Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Be the change you want to see in the world" ----------------Mahatma Gandhi

You've done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.-------Ralph Marston

The time has come to grab life by the balls and pull…vigorously. I have been doing a lot of thinking over the past month or so. Finally being free of my past roommate situation and the drama that came of it has left me with a lot of time to contemplate my life and reassess my goals. I am in a much happier place now that I have a home where I feel comfort, love and acceptance. I am so grateful for Dan and this time in our lives. I have realized recently that I was so concentrated on my household drama and just staying afloat before that I really haven’t been working towards any of my own personal goals in a long time. A few years ago when I decided to get my insurance license, I really thought that would be my career forever. So many things didn’t work out with that and I was at a point that I NEEDED a paycheck and income so badly (to pay for a house that I hated, living with someone who loathed me) that finding work became taking whatever I could get.

My current job has served me very well. My boss is a very nice guy and well respected in the community. He is a great dad, an excellent politician (I mean that in the nicest way possible) but he is not a great boss. He jumps from project to project. We do a whole lot of planning and almost no implementation which for my personality is just infuriating. I love the people that I work with, the small office vibe and my very own office overlooking downtown Clayton. I am grateful to have met the people that I have and to have had the opportunities provided by this experience. I would have never met the top elected St. Louis officials that I have. Nor would I have had the pleasure of working the polls and organizing volunteers during a historical election time. I would not have seen the grass roots community efforts going on to clean up St. Louis. I have gotten a lot from this experience. I think I have come to a point where I have gotten all that I can. I am once again stifled in my work. There is no room to advance in a 7 person company as I do not aspire to sell financial investments. I don’t even believe in the stock market! This continues to happen to me every few years. I take a finance job because I have so much experience. I learn whatever I can that is new and eventually the daily tasks of the job become very mundane to me. I realize that I am the common denominator here. I need a constant challenge and an environment that is ever changing and growing.

I have been thinking very much about going to school for some sort of youth counseling, as that sort of work has always had a draw for me. I hate to see the way that kids today, teenagers especially, are just discarded by parents, teachers and counselors at such a young age. I feel like we have a world full of messed up adults that are raising even more messed up children. Don’t get me wrong, there are great parents out there that are doing a fantastic job with their own kids while trying to help out other kids as well. These young people are our future. Of course they don’t know the value of work or a dollar because NO ONE TAUGHT THEM. They don’t understand the world that they live in because they are abused and then cast out into the world by parents that can’t or won’t try to help them. Then there is the extreme opposite group that lives at home well into their 30’s with parents that continue to enable them to never grow up. I find it funny that we think we are so superior to other countries. In Europe children are taught 2 languages from kindergarten on. Most people speak more than 3 or 4 languages. We have high school graduates in this country that cannot write in cursive. They don’t have a signature because they don’t learn cursive anymore!

I do realize I am really just ranting. I had to get out the bad to get to the good. I do have a point and here it is; I am going to start pouring my negative energy about my job into positive energy of researching my future. No job I have had in the past 3 years has paid my bills completely. I have always had to carry a 2nd job and I cannot continue to work 60-80 hour work weeks. I have made a lot of lifestyle changes that make my expenses less. I will do what I must to pay my current debt and then I am done with credit after that. I am on to a simpler life. I don’t care how much my job pays. If I am making a difference in one person’s life it will be worth it. Counseling and/or working with kids is a new challenge and something that I know will feed and recycle my passion everyday. I have been so down on life, myself and my past decisions lately. I am stressing myself with thoughts of where I went wrong and also what I can do to get back on track. I don’t know what or who lifted the cloud but today something clicked. Lots of positive quotes and people popped into my head and inspired me to think of this in a different way entirely. How many people have the freedom at their current job to research their future? There is no time limit. Even if I decide to go to school and I don’t find another job, I know my boss would work around it. I also know that if I put it out there what I want the universe will see to it that it happens. I just have to remain patient and open to accepting it when it comes. This may not result in an immediate change in job or personal circumstance but the changes are coming and I plan to embrace them fully. I finally have the confidence, determination and inner fortitude to find my path and follow it. I am really proud of myself today. I am at a place where I am willing to accept my faults but I am also willing to highlight my qualities. I have a lot of love and wisdom to offer. I have been that unloved, turned-out and troubled teen. Someone was there to pick me up and dust me off. Where would I be today without that? Instead of dwelling on that, I will think about the kids that I can help. The feeling of love, acceptance and confidence that I got from others, I can give to someone else. I can let them know they are not the first, or the last but they can be their personal best. It is high time I take my own advice.

Here are a few of those quotes that inspired me today:

“You cannot control other peoples’ actions; you can only control your own reaction” Robin Gramlich

“Whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Jerusalem Talmud, From Schindler’s List

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.” Brian Tracy

“It is no disgrace to start all over. It is usually an opportunity.” George Matthew Adams

“Joy increases as you give it, and diminishes as you try to keep it for yourself. In giving it, you will accumulate a deposit of joy greater than you ever believed possible.” Norman Vincent Peale

“If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it.”
Mary Engelbreit

“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Jack Kerouac

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, gift, or skill. It will make or break a company...a church...a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes. ==Charles Swindoll


  1. Good for you Toni! I think you are a beautiful woman inside out and I am sure that you will make a huge positive impact on the lives of many others. You can do anything you want. You have the will, and you have the way. I will be rooting for you all the way!! Woo Hoo!!!

  2. There is nothing, nothing, NOTHING like working with kids who need you. Making a difference in a child's life is indescribable. If you have even an inkling to do it, I say absolutely, positively GO FOR IT.

    (As a public school educator, I do have to throw my two cents in about comparing us to other countries...they don't typically "count" their kids with disabilities. However, much of what you say is indeed correct.)

    Keep that passion alive and let me know if there is anything I can do to help!

  3. Yay Toni! It sounds like you are having one of those days where everything makes sense. I love those days! I am so happy for you and your decision. I have lots of experience with counseling and would be happy to get together and talk about some of the options of local schools and employment and specializations and all of those details as you begin your search. Check out Youth In Need, it is one of the major counseling agencies in St. Charles that helps troubled kids.