Monday, July 28, 2014

Insight - The plight of the working woman

This is going to be one of those columns. For years I had a flexible schedule and if I wanted to swim on a 90 degree day, I could. Deadlines I made for myself were flexible. Spending the day in the water was the best thing I could think of. It still is. 
This is my second summer with a hard deadline on Wednesday (the day we go to press). We lay out the paper, write stories and finalize everything for the week. It’s busy. 

Today is an amazing summer day. Many people are posting photos of their trip to the beach, be it ocean or lake. And, oh my, I’m jealous. I shouldn’t be…I love my job. I also love water.

I never understood the demands of the working mom or anyone, who had to be at her desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

When searching for a job, I now understand how important it is to find one with paid days off or at least days off to spend with the family or by yourself soaking in vitamin D and reading a book. 

I am thankful that my job is still flexible. Yesterday, I snuck away for an hour or so on a “lunch break” to cool off in a pool. I made the time up late last night, see…flexible. 

How do people who have “regular” jobs do it? Is it that they don’t know what it’s like to have the whole summer off? Or perhaps they would rather take long vacations to exotic places during the winter. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’d like to know. 

Is there a mindset for people who love their jobs and want to work all day and play all night? 

One perk of being inside on a day like today…air conditioning. For the construction workers on River Road or anywhere in the area…stay cool and hydrated and if you can…sneak away for a “cool” lunch break.

-Michelle Libby

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Insight - There will always be family - By Michelle Libby

Monday night I met up with my cousin in Portland who I had not seen for 20 years. When we were younger, we used to see one another every summer on the Connecticut shore. We had so many shared memories. So when he said he was coming to Portland for work, I was excited at the opportunity to visit with him and his girlfriend. 

My sister, brother-in-law, niece and mom all went into Portland and waited for him at the DiMillos Dock. 

We all went out to dinner and it was like not a day had gone by. Of course, he had a little gray at his temples and I, of course, hadn’t changed a bit in 20 years. (cough, cough). He is a father and I am a mother now…weird. He spoke on the phone to his son and I had a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that he had children. We are the next generation of parents. 

We’re family and no matter how much time goes by, nothing can break that bond. Even though it’s been a long time, I know that I can call on him when I’m in Florida to spend a night or two at his condo, just like when he returns for a few weeks, he’ll be invited to stay with us for as long as he likes. 

Having family is really special. You don’t realize it until it’s there in front of you. My sister pointed out that even though we live 10 minutes apart, we might not talk for three weeks, but if she needed something, she’d never hesitate to call to ask me for whatever. 

Family is unique. They are friends that you can’t really get rid of. No matter what happens or how horrible a situation is, they are there when the chips are down. 

That being said, family should never take advantage of another person’s generosity. They should never forget that family gives and takes, loves and tolerates. 

Family is a shared common background. 

Seeing Pete made the years drop away as he started telling stories about the days at the shore and common friends we have. I’m thankful for Facebook and the ability to keep me connected with my family all over the country. 

I don’t plan to wait for another 20 years to see him, even if that means a trip to south-central Florida.

Michelle Libby

Monday, July 14, 2014

Insight - Doing what's easy and doing what's best - By Michelle Libby

There’s something to be said for comfort. It’s easy. It makes you feel safe. But what if comfort is holding you back – keeping you stuck in a rut? There’s nothing wrong with being in a rut, but is it helping you move forward in your business or in your personal life?

Taking chances is never easy. Change is scary for most. I moved every four years growing up. At first I hated it, but then I saw the value in moving - New friends to make, better opportunities and chances to remake who I wanted to be. Now, having lived in Windham for 18 years, I realize how comfortable I am with the town. I know people at the Town Hall and at the schools. When I realized I’d been friends with a woman for 10 years, I was surprised. I’d never had a good friend for that long. However, if I never move, how will I develop new friendships that might be beneficial to me? Staying in Windham is easy for me.
There is a woman from Windham, who graduated from Windham High School a handful of years ago, who is leaving for Cambodia this week as part of the Peace Corps. After attending a New England college, she went to Washington DC as part of AmeriCorps to work with health related programs. I was impressed that someone from Windham, Maine would pack up and go to Washington DC to work, knowing no one. 

When I heard that she was going to Cambodia, I was more impressed and in awe of her. How does a 20-something decided to pack up and move to the other side of the world, where Internet is spotty at best and where it’s a plus that there will be running water?

I’ll tell you what kind of person does a trip like this. Someone who knows that doing something outside the box can have huge payoffs in the end. Someone who isn’t afraid to give up the easy path of moving home to stay with her parents. Someone who isn’t afraid of change. This woman is going to experience life with a different culture, unique perspectives and who knows what else. 

So this woman is taking a huge leap out of the rut of life. She is not being held back by anything. Maybe you want to start a bit smaller in your pursuit of getting unstuck from what’s easy. Ask questions about something you’re interested in. Take an adult education course. Say “no” when asked to do something that’s not in your best interest. 

Don’t get stuck and think there’s nothing else out there for you…I guarantee there’s more if you ask for it and work toward it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Insight - Welcome Summer!

Massachusetts, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado are some of the license plates I saw this weekend. If you hadn’t guessed…Summer is here!

Driving on Sunday morning to Raymond, I realized that I wasn’t the only one on the road.  Sunday morning in the off season it is rare to meet another car unless someone is heading to church. This past weekend, traffic in both directions was slow and steady. 

Local business owners are encouraged by the influx of people from away. Hannaford-to-go had one employee filling orders for six customers at once. Business is good. 

There is a catch-22 with summer visitors. We love to have them here, but when we need to rush to the store for a gallon of milk at 5 p.m. on a Friday, we aren’t thankful they are here. Traffic is backed up to River Road and just to get to the center of town can take half-an-hour. 

I remember as a child living in Wells in the summer. They had the same issue there on Route 1. Route 1 was backed up bumper to bumper. We sat in the car in our bathing suits with the windows rolled down (we didn’t have air conditioning) waiting for a break in the traffic. My parents liked to take us to the beach often. To get there they would plan out a route that required as little time as possible on Route 1. They would take all the back roads to not have to drive on Route 1. We’d get to the beach with little hassle.
This is why I tell people to get off the beaten path. If tourists stay on Route 302, they will see the stores, a lot of traffic and signs trying to entice them to stop. Sebago Lake State Park, Point Sebago, Maine Wildlife Park and Dundee Park are all off the main roads. Just think what someone might miss. 

All of a sudden summer has arrived. From the traffic jams to the temperatures that have everyone running to the beach, we have waited all year for this. Get out there and enjoy it because before you know it, the stores will be stocking back to school items and the yellow buses will be back on the road. 

Happy summer! 

-         Michelle Libby