Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chasing The Prize

Seems to me that I’m always chasing the prize. Very seldom can I say that I’m ahead of the curve. After all I didn’t invent the Ipod. I was not the founder of FedEx. Runway models do not wear my latest designs and my picture has never appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer. Last time I checked my name still doesn’t appear on the Presidential ballot, but perhaps that will one day it will.

This is not to say that I didn’t have dreams nor that I was never able to accomplish anything. As a little girl I was certain that one day I would be a teacher. I could close my eyes and seem myself at the head of the classroom, students listening in rapt attention as I taught them history or discussed great novels with them. I dreamed of being a mother and a wife. I guess I could check these off my list too.

The problem seems to be that I never seem to do these things in the right order and they never occur the way they did in my childhood daydreams. I seem to possess an innate ability to thwart progress and circumvent my dreams. If I had been the lead character in the short story the lady and the tiger, the tiger would inevitably always be my first choice.

One of my college professors once said that I had tenacity. Perhaps she is correct. If not for tenacity I would never have survived my numerous poor choices. It would have been far better for me to have been born with a better degree of foresight than dogged determination. Such a gift would translate into far less bumping and bruising.

It seems to be the same way with my blog ThriftyMaven. Every day people are beginning to sign up, even when I’m not having a contest. I get so excited to see the number of subscribers as they rise. I feel like dancing around the room when I see that I now have over 1,000 comments on ThriftyMaven. Then, moments later, I feel crestfallen to see the daily hits have gone done to almost 300 visitors. Funny, because two months ago, I would have been dancing around the room if 300 people came to view ThriftyMaven in a week.

Now I’m chasing money. Money to make up for the loss of my husband’s income but secretly hoping to win a trip to the BlogHer conference. I want to learn how to make enough money on my blog to earn a second income but I know I would be jumping up and down for joy if I won the $500 gift card. If I won the trip I could learn from women who are actually doing that. If I won the trip I could tour the Kraft Kitchens. Now granted, I LOVE to cook, but as a Business Teacher this would be a big deal. There are so many things I would ask and even more information I could carry back to my students.

The problem is not the recipe, it was a finalist. The problem is, that now I am part of a dreaded voting contest. These contest force me to go out with hat in hand begging and pleading people to take time out of their busy day to log on to a website to help someone they hardly know to win something that they won’t share in at all. It is in fact a very selfish thing to do and I don’t know why I continue to get myself caught up in these sort of contests? The chances of me winning such a contest seem as elusive as catching the wind in a paper cup.

Now comes the pathetic groveling, begging, pleading mess that is vote getting. I decided to see if Twitter would net me any votes and amazingly enough, someone actually tweeted me back saying that they did just that. I begged co-workers. I ran around with sheets of paper with directions on how to vote begging and pleading for them to vote for me. “What do I get said one of the aides?” “What do you want?” I asked. From there it’s on to OLS to beg and plead with the people from my local sweep club. A few of them are in the same position as I am and I feel guilty asking. Why should I ask for their help to win something that they could probably use just as much or even more? If I win does that make me a bad person?

Further into OLS I go. Now I go to the vote request area of OLS. Please vote for me I ask. My husband lost his job. We could really use this. I say this knowing that across the country is in the same boat as I am. There are people on OLS who are in an even worse position than I am. Is it really right for me to ask them to vote for me? What is fair in this situation? I wondered the same thing as I posted in my vote request in Sweepsheet. I offered to vote for anyone who voted for me.

In ThriftyMaven I post a HUGE Baking and Pleading Blog post asking for people to please vote for me. I provide a copy of my recipe and beg anyone landing on my site to please vote for me. Do they even read it? Do they even acknowledge it? I wonder. Then it’s over to my New Day New Page site. I totally didn’t understand how to set up a blog originally with gmail. I honestly thought that there was a site that was set up for me and that each page I wrote was part of the same blog. Silly me. Essentially there exists out in cyberspace 18 different blogs that I have created and most of them only have one post. Oh my! Now, since I like the title New Day New Page I keep this blog and yet the ip address is the title of a post I did along time ago for a contest. Crazy huh? Plead, beg, grovel, appeal, beseech, entreat, implore, petition, pray, I do it all hoping that someone will vote and I even hope they will vote more than once.

Next, I head over to Kirtsy. You don’t know KiRTSY? It is a place to find things. News. Ideas. Information. Products. Coolness, and more and more and more. It’s much like Digg which is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. You or someone who reads your blog and finds something interesting on it can post it in a category People looking for something on perhaps food will take a look at that category, see your post and head there to check it out. I thought about throwing it up on Digg but didn’t want to press my luck.

As you can see, my tactic for this, and really for most everything in my life seems to be the same. Throw enough mud at the wall and hope something will stick. Keep trying and if this doesn’t work, well maybe that will. It’s a wonder that the Darwin Theory hasn’t caught up with me yet.

Then I fret, anguish, brood, and stew. If only I had more friends. If only I had a better personality that would win more friends. Maybe if I had more presence on the net. What if? Why can’t? There are a million ways to dissect my dilemma and they all come back to me being unworthy at some level. I feel like Charlie Brown fishing a rock out of his trick or treat bag while his friends delight in finding candy.

Tonight I sit in the final PTSO meeting of the year. It is our Awards night. Our seniors have earned over $3.3 million in scholarships. My heart swells with pride as some of my babies receive awards from classroom excellence and achievement.

I applaud and smile as I listen to scholarship amounts as they are announced. One young man earned more than my own home is worth in scholarships. How I wanted that for myself when I was young. An unstable family life had me bouncing from place to place desperate to just fit in and stay under the radar. I didn’t’ stand out so much as I survived high school.

This is where my story comes full circle. I did eventually get the scholarships I would have liked to have received in high school. They came eight years after I graduated. I opened a couple of thick envelopes to discover that I had received them and although no one applauded me at an assembly in school I felt a pride that was all my own. The applause for outstanding achievement came later as I was received an award for being an outstanding graduate at age 27 rather than at age 17. Was it indeed ten years too late as my Dad sometimes said or was it just in time for me? When I marched to receive my degree, graduating Magna Cum Laude two years later it was while my two sons sat in the audience.

The Byrds had a song years ago called “Turn, Turn, Turn.” I thought of that tonight as I watched my students. To everything there is a season. Perhaps this will be my season to win this contest. Maybe the season will come when Darryl gets a new job and I don’t want a grocery gift card so badly that I will have to beg everyone to vote for me. There’s a time for every purpose under Heaven.

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