THEY CAN’T HELP IT BUT YOU CAN

Serenity prayer

Many have heard the “serenity prayer”, but the meaning becomes clearer as we age. It applies to all people, everywhere and of every denomination. Parenthood is the only exception, but it shouldn’t be. Parents see the best in their children, but do not accept them for who they are. Frequently lamenting that if only Johnny would apply himself. If only Suzie could see herself as I see her. If only they would try harder.

Whether we accept it or not they are who they are. Johnny is applying himself. Suzie sees herself as herself, and they are both working as hard as they can. The hard part is for the parents. The parents must love them and accept them as they are.

Typical scenario is that you push Suzie to [fill in the blank]. Then as soon as you stop pushing, Suzie falls back to her old ways. Then you fall back to your old ways and pushsisyphus 3 Suzie again. This scene repeats itself  like the myth of Sysiphus until you’re both exhausted and you are broke. I threw in the broke part because pushing frequently means spending money.  Stop trying to change them, because it makes you and them crazy.

Love them as we did when they were babies when their poop stank, kept us up all night crying, and they wrote on walls with crayon. They couldn’t help it then and they can’t help it now. We get especially crazy when our friends are raving about their daughters and sons who are doctors, lawyers, biologists, and ironmen. We tell our children about the super children without meaning to compare but to encourage. When all we are doing is saying to them that they are not good enough. That they can and should be better. We are all guilty.

No matter how old they are…. Tell them you love them like you mean it and accept them as they are, and when all else fails…. Refer back to the Serenity Prayer.

manatra

I Love You and Accept You Just As You Are

Stay Tuned…….

 

Bouncing is Hard

Wi am a writeroke up this morning with an insatiable urge to write! Haven’t felt this way in a longgg time! Thoughts are swarming like a bee hive. Thoughts about retirement, options (i.e., what to do with my time), noise, routine/ruts, relationships, etc, etc. Blog title is indicative of my minds activity this morning. But why today?

Last night I meditated for the first time in months. Two days ago I reduced one of my medications by half. cut a pllYesterday I took a very strenuous muscle building class that sucked out some of the stored fat.  Moved back home. Began taking Vitamin B12 in hopes of restoring my memory cells. Any or all of these things could have triggered this mental energy. But… why ask why? Because, all of my thoughts are connected but each idea deserves its own space.

Speaking of space…. I’m trying to find a creative space in which to work similar to when I used to write at our condo in Ocean City. When looking back at previous blogs, it’s easy to point out the ones written at the beach, because they were so fluent and more importantly…. they were interesting. Makes me want to build a “she shed”, which is one of the latest trends. It’s akin to a “man cave”, but softer, lighter, cleaner, and smells better.

But I digress and considering this mornings’ state of mind with ideas popping, I suspect I will have to continuously pull myself back from my beehive mind. I even find myself editing as I write which is a major no-no­­­­­­­ for writers.

dad deathBouncing began when Dad died and escalated with semi-retirement. Psychiatrists always consider the relationship between childhood life events and ones’ development. Since our childhoods revolve around our parents or other caregivers, it follows that losing a parent is a traumatic event. It’s also interesting that the type of relationship one has with a caregiver doesn’t matter…. their loss still affects us.

Since Dad was my rock and the last parent to “transition”, my immediate experience was a feeling of release. Because, not only was he my rock but my tether. Like a hotair balloon ride… I was able to float off into the world and wow did I float. First stop was Dubai where I taught for a year followed by a four-year sojourn in San Diego to take my dream job that turned into a nightmare which I’m finally ready to talk about in another blog.

Dubai was never a dream. Was not on my radar and I barely knew anything about it. As part of my untethering, I was looking for an opportunity to work in a country where Spanish was the primary language. So, I posted my resume on an education website, and up popped the United Arab Emirates, Ras al Khaimah (aka UAE, RAK, which is like a suburb of Dubai). So, without any other offers, and lots of encouragement from Hubby who had also recently been untethered…. off we went.

San Diego resulted from a surprising rejection. While doing volunteer work at a business development office, I learned about a paid opportunity that completely matched my background and interest. Having been told that I was a shoe-in for the job, I submitted my resume but didn’t even get a call to interview. Not that I am egotistical, but…. I know what I know and I knew I was the best candidate so I was flabbergasted when they hired someone else.

Recognizing how much I wanted that job made me realize that I was ready to work plusnew job my ego was significantly bruised. So I had to “show them” and myself that I could get an even better job. I launched on a deliberate search for what I assumed would be my last paid employment. Won’t go into the details of the job search, suffice to say that I got hired in San Diego.

Funny thing is that Hubby and I previously took two separate trips down south in search of a place to retire on/near the water; in an urban setting; with good weather year-round; walkable; purchase price below $300k; and, with a low cost of living. After two visits to the Carolinas (Raleigh, Cary, Durham, Asheville), Savannah, GA, Charlotte, and Orlando) we decided that what we wanted, did not exist and gave up our quest. Shockingly, our dream was fulfilled in San Diego… except for the part about the cost of living.

The last 4 glorious years were spent between the Washington DC area (home) and onBouncing

San Diego’s Coronado Island “where the livin’ is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high….” As I sit at our dining room table (home) amongst boxes to be unpacked from our latest bounce across country, I am reflecting on the difficulty of bouncing as one gets older. Like most of the things done in my early years… everything is more difficult now. But that’s another story.

Stay Tuned

Life is an Unknown

Snowbird 2Every so often, hubby and I move from San Diego to Alexandria, VA and back again. We are reverse snowbirds, because we usually go east during winter. That sounds crazy, but we want to be with the family for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Plus, the oldest G’daughter has asked us in a threatening way “you will be back for the holidays… won’t you?

The most amazing thing about life is the unknown. We don’t know what will happen next year or next month or in the next minute. How could I have not been consciously aware of that! Here I am busy planning for the unknown? Huh… that doesn’t make sense!

So, I’m stymied and in limbo surrounded by packing boxes for our pilgrimage back East. Friends ask if we are coming back to San Diego next year and like a nincomunknown

poop I answer that I don’t know. Then I remind myself that next year is an unknown. Therefore, I am justified in saying that I don’t know so I don’t have to feel stupid because I don’t have an answer.

But I can talk about what “I want to happen next year”. I want to come back to San Diego at a time that is convenient and stay for as long as I want. A “convenient” time is when there is a place available at a reasonable price overlooking some piece of the San Diego Bay near the friends that we have accumulated over the last four years. Wow…. That’s quite a wish list and that’s why it’s so difficult to answer the question not only for others but for ourselves.

We have actually found Paradise and there is a whole island of people who say the same thing literally every day. No-to-low crime; constant sunshine (except for the periodic days when we wait for the “marine layer” to burn off; average year-round temps of 70 degrees; all the essentials (googobs of restaurants; 2 hardware stores; 2 live theaters; live Coronado heartmusic on the Bay every weekend; 1 movie theater; yoga and exercise studios galore including beach yoga, etc. etc. Our neighbors have put together a potluck with games every Wednesday and Saturday night. So, between our community activities and island activities… our dance card is full. And the icing is that everything is within a 1-mile radius, which means you don’t need a car.

So why on earth would we want to move back East!!! The obvious answer is that family trumps everything! Our kids and G’kids live back East. Plus, as strange as it may sound, I miss the changing seasons, which add a rhythm to life. As Summer nears an end, you begin to feel the change in the air as temperatures cool and leaves change colors. When Winter nears its end, you begin to think about Spring and warmer temperatures. Then as Spring is ending you begin planning for Summer and the cycle repeats.Family

Recently, a friend told me that the trouble with year-round sunshine is that you don’t get a chance to rest. You run from one activity to another and exhaust yourself. But the biggest downsides to living in San Diego are high rent/mortgage; noise from our largest neighbor… Naval Air Station; and everyday sounds from urban living. We get truck noise, jet plane noise, helicopters, and dogs  yapping.

Note: I am reading a blog by a couple that sold everything; bought a catamaran; and, are now cruising on the Erie Canal for a year. This is dangerous reading for me because I might start dreaming that it would be a really cool thing to do next!!!

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how life unfolds.

Stay tuned

Too Many Options

DoorsResearchers have shown (my favorite phrase) that too many options lead to the “paradox of choice”. The New York Times refers to it as “The Paralyzing Problem of Too Many Choices”. If the choices are six or less, then one can figure it out. But when choices exceed six,  we tend to talk away. For example, when you go into a grocery store to purchase a tube of toothpaste, you may be confronted with 10 different choices. Oy Vey… which one to choose? Do you want whiter teeth, or stronger teeth, or fluoride, or minty breath, and the choices go on and on and on. At some point (around 6) people just walk away without making a decision!Where to live decision chart 3

Our current dilemma is deciding where to live… to snowbird or not to snowbird. To be around our grandchildren or not; to be near old friends or not; to live urban or suburban; to experience four seasons or two.  Of course, these choices are not mutually exclusive, but it is hard to choose because I want to have my cake and eat it too (especially now that I’m on Weight Watchers.)

So, Clay and I have finally reached a middle-of-the road decision. We will move back home, but pack our furnishings in storage for the likely event that we will return to San Diego. If we don’t return to SD then we will have the storage company sell our goods. Whew… that’s a load off our minds.

Now what should we pack and leave in SD and what should we take?

Stay tuned………..

 

 

 

 

Grit and Letting Go

GritMy current goto for enlightenment is TedTalks, which recently posted an article on Grit. It’s an old term that’s been repurposed as a measure of success. Researchers have found (I love using that phrase) that obvious factors such as IQ, EQ, upbringing, and environment are not the best indicators of whether a person will be successful or not. The real measure is Grit.

In a nutshell, Grit pertains to one’s ability to focus and persevere.  Aha… so that explains why some of my family members, friends and associates who seem to have capabilities are continually foundering on the shores of life. You push, prod, guide, and hand-hold, but they stay caught in the ebb and flow of the waves on the shoreline. They wash in and wash out, but essentially stay in the same place.  If you happen to be one of the prodders, this can be an extremely frustrating experience, because you continue to believe that if you prod enough then they will succeed…. WRONG… because they lack grit!

Lacking grit is not a bad thing. It’s akin to saying that a person who cannot play music by ear is lacking. No…. as my ex-son-in-law would say…. It is what it is.

Yesterday, Hubby and I went on a hike to Penasquitos Park with a determination to get toPenasquitos waterfall the waterfall because the last time we couldn’t make it. Actually, the last time we were smart enough to know that the day was too hot and the distance too far (7 miles round trip) so we turned around. This time we were not going to let a little heat and distance stop us. We were Focused!

Once we set a goal (focus) we will persevere until we reach our goal come hell or highwater! Unfortunately, the goalsetting did not take into account that we were starting late in the day (again) when the temps were already in the 80’s.  We made it to the waterfall, but totally exhausted our energy reserves and put ourselves in a situation that could have resulted in headlines Hiking Seniors Suffering from Heatstroke Were Evacuated to Hospital.

Hubby and I happen to be a 10 on the grit scale and sometimes too much is as bad as not enough. But the real message is to the Prodders (We are also guilty and have spent A LOT of money and angst prodding. So we understand the impulse.) At some point, you have to recognize that we all do the best we can and that pushing and prodding is not only exhausting (for the prodder and proddee), but expensive and non-productive for all parties. It’s not about giving up. It’s about accepting the realities.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Being Sucked

Rabbit holeIsn’t it wonderful that sites like Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube automatically launch the next video or post so I don’t have to do it for myself. When I click on YouTube it even lists videos that are similar to the ones I already watched. Unfortunately, it can’t distinguish between my viewing and Clay’s, so I end up with a lot of really weird s@#$% like “how to make knives out of nails”.

The joy of having these sites do all the work for me is akin to being led down a primrose path (which is perfectly defined as “a seductively attractive course that leads to disillusionment or a bad outcome”). The bad outcome in this case is being sucked into a vortex from which I can’t escape, and hours later I have to wrench control pied piper

from the Pied Piper (AKA Facebook, Netflix, Youtube). Even while writing this blog, my cell keeps blooping to get my attention.

Well, I have to go now because Wheel of Fortune just pinged me to return to the game.

Stay Tuned

Paris Day 8: Versailles

VersaillesParis was Clay’s dream, but since we were coming I looked to see what was important to me and Versailles was it. Remembrances from movies, books, and history class caused me to create my own story and pictures in my memory. For some reason, it was important to me to visit Versailles, probably because I have a major fascination with old architecture which caused Clay to stop frequently for me to admire the architecture all over Paris.

Versailles is such a dream that several wealthy Americans have attempted to recreate it. Of course, anything they do is a poor imitation, because they can only copy the structure, but not the essence of its history.  While looking at the ostentatious display of wealth, you can imagine the starving peasants storming the manse.

Curiously, many of the attributes of Louis XVI are similar to President Trump, his love for gold everywhere, “mentally dull, little understanding of the business of a King, awkward, and uncourtly.” But that’s a story for another time.

The only downside was that Tripadvisor had not fully clued me into this place or I totally missed the information. I didn’t know we could have taken a tram ride around the property instead of walking for miles in the hot sun with a tourguide. Also, didn’t know we could have rented a golf cart to tour the grounds instead of walking for miles in the hot sun. Plus, we could have purchased tickets for private tours of select parts of the building.

I’m disappointed because I do not expect to go back because there are way too many other places in the world to see.

Oh Well…. I enjoyed what I saw.

The next day is back to the real world 🙂