Monday, March 19, 2012

What Makes You Stay?

My in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past weekend.  All five kids, their spouses, fourteen grandkids, and one grandson-in-law converged on San Antonio for the weekend to help them celebrate the special occasion.

We took a riverboat ride, and the captain asked them what the secret was to a long and happy marriage.  He said he thought it was the bad times that made a marriage and spoke of how he'd experienced a death in the family, he and his wife had both lost jobs, and that he felt the hard times made their marriage stronger.

Fifty years is an accomplishment.  My own parents will celebrate forty-four years in May.  My husband and I will celebrate ten years in June, and we are very proud of reaching that milestone.  We've both have been through a divorce and know how devastating it can be.

If you listen to the news, anywhere from 41-50% of all marriages end in divorce.  According to DivorceRate.org, more detailed statistics show:

Per the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri:
  • 50% percent of first marriages
  • 67% of second marriages
  • 74% of third marriages end in divorce 
According to Enrichment Journal on the divorce rate in America:
  • The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
  • The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
  • The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%

It's easy to make a relationship work during the good times.  Like the riverboat captain, I believe getting through the bad times is what challenges and strengthens or destroys a marriage. 

Anyone who has ever been married will tell you there are days when he or she just wanted to walk out the door and not look back.  Days when the going got too rough.  Days when the problems with their significant other felt insurmountable. 

So the real question is:  What makes you stay? 

What is the number one reason you straighten your spine, dust yourself off, ignore the bruised feelings, and make another effort?  Is it the kids?  Money?  Love?  Your vows?  Your religious beliefs?  What makes you stay?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Top Five Reasons I Want To Be Like George Clooney

George Clooney, Telethon, E!News
It's not because he's rich, handsome, and famous.  Really.  I'll do my best to convince you...

In January, George starred in Inside The Actor's Studio.  I recorded it and recently sat down to watch it.  George touched on things that reminded me of the kind of life I want to live. 

5)  "I'm not going to be miserable anymore.  What I do is a fun job, and I won't work on sets that aren't going to be fun." 

George spends anywhere from four months to a year on a movie, and he stated that it's not worth it being miserable.  Most people spend forty hours a week, fifty to fifty-two weeks a year at work.  George is right.  It's not worth it being miserable. 

As a Manager, I've had heart to heart talks with people about their careers.  When they're stuck - really stuck or miserable for whatever reason - I have asked them to picture themselves lying on their deathbed.  Is this career, this job, how they want to say they spent a large part of their life?  It really changes the dynamic of the conversation.  Highlights a person's priorities.  So the first reason I want to be like George?  Refuse to be miserable.

4)  "I don't want to have that tribute where they roll you out and say you had fifteen films at number one.  I don't want that.  I really want to have something that lasts longer than an opening weekend."

George also stated that he does commercials overseas.  He said that if doing a coffee commercial allows him to live in the house that he lives in, and have the life he has, make films that he wants to make and not have to worry about a profit, then he will happily sell coffee.

What person wouldn't sell coffee to finance doing projects that they believe in???  So the second reason I want to be like George?  Focus.  Find a way to do what I love.

3)  Kindness 

George talked about working with Director Alexander Payne while making The Descendants.  He stated that Payne has an incredible capacity for kindness, and that when making a movie that spans the emotional range from humor to loss, it is up to the director to gently get the actor there.  If a director pushes an actor, then the acting is not organic and it won't work as well.  At an earlier point in the show, he talked of working with directors who believe in making actors uncomfortable.  George believes that nothing good comes out of creating a space someone doesn't feel welcome in.

This made me think about my children.  They're getting older now, to the point where it is not my role as parent to tell them what to do, so much as to guide them in their decisions.  Pushing them will not help them learn.  It will not get them to open up to me.  Gently helping them discover for themselves what is right and wrong will help them become better adults.  So the third reason I want to be like George?  Be kind.

2)  "What you lack in skill you can make up for in effort."

George stated he believes he can learn new skills.  He said that five years ago he could not have acted in The Descendants, but the older he gets, he feels the need to push the limits on his comfort level.

I love this.  The fourth reason I want to be like George, is to never stop pushing the limits to learn what I am capable of.

George's home in Italy, ABC News
1)  "I'm very aware of catching the brass ring."

George stated he is well aware that if it wasn't for ER being in a certain time slot on Thursday nights, he would not have the career he's had.  He said he realized a few years ago that he was not taking the time to enjoy what he's had.  His home on Lake Como in Italy gives him peace and joy.

I don't lead the charmed life that George does, but I am blessed.  I have a wonderful and healthy family, I have my health, and I have a roof over my head.  I have a passion for writing, and I enjoy my day job.  There are many people in this world that have far less than I do.  So the last reason I want to be like George Clooney?  I want to remember to be appreciative for what I have, and grateful that I have things in my life that bring me peace and joy.

If you get a chance to watch the show, I encourage you to do so.  Oh, I did forget to mention one other reason I want to be like George...  he never wears makeup.  If only!

So how do these five reasons speak to you?  Which ones would you like to see more of in your life?