Monthly Archives: April 2014

It would be nice.

I really do try to not have high expectations about how things in life go.  Sometimes they seem good and sometimes you wonder what the h*** is happening. But I have to admit (just to myself, of course) that there are some things that would just be nice if they happened.  I’ve been putting together a mental list and given my advancing age, I need to put it on paper:

It would be nice if …

  • When I got to the end of winter, and stopped wearing nylons, I didn’t feel the need to gasp at the look of wrinkles pooling on the top of my knee caps.  Where did they come from?
  • When I got home, my kids ran to the door, greeted me with a smile, asked about my day and had dinner waiting on the table.  Ok, a girl’s gotta dream!
  • I slept through the night and didn’t find myself eating at 2:30 a.m. because I’m “hungry.”
  • I was able to complete more of the crossword puzzles each year rather than less.  Or, actually, if I understood the slang used in the crossword puzzles.
  • When I pulled out a gray hair, it chose to grow back as non-gray.
  • I went for my yearly and my doctor said, how fantastic I looked rather than looking over his glasses and asking if I’ve “noticed” any changes.
  • If somehow there was a program that would create white noise in my brain when my kids are sassing (a kinder word than what’s actually happening) back at me.
  • I could stay awake for more than 20 seconds of my meditations.
  • I could just admit that I don’t like meditation and never will.
  • My times got faster in races rather than the age group times getting slower.
  • I could buy clothes without wondering if the item is “too young-looking.”
  • My boys understood that, “Can you take the sheets off your bed and wash them” means the sheets not every single item on their beds (a recent and disastrous occurrence).

I’m sure you’ve got your own list.  Oh, here’s one more … It would be nice if it was 75 and sunny today!

Have a great day!

To My Unconsciously Coupled Friends.

“Love is the greatest refreshment in life.” Pablo Picasso

I just finished a book on Picasso and learned that his style changed over his life time based on the phases of his heart. Makes total sense.  We often look back at our lives in those same phases. Picasso noted that keeping love alive is difficult — essentially, there’s an art to it. I think love is especially hard to keep alive with the inevitable wear and tear of life.

After seeing a movie recently, where love/hate in a marriage was front and center, I realized that we have the power to create how happy or unhappy our love will be.  The movie gave me these ideas on how to quickly dissolve love: (WARNING: please don’t try these at home!)

1. Don’t do the little things. Don’t reach for their hand, or look into their eyes when they’re talking.  Avoid talking about feelings or even asking about them. Actually, the quickest way to kill love is taking someone for granted and then treat them that way.

2. Solve their problems without really listening. Men: women like to solve their problems by talking to someone and then coming to resolution. If you solve them for her and don’t actually listen to her feelings, she’ll know that it’s more about you than her. Women: men just like to solve them on their own. Period.

3. Don’t allow him/her to feel safe with you. Be close one minute and distant the next. Assume that every question, every “test,” is really an attack on your character and make sure that’s obvious.

4. We’ve all be hurt in the past, we all have fear and tender spots. So, don’t work with him/her to heal your hurt. Let it grow, hide it, dress it up or even pretend that it’s something it’s not.

5. Stop being intimate. Physically and/or emotionally.  Enough said.

6. Stop joking and making each other laugh. Since humor is the glue that keeps couples together, stay preoccupied with what’s really important in your world and ignore laughing together.

Relationships take constant practice. You just can’t be on auto pilot nor can you focus only on you. Sounds easy … but (as the single woman in the room), I know it’s not!

What we know for sure is that when you’ve created the greatest masterpiece of a relationship, you’ll still need to take care of it. You’ll still need to give it focus, care and (self-less) attention.  It’s likely the best (and hardest) thing you do, short of raising your children!

Have an amazing day!

It’s time for me to forgive him.

About a year after my mother died, I suggested that my step father ask a particular woman out – someone we both knew.  He and my mom had been married 25 years.  He did so a bit reluctantly, and while it went well for him, the rest of his immediate family, including the kids and grandkids were quickly cut out of the picture.  Fast forward to 14 years later, and he is married to the woman he met, but not seen his grandkids in almost that same amount of time (and not even met a few of them).

I’ve been angry and disappointed about the situation (he doesn’t read the blog) but lately I’ve been wanting to forgive him in my heart – knowing he will never get it, but still wanting to move out of the negative thoughts I have about the situation into something more positive.  Have you ever tried to forgive someone but are too angry to do so?

The ability to achieve forgiveness and let go of past hurts is one of the most critical challenges we face on the road to attaining personal peace and happiness.  And, while it isn’t easy, it’s absolutely necessary for long-term mental and emotional heath.  Anger, love and forgiveness touch us all.  And, while it’s easy to get angry, and most times it’s easy to love … it’s not always easy to forgive.

Forgiving someone does not mean denying a person’s responsibility for hurting you, nor does it mean minimizing, or justifying the act. It’s simply the process of uncovering our own feelings and letting go of anger, while restoring hope, love and peace about the situation.  In other words, while we have the right to feel anger and resentment about a situation, we don’t want those feelings to define our lives.

How do we forgive?  It’s not enough to use the words.  Or to do something nice for the person who hurt us.  No, forgiveness means looking at what makes us angry about the situation and labeling it – admitting our feelings.  Only then, can we examine ways to physically and emotionally let go.

What has helped me lately is the realization that I can’t change the past and what’s happened. Nor can I go back and regain the time I lost in anger.  But, what I can do is move forward, with a clear mind — which then takes me out of the victim position and into a healthy position of love and forgiveness.

So, I’ve decided to give myself the gift of forgiveness.  To consciously access the compassion I have for a person who just has gone the wrong way.  To set myself free from years of anger and frustration and actually contribute my energy to something of greater importance, something the world is literally crying out for: peace and love.

I hope you have a wonderful start to your week!

Where did I get out of sync?

I’ve lived this lie for many years (maybe it’s nicer to call it a myth), that I can and do lead a balanced life.  There’s no way that’s true.  I live a crazy, overly busy, sometimes stressed out life.  But, sometimes I just feel off … out of sync. Know what I mean?

Lately, I’ve been asking myself – why do I feel out of sync? When did that happen and how?

Here’s how it works:  At first it’s unnoticed.  I added a thing or two to my life.  Then, I added more and more things to my plate and in doing so I had to push away some of the things that were actually the things I used to do that nourished me.   Then, unnourished, I just kept adding – thinking something would get me back in sync (which of course is not how it works … but I’m still learning about life!).

So, lately I’ve asked myself: when did I stop reading for pleasure because I had too much laundry to do.  When did I stop my long calls with my friends because I was working at night?  Or, when did I stop having coffee with my dad because I needed to get to work?  Why did I make those choices?

Let’s just admit that the old “let’s have a balanced lifestyle” mantra really doesn’t work any more.  We all have 10,000 things.  So, rather than beating ourselves up over that, let’s focus on time management and the direction of our energy.   Sounds so beautifully easy, right?  🙂

The first step is just seeing it. The next step is asking: How do I get back in sync? How do I get to the core of what I love? How can I go back to those things that energize me … that I’m passionate about?

Research shows that athletes who successfully alternate periods of high pressure training with focused rest and recovery achieve the greatest results.  So, let’s use that research and admit that we all can (and should) learn to find our own rhythm and enjoy “maximum performance” and higher satisfaction in life.  Let’s do that by alternating our high pressure periods with our passions … our reenergizers (whatever they might be).

And, (one other thought), in our crazy busy lives, we often have things that stress us out.  Those “negative” things or times in our lives where we think there’s no way we can get back in sync.  Change that dialog.  Focus on the positive opportunities these “times” give us.  Maybe an injury sidelines us for a bit.  Maybe we lose a relationship or we are in a money pinch.  Use this time positively – to refocus, rebalance and realign our life values right in the middle of these “negative” times.  These experiences are really are gifts to reset what we are doing and challenging us to change … to get back in sync with ourselves and the universe.

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Our rules are not really working “together.”

I’m a lawyer and sometimes I just want to have things black and white.  Yes, I know – that is so not possible.

I’ve been trying to think of the kind of person I want to be and the rules I want to live by.  I came up with a few and then my kids got involved:

Me:

  • Be consistent.
  • Be on time or at least give lead time if I’m going to be late.
  • Do what I say I will do, and if I can’t … let the person know and why.
  • Be fair, even in an argument.
  • Be sensitive to and don’t discount others feelings.
  • Return calls or texts as quickly as possible.
  • Don’t overreact when things go wrong.
  • Never say things I can’t take back or that I will need to take back.  The words hang there for a long time.
  • Don’t dig up old wounds.
  • Respect boundaries – especially my own,
  • Be a good listener.
  • Pay attention to the little things.
  • Give as much love and positive energy as I can.

My kids:

  • Kids don’t need as much sleep as parents think.
  • There’s no such thing as texting too much.
  • Kids need to sit around all summer, it helps them get ready for the next school year.
  • Don’t pick kids up late and don’t get someplace too early.
  • Kids are going to be cranky sometimes.  It’s ok.
  • Kids sometimes don’t want to deal with all that “energy” from their mom.
  • It’s also ok if kids forget to do some homework or homework sometimes. (say what??)
  • Kids wants pets (read: dog) but they really can’t get up early to walk it.
  • Kids learn about real life from watching Sponge Bob.

Obviously, we’ve got a lot to work on over here to meld our lists!

Have a great day!

 

He was so drunk that he fell down in the dairy aisle.

As you well know, I spend a lot of time in grocery stores.  I’m sure I’m there five times per week.  So, it’s not surprising that I would have unusual experiences in a grocery store.  Friday night was no exception.

I was at one of those stores with carpet in the aisles (you know where I’m talking about) when I heard a crash.  As I rounded the corner to get some milk, there he was on the floor mumbling – a guy who looked to be in his 50’s and about 250 lbs.  Next to him was a woman, in her late 70’s, helping him up.  I wasn’t sure what happened so I quickly moved toward them to give her a hand (yes, big, strong Jessica to the rescue!).

I didn’t have to get too close before I smelled the alcohol and body odor … it was so strong I felt sick.  I reached down to help him up, but he shot back that he was fine and could do it himself.  The woman (turns out to be his mother) looked at me with sadness in her eyes and I stepped back.  I nodded to her and kept going.

As I got into the chip aisle, there he was, pulling chips bags onto the floor as he walked through the aisle.  She kept picking up after him, like he was a little kid grabbing at everything he wanted.  It was sad.

When I got to the check out, they were in front of me.  Well, she was … he was sitting on a bench by the wall.  She thanked me for helping.  Told me he just lost his job and his wife due to drinking.  She didn’t know what to do with him.  I said that I thought parenting is the toughest job of all.  But that the even harder job is taking care of ourselves even when it means putting on our oxygen mask on first.  She hugged me, asked if I had kids and I pointed to my gray hair as proof.  We laughed as she took off her hat and showed me her full head of gray.  I wished her good luck and that was that.

Deep sigh.

As a parent,  I guess you never entirely lose the urge to make life easier for your child, even when they’re an adult.  And certainly you want to solve their problems when they’re in trouble.  I can see that already.

This is the hardest and best job of my life.  And, sometimes we just can’t control the things we wish we could control.  We do our best raising them and then we have to let go.

Life is so beautifully (and sometimes painfully) complicated.

Have an amazing day!

Note to Self: Think before hitting Send.

As you can imagine, over the course of my career, I have fired off my fair share of angry letters and e-mails.   Yet, I can’t think of one single time when these communications had a positive effect.  Typically, they served only to escalate the conflict.

Not long ago, a friend sent me an email that hurt my feelings. I tried to talk with him about it but to no avail.  He felt justified in his actions and the words hung in cyberspace.  Sometimes I wonder if he wished he hadn’t sent the email in the first place — I certainly wished he hadn’t.

Last week, I sent an email that was based in frustration. Later, I went back to re-read the email.  Yikes!  My email was so out of proportion to how I was feeling – just 24 hours later.  I quickly apologized to the recipient about how off I had been.

This is life.

In any relationship, you’re going to experience times when you feel angry. It happens at home, at work and with friends.  In the age of technology, we often take the easy way out and send an email or text.  The problem is eventually our frustration lessens, yet the cyber-doc is still out there.

Here’s something cool: We have the ability to choose how we respond when we’re angry.

Let’s be honest: little things always look much bigger the closer you are to them.  Knee jerk reactions are never good.  There’s no question that holding off on showing your frustration can make a world of difference – clearly something to work on!  🙂

So, next time I want to send one of those emails with my unbridled frustrations, I  need to ask myself:

  • What am I really trying to accomplish here?  To prove I’m right – Don’t do it.
  • Have I done my homework?  I might be right but I might also be wrong.  Is there really a right and wrong?
  • What did I do to contribute to this outcome? Seriously important question – and be honest.
  • Can we meet in person? It’s easy to hurl digital spears without the risk of a live encounter. But confronting (talking) in person takes real guts and can add the opportunity for real solutions.
  • Have I spilled my guts on paper?  If not, do so (its cathartic) and then save the draft.  Looking at it the next day will help you see those angry or hurt feelings more rationally.
  • Have I admitted my mistakes — my role in the whole freaking thing? This is critical.

We live in a world with people.  And sometimes these people are going to disappoint and frustrate us.  Sending an e-mail or text is almost never effective or helpful in solving a problem.   However, waiting and having a face-to-face (non-confrontational) discussion can result in a beautifully productive solution  — or at least the chance of one!

Have a great start to your week!