Monday, December 17, 2018

Seeking Holiday Joy

I can feel my usual holiday blues creeping up on me.  As I see all the cheery decorations around, with instead of reacting with optimism and delight, I feel stress | obligation | dread.  I am working on recognizing the joy that is out there as well.   

Here are things that put a smile on my face:

  • Red and white traffic lights:  sure, it sucks to sit in traffic, but when the road curves a little, the ribbon of headlights and taillights are actually pretty.  Especially when they are close together in bumber-to-bumper traffic in the dark on the way home.  I try to see that instead of the cars.
  • Audiobooks:  My monthly Audible subscription, or Libby for free depending on what is available.  While I listen to mind-expanding or learning books in the morning, I let myself relaz with fiction on the way home.  This helps me better appreciate the ribbon lights just mentioned.
  • Picturesque houses:  I don’t live in these, but I love looking at them when I happen to pass them.  Sharp peaked roofs, twinkling lights, exuberant holiday decor.
  • Good hot food: Dieting kills my joy, so I am giving myself a partial pass for this month.  I love to eat flavorful food full of spice and variety, different from the bland fare preferred by the rest of my family.
  •  Stylish Clothing:  Whether thrifted or brand new, fun clothing helps me enjoy my day a bit more
  • Theater: Whenever I can afford the tickets.  Time and money well spent.  There are so many options over the holidays, from expensive to free local school and church concerts.  A rousing chorus of carols lifts my spirits.
  • Quiet time: for reading, crafting
I hope you are all able to find some joy for yourselves as well, whatever form it takes.

Monday, January 1, 2018


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.