Monday, January 1, 2018

Resolved

This is a promise to myself.  I will begin this year.

The first third of my life was all about the future.  While I was blessed in childhood with a loving family, and middle class means to access most dreams I might hope for, my focus was always on tomorrow.  School.  College.  Life.  Accomplish and acquire--skills, people, things.

The next third of my life was about RESPONSIBILITY.  Still all about the future, now both mine and my family's.  Supporting my children's dreams, fulfilling my own potential, and saving for retirement.

If I should be blessed with an equal third of what remains of my life, I am resolved that I shall LIVE NOW.  There have been unpleasant revelations the last few years.  Nothing entirely surprising.  The signs were all there for the more attentive or perspicuous to read.  And suddenly I wonder what the hell it has all been for?  If I am unhappy, why I am I still doing the same thing I've been doing all along?  What can I change?  And that is the key.  What can I change about myself and my life?  Because others cannot change, no matter how much they might want to please us.

Moving through the stages of grief:
  1. denial
  2. anger
  3. bargaining
  4. depression 
  5. acceptance

Hard acceptances this last year:
  • People are the way they are.  They are not going to change, and many in fact are not capable of change.
  • The division of labor will always be unequal.  Can I live with that?
  • Romantic fantasies are dead, were always false.  What is there instead?
  • Count up what is possible.  Is it enough?
  • What is the minimum you can accept to go on?  Can you live on half that?
  • How would it feel to put all those burdens down?
 Stay tuned.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Real Reason Behind Unfriending Over Politics

When I hear about people unfriending each other over politics, on the surface it seems wrong. People should be able to tolerate differences in politics or religion, right?  If we only surround ourselves with people who agree with us, aren't we turning those social bubbles we live in, to walled compounds?

The Personal is Political--issues of religion and civil rights are issues we get passionate about.  I blame no one for feeling strongly about their views, even if those views are different from my views, which I also feel strongly about.

I am astonished, however, at the condescension I see on some of my friends' social media posts, by their supposed friends. Sometimes I can't resist the siren call to wade into the discussion myself, to dispute a false statement, or to support my friend against a troll.  Then I find myself arguing with strangers and that seems pretty pointless.

When I see that level of gloating, hostility, or condescension, I can understand the unfriending after all.  It's not usually the difference of opinion that is the problem.  It's the attitude toward the other person. If someone is that disrespectful, that unwilling to even try to see the other perspective, then yes, I can see ending a relationship over that.  It might be that the relationship didn't have much else going for it in the first place.  None of us should tolerate abuse or disrespect.  Disagreement, yes.  Discussion and attempts at persuasion? At the right time, right place, and within bounds, yes.  But always civil, polite, and respectful.  Otherwise it's just harassment or abuse.  Any rational person will limit that in their lives.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Don't Blink, You'll Miss It!

Parenting teens is not as fun as parenting toddlers.  I remember the tired, sleep deprived days of toddler parenting, when we would ask parents of older kids, "It gets easier, right?"  We thought it would have to get better, when you no longer have to worry about them putting everything in their mouths, or falling down stairs, or drowning in bathtubs.  When they have enough sense and experience to make their continuing survival require less constant eyes-on supervision.  When they would have words to explain their wants/needs/frustrations.

The parents of older kids would always smile ruefully, "It gets different."

Huh.  What the heck does that mean?  Not very helpful.  Or hopeful.

Now that we are here, I totally understand what they meant.  Sure, some things are way easier--teens don't need you minute-by-minute.  And they are articulate enough to explain almost anything.

I wasn't prepared for them to not WANT me though.  Or be unwilling to use those brilliant words to talk to me.  Their thumbs hardly ever stop as they text their words, thoughts, feelings to their friends.  Parents get only grunts, or maybe nods.

I am learning to watch for the secret signs of affection that come rarely, and disappear so quickly, you wonder if you imagined it, like the rain in a desert that is gone and dried before your thirst is slaked.
  • The silent fist bump at a band performance (I thought he was coming over for snack money)
  • The direct eye contact at school pick-up which must suffice for "Thank You"
  • When he mentions a fear of spiders, and I can't resist the impulse to put my hand near his lap and wiggle the fingers and he pretends mock-horror.  I am sure the corners of his mouth lifted a millimeter before he returned to his regular bored expression.
To the parents of adult children, I want to ask (but am afraid):  "It gets better, right?"