Friday, November 22, 2013

We all have special needs

This blog was founded on the philosophy that there is always something new to learn - we will never know everything, and our purpose is to continuously seek knowledge and understanding. Something I've learned through the years is that learning does not happen in a vacuum. Sure, there are times where you figure things out in the quiet of your own brain, but I can't imagine a scenario where there isn't some outside influence that sparks our thoughts and nags at our subconscious until ideas come alive. So today I pose this question to you: don't we all have special needs when it comes to learning? We all learn differently, and I am aware that there have been articles and discussions that indicate learning styles don't matter in the grand scheme of things, but how can this be true? Turn back time 100 years and consider the drop outs and 'dunce caps' - those students were ostracized because they weren't able to fit the norm and sit in rows with their hands folded reciting the three R's. I picture Willie Olson from Little House on the Prairie, constantly sitting in the corner, and wonder how his education might have improved if he was given alternatives to the standard learning methods that were available in that schoolhouse. I'm sure he absorbed some of the information that was discussed in that classroom, but how much understanding and processing came out of his experience?

We have come so far yet with every step forward there seems to be the proverbial two steps back. Study teams and case managers develop IEPs and behavior plans and classrooms can be adapted or have adaptations to meet the needs of the learners. Part of me wants to add 'to a point' and part of me wants to say 'to a fault'. The limitations I see are that there are still only so many resources and so many teachers available for too many students who have such varied needs, so while the school might be providing small class instruction, the academics are at a lower level because there is a limit to how many lessons can be taught simultaneously. So a child who is bright and actually needs a higher academic challenge is stuck because the small classroom setting that he needs is boring him because the subject and teaching are below his skill level. In the public schools, the assumption is that if there are special physical needs for learning to help students focus or process then the student must also need remedial studies. It is an unfortunate disservice either way.

Another part of the equation is the ongoing dilemma: to medicate or not to medicate? Some of my early classroom experiences as a teacher working with special needs students included personal witness to before and after medication examples. One student had an aide with her and her mother even was in the classroom volunteering a lot because she knew her daughter was a handful. After many months, the parents decided to try Ritalin, and the difference in this child was night and day. She was focused and engaged and finally had control over her impulses. A few years later, I was working in a transitional special needs classroom as an aide, and after a month or so working with the 9 students in this classroom, I came in one morning and saw one of the boys at his desk literally punching his forehead repeatedly. When I asked him why, he said, "I just took my Ritalin and it gives me such a headache until it kicks in". I felt so sad for him, that he had to hurt like that, but I also saw what a difference the medicine made, watching as it wore off midday and then took effect again with the lunchtime dose.

So now we come down to how you can help me through this blog - When it became apparent that my own son might fall into the category of ADHD or some sort of learning disability, I remembered that pain my student felt in that sixth grade class because of Ritalin and shared that concern with my husband and the pediatrician, and we really tried every other option over two years to try to help. I severely cut my hours at work. We modified his diet, sleep habits, even his environment (removed his carpet, organized his room).  Eventually, we tried a non-stimulant medication. The first day he had the pill, he sat at the table and completed his math worksheet without distraction all on his own. Then he drew me a very detailed pencil drawing of his favorite video game. That was the first drawing he had ever sat down and completed without any prompting - he just wanted to draw a picture, and he was able to get that detail out of his head and onto the paper for the first time. I cried. I cried a lot. It made me wonder what else was trapped inside his mind.

Since then, he has seen many doctors and psychiatrists and psychologists, and we have had to make adjustments as he has grown and gained weight (or not gained weight because of the medicines) and there has never been a perfect drug, but without anything things are not perfect either. In the past two months, my son has gained 7 pounds and grown 2 inches, and who knows when this growth spurt will reach its peak, and these past few months have been very difficult for all of us. Add to that a transition from middle school to high school, which is a huge campus sprawling over many acres and including multiple buildings and close to 1000 students in his freshman class. We have been assured that the school has excellent resources and that they are fully equipped to meet his needs. He is happy and has friends and is even getting involved in a club or two (which is a huge accomplishment). But there are weekly trips to the principal's office (sometimes daily) or the counselor. I worry daily about his activities in between classes and after school, since the campus is so large and they really have quite a bit of freedom. After school, they have 5th block, which is for tutorial (extra help) or clubs, or they are dismissed. My son has opted to ignore the bus and hang out, wander the surrounding town hanging out with friends, or if he goes to tutorial first or a club, he still disappears after and it is a big job for me to track him down and figure out how he will get home (which he never things about or plans for). I don't think he is aiming to be deviant or vindictive, he is just acting on impulse: it feels good to hang out with his friends, so he makes spontaneous choice and figures he'll deal with the consequences later.

When speaking with the study team in middle school, one of my concerns was the vast size of the school. I worried then that it might not be a good fit, and I researched options. There are schools that address the needs of students both behaviorally and academically. But the team encouraged us to give the public school a chance because they had many resources available. So here we are only three months in, and while there were no official disciplinary actions, there have been many concerns and conversations. Ultimately, we were required by the school to have him analyzed by a psychiatrist. We had also seen the same doctor back in 2010 upon suggestion of the middle school. This time, the doctor's solution was that our son just needed more medication for more (or all) of his day. While I agree that medication does help him to focus, and with the growth spurt we've seen in the past months, an adjustment to his medication was probably needed, but I also see that it causes him to not eat or sleep in healthy amounts so I am cautious about taking things too far. I wonder if it wouldn't be better to keep his medication at a minimal level and adjust his environment to one that is better suited to dealing with his impulsiveness and learning needs. My gut says that while he might be sad at being separated from his friends, he would be safer and his needs would be addressed more aptly in a different school setting. He wouldn't be isolated entirely from his friends, in fact, he would benefit because the one school I am leaning toward starts a little later in the day, and they don't give homework, so he would have the time to spend with his friends in the afternoon and evening without my having to harp on him to get his homework done.

So what do I want to learn today? I want to learn about Psychiatrists in the central NJ area. It has been a struggle to find anyone who really wants to help the kids. I need people to talk to and to evaluate my son and help us point him in the right direction, and find the best situation for his needs. Unfortunately, when I do find a doctor or a program I feel can make a difference (and seem to be genuinely interested) - they won't take our insurance.  Why? I am told time and again that it is because they feel it doesn't pay them enough - which to me it seems greedy and hypocritical when you are in a profession that suggests your passion is helping others. It also irritates me that the insurance company would be so stingy to deprive someone of payment they deserve, although I am more likely to believe that the doctors are really just taking advantage - they are greedy and won't accept the payment the insurance company offers, and they feel they can charge so much, which  makes them more exclusive and might even make it seem like they are better than they really are because they are able to command such a fee. My thought is that I make a 'realistic' paycheck and don't collect hundreds or thousands of dollars hourly in my paycheck, and we pay our insurance like everyone else, and the doctors should accept the paycheck the insurance company deems appropriate. My feeling is that these doctors are exploiting people in their time of need, but maybe I'm over thinking this. Unfortunately I have had a lot of time to think about it between waiting for appointments or waiting for doctors or insurance representatives to call back or waiting to hear from the school... I have had to adjust my schedule and managing these inquiries has taken over so much of my days! Which is why I felt it was time to seek more information, but not the promotional spin that one might find on the website from a practice itself, I need real feedback from real people....

Help me learn - Are there ANY good psychologists or psychiatrists out there who have made a difference in your child's life? What programs or adaptations or innovations have you found helpful in the classroom or school?  Thank you so much!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of School

As my oldest drives off toward her senior year in high school and my 14-year-old boards the bus to join her, I have a few moments to consider this next chapter in our lives. I have always loved the first day of school and the inescapable changes it brings. No matter what age, each year on the first day of school you are renewed - given a clean slate and there are endless possibilities. 

So many of us are pondering the 'how did the time go by so quickly' as we put our babies on buses, but the reality is that every day leading up to this point has been full and busy, and while they may blur together, they have definitely all contained 24 hours. When we stand at the door watching the bus drive away, the real question is did we appreciate those hours to the fullest extent?  If not, what are we waiting for? 

I am thrilled to take steps down another path today - not changing directions, just adding more distance to my journey. My sidewalk has never led directly from point A to point B - it is more similar to the fabulous 'Family Circle' comics by Bil Keane, showing little Billy's footsteps swirling around his world in an amusing loop-de-loop. As much as I try to plan my day with a nice, direct route there are many side trips and pit stops along the way. Today I am excited to add two more. I have two new clients today: one looking for help along his journey through college business classes, another looking for marketing and programming ideas for it's organization. I continue to work with the small businesses I currently provide training and consulting for in areas of management, efficiency, and improving skills, and my private students who are looking to improve writing or computer skills in order to advance in their careers. 

I feel very blessed to have the ability to work with each of them because it allows me to pull from my experience and skills and creatively provide solutions for their individual needs. I enjoy the variety within my routine, and I feel that I am better able to provide help because I take the time to understand everyone and the learning styles that work best for each individual. 

Even if you are not looking for a major change, our brains need new stimuli and challenges, so don't be afraid to add a new flavor or travel via a different route. Pay attention to the surroundings, read a different magazine, or just give yourself the opportunity to grow in any way you feel lacking. They say that today's college student will have seven careers in his or her lifetime, and that three of those careers aren't even invented yet. That holds true for anyone who is willing to take that first step outside his or her comfort zone. I know I still have more to learn (I keep telling my kids that pole dancing lessons, bar tending, and becoming a Barista are a few things on my bucket list.) If you say you can't, then you are right, but the truth is you can do anything you set your mind to.

No matter what age you are, every day can be a "first day" when you focus on learning something new. TODAY is the day to make new goals and try something new. Climb out of your rut and point yourself toward a new interest, goal, or even a whim. This may be the day you try that new food or pop in and test your flexibility in a yoga class. Every day provides the potential for 'new and improved' - What do you want to learn today?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Learn Journal Week 1

February is my least favorite month - it is cold and often dark and dreary. It is a perfect time to escape through writing (or a good book, but that doesn't pay the bills!) so I work on writing coursework or some creative writing when I feel inspired. Another thing I am trying to do during these dreary days is to keep a journal of what new tidbits I am learning, because I believe we learn something new every day, and I'm hoping to track that in some sort of consistent way. So I hunker down and settle myself in with the dogs and get to work. I don't mind being cooped up inside if I can get comfy and write in front of the fire, but often the time sitting idle and thinking leads me to noticing things liked chipped paint and dirty walls, so I start cleaning and redecorating and it distracts me from my work. At least I am being productive, I suppose, and it gets me through the winter blah's. Pinterest is another major distraction, but because of it I am getting my cabinets organized, learning how to make beautiful braids, learning how to live healthier, and finding excellent new recipes.

This weekend we decided to try a recipe for pate' that I found. I learned that liver is disgusting. I am sure that in the past I have eaten pate' and not been repulsed, but I should have known right from the start that trying to make my own would not end well. Our friends raise pigs and cows and chickens, so much of the meat we get is from their farm, and often the packages from the butcher contain odds and ends such as livers and such. So after staring at these packages marked LIVER for a while, I finally decided that I would do some research. There were many recipes with chicken livers, but I have pork livers, which didn't seem to be the preferred choice. My husband tried to contribute something he read about the liver being the place where the body filters out all the bad stuff, and so it may not really be something we want to eat, but after years of hearing how some people love liver and onions and liverwurst and chopped liver, I shut him out and pressed on. I finally found some articles that claimed the benefits of liver for it's high iron content, so if you have an iron deficiency, a snack of pate' and crackers would be okay. I chose a recipe and dove in.

The livers were pre-sliced, which was good because if I had to cut into this wine-colored bloody chunk I might not have continued. That said, once I had sliced it into one inch chunks the counter resembled a horror movie. I started onions and butter simmering on the stove (smells okay so far, this isn't going to be bad, onions and butter and then garlic make everything ok, right?) and once the onions reached that nice caramel color and everything was smelling delicious, I added the liver. Instant gross-ness is all I can say. Suddenly my kitchen smelled like the barn where the cows live (which is odd because this was pork liver...) and I knew there was no way this was going to end up edible. But I pressed on.

The recipe said that the liver was done when its juices were clear. I kept waiting for it to smell better. I'm not sure how long it was before I finally decided that no matter how long I cooked it there wasn't going to be a point when it smelled better, so I turned it off and left it to cool. The next step involved the food processor and cream and brandy, so maybe there was still hope!

After some debate with my husband about the size of our food processor (do you think this is really a small one? do they make them bigger? yes, I think the ones on TV are larger than ours? no we shouldn't try to fit all of that in at once...) we added half the contents of the skillet and turned on the machine. Once we had mush, we added cream and brandy, and more salt (salt has GOT to make this better right?) and we tasted. I wish I had a camera ready to catch my husband's face (and I'm sure mine) as it registered utter distaste. We added a little more cream, a little more brandy, salt, pepper, and tried it on fresh sliced baguettes... still gross. So we called the dogs, and the concoction went into serving-size mason jars to spoil the pups for a few days.

Overall it was not a total loss, I still have faint memory of the fancy pate' I'd eaten when I was younger that I didn't hate, and I learned a bit about livers and I have quenched the desire to ever cook them again. Another lesson this taught me is that I am so very grateful to live in a time and civilization where we do not have to rely on entrails for sustenance. While I appreciate the benefits of non-processed meats and poultry, I also don't feel guilty when the 'spare parts' are discarded. We are all in a better place.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Who's folding your laundry?

How is it that I have fallen this far behind on seemingly everything? Stacks of envelopes and papers cover my desk, counter, table, and fill a few totes along with random objects that I have scooped up off the floor. Piles of clothes collect throughout the house - the pile for goodwill, towels to get put away, towels to go out to the pool cabinet, stuff for the camper, stuff to return to kids' rooms, stuff to be hung up.... Why can't I see the bottom of my sink? Why can't my toilet and shower sparkle like the ones on TV?

As someone who works from home, one would start to wonder what I do with my time at home each day. Honestly, I am not holed up in front of the TV all day or sleeping (although I sometimes nap from 2-2:30 as part of my 'lunch break'). I'm not out with the girls, no bon-bons on the couch while I read or catch a movie. I am working -writing, updating client websites, developing curriculum for future classes and tutoring sessions, updating contact lists. I'm coordinating calendars and keeping up with correspondence for clients, vendors, and home. I manage social media for my clients (which means, yes, I am on Facebook, but it does involve a paycheck). I try to keep up with dishes and laundry and sweeping as I go through my day. Afternoons usually transform me into a taxi service and chef (simultaneously) and some nights a coach as well. So why can't I keep up?

To some, the answer is obvious - none of us is 'Supermom', and until I make my first million there is no one to help me. Wait a minute - that's not true. I do not live in this house alone. I am not making this mess by myself, and I shouldn't be the only one who has to manage it. I know - nos itt rocket science, but how many of us are doing more than our fair share of maintaining our home? We ease our conscience by telling ourselves we are taking care of our family, we are being nice, we are helping the ones we love. But there is a point where it isn't helping anyone. I think I'm there.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit some of my weaknesses. For example, my daughter has thick, wavy hair that is difficult to manage so most mornings part of our routine is fifteen minutes for me to straighten her hair, or at least help her curl it or put it up. How many of us have our own hairdresser to do our hair every day? Thankfully, we've found a good hairstyle that helps make her hair easier to care for herself. So that's one part of my morning I've reclaimed. I don't want to complain. I want to be able to do my husband's laundry and put it away for him, and make everyone's meals and clean up after them, and sort through the stacks of paper that come into the house every day and pay bills and fill out forms, homework folders, let the dogs out, let the dogs in.....

Where in the marriage vows does it say that I am alone in this family and solely responsible for everything? It doesn't. This is not 1950, and although I work from home, I don't get as much work done because my home responsibilities are drowning me. "Since you're home, can you drive me....", or "While you're home today, can you take care of this?". I'm supposed to do enough work to bring in a full-time salary while still making sure dinner is on the table, and everyone has clean underwear. At the end of the day, who makes my lunch? Who folds my laundry? Me. Who puts it away? Not me - I'm too tired. Then there's more mess. Then I'm depressed and frustrated.

How do we fix this? Here's my plan:
- First, I'll make a list of everything I do all day, and everything I ask for help with, and every request that is completed. This will help me see how much I do, and how much help I get. I should also track what didn't get done or what gets done without my initiating it... but I'm not sure I have time for all that....

- Next I have to analyze the results and sort it according to Covey. There is a great chart that helps with time management (Do Now, Important/Do now, not important/Do later, important/ Do later, not important). Once I can identify this, then I can see where I need help and where I can ask for help.

- Now I need a plan. I need to schedule my time so that I have due dates and allotted time for projects. And yes, I will still include a nap in my day when I can, because I believe it is healing to have that break midday. I  also need to schedule my kids and the tasks they need to accomplish.

- At some point, I'll need to include my family in this schedule and get them on board with the plan. Figure out bargaining chips and keep it simple so we all can follow it and stick to it.

So what did we learn today? I'm not helping my family by helping my family. I need to empower them to take care of themselves because I am not always going to be here. And I need a firm schedule, even working from home.

What can we learn tomorrow?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Revise, Rescind.... how about RESTRAINT

Let me start by saying that I was raised Roman Catholic, and my family is being raised the same, but there are many teachings and practices that we have just gone with lately because it is our 'obligation'. I am not totally thrilled with what is happening in the church, and now things are getting political. For the past few Sundays it seems we are hearing campaign speeches instead of homilies and I'm ready to puke about it all. I don't want to have discussions about Birth Control or Abortion at church and I don't want my young children to have to listen to any of it, either. I already have to turn off the news in the morning because of the sex scandals and the drug overdoses that they are reporting about. Yes, I will discuss these matters with my family, but I don't need it in my face at 7am, and I don't want to spend my Sundays having 'the talk' with my kids. Where are the positive, uplifting, inspiring messages to motivate me to do God's will this week? Where are the family-oriented discussions?

Maybe the Catholic church doesn't understand families... I mean, Catechism classes aren't offered at times that make it convenient for working parents to drive children to and fro. Celebrations and feast days should feel like coming home to family dinner rather than simply an obligation we 'get out of the way' a few times a year. Welcome me to church, don't mentally take attendance. If you build it, they will come. If you make it 'home', they will come back....

Anyway, the priests need to all SHUT UP already about birth control - this week, they said Rescind, don't Revise. I say, RESTRAINT is what they should really be teaching. I'm not saying abstinence, I'm saying that Catholics need to trust in the teachings of the Catechists they appoint, and they need to practice what they preach.... So what if birth control is covered by prescription drug plans? That doesn't mean Catholics have to use them. People should be able to show some restraint and even set the example by following their teachings. Dieters have access to Dunkin Donuts, but it doesn't mean we have to ban shopkeepers from selling donuts to fat people. Everyone can walk into a deli, but it shouldn't be the government's business if an Orthodox Jew wants a ham and cheese on rye. People need to control themselves, and laws should not be involved. In addition, the government should not be influenced by any one religion. Leave the judgement in HIS hands.... if God truly believes that birth control is so bad,  He will take action and He will reward his followers and punish the sinners. In the meantime, 'judge not, lest ye be judged'.

God gave mankind the gift of learning, and we have learned to create many pharmaceuticals that have saved millions of lives. How do we know that THAT wasn't God's plan. Lifesaving is not only based on the physical body, it responds to the needs of the emotional soul. Sometimes, birth control is a medical need, providing the hormonal stability some women need to prevent severe pain from headaches or cramps. In other cases, the pill can help a woman with an irregular cycle to have hope for a cycle of a 'normal, healthy' body, and that might give them the hope of being able to use their reproductive organs by giving them the ability to function as they should. I'm not sure of the percentage of who uses the pill for physical needs and who uses it to manage their family size.

Emotionally, the ability to have some control over her life is important to a woman's mental state. Knowing when you are ready to become a parent and being able to plan that aspect of your life is not only smart, it's comforting and it makes better parents. I'm not preaching abstinence, and while the Catholics have their 'mucus monitoring' option, humans have been able to use their God-given intelligence to create an effective way to manage a monthly cycle. I know that sounds sort of like, "If God had wanted us to walk, He wouldn't have invented roller skates" kind of logic, but in a practical way, the point is that sometimes life requires efficiency and reliability, and planning parenthood is one area where I feel people want to and need to take that responsibility.

Some interesting tidbits from today's NJ Star-Ledger:
  • In practice, the Catholic church already respects the consciences of responsible adults on birth control. A full 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptives (for evangelicals, it’s nearly 100 percent). Most Catholic theologians reject the church’s teaching on this issue, so the church had long taken more of a "don't ask, don't tell" approach.
  • It’s a matter of public health. Spacing pregnancies improves birth outcomes. And if all women had equal access to affordable contraceptives, there would be far fewer abortions and unprepared mothers.
  • In the 1960s, when the Catholic church decided people no longer had to pray in Latin, the pope also formed a committee to re-evaluate birth control. More than 80 percent of its members recommended it be allowed for married couples. The pope decided to overrule them.
"We know the leadership doesn’t speak for most Catholics on birth control. And at the end of the day, it’s a choice every woman must be allowed to make for herself, based on her conscience." (Star-Ledger Editorial Board, 2-7-12)

"The Catholic bishops have every right to tell people not to use birth control. That's religious freedom.
But they don't have veto power over how hundreds of thousands of women, many non-Catholic, use their health care plans. That's religious mandate." (Star-Ledger Editorial Board, 2-12-12)



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why do I really watch the Superbowl?

I am not an athlete. Not even close. Athletic events are only attended if my child or myself is performing in said event. And when I say performing, I don't mean actually playing that particular sport, it usually means marching with the band. There has been the occasional soccer game or flag football game, but my children did NOT follow their father's athletic footsteps. My oldest is strong and athletic, but she is a dancer and a swimmer. She performs, but it is definitely at a high level. In general, our family really isn't into traditional sports. So why is it that I feel utterly compelled to watch the Superbowl. Yes, it has a lot to do with the musical talent and the commercials, of course, but if that were the case I would not be actually watching the actual game. I don't really totally understand, but I do want the Giants to win. I am not sure where I brew my hometown spirit, but when it comes down to it, I love to rally behind "our team". I enjoy school games, I feel that missing the Superbowl is indecent, and when it comes to the Olympics, my country definitely needs me to tune in. I have to cry over all the back stories and marvel at everything these athletes have overcome to make it to this ultimate challenge. I don't understand much of the sporting events and rules and what not, but I do appreciate the work and effort that goes into each attempt, each game, each event. What does this mean? I like to win, and I like to support others so they can win, and I believe in all that is good in our country.  Apple Pie, football, all that jazz. It's sentimental (with an emphasis on the 'mental' in my case) and sappy, but add a parade and I've got tears welling in my eyes (as long as I don't have to march in it). I am not sure why I buy into the rah-rah hooplah, but it's part of who I am. So I dutifully sit glued to my television tonight to celebrate all that is good in our country with some hot wings and apple pie. Go big blue!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A year later, a year behind

Here I am
Once again
There's more to that song, but I can't think of it right now. I realize that last year at this time, I was depressed. Recently unemployed and having had something I really did love taken away from me, I felt deflated and useless. I still miss my school and my teachers and most of all my babies and their families. I see some on Facebook from time to time, but once again, a job I loved, a home away from home, is over. This fall, against my better judgement, I took a position as a Teacher's Aide in a local intermediate school. I am fully aware of the beauracracy of public school, but with the economy it was decided that a 'regular' source of income was a good idea. The hours were decent and worked around my kids' schedules, and overall it should have been a positive experience. Mornings were fine. I was with fifth graders, they were terrific. Afternoons, I went with sixth graders, and it was not fine. I had five stuents that I accompanied through study skills and whatever Related Arts course (music, Spanish, gym, etc) each day. I think under the circumstances, I did a fine job, but it was rough and I was not happy.

So here I am again, this time without the option of collecting unemployment. Now is the time to go back through everything I have taught and learned and gather my thoughts. I know what I really need to do is develop a plan, identify goals and objectives, and measurable outcomes. I do not feel sad or depressed, as I know that I am meant to work for myself, and even though I have taken on some responsibilities for a few people, I know eventually I will need to be in charge of my career again and I will make sure that I am the one in the leadership role. I will no longer work for someone on someone else's terms.

I still believe in Always Keep Learning, and I know that we do continue to learn each day. The value in today's lesson is to find your focus and follow it. It reminds me of being in the labor and delivery room at the hospital, trying to find something to focus on and work toward. Life is like that. Right now I feel as though I'm on a merry-go-round, and there are so many pretty horses and practical seats to choose from. I can stand and watch the ride, I can stand on the ride and wander, or I can pick the next horse and get on and enjoy the ride. 

I think the problem is I keep trying to choose a horse. Jumping on where someone else has ridden on a horse designed by someone else doing what someone else created it to do. I need to get off the stupid ride and create my own attraction. I think I've known this for some time now.

Too late for second guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes........................
and leap.