Monthly Archives: October 2013

“Marriage is hard work.” Quote by Jessica Roe (and a million others)

There’s little debate that marriage (or a committed partnership) is not easy.  To say marriage isn’€™t hard would be like saying eating a cow’s tongue isn’t disgusting.  Of course it is.

You may be wondering why a single mom is writing about marriage (No Dad, I’m not getting married yet!).  Well, I certainly can testify to the fact that my marriage (and divorce) were difficult, although I won’t go in the why’s of either one.  But, now I’m at the age where “things” happen in relationships.  Marriages end.  Problems arise.  I’m seeing it more and more.

Recently, my daughter and I were watching, “This is 40,” when I found my mouth opening and out came … “Marriage is hard work.”  My daughter turned to me and asked, “Why?”   This was a good and obvious question.

This led me to thinking, maybe it’s not marriage that is such hard work but actually living with someone, that is so challenging.  Could that be right?  We humans are naturally a bit insecure, competitive, opinionated and even cranky.  So, how easy can it be to live with us? Share resources with us?  Plus, living with someone requires compromise, keeping your mouth shut and acceptance.  Of course, love fits in there too!

I personally am amazed (and proud) of the many couples I know that actually live together, year after year after year — and still enjoy one another.  Sure, it’s never perfect.  But if you focus on making the good, better and letting go of the not-so-good, then life must seem that much easier with a partner you can rely/depend on.

We likely can agree on this: relationships of any kind give life meaning, which is why we try them regardless of their difficulty.  What better way to learn about acceptance, respect and trust, than from a relationship where someone loves you unconditionally and doesn’t leave when you make a mistake or do something stupid (which I am often likely to do!).

So, look at those who love you and thank them for giving you the opportunity to be a better person through the hard work of your relationship.  And, if you live with them give them an even bigger thanks … they deserve it!

Have a wonderful start to your week!

Hair styles for 50 year olds?

I just read the dumbest article (is dumbest a word?) espousing hair styles for 50 year olds!  Really?  Not only are there hair styles for us old(er) people, but there are certain clothes we are supposed to wear and activities we are going to enjoy in our “sunrise” years.

My opinion on that one?  Bulls***!   I am not going to be bound by my age.

1. I am so much smarter now than I was in my 40s.  I know myself better.  I know what I want and what I don’t want and I’m not afraid to say it!  Plus, I’m happier and closer than ever to my kids!

2. I don’t have to ride, buy or even like motorcycles.

3. I’m faster at 51 then I was at 49 (compared to other 51 year olds!).

4. I’m not afraid to say that I still think that lava lamps are cool and relaxing (in a psychedelic sort of way!)

5. I’m not afraid to stay within the speed limit because that’s how the older people drive … I am the older people!

6. I’m not afraid of my body.  I have skin that won’t go back from whence it came and that’s OK.

7. I love singing with the elevator music and dancing in the grocery store and you can just pawn it off on my dementia.

8. My eyes really can’t get much worse.

9. My joints are way more accurate than the weather forecasters.

10. Most of my friends can’t recall my deep dark secrets, so I’m safe!

11. My supply of brain cells are at a more manageable level!

12. Kidnappers are not going to be interested in me … it’s just the robbers and I usually only have chapstick, dental floss and my AARP card in my purse … have at it!

So, I’ll take this old body and go kick some a** in the pool and then have my Ensure afterwards!

Have a wonderful day and enjoy the great parts of getting OLD(ER)!

 

Angry people need not apply.

I know I have a tendency to seem happy, even when things aren’t going well. And sometimes I’m sure that’s annoying. Yet, I have to admit that I’m tired of angry people. I’ve been thinking about what I know for sure about anger:

1. Most adult anger is about expectations and values not being met. Some people build up strong belief systems of how things should be or should not be and then expect others to behave in ways that they deem “correct.”

2. Angry people allow their mind to make up wrong assumptions and things that are just not true.

3. Anger is often the result of a person’s need to control someone else and tell them what to do based on his own view of how things should be in life.

4. People who had critical, perfectionistic parents learn to be judgmental themselves. They often become angry when their own needs are not met. This does not mean you can’t change, however.

5. People who are critical and controlling of others usually have high anxiety and irritability and harbor irrational beliefs that certain people are stupid or do things wrong. Really, it’s them looking in the mirror.

6. Constant criticism is a bad habit that will sour any relationship. These are the people who point their finger – verbally and physically.

I’ve decided that angry people need not apply for a spot in my life. I’d prefer mature people. Mature people seek better ways to deal with their anger in an argument. They know that they get angry … everyone does. But they don’t let their tapes play, which have the song, “I am always right.” Instead, they find a way to work on problems rather than force a result.

We all have to take responsibility for our actions. And, when we admit our wrongdoing, it can be empowering — not negative. The healthy way of dealing with anger (which we all have) is to identify it, burn the freaking tape and work on solving problems rather than pointing fingers.

We get the life we choose. Some people choose anger. And, others don’t!

Have a great day!

I’m as transparent as the Great Wall of China.

You don’t have to admit it, but I bet we’ve all played the game of hide the ball in our relationships.  We hold back and protect ourselves from the fear of getting hurt.  This is true for all kinds of our relationships.  I’m good at that game.  Sure, there are many times (most times) where I’m an open book – sometimes too much so! 🙂  What you see is what you get.  But that’s not always true and when I’m afraid, I bring forth my portable Great Wall of China.

Intellectually I know we must take the risk of being open and allow other people to jump in and learn who we really are — to experience us.  The focus of any strong and full relationship with a partner, has to include a focus on honesty, clear communication and transparency.

What is transparency?  It’s being so completely open and honest that the person on the other side feels safe and comfortable in the relationship.  It’s about building trust so that no matter what happens in life, you know you can rely on the other person. Sounds amazing, right?

The 6 million dollar question is how to be transparent.  How to see when we are not being transparent.  I key, I think (from my lawyer, single mom chair) is to keep your love for the person in front of you and to stay open even when you are afraid.  It’s also to avoid even the appearance that you are not in, not committed to whatever, the relationship or even a conversation, .  I once read a quote which has stuck with me, It’s not enough just to be good, you have to look good, too. Otherwise, you actually create fears and doubts solely out of appearances, rather than resolving them and building trust.”

I’ve found that even with my kids, I have to be transparent about my thoughts and feelings.  When I’m not, they don’t trust my words and they don’t buy in to the situation.  However, when I am honest – really, more open about my feelings (and clear), they feel more safe and secure in our relationship and what I’m saying. The same is true for a love relationship.

So, today I’m going to start taking down my Great Wall (It’ll be slow so be patient!).  I think that will allow for more depth and heart in all my relationships.  I guess that’s what I’m doing here – sharing the good and the totally not-so-good s*** about me.

Have a fantastic Wednesday!

She pulled right in front of me and took my parking spot!

Do you have things that really bug you?  I went to see the movie, “Enough Said,” this weekend and in it there was a discussion about how the husband did things that really bugged the wife — so much so that it contributed to their divorce.  I’ve got a few things that really bug me too … care to hear about them?

1. Parking spots:  If I’m stopped in front of a spot, don’t just think I’m hanging out there using up my gas.  I’m likely about to pull into the spot so don’t just swing in and take it.  Look around with your eyes before you claim a parking spot.  Same goes for gas pumps at a busy station.

2. Taking the elevator:  If you don’t have to, don’t do it.  I was in the elevator carrying more than my own weight yesterday when the door opened at 14.  On got a 20-something guy.  He looks at me, says nothing (like “sorry”) and gets off at 15. Really?

3. Finding things:  Why am I the only person who can find things in this house?  Will my children be able to find things when they move out?  Is there a force-field around their rooms that prevents them from seeing the clothes in the drawers, that I have to go and pull out for them?

4. Restaurants: Please don’t ask me if I like my food when I haven’t even had a bite yet. I was a server once (Ground Round when you could put peanut shells on the floor … remember that??).   I know you can wait just a few minutes so I can at least determine if I got the meal I ordered.

5. My computer:  I hate the color wheel.  I just hate it.

6. My memory:  Do you know that my dad came up with the name of Tom Hanks the other day before I could?  I’ve heard that menopause saps all names from your brain.  And, I’ve been known to forget which kid is which … but Tom Hanks?  Come on Jessica!

7. Customer service:  I’m tired of companies outsourcing their customer service to people who can’t understand me or computers who don’t want to understand me.  What part of CUSTOMER SERVICE, do you not get?

8. Automatic check outs: Why do these things always think I’ve stolen something and put it in the bagging area before I’ve rung up the item.  If I wanted to steal it I would not be at the check out with it in my hands!

9. Motorcycles:  Why is it that a motorcyclist can take up an entire parking spot meant for a car, yet feel like they don’t have to drive in the freeway lanes meant for cars?

10. Spelling:  Why is it I can’t spell?  This bugs me.  I went to school.  I got decent grades.  Somehow I made it through law school.  But if it weren’t for spell check …. Well, I’d still be working at the Ground Round!

Enough said.  Have a great day!

It really didn’t work out the way I wanted it to.

Someone asked me about a situation that didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. Wasn’t I disappointed about the end result?  Did I use my positive thinking? Now, did I finally get that positive thinking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?  Whew!

She’s right.  I’m disappointed.  I put a lot of effort into this situation and it’s clearly not going the way I’d hoped.

I’ve got a habit (bad or good?) of thinking that my positive outlook will affect what happens in my life.  And, that’s partly true.  But more true is that positive thinking is really just a mindset.  It’s a way of using thoughts to move us forward. It’s not a cure-all.

Yet, despite my love of “positive thinking” there are some things that positive thinking won’t help with:

You can’t use positive thinking to deny your fears or to ignore realityI’m good at this denial-thing.  This is my mantra: “If I think bad thoughts, bad things will happen.”  See me sticking my ostrich head into the sand and ignoring instead of facing “it?” Rather, I should be saying,“No matter what happens, it’ll be OK.”

You can’t use positive thinking to cover up your real feelings. Again, my flaw comes in handy here!  Sometimes I put on my happy face even when I’m not happy, thinking it will solve the problem.  We’ve got to face our feelings and experience them.  Positive thinking should not be a mask (Jessica, are you listening??).

You can’t expect that positivity will make everything smooth in life. Life is full of obstacles.  Sure, I’m bummed that something didn’t work out the way I planned.  But, if I’m looking for solutions and facing my fears, then I won’t be focused on the obstacles. Positive thinking doesn’t remove obstacles – it allows us to see past them and focus on what we should be working on … ourselves!

Positive thinking won’t help if you don’t know what you want.  I’ve got a habit of ambivalence.  This isn’t in every area of my life, just one in particular.  It’s really fear (if I’m going to be totally honest with you).  If we’re not clear about what we want, nothing is going to happen.  Know what you want and go for it – even if you don’t feel 100% positive regarding the outcome.

You can’t only be happy if things happen exactly as you want them to. If something doesn’t work exactly as I want, that doesn’t mean my positive thinking didn’t work.  Maybe it means that something else might happen that’s better than I originally thought. I’ve got to let go of the, “It didn’t work out as I planned” and instead say “It didn’t work. Now what’s in store for me?!”

Positive thinking is a tool, not a magic wand. Use it that way and even when it doesn’t work out as we hope, we’ll be able to see other doors opening up right in front of our eyes.

Have a wonderful Monday!

“I don’t care about your feelings.”

This one blew me away.  No one has ever said that this to me before.   How could someone not care about my feelings?   Even if you’re mad at someone, don’t you still care about their feelings?  At first I felt bad, really bad.  And, I wasn’t sure what to do with that statement.

So, after the kids went to sleep, I got out my yoga mat.  I asked for guidance on how to take this statement and do some thing positive with it.  Nothing came to me  Then, I asked again.  Still nothing.  Eventually, I got hungry (big surprise) and got off my mat.  As I was making myself some toast, it hit me:  My feelings are 100% about me.  No one creates them, but me.  No one should influence them, but me.  I am in control of my feelings and if you care about my feelings, great!  If you don’t, that’s your deal (although I am unlikely to spend much time with you).

Feelings are a funny thing. When we allow other factors to determine how we feel, we find that we feel upset because of what someone said or did. We find that we feel sad because of how someone looked at us.  We feel happy when someone recognizes us.

Yet, we can’t base our life on the words and actions of others.  Think how easy it is to feel good or bad based on someone else’s actions.   If you really think about it, it doesn’t make sense.  We must base our feelings according to what we believe, what we think … what we value.  We only have control over us and no one else.

So, I can let that comment make me feel bad OR I can say that it’s their loss for not caring about my feelings.  It’s how I feel about my feelings that matter.  I’m in charge of my feelings and I’m in charge of my reactions (and my feet can do the rest of the talking!).

Whew, new stuff even at the ripe old(er) age of 51!

Have a great weekend everyone!  X0