Settle in for a long post.
For years I've joked about my Blow Dryer Epiphanies - today I thought I'd share one with you and at the same time let you into my somewhat random thought process. But first - let me explain what a blow dryer epiphany is. Thanks to my very fine straight hair, I get to spend time with a blow dryer every morning. During this time there are no real distractions - I can't hear music or a TV, can't talk to anyone, can't be looking something up on a computer. All I can do is stand there and spend 5-10 minutes with only my thoughts to entertain myself.
Most mornings I use the time to go over what I need to do that day, or to think over a problem I'm having at work. I often come up with solutions to my work problems when I do this. I think it is partly because I'm at my best in the morning and partly because I've had the night to let my subconscious work it out. When I'm lucky by the time my hair is dry I've had an epiphany and am ready to tackle the problem as soon as I get to work.
Since Friday was my last day in the office in Delhi, I wasn't much in the mood for thinking about work while I dried my hair. Instead I found myself thinking about a challenge a friend posted on his blog - what embarrassing songs do you secretly love.
I started thinking about a recent post where I admitted I won a bet by knowing "Careless Whisper" was a Wham song and not a George Michael solo. The guy I beat made sure to remind me that it was pretty embarrassing that I knew this. I told him I owed my knowledge to teenage slumber parties where one of my friends had a Wham record and we spent a bunch of time listening to it.
From here my mind wandered to those slumber parties and what we did. I remember watching a lot of movies - Grease 1 & 2 being popular, as was Top Gun (from a copy my mom edited to remove the sex scene - I didn't know there was a sex scene in the movie until I saw it again in college!)
From there I started thinking about the fact that we watched movies at the slumber parties at my house before we did at my friends - because we had a Video Disc player - a machine that came along before VCRs. I won the machine by selling the most newspaper subscriptions for my local newspaper when I was about 7.
Now we are finally getting close to the epiphany. I realized that a 7 year old probably doesn't have what it take to win this type of contest, I had to have had a LOT of help from my parents. And yet, they helped in a way that I really felt it was my accomplishment. I also realized how much winning that contest impacted the woman I am today.
My parents gave me an opportunity at a very young age to set a goal, to work to accomplish that goal and to experience the joy that comes with success. They helped in a way that allowed me to feel like it was my accomplishment (I vaguely remember sitting in my mom's beauty shop filling in order booklet as the ladies in the salon bought subscriptions from me. Today, I realize my mom had a lot to do with those orders, but as I kid I felt like the best sales person.) The feeling I had when I placed first in the contest was one I liked, and it drove me to do well in school and to work hard to achieve my goals, so I could experience that feeling over and over again.
In addition to the Video Disc player, I also won some cash which my dad helped me put in a savings account. Five or six years later I used this money (along with a bit of lawn mowing money and contributions from my parents) to fund my very first trip. My grandparents let me tag along with them to Hawaii. This was our first (and their only) trip on an airplane and I'm so glad I got to experience it with them. I LOVED being in Hawaii, exploring a different place and seeing the way different people lived. That trip set me up for the life I live now.
My grandparents let me play guide, getting us around the grounds of the hotel and on our tours. Today I'm sure they weren't totally depending on me to navigate, but the told me again and again that they couldn't have made it without me, building my confidence to the point that I simply knew I could tackle being in a new place and figuring out how to get around. I use that confidence every time I take of on a new adventure.
There you have it - a look at the crazy path my thoughts can take in 10 minutes, AND my epiphany - my parents and grandparents, through their quiet guidance and love, provided the foundation of my life today through events as random as helping me sell newspaper subscriptions and taking me to Hawaii. I am truly blessed.
They are not so easily found
But you can thank us later
For the things we've handed down