Lesson on living

Life is strange and full of surprises.  One minute you’re feeling on top of the world and the next you’re feeling down.  Sometimes it makes sense and for the most part you can’t figure out what is going on.

If we sit and analyse what makes us tick we realise that we often don’t allow ourselves the time and energy to grieve a bad situation and come to terms with what it means and how it has impacted our lives.  I’m sure you’ve heard it so many times that grieving for someone who died is a very important process, coming to terms with the loss of that person and the fact that you will never see them again, chat to them, laugh or cry with them.  In order for closure we need to go through this mourning period.

Why is it then that we don’t allow ourselves the same sort of grieving process when we move home, change jobs, get divorced,  move away from a particular community or group, lose friends who either move away or move on in life.  Somehow we treat this differently, we simply expect to carry on as usual.  About 14 years ago we witnessed a mass exodus of friends emigrating and I remember how hard the goodbyes were.  It got to a stage where I simply could not face going to the airport to say farewell again.  It broke my heart when I sat and thought about what those people meant to me and how they had impacted my life.  Than a very close friend was emigrating, I remember feeling that loss the hardest.  It was the hardest  thing to say goodbye at the airport but I knew that I needed to do that in order to help me through this mourning period, and that if I hadn’t  gone to the airport I would have regretted it.  I remember in the weeks that followed how angry I felt towards her.  I was angry that she chose to move away and that our friendship would now be long distance and would simply put, never be the same again.  I remember her calling me on Christmas Eve that year to chat and when the conversation was over I was a wreck, I missed her so much and it was so hard talking to her knowing I wouldn’t see her anytime soon.  It took a few months for me to come to terms with it.  I did however have the chance to visit her in her new country and meet her friends and see the places she spoke about in her numerous emails to me.  Than a few years later I found myself divorced and suddenly our friendship changed.  I no longer received chatty emails from her, I received short factual emails.  I realised that she was angry at me for getting divorced and I was angry at her for judging me.  After this things were never the same even though we had a heart to heart and decided that our friendship was worth more than changed ideas and opinions.  It was never the same for me, I knew that she did not approve of the new man in my life, so I couldn’t really talk to her about what I was up to without upsetting her.  Eventually one day I made the very hard decision to block her on FB, I had my reasons and it was not because I was embarrassed about what she might see or read, I just realised that it may it hard for her to equate my “old life” with my “new life” and perhaps it would be easier if it wasn’t shoved in her face all the time.  Sadly this dear friend visited here last year and because I had blocked her on FB she decided she didn’t want to see me as I had made my choice.  She told me she wanted to remember me as I was.  This was very upsetting for me, but I do know that through our awkward stage after my divorce I was the one who worked at staying in touch with her, of keeping the contact, so in retrospect I don’t feel guilty that I didn’t do what I could to save the friendship.  I am grieving over this now and even though others may not understand why, I don’t need to explain myself, I need to mourn the loss of this very special friendship and when I have I can move on.

I was chatting to my man yesterday and he mentioned how heartsore he feels and he doesn’t know why, like he has a heavy heart.  He then listed all the wonderful things he has going for him at the moment and explained that he can’t understand why he feels like this when life is good.  Last year there was a huge split in a community we were involved in and it really hurt both of us but really impacted him more than he realises.  I explained that although he had come to terms with the whole thing he was still in the mourning process and needed to let the process run.  Being an impatient person when it comes to things like this he felt he should be over it and moving on.  One simply can’t wipe away the bad things in life, you can wipe but the stain is always there to remind us and to help us make wise decisions moving forward.  These things teach us how to better manage our lives and to make good choices about who we befriend, what we do, what groups or activities are important to us and what we want to be involved in.

We also need to remember that there will always be one negative person who seems to affect the things we like doing.  It may not always be the same person but there is always one whiny, grumpy person upsetting the apple cart.  We need to learn to stand back and evaluate how the majority feel and go with that.  That one negative person will get over themselves and stay or move on.  Life is too short to try and keep everyone happy, we need to focus on our own happiness first and this will spill over into everything else we do.

2014 ….

A year has flown by and my promise to blog regularly in 2013 went down the tubes.  I’m determined to get it right this year.  My main reason being that I am on an exciting journey of self discovery and keeping a record will help me track my progress or lack of progress.

2013 was a hard year for most people, speak to people and they are happy to see the back end of 2013.  So many people I know suffered through the grief of losing a family member or close friend, lots of people went through personal changes at home, at work and more.  For me there were a number of key things that really shaped my year and taught me a lot about myself.

1. We moved home in April 2013, after 2 -3 months of uncertainty we decided to make a move to something  more affrodable and quaint.  A lovely little home in a lovely area.

2. I faced huge challenges at work that stretched me and despite hating every moment of it, I did it.

3.  Dealt with a few psychopathic people and removed them from my life.

4. Discovered something that very nearly broke my heart.  When people talk about “their heart breaking” I now understand that it really does feel as though your heart will literally break into a million pieces.

5. Made a huge decision to stop working after 28 years of getting up and going to work.

6. Had the opportunity to garden again, something I really enjoy.

7. Became more involved in our Larping group (Live Action Role Play), formed an adventure party and have been plotting and planning with them.

8. Lost a very dear friend that for some reason wants to remember me as I was before my divorce.

These are just a few of the things I experienced and each of these things taught me something about myself.  I realised that I am a whole lot stronger than I think I am.  I have the a huge capacity for forgiveness.  I may be quiet and never say much but inside I am processing and learning and adapting to things that come my way.  Sometimes I may allow things to get the better of me but when I dig deep I can move on and learn from it.

2014 is the year I pursue the things I want to do.  I am starting my own small home business as well as ssisting my man in his gaming ventures by running his ‘shop’, hopefully hitting the books to study Early Childhood Development, a subject I am passionate about, and maybe finding a part time job at a nursery school putting into practice my passion for kids and creativity.

So join me as I document this journey of discovery and learning.

Coping Mechanisms

Living with two teenage daughters in the house can be a challenge at times. My daughters are really pretty easy and well behaved so I can’t complain, however, they have mood swings, which female doesn’t?

A few weeks back we had a major fall out at home that resulted in us relooking at how to deal with things. Bearing in mind that I was very aware of how the divorce had affected them. A few things came out in the process and some of them really hurt me. I also realised that they were lashing out and projecting their anger and fears onto me and in the process making me feel guilty about absolutely everything. After a few days of ‘nuclear fallout’ we were able to sit down and discuss how to work together from now on.

It was decided and agreed that our hormones often get the better of us and we need to accept this fact. We will all have good days and bad days, but we had to learn to live with this. We came up with the idea of a code word to help us when we were having a ‘fragrant moment’. Our code is: code blue. When the words code blue are uttered by us, the others need to understand that we are feeling out of sorts, grumpy, irritated or angry about something. It may not mean that we are feeling those things towards each other, it might be an outside incident or person that has made us feel that way. Code blue means, back off, let me deal with this, and when I am ready I will talk about it and if I don’t talk about don’t take it personally. It is a sign to show respect to the others and allow them that moment, acknowledging that they are in a bad space. The other rule of code blue is that you can mutter the words but you cannot make everyone else suffer because you are going through the ‘code blue’ moment.

This has helped us to deal with each other, to understand that sometimes the paw-paw hits the fan and that is okay. Acknowledging this to the family helps all of us understand and give space to the person who needs to get a handle on their emotions.

In the past we all thought that we were personally responsible for the bad mood one of us was in. We have now learnt that this is not the case and sometimes life just catches up with us and we have a down moment. It has also helped us to realise that we are not personally responsible for trying to get the other person into a happy space. We need to step back and let that person work through it on their own. We are also more direct with things, if one of us does something that hurts or irritates another we speak up about it but always in a polite manner.

We have found a coping mechanism that works for us and life is more chilled.

Blindly accepting …

In the last few years I have discovered something rather interesting. I am to blame for most of it simply because I just accepted what I was told and didn’t bother to explore it for myself. Why I did this is a mystery, perhaps at the times it was easier for me, who knows?

When I was married my husband and I had very different tastes in music and movies, as with all things there are always areas that overflow and a few bands or movies that you both enjoy. The same can be said for our favourite authors, he read books and told me they weren’t really my style so I just blindly accepted this and steered clear of them, the same with movies and music.

Here are a few examples, when Matrix came out he told me I wouldn’t enjoy it and I just accepted that and didn’t bother finding out what it was about or even watching it. Years later I happened to be bored and watched the second Matrix movie and I was hooked. I was also told that I would not enjoy The Lord of the Rings, so never even worried to watch the movies or find out more about them. He would take the movies out on DVD and watch them when I went to bed. For years I just accepted this and never really bothered to question it. Three years ago I finally got to watch The Lord of the Rings and since then have watched them several times.

Two weeks ago I was looking for something to read and stumbled across an author that I knew about but had never read any of her books. I know while married my husband read all her books and loved them and when I asked about them he said he didn’t think I would enjoy them. Again I blindly accepted this and steered clear of them. Two weeks ago I decided to try them and I am so hooked on them and loving them.

I don’t blame him entirely for this, I after all am responsible for my life and I should have ignored his response and told him I would try the movie or read the book and make up my own mind. What I do blame him for is that he thought he knew what I would like and dislike and that he never encouraged me to explore and try out new things. I know for a fact that I always encouraged him to try out new authors, movies, games and gave him the time and space to do this.

The big lesson I have learned is this: when someone says to me ‘you probably won’t enjoy it” it means that I will and I need to try it out for myself. I am in the one in control and know what I enjoy and don’t enjoy and as the years trot on I realise that my tastes and interests change and I need to bear that in mind and adjust the sails.

Living differently, thinking differently

Over the past three weeks I have had some criticism levelled at me directly and indirectly. I could lie and say it didn’t hurt and I was fine with it, it hurt and it still hurts.

Three years ago I made some very difficult decisions to make enormous changes in my life that would not just impact me but impact all those around me in different ways. Those changes were not something I thought about one night, woke up the next morning and decided to implement. The changes were carefully weighed up and lots of thought and time was spent working out what the best plan of action would be. The bottom line was that no matter which way it worked out it would shock, hurt and confuse people. I decided that I couldn’t allow those things to stop me from doing what I needed to do. I made a choice and would need to live with the consequences.

One of the hardest decisions I made was to leave a job that I had been in for 10 years, I felt that it was my crutch in life and how could I possibly survive without it? The second decision was to get divorced which we all know is not an easy decision to make. I knew the impact it would have on my immediate family and extended family and friends. It would have been far easier to remain in my job, even though I was not enjoying it anymore, it would have been easier to bite the bullet and remain in a marriage that I was very unhappy in. That type of decision would hurt no one but me and surely I could suck it up and learn to live with it. But could I really? I realised that I couldn’t, that I needed to be brave and do what I needed to do no matter what.

Since my divorce I have learned many lessons, some good and not so good. People have judged and levelled all sorts of criticism at me without knowing the facts, and sometimes just because they felt justified to do so.

These three years have grown me and stretched me in numerous ways. I have discovered things about myself I never knew, or perhaps had just buried deep down because it was easier to do that then deal with it or acknowledge that is how I was feeling about life and things. I have done all kinds of crazy things and enjoyed so much. I have laughed and cried and got really angry with myself, but I haven’t backed down, I haven’t buried my head in the sand I have faced up to it all.

I can honestly look back and say that it has been worth the pain and agony and I know that there will be more pain and agony as the years pass. The difference is that I now know that I’ll be able to handle it all and won’t be scared to deal with it.

The world according to …

Feel free to insert your name in or someone else’s. How many times have you heard people use this term, either when referring to something they are saying or something someone else has said. Whether this is said in jest or with sarcasm does not matter, we all understand the term and what it is alluding to.

A recent remark made me realise how too often we adopt this attitude in our own lives to serve a purpose. We may be sitting chatting to friends and make a remark that is totally ludicrous but we are serious about it and you realise as the words leave your mouth that it is clearly one of those “The world according to …” remarks and your friends are probably running that through their brains at the same time.

We do this without thinking and I know I do it in a way to understand the motivation or thinking behind a statement. When someone makes a brash harsh statement, I step back and think okay what and why, then think about how they operate their world and analyse how this statement fits into their world.

Their world encompasses so many things from their circle of friends, the work they do, the car they drive, where they live, what they wear, what they do socially, interests, morals, ethics etc. When you take all of these things into account the statement fits and might not be as abrasive as you originally thought. They are after all using their sphere of reference adding some personal feelings/emotions to the statement and it fits their world view and they feel comfortable with it.

I think that there is a fine line as to how you operate ‘your world’ and how it impacts those around you. If you have a set of morals and values that you expect others to adhere to and accept then please don’t do the opposite to them. If for example you state vocally “I am not judgemental and can’t stand people who are”, then remember those words, adhere to them, and don’t change them to suit a circumstance or whim. Treat people like you want to be treated. If you require people to respect you than you have to respect them back. If you want honesty and open communication then practice that, don’t harbour things and let them all explode at once and dig into past things causing a volcano of emotions and feelings to erupt and then expect your target to stand back and calmly accept your volcanic eruption, apologise to you and move on. In my experience there is always a chain reaction and you need to be prepared for that to happen. What gives you the right to get angry and mad and someone else must just accept that. Why are people shocked when someone dares to fight back? Why can’t they have their say and defend themselves?

So next time you climb onto your “the world according to …” horse, take a breather and think about what you are about to do and say and how you would feel if someone did that to you.

Morals & Ethics

These two words are buzzing around in my head today, I am digesting and contemplating their meanings. Not just their universal meaning, but the bearing they have on me and my life.

Recently a question was posed to me that directly relates to my personal morals and ethics and has made me seriously consider what they are. We all have some morals and ethics that we live by some more than others but at the end of the day they are present in some form. At times we stretch the boundaries of the two in order to accommodate changes in our circumstances and to get on with living. We have all done it one way or other, even when we have not wanted to circumstances have dictated it and we find ourselves adjusting our boundary lines.

I find myself confronted with a long list of cons and very few pros. My instincts are saying ‘no’ and we are always told to trust our instincts. For me that is something I have always lived by, but in recent years have realised that those very instincts often stop me from stepping out and experiencing life. At times it has been hard lessons learned but necessary, other times it has been a life changing experience that I have really enjoyed and not regretted one bit.

So as I ponder these things, I ask you the reader to share with me any of your experiences and lessons you have learned along the way. Have you regretted it? Have you enjoyed it? What have you learned? Would you do it again? What makes your morals and ethics different to mine?

Ethics:
  1. Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behaviour. The moral correctness of specified conduct.
Morals:
  1. A lesson, esp. one concerning what is right or prudent, that can be derived from a story, a piece of information, or an experience.
  2. A person’s standards of behaviour or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do.

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