This blog is where I go to sort things out when my mind is on overdrive.  It always makes me feel better to write things down, even if afterward it seems silly.

Today I was sad all day.  Then I went to work with the old lady that I care for.  Now I am home, and I am my old self again.  All the sadness is lifted.  I feel positive and happy.

Giving to someone who appreciates me is immediate relief for sadness.

Now I remember why I got the job in the first place.

a hard and strange day

After immersing myself in my past (by spending a few days at my childhood home) I am feeling strange.  Not necessarily due to anything in particular; I had a wonderful time.  Going back in time inevitably opens old wounds–those that we all have.

I am overcome with feelings of guilt and inadequacy and feeling stuck.  I feel alone. I feel like nobody understands or appreciates me for who I am.

I am unable to accomplish much today.  My attitude is pessimistic and negative.  I have been having nightmares and severe digestive upset.  My list of ten favorite things that I wrote today didn’t even cheer me up the way it normally does.

I want to leave Facebook. Again.  Why do I have such a love/hate relationship with it? My “friends” list has grown again to a point where I don’t feel comfortable sharing and being my true self.  When I post things that are of interest of me, I think I inevitably offend someone every time.  I am overly concerned with how I affect people to the point where I punish myself with guilt and grief over it.  People can be so complicated, myself included.

Sometimes we have to be sad.  Sometimes we have to digest those uncomfortable feelings before we can be in a good place again. Feeling good takes conscious effort and nurturing of the self.

I am trying to remember that today and am trying to roll with this discomfort, letting it pass through me so I can feel soft and free again.

ten things

this week I love:

10. my dad teaching Mia how to skip rocks, with sweetness and laughter

9. sunset at Lakefront beach in my hometown of Hudson, Wisconsin

8. 10 books for $1.50 from the thrift store that I went to with my mom

7. selling three of those books online hours after posting them

6. a good-morning snuggle between my girls first thing in the morning

5. ping-pong on the dining room table

4. both the complicatedness and simplicity of life

3. jazz playing on Mia’s radio–that’s my girl!

2. seeing the beauty of my childhood home, as if for the first time

1. the softness and warmth of Alan’s embrace after being apart AND his drawing me a bath with lavender oils, candles, and music (I added that just for you, Alan)

thoughts on decision-making

I have made many impulsive decisions in my life.  I have also made a few well thought-out decisions. Some of my decisions have been based on passion, some in fear, some on intuition, and some on research. Some decisions have been unconscious and some conscious.

Based on my experience, I have learned this much:

A decision based both in research and intuition yields the decision that I am least likely to regret.

By nature, I am impulsive and passionate.  I am also intuitive and emotional.  My natural weakness is being logical.

As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to tone down my natural tendencies and work on my weaknesses.  I’ve learned to delay gratification, prioritize needs over wants, and to detach emotions from decisions as much as possible.  I’ve learned how to research properly and which sources are legitimate and which are not.

I am learning how to not judge others for the decisions they make, even if they don’t make sense to me. Watching someone I love make poor decisions is difficult; I have to remind myself to keep my nose in my own business and let them be.

Each of us is on a unique journey and in the perfect place at the perfect time.

Easter bunnies and related things

Easter is almost like Christmas around here, but more simple, short, and therefore possibly more fun.

Expectations are low; we don’t have to travel or get together with multiple families, preparation can be last minute and still work out, and stuffing an Easter basket with goodies rarely costs over $25.

This year, a fat bunny sat in our yard on Easter morning before the big egg hunt.  How perfect was that? Anna announced delightedly that the Easter bunny was here.  Although I am not for pushing beliefs about Santa or the Easter bunny too hard, I cherish this sweet and  innocent phase that encapsulates Anna these days–a world in which no logic befalls her and her real and imaginary worlds completely entwine.

Mia figured out the truth about Santa and Easter Bunny when she was about Anna’s age.  Mia has always been able to see beyond the surface and detect inauthenticity.  “The Santa at the mall is just a man in a costume,” Mia announced many Christmases ago…and in an instant solved our parental dilemma of “to lie or not to lie (about Santa and other delusions)”.  She is too intuitive to fall for any bull, including that which is meant to be fun.

Now with Anna, I will wait and see how things unfold.  How long will her beliefs continue without us parents feeding them? I don’t know the answer, although I do hope it doesn’t last so long that I have to break the news to an unsuspecting 10-year-old.

on becoming a grown-up

A few years ago, I began to ponder what it meant to be a grown-up.

For a reason that I was unable to put my finger on, I was certain that I was not yet a grown-up.  I was old enough to be tried as an adult in court, old enough to pay my own taxes, old enough to legally marry. At the same time, I was clueless about how to handle conflict, how to have a healthy relationship or what a healthy relationship was, and how to be responsible for all areas of my life.

It took some searching, but eventually I learned about what it means to be a grown-up when I read The Seven Best Things Happy Couples Do by John and Linda Friel, which may as well be entitled “How to be a Grown-Up so You can be Happy and Your Spouse can, too”.

Reading the book was overwhelming at times; it pushed me to look at myself in ways that were uncomfortable and challenging.  It became clear that my relationships were my own responsibility, that my life was my own choice and I had to let go of blame. It made me see that in order to be a grown-up, I had to evaluate every aspect of my life.  I mean every aspect, including choice of spouse and religious beliefs.  That was undoubtedly the hardest part.

In the book, John Friel explains that the process of becoming a grown-up takes at least two years to accomplish once the process has begun. He also explains that in order to become a grown-up, one must pass through a series of phases. A bit disappointed that it would take me this long, I trudged along and gave it my best, anyway.  Besides, I had nothing to lose but my childish ways–and these I was more than willing to kiss goodbye.

It has been over two years since I read the book.

I have no more resentments. I have no blame, at least the majority of the time.  I am at peace with my past, something that once seemed impossible.  I am not even mad at my sixth-grade Social Studies teacher who embarrassed me in front of the class or at my once-BFF who ditched me after being my bridesmaid, never to be seen again. I am grateful for all of my experiences, both painful and joyful.  They are pieces of the important journey that has made me the person I am right now: a person that I love and approve of.

Marc and Angel Hacklife say it like this:

“Adulthood is not based age; it’s based strictly on emotional maturity.”

This list is copied directly from Marc and Angel Hacklife, and describes in a nutshell what it means to be a grown-up:

  1. Realizing that maturity is an ongoing process, not a state, and continuously striving for self improvement.
  2. Able to manage personal jealousy and feelings of envy.
  3. Has the ability to listen to and evaluate the viewpoints of others.
  4. Maintains patience and flexibility on a daily basis.
  5. Accepts the fact that you can’t always win, and learns from mistakes instead of whining about the outcome.
  6. Does not overanalyze negative points, but instead looks for the positive points in the subject being analyzed.
  7. Is able to differentiate between rational decision making and emotional impulse.
  8. Understands that no skill or talent can overshadow the act of preparation.
  9. Capable of managing temper and anger.
  10. Keeps other people’s feeling in mind and limits selfishness.
  11. Being able to distinguish between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’.
  12. Shows confidence without being overly arrogant.
  13. Handles pressure with self composure.
  14. Takes ownership and responsibility of personal actions.
  15. Manages personal fears.
  16. Able to see the various shades of grey between the extremes of black and white in every situation.
  17. Accepts negative feedback as a tool for self improvement.
  18. Aware of personal insecurities and self-esteem.
  19. Able to separate true love from transitory infatuation.
  20. Understanding that open communication is the key to progression.

Above all, true adults do what they have to do when it is required of them, and they do what they want when they can.  They are able to distinguish between the two and manage their time and efforts accordingly.”

I am still working on several of these, but I am getting there. It feels great.