has never voted. She's never even registered to vote. I had no idea, because we'd never discussed it before.

After I calmed down and we talked, my friend promised me that she'd register in her new county of residence. So, to hold her to her word, I found the voter registration form for her county online and e-mailed it to her. All she has to do is print it, fill it out, and mail it in, postage-paid.

That got me thinking. Who else could I reach out to? I texted my lil' cousin who's in college to see if her absentee thing was going OK. She just sent off her absentee ballot request on time - which is great, because she's a resident of a swing state.

But my proudest moment in recent days was getting my cousin's son, who is seventeen years old, but will be eighteen on Election Day, to fill out a voter registration form. I took it to his house and watched as he filled it out. I put it in the mailbox myself. He chose to register as an Independent, but he said, without any prompting from me or his mother, that he is voting for Barack Obama. Getting him to register was a coup for me, because although his mother is registered, she doesn't vote and is proud of it. She did vote once - for Hillary in the primary, and now since her candidate is out, she says she won't be voting in November. (Don't get me started on how bad a role model she is for her kids on citizenship.) Her son was reluctant to fill out the form because of her influence, but she told him to register, because she didn't want to hear my mouth. Thank goodness for my big mouth! He promised me that he will vote on Election Day, and I'm going to make sure he has a photo ID and voter registration card before that day.

Take some time and ask among the friends, family members, church members, mentees - hey, even co-workers - and see if they're registered in their residence. They might not be, especially if they've recently moved, or if they're a young adult (or seventeen-year-old October/early November baby). I bet we can be more influential on people we know than strangers with clipboards can be! And once you get them registered, take responsibility for them and make sure they follow up and get to the polls.

Each one, reach one.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

seeking peace

I am really loving the weather. Almost everything else in my life is causing me to seek peace and quiet in my affected spirit, but the weather lately is making me soar. There's sunshine and cool breezes. The fall briskness is beginning, reminding me of how new everything felt when each school year would begin. Funny how, because of when we start school, fall feels new to me, but so many things start visibly dying. I feel a little like that. Some of my idealism is dying. But I still feel like something new is happening. Even though the use of Phoenix to illustrate this concept is very overdone, it fits well with what I'm feeling. Walking to work this morning, I felt like I was falling apart on the inside, while only half heartedly trying to keep it together on the outside. But I'm stronger than that, or at least I believe I am. I sometimes forget what I'm capable of, so when I remember it's like, it feels like I'm finding something new in myself. All of this is happening at the same time. Meanwhile, the leaves are drying up, and the tenor of the wind is changing. I'm making moves and seeking peace.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

i was wrong

I've had a health problem lately, and when I tell people who are close to me what it is, the first question they all ask is, "Are you stressed?"

I always answer that I'm not, because I don't feel like I'm under any more pressure than I usually am. I'm not awake at night with worries. My hair isn't falling out. And I don't feel like running away from home, or dropping all my concerns altogether - a form of paralysis that has happened in the past when I really was stressed out.

But I think I'm wrong. Now that I think about it, I've got some running issues in my mind that I think about so much, I guess I'm too sleepy at night be kept up by worrying about them - I've been worrying myself about them under the surface all day. I've got some running tasks that I'm concerned about as well - a running volunteer project and a board position in a professional organization. I'm concerned about my job security and career direction (rather, the lack thereof) and how that's going to affect some of my financial goals. I'm concerned about spending quality time with my family - not being a stranger. I'm concerned about my relationship with my honey, because I know that when I'm stressed or frustrated, he's usually the first one to see it, and that's not a good thing, because no matter how much I try not to unload on him, I am a different person when I'm "trying to get stuff done." I'm less tolerant, easily frustrated, and perhaps worst of all, I have absolutely no patience. Those things don't work well in relationships, even with people who are patient with you because they love you. Oh yeah, and there's the ongoing mystery health problem, which is one of those things that's constantly nagging on my mind. I am also fighting this uphill battle to keep my home clean and cook on a regular basis. It's like Mission Impossible with all the activity going on. And I don't know if you remember, reader, but I think clearer and I'm a happier person when I am living in a clean and orderly house. That's just one more straw on the camel's back.

I guess when you put it that way, yeah, I am stressed. I was wrong. Lately, I have been really stressed, but I've been too distracted by all my concerns to notice. I've even had the nerve lately to think of other responsibilities to add to my list. Sheesh.

Here lately, I have not at all been the woman I was when I started this blog three years ago. That woman was so joyful. Even my best friend noticed, and said so. Between writing, reading poems, socializing at venues, going to see live music, learning how to date, cooking, enjoying my home, exploring new music, shoot, even playing hooky from work to paint pictures, my life was great. But I was also more irresponsible then. I had abandoned my career goals (and I think I'm paying for that, even now) because I hated my job, so I was just showing up and doing enough to get the money. I had no financial goals and I spent without diligence. I wasn't really doing any good for anybody else - I was pretty much indulging whatever made me happy. I had so much joy running over from my cup, I was spilling it onto this blog on a daily basis. I was a much more prolific writer. It all just came at a cost - honestly, I was stressed at that time, too, because I knew I was being irresponsible. Funny thing is now that my priorities are supposedly in order, I'm stressed, just in a different way.

Perhaps there's too much on my plate. But there really isn't anything I'm doing that I'm not obligated to do. Really. I've made promises I will not break, not just to others but also to myself. So what is one supposed to do when they have multiple obligations and priorities besides manage their time really well? (I'm working on the time management thing - it really does seem like there aren't enough hours in the day.) I'm just going to pray. And keep living.