Month: September 2016

The Importance of Being Lazy

Today I was lazy.  I had no expectations of the day and I made no apologies.  I have been working hard and I am learning that on those infrequent and glorious days off that one can be lazy.  I got up late.  Ate breakfast.  Did the few chores on my to do list and spent the rest of the day reading and binge watching Entourage.  Did I feel bad about my lack of inactivity?  Yes, at first.  Then I realized how rejuvenating the down time felt.  

My old life certainly did not allow for laziness whatsoever.  Don’t get me wrong, I had days where my only movement was using the remote to switch to a new episode of whatever show I was obsessing about at the time.  But during those times, money was tight due to all the debt I had, I always had things to tend to in the hopes of making a few extra dollars and the amount of housework grew faster than I could keep up with.  I had too much stuff and it always required my attention. So lazy days filled me with overwhelming guilt. 

I used to dream of what it would feel like to be out from under the drowning weight of all the stuff, all the possessions.  I dreamt of how freeing it must be to not be owned by things.  I really had no idea what it would actually be like.  I imagined days free to write or read with no guilt.  I wished for a day when I could do very little and enjoy the heck out of it without feeling like a total slacker.  

Finally I am to a point where those dreams have come true and it’s better than I could have imagined.  Before,  work was so taxing because of all the pressures I had that I could not enjoy my work or my off time. Without the stuff or the burden of stuff I can actually enjoy work, free time and lazy days.  Now I’m not talking about never doing anything on my days off; I’m talking about a day once in a while full of naps, good books, movies, or whatever one gets pleasure from. To be able to enjoy sitting in the sun reading a book (ok, I never sit in the sun or outside for that matter, I meant it metaphorically) without feeling pulled by the never ending to do list.

Without all the stuff I can keep up with chores even better than I ever could which affords me a lazy day here and there. This was my first lazy day without guilt in years. I did not plan it, it just happened. Man, it felt good!

I now see the importance of being lazy on occasion. It refreshes the soul and rejuvenates the body.  I used to think it was wrong to not be busy all the time.  No wonder I felt burned out every day.  My body was tired and my soul was malnourished.  It’s no wonder I was rarely ever happy and sick all the time.  No room to be lazy = being sick and tired.

I certainly enjoyed my day full of nothingness. I am looking forward to the next one.  I believe it may be a while but now that I have had a taste of that freedom, I will enjoy it more and without guilt. 


Contradictions-I Love to Hate Them

“He wants to dream like a young man with the wisdom of an old man.
He wants his home and security.  He wants to live like a sailor at sea.”
These are words from Bob Seger’s song, Beautiful Loser. A song that has had me questioning my life since I heard it in the 70s.  How many of us want both sides of a coin?  I have always struggled with the contradictions that have made up my life.  I have to live a quiet life for my sanity but I love to get rowdy on occasion to make sure I still have a pulse.  I try to take the high road during confrontation but I can get as gutter as the next guy.  I hate bright lights but I’m still afraid of the dark.  I hate violence but love hit man movies. I want to live near the edge but I want to also play it safe.  

I never knew how to categorize myself. Good girl or bad girl. I used to believe that I could only be one or the other.  But over the years I have figured out that I need both sides in order to be complete.  For the most part my party days have partied on down but I still have a need to shake things up a little bit.  

The contradictions were more pronounce when I was younger and trying to figure out who I was. I truly struggled with the concept of being one thing or another.  I found good girl me to be rather a bore and bad girl me a bit too abrasive (especially when mixed with alcohol.)  Yet I could never get the two to meet in the middle.  So I would end up going off half cocked in one direction but was never happy with myself.

Humans are a complex lot. I think we all want the contradictions in life to show their faces.  If we didn’t have those multiple personalities we would be one dimensional.  We need all our sides in order to be real, genuine human beings. I was never more unhappy as when I was trying to be just one thing.  You have to just let it go and be true to yourself. 

Yes, I like my music loud but my conversations soft.  I like to be a little hip while I’m being a nerd.  I am learning to love both sides of me; the soft side and the harder side.  They can now work together, instead of fighting one another, to make me a complete person. I no longer have to pick a side, I can adjust according to the situation and let out the appropriate me.  This has allowed me to become a more real, more at ease person. I did not always like myself because I did not always approve of my own behavior. But now I have learned to embrace all the contradictions in my life. They are the color in a normally black and white world. 

It’s all the experiences we encounter in life that make us who we are. I used to try and hide certain sides of me, now I love them all for I would be a very boring person without all the quirks.  Yes, Mr. Seger, I will take Beautiful Loser over the alternative any day.

A Letter to Teenage Me

Dear Younger Me,

I’m writing this letter to tell you that I am still muddling through the messes you made.  I’m still trying to become that person you dreamed you would be all those years ago.  Here is some advice I wish I would have taken when I was your age.

Respect yourself.  You were so full of insecurities, you never learned about respect.  I know that is why you did so many stupid things. You were trying, at all costs, to fill the hole in your soul. You just went about it in the wrong ways.  Every person should show themselves respect and give respect to others. 

Forget about boys and hit the books.  Girl, boys will come and boys will go, but education is yours forever.  I’m not saying give up boys all together. Just wait for the right one to come along. The man who compliments who you are. He is worth waiting for!  In the meantime, learn all you can about everything.  You used to think being smart was stupid (not great logic there), but knowledge opens the world to you.  You can travel to places and times, meet amazing people and explore avenues you never knew existed.  You should have paid attention in school, life would have been easier for us if we had learned a little bit back in the day.  

Don’t give a hoot what people think of you.  You were always so afraid of other’s opinions of you that it paralyzed you to the point you could barely function in any kind of social situation.  You never really learned to talk to anyone.  Once we learned to do that, we got to know people and heard their stories.  Life became much richer and a lot more interesting.  Not caring about what others think helps you grow as a person, an authentic person.

Take care of yourself.  You never learned good eating or exercising habits.  You can get by on that at 14, but at 54 it is a real issue.  Eating Cap’n Crunch for dinner was easy then but no so good for us now.  These are tough habits to learn this far down the road. I’m still working on it but you maybe should have considered it sooner.

Turn off the television and go outside.  Your hatred for all things nature has been a hinderance all these years. Bugs are not all bad.  Worms can’t penetrate your skin (I know you used to think that).  Nature is actually quite nice.  Living your life through Marsha Brady did absolutely nothing to help you as a person.  You should have gone outside more.

Quit being afraid of everything. You spent way too much time locked in that over-active imagination of ours.  The outlandish things you feared amaze me.  Did you know all those fears followed us in adulthood and only got worse.  Overcoming the fears and the insecurities has taken all of our life.  I wish I would have been more fearless at your age.  It would have opened up so many more doors for us.

Things will not make you happy and learn to save money.  That gapping hole in your soul will not be fixed by buying things.  Stuff will just end up owning you and bringing more unhappiness.  Learn to save money, give to those in need and live with less….lots less!  You cannot buy happiness.

Have faith in God’s grace.  You were so busy being mad at Him that you replaced His peace with your own brand of chaos.  You knew no kind of peace most of your life. Worry was your god.  That is very sad.

I know that I have been a little rough on you.  I just wish I had actually gotten this letter at your age.  Life would have been completely different. Guess what?  It hadn’t been all bad.  Yes, you made monumental mistakes but you learned….eventually.  All the problems served to make you who we are today.  I guess that’s not so bad.  I give you a lot of grief and blame a lot on you.  You were just a lost kid trying to find your way.  I get it now.  

We are getting better and that’s what counts, right?  Glad you hung in there. I don’t know what I would have done without you. Take care and be strong.  You are going to need it.


Your Older Self

P.S.  The world does not revolve around you.  Look outside yourself…that’s when the magic happens!

Fifteen Years Ago Today

Everyone who lived through 9/11 has a story to tell.  We all remember where we were that morning and how much fear and sadness was felt.  There are many other writers who will give this anniversary a much better telling than I ever could.  But the date still effects me.  I think of all the lives lost and all the lives changed….forever.  I love America and I am honored to live here but I am still sad.  

During times of crisis we pull together, that’s what Americans do. But today seems as we are pulling the very fabric of our world apart with hatred, entitlement, and lack of spiritual center.  I do not claim to have any answers; I’m as lost as anyone.  But it seems we, as a society, have lost something of utmost importance.  It could be respect, kindness, empathy…the keys that make human beings more evolved, for lack of a better word.

Although history tells the story of mankind being full of anger, rage and injustice.  It all started shortly after the beginning of time. One bite of an apple and it was all downhill.  Groups of people, all nationalities and genders, enslaved and treated unjustly. We learn about the atrocities in school, see them played out for entertainment in movies, read about them, and even lived through a few. Yet, here we are today, fifteen years after the most catastrophic world event my generation ever lived through, and I do not feel we are any closer to even living slightly in harmony.  

I know there are bad people out there plotting bad things to do to their fellow humans.  There are people who feel so oppressed that they feel killing is their only answer. I don’t know how to deal with those issues.  I can barely make it through a day sometimes, let alone know how to fix that.  I struggle with the thought of working on yourself and your world as a way of making a difference. Can that really work in this day and age?  I can only hope so.  Small changes don’t seem like enough to me, but it’s all I have and all I can do.  I cannot institute international policies or stop the bad things from happening.  I can only work to be a better person to those around me and hope it spreads.  I can pray for peace and resolution and have faith that it will change.

9/11 was a life-changing event that has, forever, changed our worldview. We are all a little more suspicious and fearful.  Uncertainty has become a close companion to all of us.  In the back of our minds we wonder if or when it will happen again. Many have said this before me, but our innocence was lost fifteen years ago. You just never get that back and that is a sad, sad thing to live with.  I’m helpless to make it all better, but I can work on myself. I can be a better person and I can turn back to God.  

I will be completely honest.  God and I have had our share of moments.  I was mad at Him for years, I doubted Him and I lived a life against Him.  During those times, I was a horrible human being.  I had no regard for anyone but me.  Part of my journey was to try to find God again with a clean slate, without as much of the baggage as I could get rid of.  I’m slowly reconnecting and it makes me want to be better. Without Him, I am truly nothing.  I know a lot of people disagree with any religious stance, but I am living in God’s grace today and I know it’s different.  Apart from God I was more like the world than I even care to admit.  With Him, I do see hope for today and for the future.  Feel free to disagree with me, but in my mind pulling closer to God is my way of changing my world.  And that is all I can do.  

My thoughts and prayers are with those people personally affected by the events of 9/11.  I can never understand their pain and loss.  I can only hope that their pain is not felt in vain or that their losses are ever diminished.  I pray we continue to learn from this event and strive to be better.