Still here…

For better, or worse, I haven’t gone anywhere even though I seemingly abandoned this blog. Rereading the first 2 entries that I created, I can see why I moved away from this self-expression. You see, I started this blog to help myself cope with what I was going through helping my mom fight cancer. Shortly after my last post, she went rapidly downhill. She passed away on March 7th 2015, one week before my 30th birthday.

Watching her fight, and then accept her fate, has been an overwhelming experience in my life. There are so many reasons why, and over time, I’d like to share the process, and perhaps help myself work through some of it.

You see, my life has changed so much since that last post. I went from a point of wanting to try to make my life with my husband smoother and fill it with happiness, and instead we boiled over, and are now working on going our separate ways. In the midst of all of this is our beautiful 2 year old son. I have been through so much in the last year, and I would like to transform this blog into a place where I can share my joys, struggles, and what I’m learning through it all. If I can help just one person look at life from another perspective or smile, I’ll consider this an accomplishment.

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It’s all relative…

I was sitting in line at a drive-thru and the vehicle in front of me got me thinking. Going to fast food places with my husband is typically a frustrating experience for me. He is one of the those people that even if we are 10 people back, still takes forever to order his food when we get to the front of the line. It’s like he’s never been to the restaurant before and doesn’t speak the language the menus are written in. It’s hard not to be embarrassed and annoyed, especially when he always ends up order the exact same thing.

This car in front of me though. I watched for a while, as the person was leaned out the window talking to the box, wondering what they could possibly be talking about. I imagined it was a hamburger version of the Jim Gaffigan skit about what Mexican food is. If you haven’t seen it, the answer to the description of everything is basically “cheese, meat, and veggies on a tortilla.” As I’m watching this scene unfold before me, I started wondering what exactly is it about my husband taking his time ordering that fills me with so many negative emotions.

What I find odd about his ordering process is that in every other aspect of life he is the complete opposite. My husband is not a very patient person. People never get moving fast enough after the light turns green. People walking down the sidewalk aren’t hurrying along at a rate that satisfies him. The cashier at the grocery store has “no sense of urgency” as he likes to say. This attitude of his has always been at the core of a lot of our discord. Now, I’m not perfect. I get randomly frustrated when the speeds at which others are operating effect how quickly I can achieve something. But my husband definitely takes this to an extreme. Personally, I enjoy when a cashier chats with other people, or myself. I am of the thinking that in our society we have lost so much of our interpersonal, communal sense, and really do appreciate when someone takes a few extra minutes to engage in small talk with people. It’s especially helpful when I’m feeling a little down to have that small connection to another person.

When I drove a horse carriage, I came face to face with a lot of impatient people. My favorite response was to tell my passengers that if “their life is so tightly packed with things that 8 seconds will make or break them, they may need to loosen up their schedule a little.” I feel that way about life in general. My husband would argue that those 8 seconds here or there add up and at the end of the day may have costed you a few minutes, and those few minutes over time add up to a lot of time. I do agree with him on that, but would challenge this thinking by saying: why would you want to spend 18 hours of your life every year angry and frustrated over a situation that can’t be changed by upsetting yourself?

So back to my husband at fast food places. Why does it bother me so much? Is it the fact that he gets so upset with others for the exact same behavior he exhibits? Is it that I worry others behind us are thinking the same thoughts my husband expresses when he is stuck behind others? Why does it matter to me so much? The fact is, it doesn’t. I can’t find any reason to justify being embarrassed over his delayed ordering. I can’t think of a single situation in which I should panic and put pressure on him. I’m making it my goal to go easier on him, and in conjunction easier on myself. I’ve realized that the little stress that begins with our ordering process, snowballs into a lot of discord during our meal and beyond.

From now on I’d like to make an effort to relax more in this area of my life. To stop tension before it even starts. No longer do I want to feel stress and anger when it’s not over an important issue that I can actually do something about. Hopefully this small step can point me in the direction of being happier overall.

Testing the waters

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” -Eckhart Tolle

The last 5 months can be summed up for me as the recognition of how true these words are, and the implementation of them. I remember sometime near the end of October, I was at work when I was suddenly consumed by the thought that my life could, at any moment, be gone. Done. Over with. Never again would I see my son, kiss my husband, pat the gorgeous Percheron in front of me, feel sand between my toes, get lost in a new song, nothing. None of it. I felt 4 inches tall. All it would take is for someone to not be paying attention, looking at a facebook message instead of watching the road, and bam, game over. It’s all so temporary. So ridiculously temporary. There is no such thing as permanent.

So why then do we face countless hours worrying, thinking about the past, fretting over the future? I have had a difficult time accepting my current situation. I have spent so much of my life doing what was “right” or “expected” that I’ve forgotten to how to find peace and enjoyment. I spend more time telling my husband what he does that I am unhappy with, and things he could have done better, than I do relishing in our time together. He could walk out the door one day for work, and never come home. That’s a very, although cynical and depressing, realistic possibility. Can I live the rest of my life knowing that I wasted so many precious opportunities with him?

Now, don’t get me wrong. No one is perfect. Everyone has regrets. It’s impossible to live a life and not have one single regret. But we can certainly lessen them, and contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to live a reckless life in order to do so. Life is an imperfect journey and as the saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20. You make the choice that seems right at the moment, and there is no going back to change your mind. If you can’t fix the problem, why dwell on it?

The next few weeks I want to share my experiences coping with my mom’s illness, and how it’s helping me to live a better life. I wish I would have learned long ago to not care so much about things that in the end don’t matter, but all I can do is move forward, and I invite you to follow me.