Can you fix me?

I have been having a debate with myself forever over what is coincidence and what is meant to be. Do things happen for a reason or is there no rhyme or reason?

When we bought our house almost a year ago, we had some problems with the dryer. It was taking forever for the clothes to dry. I really didn’t notice it after awhile. But then other things started to break. The fan went out in our refrigerator. The dishwasher started to leak. I needed to get someone out to the house to fix these problems. While the guy was here, he might as well check the dryer.

I started to time how long it took to dry clothes. Three hours for a big load! I knew it was long but I didn’t realize it was that long. Maybe I just needed a new dryer?

The guy came out and pulled tons of lint out of the machine. It was backed up into the vent inside of the house. Big time fire hazard that I wasn’t even thinking about fixing until other things started to break.

Why did I ignore the biggest problem that needed fixing?

I think that I ignored it because it was still working, however dangerously and inefficiently. It only became a problem for me when something else wasn’t working at all.

This past week I went to see the counselor alone for the first time. I never would have set up an appointment by myself for myself. My husband insisted on talking to someone when we were having problems with our son. Now our son is doing so much better and here I am going to the counselor talking about myself.

I asked the counselor if she could fix me. She said that she could not, but I can. How come I ignored this for so long? I want to fix everyone else, but don’t want to work on the broken parts of myself.

I think the way I’ve been living my life has been working, although at times not very well.

The counselor asked me what are three things I wanted to keep the same about myself:

  1. My grit/determination
  2. Honesty
  3. Continue seeking self-reflection/growth

Then she asked me what are three things I want to change:

  1. Worry less/relax more
  2. Healing
  3. Be at peace

When discussing these goals, I realized that I was afraid. Part of me wants to stay the way I am. The demons I know aren’t as scary as the unknown. My anxiety and inability to relax has given me great determination as a runner. My depression and quest for full healing and making peace with the past is what I attribute to my honest self-reflection as a writer.

If I am able to change the things that I perceive to be negative in my life, will I still be able to keep the positive outcomes that was ignited by my pain?

Will I still have grit if I have nothing to run from? Will I still be able to write if I was totally happy with my life? Would it be worth giving up some of my grit in order to be at peace or relax more?

Would I even be me anymore? It was very confusing.

Some of the negative things in my life I turned into blessings. If I get rid of the bad, would I purge the good that came out of it as well?

Do I have to give up the good things I have to get the good things I want?

I guess the big question I can ask myself is why I didn’t do anything about the major problems until something else wasn’t working?

Why didn’t I start writing my book until I lost my job?

Why didn’t I ask for help until my house was almost on fire?

I was so upset when I lost my job, when my son was acting up, and when several appliances stopped working. But I now believe that God used these things for my own good to spur me into action that I needed to take. Maybe I am wrong, but I can’t believe that any of these things have been a coincidence.

 

 

 

Fortune cookie wisdom #5

You are careful and systematic in your business arrangements.

Boooorrrrriiinnnggg! I’m not sure why I kept this fortune cookie. It is true, I am careful and systematic in pretty much everything I do.

However, I don’t think I am very careful about what I say when it comes to blogging. I talk too much and that is something I am not known for doing. Look at me! I sit down almost every single day and talk about myself. No one cuts me off. No one is thinking about what they are going to say in response. I don’t have to worry about having to get a word in edgewise.

It got me to thinking…Is this blogging platform dominated by introverts that don’t talk a lot in real life??

Bear with me for exactly 286 seconds…

Here are some top characteristics I want in a friend that I also offer as a friend:

  • Honesty, I want friends to tell me the truth instead of saying things to make me feel better.
  • Introversion, I would rather not hang around with loud bossy people.
  • Integrity, I don’t want to have to worry about friends hitting on my husband.
  • Humor
  • Intellect, I need deep conversations not small talk.
  • Structure, I don’t do spontaneity.
  • Neurotic, totally sane people drive me crazy.
  • Eccentric/crazy
  • Adventurous
  • Justice, I want fairness…I want a clearly defined right or wrong. (I tend to see things as black or white/all or nothing).
  • Determination, I don’t want a friend that bows out when things get tough.
  • Motivation, I want a friend that strives to be better than they were yesterday.
  • Industrious, I can’t stand laziness. I can’t sit still.
  • Realistic
  • Reliable, just do what you say you are going to do.
  • Trustworthy

So, I pose this question to you…

Are most bloggers introverts? Do we think this is a good place to tell our story because people in real life don’t listen? Do introverts still have a need to speak up quietly? Why would I tell strangers more about my life than friends? Am I inadequate at having real life relationships? Why does it feel safer to talk here for the world to read versus talking to a close friend behind a closed door?

I really want to know…Do most bloggers have the above characteristics?? Or am I just attracting the people that have these characteristics because that is how I am??

What are your thoughts?? If you follow my blog, how many of these characteristics do we share? If you are just passing through, what about you??

Am I making a sweeping generalization that most bloggers, especially those that post in the personal genre, are introspective introverts like me?? Or do I just attract people like me??

I notice your personality shine through in every word you write…Why wouldn’t you notice mine?

I know I totally got off the fortune cookie topic today. Whoops!

Out on a limb

A couple of weeks back I became strangely fascinated by the trees in my yard. It was well into fall and some of my trees were bare and some of the leaves were yet to change color. How could this be??

I decided to go out on a limb. I traipsed around my yard with my phone in hand to snap a couple pics of my trees as the neighbor came out of her house. I think that she thought I was coming over for a visit. How odd to be hanging around the property line. Awkward!

I wondered how all of these trees could exist in the same environment of my yard but be so different..How could it be possible that some of the trees lost all of their leaves right away and some didn’t even change colors?

I spent a little too much time thinking about it…I thought, and thought, and thought…until I thought I figured it out.

Maybe it was because some of the trees were in the front of the yard and some of the trees were in the back. Maybe they had more water or less sun.

But, no, that wasn’t it.

How could it make sense?

Then I thought some more…

Maybe the trees were like my kids..They all grew up in the same environment, but turned out differently.

I wonder why that is…

I can understand why different types of trees are different…But how do you explain variations in the same kind of trees?

How can siblings that grew up with the same parents in the same environment be so different from each other??

 

 

19. If I could live anywhere…

Day 19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

It is that time of year again…the time of year when the old year is coming to an end like the falling of the leaves….and a new year with new opportunities is almost upon us..

It is at this time of year that I reflect…. What do I truly want?

If I could pick any place in the world that I wanted to live, it would be Tahiti. I have images in my mind of forever lounging in the sunshine on a sandy beach.

But, would that be what I truly want??

I have never lived in a warm climate. We get a total of 2 months out of the year that lounging in the sunshine on the beach is really possible. If we are really lucky, we get 3 months of warmth and beach weather.

Would I miss the change of the seasons? Would I get bored spending every single sunny day on the beach? Would I take it for granted?

Summer is my favorite season.

Would I miss cuddling in a warm blanket on a cool fall evening? Would I miss breathing in the crisp cool refreshing autumn air? Would I miss the beauty of the leaves changing color?

Would I miss waking on Christmas morning to fresh fallen snow? Would I miss the excitement of the first big snowfall? Would I miss seeing icicles glisten like crystals on barren trees?  There is something special about the roaring wind that whistles through the cracks in our very foundation that ushers in the winter snow….The appreciation of warmth inside when the house cracks from temperatures of 30 below.

Spring is my least favorite season..Every time there is a glimmer of hope, it seems like we are dragged back into the dark, desolate winter again. But would I miss the expectation of the arrival of summer if it is always summer? Would I get sick of something that I love because I have too much of it? Would it still be as special??

Although I would like to say that I want to live in forever summer, I don’t think that I really want to live anywhere but here…

Would I be happy away from friends and family to live in sunshine and warmth? Maybe for a few months out of the year, but not forever…

Maybe, just maybe, in the darkest loneliest days of winter I will pack my bags and live for a short time in forever summer…That sounds perfect to me!

Success or failure?

“Your success or failure is in your own mind!”- Think and Grow Rich

Yesterday my mom and I got a massage together. Before the massage I received a positive affirmation (the quote above). It really made me think. So while I was lying on the table, I thought about the quote and the words I would write in response.

Success? Failure? It made me think a little about my first marathon that I ran last summer. When I think about it, my mind thinks that I was a failure. I didn’t get the time that I wanted. To me that equates with failure. The first 3 hours were great, in fact I was quite successful. Then I hurt my knee. I spent the next 3 hours walking the last 8 miles in moderate to extreme pain. Besides childbirth, those 3 hours were the most physically painful hours I have ever experienced in my life. But I finished the marathon.

Did I achieve success or failure? When I crossed the finish line I entered the ranks of the 1 in 200 US citizens that completes a marathon. If I look at it that way, I feel successful. It was something I earned. It is rarer than being left handed (8 out of 100) or having AB blood type (3 out of 100) both of which groups I was born into. Most people would view my completion of a marathon a success even if in my mind I feel like I am a failure.

I am 41 years old. Am I old? I would bet that most of you that are quite a bit younger would say that I am old. Those of you that are older, think that I am young. Most people around my age are thinking that I am not terribly old. It is all about perspective. We judge others by ourselves. I can’t seem to escape the perspective of my own mind. I could look only at statistics, but not for very long before my own judgments sneak in.

I might think that I am rather smart. But I wouldn’t feel that way if I was constantly surrounded by geniuses. I judge your writing by my writing. I judge your age by my age. If I am bad at something, I will think that you are good. If I am good at something, I will be a harsher critic. I judge everything by my own yardstick. Your beauty, age, intelligence, income level, etc is all about me.  

Back in the beginning of January, I uploaded a video of Angel and I singing. I didn’t show our faces, just a blank screen. If you were to listen to it, I am sure that everyone would have an entirely different perspective. Some would think that Angel is a better singer (she is). Some would point out every error. Some would be able to hear the differences in our voices, some would not. 

If only we could get outside of our own mind. But how can that be done? I can be empathetic and relate to you for a short period of time, then I find myself back in my own head again. I can’t escape myself for very long. My needs, wants, stereotypes, thoughts, feelings, strengths, weaknesses, judgments, and life experiences cloud my ability to see you. 

Wow, that is pretty deep for a Saturday afternoon.  

My soles are worn thin

It seems I haven’t gotten too far on my travel series yet. Maybe tomorrow..

This past weekend I shared with you a dream that I had about having to run a marathon I am not ready for. I think the marathon symbolizes the second half of my life. I looked down to see that my soles on my shoes were totally worn out. The reality is that the first half of my life is over. Then I noticed that at the beginning of this marathon I was wearing shoes that fit but they were on the wrong foot. I don’t want to start the second half of my life on the wrong foot. I request a new pair of shoes, this time they fit but they are uneven. I won’t be able to run the race very long wearing these shoes. I think this is symbolic of parenting. My children will start leaving the house in a few months, things won’t be the same (uneven), and soon I will be actively taking these shoes off. The last shoe brought out is the most comfortable but it doesn’t fit yet. Ah, retirement and living without the stress of working and actively parenting. But it is going to be a long time before this shoe fits me.

I took comfort early on in the dream marathon that Gu and broccoli were at the beginning of the race. I chose to go down the path of exercise and healthy living. Not only does being an exercise fanatic ward off my depression, anxiety, and stress. It makes me think that I will live longer and healthier. Because if I really think about it, which is something that I try to avoid doing, I am terrified of death. We are not going to exist forever like we do now. Even though I have a firm faith in God, I am still absolutely terrified of my own demise. What if I am wrong? What if there is nothing out there? Forget the physical pain of taking your last breathe. What if there is only an empty void? A void like the one before our existence. I just can’t bear the emptiness of that. I want to think that I am going to see my loved ones again, even if I am wrong.

When I started this dream marathon, I saw people wander off the path before it began. I went to sleep that night worried that my neighbor in her mid 40’s was not going to make it. She did pass away during the night. She was one of the people that left the race early before it really even began for her. Another thing that I noticed was that the path looked straight and the weather was fine. I seemed to have the tools I needed to run the race but I couldn’t see very far ahead of me. I needed to figure out what shoes to wear, what my role is going to be in the second half of my life. I wanted to wait to start the marathon before I figured that out, but I ran out of time.

I suppose at this point it is pretty obvious that I was a psychology major in college. LOL

 

 

Life, goals, and dead plants

I woke up this morning in a strange place, a different bed. I killed another house plant this week, my last living one. I justify that by saying that I spent one third of the month in hotel rooms like the one I am in now. Five different hotels, two states. Some for business, some for pleasure. My mind searches for the perfect excuse. I couldn’t provide proper care for the plant. Hey, at least I managed to feed my kids and pets. 

When my daughter gave me the plant for Mother’s Day, I inwardly cringed. I have to manage to keep this alive!  Once I got a chia pet for Christmas, I felt it was way too much pressure. So I took the plant to my office. I developed a watering routine. I watered it every Monday morning and every Friday afternoon. I put it in the sun like it said on the little tag it came with. It did thrive until the sunny days were gone. I didn’t achieve my seemingly easy goal. 

It made me think of other goals I have had. It seems like finishing a marathon is an easier goal than keeping plants alive for me. Crazy!?!  A few days ago, my husband asked me what my goal is for writing. That had me stumped. A goal? Was I supposed to have one? I started this blog right after I got my house plant. I am still going. It is still active and alive. But where is it going? 

I like to write for fun, to share unexpressed emotions, to help others. I want others to know what it was like growing up with an autistic brother back when no one had autism. I want to share my own struggles and joys of parenting teens. I want to share goals and experiences as a runner. I want to make people laugh. I want to share life and all of its woven intricacies. But where am I going?? As a goal oriented person, do I need goals to write?

My husband said that I am a gifted writer, but he is very biased. He said that maybe I should consider chasing my own dreams. He started his own successful business. We work together. He said that I was riding his dream. He said he would support me if I decided to start a career in writing. He suggested that since I have a love for photography and writing that I should think about writing marina reviews or write a book. His words overwhelmed me. What are my goals? I have no structure, I just write about what I want to write about. Where do I go from here? Is this just another time consuming hobby? All I can tell you for sure right now is that my future does not involve gardening or house plants. 

Let’s go back to the future

Today is the future day that Marty McFly time traveled to in the 1985 movie Back to the Future. I wonder if his character would be pleased to see how the future really turned out if he traveled here from 1985 today. We do have some pretty cool inventions since then like the cell phone, ipads, kindles, the internet, etc. Technology few of us thought would be possible back then. I can liken it to what it would be like going back hundreds of years and telling people about electricity or indoor plumbing. It would be hard to imagine. We still don’t fly around in cars, but can see the possibility of self driving cars for the future. Will we be telling our great-grandchildren about how we had to get a driver’s license someday? Maybe it will provide a solution to the problem of drunk driving.

I don’t think that Marty would like our hair and clothing today. Clothing and makeup do not reflect a neon geometrical style anymore and our hair is ho hum boring. If you were a teen in the 80’s, you would know what I mean. Big hair was fun! While the movie was right on with a few predictions, quite a few were way off. Where were you in 1985? Could you have predicted the future of the world much less the future of your own life? Were you even born? In 1985, I was younger than my youngest child is right now. My future life was a mystery. Who would I marry? Would I have children? What kind of career would I have?

The last 30 years have been a winding road. Most of it reflecting consequences, either good or bad, of the life that I have chosen. I became set in my beliefs over this time. I got married, had children, went to college, found hobbies, made and lost friends. Some things happened that I did not choose, this was also within the framework of who I would become.

What will happen over the next 30 years? My husband wants us to start planning for retirement. The next 30 years scare me. There are too many unknowns. I don’t want to think about getting old and declining physically and/or intellectually. I think I will probably have grandchildren. I will most likely enter into retirement. I will possibly face the loss of my spouse and have to face the possibility that I may not be a part of this future in 30 years. Sometimes I want to focus on the past instead, it is certain and known. But focusing on the past also makes me unsettled. Sometimes the good old days were not always good.

I try to focus on the here and now. I want to make myself the best person that I can be in the present so I can be a gift to those around me today and tomorrow. I am thankful to have all of you in my life as I am living it.

Where were you in 1985?