Saturday, November 11, 2017

Getting Far

When I am driving I will often see people who, for whatever reason, are walking down the street. Seeing this usually makes me think how lucky I am to have a working car. I think most people who have a car take it for granted that they can just hop in the car and be somewhere in a matter of minutes. If not for that privilege, walking takes huge amounts of time and energy. I try to always be grateful for what I have, but sometimes the ability to drive anywhere is something I take for granted.

Of course it is not always easy maintaining a car. I break out in a sweat just thinking about how much car repairs can cost. Gas isn't always cheap either. But compared to walking, the benefits of driving far outweigh the negatives. If I had to walk everywhere that I drive, I would spend almost all my time doing nothing but walking. I would be in great shape, but my free time would be gone. Also, the weather would be a much bigger issue. Dressing in the winter would be a matter of life and death if I had to walk everywhere. The rain would mean misery rather than annoyance.

I don't think this post has much of a point, other than to be grateful for what you have. It is so easy to feel inconvenienced when you have to drive somewhere, rather than privileged that it will only take a few comfortable minutes. If you don't believe it, just try walking everywhere for a day. You won't get too far physically, but mentally you will take leaps and bounds.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Breaking

There are times in just about everyone's life where you feel beaten down, not good enough, and overall worthless. Sometimes you may feel like this for no reason, but many times it's because others are telling you these things. They tell you you need to change. You need to do better. You are not living up to your potential. Your best just isn't enough. While these kinds of comments can often be well-intentioned, they can also be very discouraging, especially if you already feel you are at your breaking limit.

I think that many times in life people just don't understand how another person feels, or what they are truly capable of, and they try to ask of them more than they can handle. Of course the misjudged person can always say no to a request of more effort. They can even say they can't physically or emotionally push themselves any further. But that choice can sometimes be judged even more harshly than just continually struggling to try to do better. First of all, the person making the request probably won't believe you are really at your breaking limit, because they wouldn't have asked if they did. Secondly, if they do believe you, they could simply choose to discard you because you are not good enough. Third, you will always have the label of "the person who failed".

I do believe it is important to improve yourself and strive for better. But I also believe that, if you let it, the world will bleed you dry by continually asking for "just a little bit more". Finding the sweet spot between those two things can be difficult to impossible. When do you put in exhausting effort every day, and when do you cut your losses and try to move on? I'm not sure of the answer to that, but I do want to give some encouragement to those who are struggling with this -

You are a good person.

You are not broken just because you are different.

Your struggles and pain are real, even if no one else can see it.

Just because something is harder for you than for most people doesn't mean you are worthless.

Don't listen to everything other people say about you.

You are loved.

I get emotional writing those lines because I think so many people are needlessly struggling with feeling inferior, when all they need is some love and encouragement and less judgment. I know some people don't believe that. They believe in tough love and pushing someone to their breaking limit. But I believe people will bloom far brighter when they are loved and encouraged, than when they are pressured into submission. I hope everyone out there can begin to be less judgmental and start lifting up those who are downtrodden, because those who are pushed too far may break.....and not all fractures can be healed.



Friday, October 13, 2017

I Miss These

I have been doing this blog for quite some time now, and occasionally I find it hard to think of things to write about. So I have been saving a few writing prompts on Pinterest to give me ideas when I am in short supply. This is both a good and bad thing. It's good because obviously it gives me ideas. It's bad because sometimes it gives me too many ideas and I want to write about them all at once. But I will try to contain my enthusiasm and pick one topic at a time.

The topic that stood out to me this time is - Something you miss. I think this one interested me because I have been thinking about the past a lot lately and I miss many things about it. So I will tell you a few of them. Hopefully you will find them interesting, since people often enjoy talking about themselves, but others don't always enjoy listening.

- I miss my mom. I miss how sweet and loving and brave she was. I miss her tender kindness. I miss how she always made life fun for her kids. I miss how she made us dinner every night. I miss her love of learning and writing.

- I miss Bear. I miss her wet kisses and silent presence. I miss her little barks warning me that someone was outside, and her big barks warning me that someone was at the door. I miss her leaning on me every time I sat down and she wanted to be close. I miss her running in a field of grass like life was so wonderful she couldn't express her joy in any other way but to run at top speed. I miss her love and acceptance of everyone.

- I miss when I was a kid and my family would celebrate together during the holidays. It wasn't big or extravagant, but I always felt warm and close and loved and like things would never change.

- I miss being a kid. I miss not knowing the scary things in the world. I miss just laughing and playing without feeling judged or guilty.

- I miss my hair. This may seem like a silly one, but hair really makes a difference in the life of a woman. No I am not bald. However, my hair has changed dramatically from my teenage years due to health conditions and maybe just the stress of life. It is much more frizzy, thin, and unmanageable, and no amount of hair products can bring it back to how it was. I miss being able to brush it without it falling out at all. I miss being able to do certain hair styles. I miss not worrying about it clogging up the drain and the vacuum.

- I miss hanging out with my brothers more. We all grew up and life got busy and complicated, and in some ways we grew apart. But I often think about how we were as kids and how much fun we had together. I know it can't be the same now, but I wish we could get to know each other better as adults and enjoy time together now.

- I miss the first apartment I had with Mike. It was just a nice place with just the right amount of room. It was on the second floor right in the middle of the complex so I could look out the front window and see everything that was going on. I don't remember ever seeing a spider there, and it didn't seem to get too dusty like my current house. I didn't have to worry about mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow.

-I miss hanging out with friends. Just like with my brothers, life gets busy and there never seems to be time for fun. Yes Mike and I do hang out with friends from time to time. But I miss the spontaneous fun that happened with friends in high school or college. These days hanging out requires more of a laborious planning process.

- I miss not wearing glasses. They just get annoying sometimes.

- I miss having more energy. Once again life has taken a bit of a toll on me. I don't think I have half the energy I did as a teenager.

So there you go. Those are some of the things I miss most. I know they are mostly pretty sad, but it's not all doom and gloom. Just because I miss things from time to time doesn't mean I can't find time to be positive and look toward the future. In fact I make an effort not to get stuck in the past, because while memories can be enticing, there is no future there.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Getting Older Unconventionally

For me, aging is one of the strangest parts of being human. I think for most people, they feel like the same person that they were in early adulthood, but their body keeps changing. Most of the time aging is gradual and we don't notice it much. Over time we just start to realize that what was once easy is now harder or more painful.

I want to be a person who ages gracefully, but at the same time it is hard for me to accept getting older. I think it would be exhausting to try to fight it with all kinds of expensive treatments, or serums, or creams. But at the same time I haven't experienced many of the outward effects of aging yet. It seems like a cruel thing to slowly take away a person's beauty, senses, mobility, and independence. I suppose it is just one of those things in life that you just have to accept and make the best of.

Since I do have to get older, I don't want to be one of those grannies who wears a shawl and sits around and knits or bakes cookies all the time. Sure I will change in some ways, but I never want to loose my sense of adventure and excitement for life. I don't want to feel restricted to only do things that "old people" do. I want to feel as free as I am today to experience and try new things, to wear what I want, and to be who I want to be.

I'm afraid of the stigma that is placed on older people, and I hope I can help to change that by being an unconventional older person. Youth is a privilege, but we would all do well to remember that that privilege doesn't last forever. As for me, I intend to act however young I feel, and I hope I can keep my outward appearance from getting in the way of that.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Adults Are People Too

It seems to be a common belief for many people that when you have children of your own, that your life no longer matters as much as the child's. People will say things like, "It's not about you anymore." or "The baby comes first now." or "Children are our most important resource." I agree to an extent that children are important and should be cared for carefully. I think children do need to grow up well in a loving and supportive environment, and that they deserve time to just be kids and not be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of adulthood.

What I don't agree with is that the wants and desires of children should always come before the wants and desires of adults. What are adults but people who used to be children themselves? Just because they grew up are their feelings and desires less important? Are they less deserving of having a happy life? Teaching children and helping them grow is important. But what does it teach them if we discard them as soon as the next generation comes along?

It is my feeling that all people are important regardless of their age, and all people should have a lifetime of growth and development. Children may need more nurturing, but that doesn't mean they are above all others. We are all continually learning and changing. If we teach people that children are the only important ones, we will be faced with a future full of jaded adults who thought that they were important once.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shaky Ground

I have always tried to be a good person in my life, but I know there are times I fall very short of the ideal, and I also know there are people who just plain don't like me. It's not that I expect everyone to like me. It's just that it's hard to keep your self-esteem up when you know there are people who wish nothing good for you. Do you know the feeling? I'm not talking about any random stranger. I'm talking about people who you were once close to, but for one reason or another you had a falling-out. These are the people who once had your back, but who would now do nothing for you. I don't know. Maybe not everyone has people like this in their lives. Maybe some people have learned to always part on good terms. I am not one of those people.

I have found that one of the hardest things in life has been to keep a positive self-image when I know others are trying to put me down. There are times when I had every reason to be happy, but I am unhappy because I feel like I don't deserve happiness when others are either wishing me unhappiness or are ambivalent to my feelings. It's a difficult feeling to describe. It's like if you had a best friend and you had a falling out with that friend. Then you do something great like graduate from college, and even though a lot of people are happy for you, you are upset because your former friend doesn't care. That person may have been there for you so many other times that accomplishments almost seem meaningless when you don't have their support.

I think the best thing to do when you loose a friend is to try to focus on all the people who still care about you and support you. It's really hard sometimes, but it's always best not to dwell on the negative. You can't do everything perfect, and if a friend doesn't understand that then it's not worth having their opinion of you. Just remember, you need to know you are a good person on your own, without anyone else's input. If you can't do that, you are already on shaky ground. Move your foundation rather than look for more support.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Me and Everything in the Universe

I have recently been realizing more and more how certain stories or scenarios play out over and over again in human history. There are countless examples of this, but some of them are -

-the rebellious teenager
-the leader who lets power go to his head
-the scientist who makes a discovery that changes everything
-the parents who work hard to support a family
-the traveler who feels strange in a foreign land
-the jilted lover
-the discovery of peace in nature
-the person who wants to become a doctor because doctors have helped him
-the loss of faith after the loss of a loved one
-the drug addict who never thought he would end up a drug addict

This list could go on forever, but you get the point. The same story happens over and over to different people, and yet when one of these things happens to us, we often feel entirely alone and unique. Should we not look at these similarities and gain strength from them rather than focus on our perceived isolation and differences?

What does it mean that these kinds of things happen again and again in history? Is it just a pattern? Does it mean anything? I'm not sure what the answers are. The logical side of me says that since humans are one species, then of course they will have similar behaviors and thus similar stories. Yet the emotional side of me says that maybe we can derive a deeper meaning or connection from our similar experiences. Maybe the rebellious teenager in the 1980s has a connection with the rebellious teen of today. Maybe the same can be said for rebellious teens on opposite sides of the planet. Are we meant to learn from these shared commonalities, or is is just a coincidence?

I want to think there is a reason for all this repetition in a chaotic world, and so that is what I will believe. I will continue to try to derive meaning from it until there is a very good reason to stop. Because why not try to find a connection with space, and time, and other humans, and everything in the universe?