Quiet quitting / Quiet hiring

With all the burnout from working short staffed for years I have seen some of my co-workers slowly start to “slack off” in response to the constant addition of more responsibilities because there simply is not enough people to do the work. I thought this was just a unique thing for healthcare since we lost so much staff during the pandemic and people are reluctant to work in healthcare now that it has passed. I know pretty much everywhere is hiring, many with signing bonuses and other things to sweeten the pot and attract workers but this is not unique to healthcare. It appears to be happening in ALL industries.

How did this happen? Where did all the workers go? How are people supporting themselves and their families without jobs? Why are people not applying for the open jobs?

I understood at first that some people were afraid to come out from their bubbles and rejoin the world. This left the workforce a bit short staffed with current employees struggling to cover the workload for the open jobs waiting for applicants. Apparently when additional work is assigned without any additional compensation it is called “quiet hiring”. I had never heard of this before. It is definitely a practice that needs to stop. It leads to burnout. Burnout leads to “quiet quitting” where employees still show up but do less and less work. The problem is that then others end up picking up the slack even more leading to even more burn out.

That brings us to where we are today. People are working mandatory overtime that they do not want with those employed working 10-12 hour days 5+ days a week in some cases for weeks without a day off just to cover the workload. No wonder people are burnt out. Vacations and sick calls are not covered just leading to more short staffing issues. *IF* you can actually get approved to take a vacation day. Most places are so short staffed they stopped approving time off due to “staffing issues”. So employees just call in sick… or just don’t show up for work. After all…What are they going to do? Fire you? Ha! They are already so short staffed that they need you even if you call in sick every Friday or just don’t show up for work then post photos of yourself on Facebook enjoying the beach in Cancun living your best life while your co-workers cover your work. (yeah, that just happened at my job in the last month).

So what is the solution? Until the staffing shortages can be fixed employees who show up and work hard should be treated and compensated better. Perhaps instead of forcing overtime on the companies terms let employees volunteer to to the additional work on their terms and possibly do some work from home or offer flexible hours so the work gets done but allows them to have a better balance. Maybe someone is a night owl and would rather work after their kids go to bed or they are an early riser and would rather come in early. Maybe instead of having hiring bonuses there should be retention bonuses and the wages that would have been paid to all the people who would have been working all the open positions should be added up together and divided among the hours worked by current staff so everyone gets a portion based on the numbers of hours they worked. It wouldn’t be much, but it is better than nothing. Even if it just covers that afternoon espresso to make it through the day it is a nice gesture. It should be by department based on the number of open jobs they have. So if your department is currently fully staffed, your employees are not working short and therefore are not eligible for the bonus. But if you are 2 people covering the work of 5 or 30 people covering the work of 34 that bonus will be proportional to the amount of extra work you are having to cover. Those who are covering more work should be compensated more…and that is in addition to the overtime needed to do the job. It may not cause overtime in the case of the 30 people covering the work of 34, but for those 2 people doing the work of 5…that is impossible without at least a little overtime.

So why talk about this? Well, it is something that really hits home for me. In my above example I am one of the 2 doing the work of 5…and my coworker just had surgery and will be off work for 3-4 months. I am now alone. Responsible for the workload of 5 people. We have open jobs with ZERO applicants. One of the jobs has been open for a few years, one has been open for 2 years and another for about a year and they will shortly be adding a 4th open job to cover the workload I am shouldering alone. I can work as much overtime as I want and I am currently working 50-60 hour weeks. I work until I am tired because I am NEVER finished. I come in early and work late every day and if I don’t have any plans I come in on Saturdays too.

I’m exhausted. I’m bitter. I don’t like to talk about work or think about work when I am not at work because it is so miserable. But the first thing most people ask me is “how’s work?” People seem to not understand just how bad the staffing situation is in some places, especially those who are not working or are working remote and not in an office environment. To most people my work situation sounds like a tall tale, but it is in fact very real. The one person who applied for the job was walked over to meet me in the interview and I was behind, breaking a sweat with people coming at me from all sides wanting things. They declined the job. I have requested that the next interview be just before the lunch hour so it is calmer and we don’t scare them away if anyone else applies for any of the open jobs.

Until we are fully staffed, I will just do what I can and hopefully people will understand that I am only one person. I will also fixate on my next vacation about a year from now. Knowing that work will not be my problem for at least 10 days when I return to the UK…This time with my husband for his first trip there.


Is it just me or are grown adults unable to keep a calendar now?

I understand I’m a planner. My husband and I have a family calendar linked together on our phones to make sure that we are both on top of everything going on with each other and the kids. Dr appointments, school, events ect are all on this calendar (color coded for who’s event it is of course). This way at a glance we can see what all of us are doing for the day. In addition I have an old paper planner that I use to coordinate all I need to do between work, my photography, projects, volunteer work and other side hustle endeavors I’m working on. I have a lot of spoons in a lot of pots so I need something more than just appointments on the calendar.

This brings me to adults not being able to keep a calendar. Seriously, what is going on with that? I honestly do not need multiple reminders that I have a dentist appointment (currently the booking confirmation, 1 month reminder, 2 week reminder, 1 week reminder, 3 day reminder, 24 hour reminder and I know tomorrow I’ll get yet another reminder within a few hours of my appointment). Seriously, just send me the booking confirmation so I know we are on the same page and I’ll add it to my calendar. I’m a grown adult. I can read. I can keep track of when I need to be somewhere.

Sadly, I feel like I am in the minority now. I have a few friends who like me, keep a calendar and keep track of our schedules. But others just seem to think they are going to just remember everything and are constantly forgetting events, double or multiply booking themselves. Granted, I have one friend who just says “yes” to everything then seems to wait until the day of then only actually shows up to whatever she deems the most worth doing and skips everything else with a lame excuse. After a while we figured out her MO and I just stopped inviting her to things because she is so unreliable.

Anyway, back to all the reminders… is this a chicken and egg situation? Have people started using multiple reminders because people are unable to keep a calendar and just do what they want when they want without any consideration to a schedule (like my above mentioned friend) or did the multiple reminders for things make it so people no longer feel like they need to keep a calendar because the 487 reminders will tell them what they need to do and when.

When did we become people that constantly need to be reminded of everything? Now I’m not saying I never forget anything. Hell, this morning I forgot what I wanted to add to the grocery order between the kitchen and the living room where I left my phone. But my dentist appointment is on my joint calendar with my husband on my phone so he knows what’s going on. It’s in my personal planner so I remember when planning out what I need to do. Since it is mid-day tomorrow it is also on my work calendar so I remember to head over there at the end of lunch. I don’t need a 3rd party to remind me. I got this. I’m a responsible adult.

I know there are other responsible adults out there. I feel the majority of us can claim that title. But as in most things, the few ruin it for the many. I have to deal with multiple reminders (usually email and text. Sometimes email, text and phone call (like the portrait studio I take the kids to). At work I know the computer system sends out multiple reminders. But yet I still get patients who miss their appointments saying they forgot. How do you forget? You got at least 9 reminders probably 11 if you do online check in. Yet I still had my 3pm patient (my last patient of the day) show up at 4:25 on Friday (I’m off at 4pm). I was still there finishing up my last minute phone calls but my co worker saw him. My exam room is right next to my office so I heard him say that he got busy at work but knew as long as he got there before I left at 5 I’d see him. My co worker then told him that I’m off at 4, not 5. This is not an isolated incident. People come in all the time on the wrong day, wrong time, 1+ hours late because they were “busy” at the appointment time but decided to just come in at a time that worked for them fully knowing it was not their appointment. Now if people are early I’ll do all I can to see them early. But if they are more than 30 min late for their 15 min appointment I have already moved on.

Sometimes, it’s a situation where a road is closed and everyone is super late, in that case I take them as they get in but if you are just an irresponsible, inconsiderate jerk that just shows up whenever you want with zero regard for anyone else’s schedule you can rebook. It has become a massive problem not just at my job but everywhere. I see people come in super late for nail appointments or just walk in without an appointment and then walk out because they will need to wait to be fit in and the 10 minute wait is just too long. No one understands how busy they are…Really? 10 minutes is too long? Well, if you can’t wait 10 minutes to be worked in you do not have time for a manicure anyway. I have also been on the other side where I had an appointment, was there on time but had to wait a long time because so many people were late or showed up without an appointment and demanded to be fit in.

Why not just book an appointment and, well actually show up on time for it?

Why not note your appointments and obligations down in a calendar so you do not forget. You can set a reminder on your phone just incase you get busy. I set an alarm on my watch to go off when I need to remember that I have something at a particular time because life happens. We all get busy. But I am a responsible adult. I do not need a babysitter. I wish I could just opt out of all reminders and just get my confirmation and nothing else.

And it’s all back…

Yep. I gained it all back… plus an additional 2 lbs after Easter. But, this setback isn’t stopping me. The Monday after Easter I weighed in again, drew the line in the sand and started over.

Is it upsetting? Absolutely! But I didn’t get this fat overnight so I’m not going to get in shape overnight either. When setbacks happen the important thing is to get back up and try again. Do not give up…Even if you are now 2 lbs higher than your starting weight.

My first step was to get my eating habits in order. Things went downhill when I got my braces out on. My bite is off. It’s hard to chew. Everything gets stuck in them. My previous healthy eating habits of carrots, celery, apples and nuts as snacks all went away as I struggled to learn what I can and can’t eat with these stupid things stuck on my teeth.

2 months later I have it figured out. All the above snacks are still a no-go, but I have substituted other options. I’m happy to say that I think I have it down now and I’m happy to say that I have lost a total of 7 lbs!

Ok, I still have a very long way to go to my goal. But this is not a “loose a quick 5-10 lbs to look better in a bikini” situation. This is a I spent 9 months in a wheelchair, had to learn to walk again, then had 2 babies and just when I was getting into my groove the pandemic hit, the gym closed and I started working oodles of unwanted mandatory overtime for 3 years situation. It’s been a struggle. Life has happened. My weight creeped up over time and it will come off over time as well. I need to adjust to the changes that happen and move on. This is one of those times. I need to adjust.

With my eating habits under control my next step is to figure out how to add in more exercise. It’s a balancing act. My work schedule has changed. I canceled my gym membership because I just could not make it work with my schedule. So now I am walking. Every day when I get home from work I go for a walk before I go inside the house. So far that is working but I’ll need to see how I feel when it’s 100+ degrees in the summer. I may need to adjust again then.

I still want to add in yoga again. My practice has just not been there since the studio by my house closed…and the backup studio I liked closed…and the farther studio closed… and the classes at the community center stopped and so far have not re-started. Finding time to fit in a regular practice again has been on my “to do” list for a while. When there is a class the time and date is set. I stick with it. When I am just doing it at home my follow through is poor. It may seem strange but I just can’t get out of my head. I have to find a place to practice, then usually clean the floor (I have a dog and small kids). With the same dog/kid situation the place I find needs to be away from them or else I get the dog licking my face and the kids jumping on me. Then if the stars align and I start to practice I get distracted by things I need to do. I need to get out of the house to clear my mind.

So that is where I am. Back to square 1. Starting over. But the key is…I didn’t give up. I regrouped and started again.

Covid has finally hit our home

Rumor is that the pandemic is going to be declared over soon. Up until now we have managed to avoid getting it… So, when it hit our home it wasn’t even the kids that brought it into our home or me working in patient care… It was my husband, who rarely goes anywhere. We have no idea where he picked it up since I am the one who is always out and about. All and all he has a pretty mild case. Fever for a few days, but not super high. The cough is probably the worst part for him. The kids are pretty mild. occasional cough, no fever. I am still negative and symptom free. How did this happen?

Apparently, we are not immune. Well, I might be.

I personally can’t wait to move on to post-pandemic bliss where we worry about something other than germs. I’m looking forward to masking going away and seeing peoples faces again. I hope the plexiglass barriers go away so I can hear what cashiers are saying again. I look forward to not yelling all the time so people can hear me through the mask and plastic barrier.

I miss pre-pandemic life…and pre-pandemic prices. But it isn’t all negative. I’m just going to say it… I LOVE curbside pickup! I love being able to get pretty much anything delivered. As a busy mom, not having to park, go into a store, shop, checkout and go back out to my car and just being able to order what I want and just pull into the designated area and pick my items up is amazing! I am hoping to never go grocery shopping again. Having someone do it for me then drop it off at my house is the best thing ever!

I’m looking forward to business hours going back to normal so I can enjoy supporting small businesses again. I don’t know about everyone else, but having places closed on Sundays and evenings is tough for me. Saturdays are often busy with events so I run errands on Sundays. Now I may eventually get use to this but after years of only the post office, Chick-fil-a and Hobby Lobby being closed on Sundays other places that use to be open all weekend (or open until 6-8pm) being closed now is apparently hard for me to get use to. I guess I’m just an old dog now and having trouble adjusting.

Maybe this is the “new normal”.

Maybe this is just temporary until people go back to work and places are fully staffed.

Maybe I just need to learn to check the hours of places before I’m standing at the locked door looking for the hours…yeah, it’s probably this one.

Honestly, this is not a new thing for me. I have often wondered why so many places don’t open until 10 or 11. I’m usually up, dressed and ready to start my day by 7 on the weekends (6 on weekdays because I start work at 7:30 AM) who are these people who don’t get out of the house until 11? By 11 I’m usually hungry and trying to figure out what I want for lunch.

So for this year I’m going to try something new… check the hours and days places are open before I go.

After the GLOW

I am now experiencing post-travel wonderlust.

Ok, I don’t know if that is a real thing. If it isn’t, then it should be. This is the time after you have unpacked, edited your photos and returned back to your normal life with nothing special on the horizon and only your memories behind you. This is when people (even those who criticized you about your last trip) start to ask you ” What’s Next?”

Now I always recommend having a 3 trip plan. This is the trip that is booked, the trip that is being planned and the trip that you are dreaming up. I typically do not count weekend getaways in this even if it is a long weekend because I can toss one of those together pretty fast. I count this as big trips. Ones that involve more planning than a quick look at flights and/or hotels and involve taking more than 1-2 days off of work. Having just gotten back from a trip I am now in the process of turning my “planning” trip into a “booked” trip and trying to decide what is moving into the “planning” stage.

I do not having anything “big” planned for the rest of 2023. But 2024 will have 2 big trips. In the spring I will be going back to the UK with my husband for our anniversary. I have been there a few times but it is his 1st time. We are still trying to work out what we want to do. My requirements are low since I have been there a few times already and have seen most of what I wanted to. I have definitely ticked off all the big “to do” items. but I want to know what my husband is interested in so we can make sure to hit as many of those things as we can. For now, that trip although earlier than the fall trip is staying in the planning stage and I am booking my fall trip.

In the fall I turn 50. I want to do something epic and tick another item off my bucket list. So I thought about it a lot and finally decided to go to Nepal and do the Everest base camp trek. As with most of my solo trips pretty much everyone I have told about it thinks I am crazy. At this point, I am use to it and just ignore them. I am not getting any younger and have wanted to do the base camp trek since I first saw a documentary on climbing Everest back when I was in high school. I looked into it and found out that you don’t have to go to the summit, you can just make the trek to base camp. This is still challenging, but a much more obtainable goal. I have dreamed of it since then. I have decided my 50th birthday is the time to go.

I have not taken this lightly. I have read training programs and looked into options of making it solo or doing it in an organized group. How long will it take? How much will it cost? What kind of gear will I need? I put my deposit down a few days ago to secure my spot. I am going to Everest.

The excitement has started. I have decided to go with a group so that my bag will go along ahead of me and I will only need to take my day-pack. I will have an English speaking guide (even though I got a book to learn some Nepalese). I have a training plan as I get closer to going but for now I am focusing on overall fitness.

So what is next? I honestly do not know. 2024 will be a very full year. I have talked about meeting up with my Australian friend somewhere in the world (we have no idea where but Greece seems to keep coming up. I think we are pretty settled on “somewhere in Europe” but we can just as easily end up in the tropics somewhere.) If we don’t meet up in 2025 then I’ll need a backup plan. Maybe the Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu for my solo trip. I think My husband is dreaming of a Hawaiian Vacation for our anniversary in 2025, but I have also heard Japan or a cruise. I typically let him pick where to go since I have been to so many more places than him. He is a much pickier traveler than I am as well.

Wherever I end up, I am sure it will be memorable. I hope this inspires others to dream up, plan and go have an adventure. After all… Life is what happens when you get off the couch.

Greetings from Whitehorse, Canada!

The biggest challenge for me has been food, not the cold on this trip. I know it sounds odd, but I am here in the off season so roughly half the places are closed. The places that are open have odd hours. So every time I want something to eat I need to walk 15-30 min each way in the snow in search of somewhere that is open to get food. This has made me not very picky. I don’t really care what it is as long as it is hot… Ok, so maybe the cold is a factor.

Speaking of cold, It is warm inside and cold outside so I find myself stripping off layers like a horny teenager because I am sweating so bad as soon as I get inside and bundling up the Ralphie’s brother in A Christmas Story when I go outside. IT has taken me a bit to get a system down. At home the last thing I put on is my shoes. But my first day here I thought I might get heat stroke before I got my boots tied. Also, I learned that you can’t leave garments out side for any length of time. I took off my gloves to eat a bison sausage that was cooked over a campfire and they froze solid by the time I finished eating and I could not get my hands back in them. I also learned that temperature is all relative to what you are use to. Now I usually acclimate to the climate in a few days. I never acclimated to Whitehorse. I also thing the people who live there may be crazy since it NEVER got above freezing or even close to it while I was there but they were all talking about how they are enjoying the great weather and the early spring. One guy went camping with his girlfriend over the weekend. Camping. In the snow. Now I went camping once on the California coast in November and decided it is too miserable to go camping when it was that cold out. It was still above freezing…even overnight.

One of the things I love about travel is experiencing other places and cultures. This was just Canada so I was not expecting culture shock. But the people living in the Yukon are sure a different breed of human. I fully believe that these rugged, outdoorsy people will absolutely survive the zombie apocalypse should it ever come around.

There was a lot of beauty there with fresh snow covering the ground and I enjoyed seeing the wildlife. I can see how it would be a summer destination for hiking, camping, white water rafting and well, for pretty much any outdoor sports. This place was made for hunting and fishing. In California terms I am pretty outdoorsy, but in Whitehorse terms…I am a city girl. I am ok with that. The difference in perspectives is part of what I love about travel.

Baby, It’s COLD outside…

Greetings from the Arctic circle!

Seriously, I really am there…and I am cold. Now I thought I knew cold before. I was wrong. I am NOT built for a week of sub zero temperatures. I am probably not built for a day of them. But I finally checked another item off my bucket list… The Northern Lights!

Like many people, the Northern lights have sat on my bucket list for decades waiting to be seen. I booked this trip when I returned from Scotland in Sept 2019 and booked my next adventure for February 2021. Then the pandemic hit. I wasn’t worried though. Surely it would be over before February 2021. I was wrong. When November rolled around and the pandemic was still going strong and California was still closed and travel was still very restricted I bumped my trip to the next year. February 2022 was it! Not a big deal. Then as the holiday surge hit and restrictions tightened up even more despite the vaccinations now being available I bumped it another year. So February 2023 it is…but I was not feeling good about it.

I didn’t get excited about my trip until after the holidays when it appeared that the trip was actually going to happen. Then it was a scramble. Where did I put my frozen tundra gear? Does it still fit? Will it be enough? How do I dress to travel from sunny California to Whitehorse, Canada to make the transition form 65 degrees to -13? ( It was actually -18 when I got there, not like 5 degrees makes that much of a difference. I didn’t even want to know what temps I was looking at with the wind chill factored in. I didn’t want to know.)

In the last few months before my trip my flights were changed 3 times leading me to add on an extra night in Whitehorse then a night in Vancouver at the beginning of my trip. I watched the weather closely and read up on the Northern lights. I learned all about space weather, solar flares, KP factors and other things I never had any reason to know. I learned all about dog sled racing and the Yukon Quest dog sled race that was happening while I was there. I started to have nightmares that I was going to get frostbite on my nose and it was going to fall off. I often wondered what I was thinking to myself.

When you are in search of achieving your dreams it is not a good idea to listen to others who have not been there, done that before. They have no idea. (Actually, that is good advice no matter what it is.) Do not listen to advice about travel from someone who has never left their hometown. I can’t even begin to tell you just how many people have tried to give me travel advice who have never traveled. Seriously? How are you an expert? I have since learned to just ignore them, their opinions and their advice. This trip brought on more that almost any other trip I have taken. For some reason whenever I travel solo EVERYONE seems to have an opinion about it. The trick is to ignore them and follow your dreams. In the end you will have accomplished and seen more than those who rarely stray away from the comfort of their couch.

Follow your dreams!

Getting ready to travel

Some thing about FINALLY going on my Northern Lights trip in a few days really has put some pep in my step the closer I get. I first booked this trip shortly after I got back from the UK back in the fall of 2019. I set it up for Feb 2021. I was so excited to finally see the northern lights. Then Covid hit. But surely the pandemic would be over by February… In November 2020 I bumped my trip to February 2022. The pandemic will surely be over by then. Well, it wasnt and the travel restrictions still restricted me so in November I rebooked for 2023…after all…the 3rd time is the charm right?

I have sat and watched the restrictions and as it grew closer to the holidays I started to worry about the travel restrictions but they didn’t get tight again. Now here I am just days away from my long awaited bucket list trip to the northern lights and I am exited! I have my polar gear ready to go. I have a rough plan of things to do while I am there. I am still a little nervous about frostbite since I will not see any weather above freezing the entire time I am there and as a California girl… I really don’t do well in cold. I have consulted with a friend who grew up in Alaska who gave me some awesome tips on staying warm in the freezing temps. I have really learned a lot.

People are still surprised that I am going alone. I highly recommend solo travel. Why wait around for other people to get it together and want to go where you want to go when you want to go there? If you happen to have someone who travels similar to you and wants to go the same places you do by all means…DO IT! But, if people you know either have zero interest in going where you want to or lack the time or money to go with you do not put your life on hold waiting. Just go! you will meet new people along the way…People who also like to travel, are interested in the same things as you and have the same budget. After all…You met them while traveling to somewhere you are excited about.

This isn’t just for big trips, but small things too. Have you always wanted to do or see something but no one wants to go with you? Just go anyway. Have people who want to go do something but no on wants to make the decision on when? Make the decision for them. Pick the date and time and invite everyone who was interested with “Hey, I am going to ___ on ___ day at ____ time if you want to join me.” Then if they decline, or want to change the plan say “Ok. Well you have fun with that. Maybe next time.” then move on. Do not change your plans. If everyone declines just go anyway and have a great time.

I find the older I get that a lot of people are all talk and no action. People love the IDEA of going places and doing amazing things but when it really comes down to actually taking action they would rather just sit around the house in their PJs, binging Netflix and eating take out. Now there isn’t anything wrong with that. I enjoy a nice gluttonous day occasionally but I also have goals and dreams that I want to accomplish. I can’t do that from my couch.

So how do you make the switch from watching other people do amazing things on YouTube to being the person who is doing amazing things? Action. Make a plan and actually follow through with it. For example; I am planning on doing the Everest base camp trek in fall of 2024 for my 50th birthday. I want to do something epic and Everest is pretty epic. So, how do I make that dream a reality? Well, first I researched the trip and made a plan to see what I need for time and about how much it will cost including any specialized gear for the trip and I started that research over a year ago. Seriously. Then once I had my travel plan I started looking at training and what will I need to be able to do physically to train for that. Again, I made a plan. I am currently in what I call Phase 1 of my training plan that will last until September. Then I will move into Phase 2 for the winter. Phase 3 will start in the spring and the summer will be phase 4 as I approach my departure date. I will put the deposit down on my Everest trip when I return from the Northern Lights trip to secure my dates. I have a plan in place to pay it off before I enter phase 2 of my training. Action is what makes dreams a reality.

So stop wishing for your dreams to come true. Make a plan no matter if it is big or small. Then take action to make those dreams come true. Your friends and family may think you are nuts for doing all these things and some may grumble or even mock you… but I guarantee you that more people are interested in hearing about the amazing things you did than anyone’s endless days sitting on the couch, binging Netflix and eating take out in their PJs.

***The featured image on this post is of me, alone, preparing to do a wildlife safari in a marine estuary about a 2 hour drive from my house. No one was interested in going so I went alone and had an AMAZING time. It was definitely a hidden gem.

Bucket List – Grand Canyon

Pretty much everyone I know knows that I am big on setting goals, making a plan and achieving those goals. That includes bucket lists. Everyone should have one. If you don’t, start one. Spend the $0.50 and get a cheap notebook or spend more and get something better, but do it. Some people do electronic but for this I think physical paper is best. There is something very satisfying about actually crossing it off and seeing all you have done.

I started the bucket lists back in the late 80’s early 90’s before a bucket list was a thing. It was just a list of things I wanted to do someday. Through the years I have added things and crossed others off. In some cases my ideas or goals changed as I grew older so I took some items off because they were no longer important to me as an adult. I have lost track of how many lists I have had through the years as notebooks filled or fell apart and I copied my items left to a new book. I have since dedicated a whole page to some items (like see all the California missions and all the California lighthouses) so the goal is at the top and all the items needed to achieve the goal are listed under to be crossed off as I go to them. (A note about the missions…ask for a mission passport in the gift shop at the first one you go to and get the stamps at all the missions as you visit. I went to 4 before I found out about this)

You may wonder what all that has to do with the Grand Canyon…well it has been on my bucket list since I started my bucket list. Then when I went to Vegas for my 21st birthday I saw a brochure for helicopter flights to the Grand Canyon where you actually land inside the canyon, have a picnic then fly out over the Vegas strip at night. OMG I was in LOVE with the idea but that price…ouch. It went on the bucket list where it sat for 26 years.

You read that right…26 years. In May 2022 I finally achieved that goal and it was every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. Flying in over the desert, dropping into the Grand Canyon and flying through below the rim so you can see all the little slot canyons that branch off to the sides… it was every bit as amazing as I dreamed and totally worth waiting 26 years to do rather than just giving up because the price was too high.

The point is no matter what the dream is you can achieve it. It just takes planning and determination. No one needs to know you are working on it. Even if you just put $1 a week into an envelope to save up for something special you will eventually get there. Make a list. Make a plan. Achieve your dreams. Time will go on if you achieve your dreams or not so you may as well be amazing!!

Where we stopped for the picnic
Flying through the canyon
My hubby and I posing for a photo on our anniversary in the Grand Canyon.

Aging and New Beginnings

Recently I seem to be having a lot of conversations with my friends about the future. It seems as if many people are unsure about what to do with the rest of their lives and are rethinking things post-pandemic. Some are looking at changing their jobs, moving somewhere new, going back to school, and starting or ending relationships. We are not talking about small changes, but large ones. Has the pandemic shown us life is too short to not be happy? Are we under more pressure than usual? Or are people just more open to other options and more willing to make changes?

Honestly, it is hard to know. People have always made changes, but it seems like there are more people making big changes than there was pre-pandemic. I get it. Looking at my own life I would love to just uproot and move somewhere else. Living in California, I am so tired of the homeless encampments everywhere, the fires, the horrible road conditions, the poor schools, high cost of living and so many other things that a move to somewhere else sounds like a dream. I also know that I have less than a decade to my house being paid off. I love the beaches, mountains and beauty of the nature areas of this state. I love the availability and variety of fresh produce and the cultural diversity of the area. My job is also here…Although if I get a good enough offer I will be out of that door so fast… So I get the job changes too.

The long term staffing shortages have gotten REALLY old and there is no end in site either. People are now refusing to volunteer for overtime anymore. Management is just accepting it right now…But, I can see the mandatory overtime coming soon again, probably by April. I am not looking forward to that day. The last few times the mandatory period lasted at least 6 months but it seems to run for about 9 months with the holidays free of mandatory overtime in November, December and January. In a dream world, If I can find a job with similar pay and benefits I would leave. If I get offered a job where I can have flexible hours and work remotely I would even be willing to take less money and less time off.

I can see why people are wondering “Where do I go from here?” I can see why they are looking at all areas of their lives and making changes. I have had time to think about my life in the closures and the time after and there are changes I want to make as well even though I am happy overall. Even I can see where there is room for improvement.

To all those pondering a change… I wish you luck and happiness.