Where do you Stand?

People who meet me generally have the same opinion at first. She’s nice, or she’s sweet, or she is so confident and sure of herself. I’ve heard she is fearless as well. Sometimes, I get not so nice comments, more on the side of she is a bitch, or she is pushy.  So which of these is the real me? The answer is all of them and none of them. Now you are really confused right? Where do I stand?

Every few years it seems I go through a personal transformation. But, at the same time I always remain me (who ever me is). It’s been a few years since my last personal transformation so I guess it was time again. But, this time it’s different. Before, whenever I’d decide (and that decision was usually made very fast) I’d just jump in and head in that direction. Full speed ahead. I didn’t earn the nick  name of “all in” for nothing.

This time I think I am aware that I am changing. I’m aware that it’s happening and its making me pause and think about it more. So my normal gut reaction of jumping into the transformation head on without looking is being evaluated.  When I was probably 5 years old my mom put me in swimming lessons at the local college. I think I was 5 the age might be wrong, but the point is I was young. I am deathly afraid of heights, so when it came time to jump off of the high dive I was naturally scared.  I remember climbing up the ladder and standing on the board looking down the long board toward the edge thinking, I can’t do this, it’s too high. So rather than walking to the edge of the board, like I was supposed to and positioning myself to jump, I shut my eyes and ran down the board and just jumped off at full speed without looking. This pretty much sums up my life. I knew if I walked to the edge of the board and looked down I would never jump. So I just shut my eyes and ran. This sums up most of my decisions in life where I wasn’t sure what to do or if I could do it. I just shut my eyes and jumped, wherever I land I land.

So this time, I find myself at the edge of the diving board staring down. Should I jump or should I turn around and climb back down the ladder? So now I’m asking, where do I stand? Normally, I stand wherever I land and I can’t say that hasn’t served me in the past, it has. But sometimes it hasn’t. It’s always a gamble.

This blog has forced me to actually think. Instead of going through life on a whim, living on a prayer, so to speak, I am analyzing myself while writing this. It is both liberating and a little scary because once I’ve created that logic, that dialogue that can’t be disputed, I pretty much can’t talk my self out of it anymore, or internally reason with myself. Because now it’s in writing. Wow! the power of  writing is off the charts.

So, I am a complex person who has many sides and all of them are me and none of them are me. I stand at the edge of a diving board staring down into the abyss for the first time, actually looking. Will I jump? No, I think maybe I’ll just sit a while.

 

What is Bad?

I was having a conversation with a friend last night and somehow my weird brain came up with the idea of what is bad? When people think they have been “bad” or had a “bad life” or were even “born bad”, what does that mean? I think the idea of bad is both relative and subjective. What seems bad to one person may not be to another. Sure there are certain social constructs that dictate that things like murder and theft are bad. Not just because of the act and what happens once the act is done, but it is also illegal. So what if we dispel with the idea of “legally wrong or bad” and talk about why people tend to think of themselves as bad.

Many people live by a certain set of rules or standards that dictate to them what is right and wrong or what is bad or good. Religions are based on it a lot of times. It’s funny that people of different faiths sometimes have these righteous indignation’s that make them seem so superior to other people, like they hold the moral high ground all the time. Sometimes people just guilt themselves needlessly and sometimes those overly righteous people make sure those people continue to feel guilty.  I mean sure we are all human and we all make mistakes, does that mean we should walk around wringing our hands and fretting over being damned after we die? This is what I mean by what is bad? It’s subjective and it is relative to the situation I think. I think it’s relative to your own mind-set at the time.

Now here comes the tricky part, does your mind-set at the time or the situation absolve you from whatever wrong or bad thing you did? I mean surely there has to be accountability at some point especially if that bad thing hurt another person. Should we just say well he or she was not in the right frame of mind or they were in a bad situation so it’s forgivable? Shouldn’t there be consequences even if the situation was bad? It can get pretty convoluted when you try to wrap your mind around it. What about those situations where the only person you are hurting is yourself? I am reminded of a line in the movie “Where the Heart Is” where Stockard Channing’s character says “Sheriff, we’re alcoholics, we’re generally satisfied just to hurt ourselves.” Should you endure some sort of hell fire and damnation when you really just hurt yourself? In this situation, doesn’t the hurt you inflicted upon yourself serve as sort of its own punishment? One could argue you’ve suffered enough right? But then again, is there such a thing as only hurting yourself? Whether you are speaking physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. Sure I suppose if you are alone and have no one else in the world that loves you, then maybe yes what you do to yourself doesn’t hurt anyone but you. But for the vast majority of people, we all have people who love us and worry about us and care when we are hurting ourselves. So in that sense, is there really such a thing as only hurting yourself? Because if you hurt yourself and the people you love have to watch it, then are you not by extension hurting them as well? Like I said, tricky right?

So what is my point? My point is, and this is just my opinion of course, that sometimes life is life and we make decisions that sometimes we shouldn’t, but does it really serve us or anyone else to go through your life kicking yourself for things you may have done that either hurt you or someone else or both? What is the point? Is it what God wants? Now depending on your faith you may think of God as this omnipotent being who takes inventory of your rights and wrongs all day every day for infinity and dole’s out a punishment or a reward at the end. Sort of like a glorified Santa Clause, he knows when you’ve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake or you don’t get any presents on Christmas type of person. Maybe you see him as a merciful God who understands that you are human and understands your mind-set at all times and takes into account these things and just loves you no matter what. Sort of like a mother or father on earth loves there kids no matter what, even if they are not being the best kids all the time.Maybe you don’t believe in a God at all and you just think we are here on this earth and then we die and there is nothing after that.That is a pretty grim outlook but some people do believe that.

So regardless of which scenario you believe in, the question still remains, if we are here on this earth because God put us here, we are still here and we still have to try to live the best life we can and try not to be miserable regardless of if you think you are headed for hell fire and damnation or heaven or nothingness, wouldn’t you want to at least spend your time on earth trying to be happy and not being guilt ridden? I would argue that would be the best use of your time. Make yourself happy, try to do right by other people and if you make a mistake, apologize and try to make it right the best you can and then move on. Don’t carry that burden of all your wrongs forever on this earth until you die, because I suspect there will be plenty of time to pick those back up after you are dead. Maybe you will pay for them after you are gone, maybe you won’t, but I used to worry about it. I used to wring my hands over it. I used to think, I will be punished for time and all eternity after I’m gone because I couldn’t measure up. Measure up to who? Who are we really trying to measure up to? The other people at church? Our parents? God? Maybe it’s true that I’ll be punished maybe it isn’t. But what good does it do me to worry about it now? Am I serving myself, my family or anyone else if I am paralyzed by guilt? Not really.

Now, I am LDS, and so I do happen to believe in the hereafter and that Jesus died for our sins so that we could return back to our Heavenly Father. That is my personal belief, and I have gone through the repentance process before. So I am not preaching anything contrary to my beliefs or contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Again, this is my opinion not doctrine, it’s my personal experience of having tried to live the gospel as well as I could and failing miserably, more than once. Does that make me damned? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. Does that make me bad? I don’t think so. I think it makes me human and I think the Lord knows my heart and your heart and everyone’s heart and he knows that I am strong-willed and that I have a hard time discerning between my own thoughts and the spirit’s thoughts (if you will) personal revelation does not come easy to me because I literally can’t tell the difference most of the time. Do I do things that I know (according to my religious background) are “bad”? Probably. Does that make me “bad”? I guess I will have to let God be the judge on that when I die because honestly, it’s all relative and it’s all subjective and I have chosen not to worry about it anymore. It’s too exhausting and I will probably never figure it out in this lifetime, but that’s alright.

I probably stunned a lot of my church going friends when a couple of years ago I made the decision to be less involved with my church. That was probably confusing to, well, probably all of them. I’m sure they thought did someone offend her? Was it something someone did? Did she just decide to abandon her faith and her beliefs? The answer is no to all of them. If you know me, you know that the only person capable of offending me successfully is my own husband. Quite literally, no one else has that power over me. Maybe my daughter a close second but not really because I recognize she is a teenager and it’s sort of the teenager’s job to be difficult. Did I lose my faith? Not in the slightest. I still believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is the true church on the earth today. I still believe that President Monson is the true prophet. I still believe Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of the Holy Ghost to restore the true gospel to the earth, and I still believe that Jesus Christ died for all of our sins so we could return to our Heavenly Father. So, why? I guess the answer is still a mystery to me. At the time I told myself that it was too hard. My daughter wasn’t interested and it was always a struggle and my Husband is not a member so it was just me. So I told myself I did it for my family. In part I guess that’s true. But mostly, I think I was just tired. It’s exhausting being a lone island in your own family. One could argue that if I didn’t marry a non-member I wouldn’t have these problems, or if I wasn’t living a lifestyle that lead me to marry a non member that I wouldn’t have these problems. That may or may not be true, we’ll never know now. Now maybe it’s “bad” and maybe it isn’t. I think I’m just not sure I care anymore whether it is or it isn’t. I think I will just live my life and do the best I can and it will all get sorted out in the end. Bad? I guess God will be the judge.

 

 

Keep the Wind in your Sails – my Achilles Heel

Keep the Wind in your Sails – my Achilles Heel

Yesterday I started this blog. I was so excited to be sharing and doing something in life that might bring me inspiration and a little bit of joy. Have you ever been so excited about something and then have someone or something totally take the wind out of your sails? It’s frustrating isn’t it? So yesterday I messed around with Word press and got this blog thing started. I basically wrote a prologue of my life (as my daughter called it) and posted it. I was very excited about it. Again, not sure why as I wasn’t sure why I was writing it. My husband, who doesn’t do social media at all, wasn’t aware I had done this blog because he didn’t see the post all over my Facebook page. So I told him when he got home from work. His question was “why”? I said simply because I wanted to and why not. I’ll admit my family’s reaction took a bit of my wind out of my sails, but I half expected it so it was cool. My daughter said It was too long and was like a prologue (that wasn’t surprising to me because basically if anything is longer than a short paragraph she likely doesn’t read it). I smiled and moved on.  I texted my new blog website to my  husband so he could go online and read it.  I immediately regretted doing that, because I had posted a picture on my site of him and my daughter and without going into detail (for his protection) he said he wanted me to take the photo down. Bam! Wind completely out of my sails.  I was hurt by that. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, as he explained his reasoning and while I might disagree somewhat with it, I did understand where he was coming from. But still, I half way thought “can’t my family just be happy for me, even just for a little bit before criticizing something I was proud of doing? ” So, here is my point, I am not posting this to rag on my family for their reaction. I’m really not. As my husband pointed out, “are you sure you want to do this because you realize the public could not like what you have to post and then you will get haters.” Obviously I was aware of this and wasn’t worried about it. So if that is the case, why did my Husband’s reaction bother me? If I truly don’t care what people think then why did the wind get knocked out of my sails so fast? Here is the answer, that which I’ve always known of course but sometimes need to be reminded of, I don’t care what strangers think but I do care what my close family thinks. Mainly my husband and my daughter who are my whole world. So when they don’t like something I’ve done or are critical of something, that is when my sailing gets bumpy and I enter choppy and unforgiving waters. Great start to my blogging right? Day 2 and already bumpy, but I expect some bumps along the way, I just have to remember that no one can take the wind from my sails unless I let them, or rather the wind can throw me around but I control my sailing.  I admit this is hard for me because historically the only opinion I care about, aside from my own, is my family’s. So I should expect that and I should know how to react better to it by now, I should be able to adjust my sails.  What can I say, everyone has an Achilles heel, now you all know what mine is. It’s my family, fortunately for me, the general public can’t use that against me. Only my husband can!  So here is the point, when you feel the wind either dying down or blowing to hard, adjust your sails. You can’t adjust the wind, but you can adjust your sails. The moral of the story is, you can’t control other people, but you can control your reaction to them. Even when it’s your family.

Hello Blogging World!

Hello Blogging World!

This is my first official Blog. I’m not sure why I decided to create it other than I was sitting on Facebook one day and realized how many of my posts was sharing my opinion with all my friends and family and sometimes business associates. So I was thinking one day, why not just do a blog? Why not right? Seems like everyone and there mother has a blog now so why not? Maybe that’s a good reason, maybe it isn’t. I’m not sure I care if it is or it isn’t. I have been feeling lately like I am just meant to do more than I am. To be more than I am. Maybe this blog will bring that out and maybe it won’t, but what the hell right? We will see where it takes me. I have been asked or rather complimented recently on a lot of my Facebook opinion posts (most of them political because we just had an election) and I’ve had people message me privately telling me they appreciate or like my posts. So that’s kind of why I started this blog. Also, throughout my whole life, I’ve felt like I’ve been asked a lot about what I think or what my opinion is so I feel like I give a lot of advice. Now sometimes that advice doesn’t sit well with others once they’ve asked for it, but hey, if you didn’t want to know the truth, you definitely should not ask me. I have always called it like I see it. Sometimes people appreciate that but a lot of times they don’t. So I’ve determined that when people ask your opinion, more times than not, they want you tell them what they want to hear, not necessarily the truth. Those people learn pretty quickly that they shouldn’t ask me if they are looking for me to just tell them what they want to hear. Now, I am making myself sound really horrible. I am not. Because sometimes what I have to say is what people want to hear and it works out sometimes.  Also there are those rare individuals who are actually looking for an honest opinion and appreciate it even if it’s something they’d rather not hear. But I digress.  So a little bit about me, I am currently 42 years old. I am originally from Gunnison, Utah (and before you ask, yes I am a “Mormon” and proud of it). I moved to Layton, Utah when I was 14 and went to High School at Layton High. I graduated in 1992. Shortly after graduation I moved back to Gunnison, only to realize you can’t get a job in Gunnison unless someone dies. So I moved to Las Vegas, where my dad was currently living and began doing clerical jobs there. I have been in Las Vegas ever since, so I guess that makes me technically a native. I met my husband here after living here for just a few months, Bob Ryan.  We went on our first date on July 13, 1993. We moved in together 3 months after that and lived together for a little less than 2 years before tying the knot in Las Vegas on July 15, 1995. I was a receptionist at a wholesale souvenir company at the time.  In 1998, I was tired of working as a receptionist and decided to look for something else. Much like everything else I do, I didn’t know what I was looking for, just something else. I applied for a job at a well known Estate Planning firm in Las Vegas, never dreaming I’d get the job because I knew nothing about the legal field, and by some miracle they hired me. I had no experience and started at the bottom as an assistant (basically a glorified file clerk) to the Legal Assistants. Almost 2 years later, I was pregnant with our daughter, and was still working for the law firm. I had since been promoted to Legal Assistant. Not too shabby considering I started with no experience or education beyond a high school diploma. On June 8, 2000 I gave birth to our daughter, Mikayla Janelle Ryan. She was 6 pounds, 6 oz. and born 13 days early.  When she was about 6 months old, I was asked by one of the Attorney’s at the firm if I’d like to come with him and start his own firm with him. I was a little scared and thought, what if he can’t pay me and all of that.  He promised that he would pay me no matter what even if he paid me before paying himself. So like I do with almost everything, I jumped in head first and left the firm with this attorney and started a new firm. It was just me and him at first and it was a lot of work. We both had new born children under a year old, so it was a lot of hours and I was a new mother.  By this time he promoted me to Paralegal and I was in charge of all of the drafting of the Estate planning work. He had another freelance paralegal he used for probate at the time as I wasn’t trained on that.  As time went on I got trained on Probate and we grew the staff and everything was wonderful. I felt like it was sort of my business too, even though he was the attorney and the owner. In 2007 he decided to partner with another attorney because he was also building a practice in Montana. So he was turning over the management of the Las Vegas office to this other attorney. I worked with him and the other attorney for a year to get things handled. At that point I decided it was again time to move on, since it was no longer the firm I’d help create. So I left the firm. I went to work briefly for another attorney before I realized I didn’t think I could work for another attorney.  Shortly after he hired me (I think about 3 months) the housing market crashed and he laid me off. I came home from work that day after the very fist time I was ever let go from a job and told my husband that I was starting my own company. He looked at me like I had 2 heads and was like why don’t you just relax today and not do anything rash. I was like, nope, I have calls to make.  So on that day in October 2008, I started Paralegal Solutions, LLC.  I was suddenly self employed and had no weekly pay check to fall back on. Talk about pressure. I called every attorney I knew and every contact I had and started going to Network meetings (which was totally new for me). Next thing I know I have cases from attorney’s who had also let their staff go in the wake of the housing crash and I had people networking for me giving me referrals. Now, I didn’t get rich or anything but I was able to support my family on my own as a self employed woman. Things started getting stagnant in 2012 so I started to freak out a bit. My phone wasn’t ringing and I wasn’t getting the cases. So I went to look for work again. Not really actively looking, but I put my resume out there.  I got a call from a financial advisor who was looking for a paralegal to help his clients with estate planning and to do trust reviews. So I partnered with him and his firm to assist his clients.  In 2013 I shut down Paralegal Solutions, LLC and in 2014 started a new company (that does the same thing) Estate Planning Centers of NV. Now why would I shut down a business just to start a new one that does the same thing?  It was meant to be a partnership so that is why I had shut down my old company to get a clean start.  The partnership fell apart pretty quickly so it was just me again with a new company that essentially did the same thing as the old one.  Although this time, I had 2 locations thanks to the financial advisor who let me continue to use his office spaces because I still help his clients.  So now I have 2 locations, one in Sun City Summerlin and one in Sun City Anthem. This brings us to present day.  In a nut shell I have a long history of just jumping in and things tend to work out even though it sounds very easy the way I just described it here. It was all a lot of work, and tears, and fears, and heartache and everything else in between. I cursed myself a lot. Anyway, now I am running my company (again, not getting rich, but providing) and I just keep thinking I should do more. I should be more. I don’t know where that comes from. Like why can’t I just let well enough alone, I have to go and do more, and start something else? Why? I have no idea, if you figure it out, let me know. So this blog is going to be whatever I need it to be. It will be opinions, it will be advice,  it might have some Estate Planning educational articles. Who knows. The sky is the limit. It will just be. Anyway, I hope whoever decides to read this enjoys it. If you don’t like my opinions or what I have to say, that’s cool too. If you do like it, awesome! I have pretty thick skin so I can take it if people want to be haters. However, if you are one of those people who just like to jump on people’s blogs and leave nasty comments and get all riled up over what I have to say, you should know that you can just save it. It’s not going to phase me. But if you get really nasty, I’ll probably block you, just because I don’t need the negativity in my life and essentially if you are like that, I don’t care what you think anyway. So with that, you’ve learned a bit about me and my career.  So, thanks for tuning in and happy blogging!