Wednesday, September 24, 2014

GASP! ... I AM a taker!

So, for the past 13 years, Mike and I have been 
attending ProgPowerUSA in Atlanta, GA. We have made some of the best friends we have through and at this festival. We have gotten to be good friends with some of our all time favorite musicians. 

I commented to Mike who would think that the conversation a person would have with Lance King would be about how his son is entering the disrespectful teenage years and how that is going with him and his wife, etc. You know, like a "normal person". 

A dear girlfriend of mine, is married to Urban breed. I can't comment that any conversation with Urban would be normal, however. Love you guys! 

Of course, this doesn't include my random moments of complete fan girl melt down. Poor Floor Jansen. I can only apologize, and then apologize again for my swooning.

There are lots of things that make the festival special, but at the top of that list is the people (both the attendees and the bands) and the fact that the bands do something special for this performance. I have noted that I've become a bit spoiled and my expectations are pretty high after 13 years. Bands that perform their standard setlist are quickly removed from my playlist and we really don't follow them any longer. Sonata Arctica is an example of this. We really liked them, completely blind bought all of their albums and saw every concert anywhere near Chicago. We have not seen them or bought any new albums since they played the exact same set at the festival that we had seen them perform at House of Blues the month prior.

Another really neat thing is that each of the bands has an interview that we get in a program at the fest. I never get a chance to read through them until the plane ride home and always regret missing the opportunity to talk to this or that band member about something they mentioned in their interview.

This brought me to a realization. My expectations are unfairly one sided. I expect a lot from the bands and yet, for hose bands that I'm not familiar with, I don't put in any effort whatsoever into getting to know their music let alone them as people. 

Isn't this true of so many areas of our lives? 
I'm not talking about the professional takers, the energy vampires or the permanent gimme's. I'm talking about those of us who consider ourselves to be givers. Those of us who consider ourselves to be genuinely positive, outgoing, do unto others types. 
Sometimes, somewhere or with someone in our lives, we expect but we don't give in return, completely without realizing it. 
It could be our family, it could be our friends. It could be in business, with our colleagues, employees or customers. 
How often do we lament that we aren't getting what we expect without considering what we are giving in exchange? 

As you may imagine, I'm remedying that this year. I have a year to not only listen to the music for the bands I don't know yet, but follow and really get to know the members as people. If I expect something special from them, they should get something special from me.

Where in your life are you expecting but not giving in return? I challenge you to up the ante and give more of yourself.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Letting Go

Technology is great, when it works, right?

Our Over 40 Females website went through a huge revamp and launched over the past couple of weeks.  

Do you remember ever going through the experience in college or high school when you wrote a paper for a class and somehow didn't save and lost it and had to start over? 

So last week, I was working on the weekly newsletter, and had authored a blog post. It didn't upload correctly to the new site, and then of course, with the microburst on Friday we lost power and my local copy was lost as well. 

As I sat this morning, considering trying to recreate the post I reflected on the weekend we just spent with no power and while it was certainly inconvenient, it was as most things are, also a blessing. 

We fall into routines, don't we? In our households, in our days, in our business and family lives. 

Because we had no power, I spent Friday evening with friends at a restaurant in Arlington Heights listening to a good friend playing guitar and singing.

Because we had no power, my husband joined myself and our 2 dogs at the dog beach downtown Chicago for the first time. 

Because we had no power, we spent the entire day together, actually conversing and doing things together rather than sharing the same space but each doing our own thing.

We had to let go of our routine, our normal and just go with the flow. Similarly, I decided to let go of the lost post and not worry about trying to recreate it.

Isn't that something we can all use in our lives, to let go and go with the flow, be present? As a former software engineer, I certainly like my technology, but unplugging and letting go is really refreshing!