I haven’t written much lately. My husband tends to feel like he’s letting himself down when he doesn’t write for a long time, but for me it’s kind of a relief. I have noticed that I tend to write when I’m sad. Or angry. Or when I just need to process things that I can’t wrap my mind around. If I’m not writing a lot, it’s a pretty good indication that I’m doing well. I’m happy. I’ve got stuff figured out. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule…
I had surgery at the end of August and I was pretty dependent on J for most of my daily needs for quite a while. (That was horrible, by the way. I had no idea that I valued my independence so much!). But once I was on my own two feet again (albeit with some pain), I was much better.
And now here I am again, which means I need to figure some stuff out. Counselor says I need to cultivate a relationship with myself. I need to learn to love myself. Forgive myself. I don’t know how to do that. She also recommends I do some kind of art, because it’s a way to be creative and explore myself without the analytical stuff that comes out when I write. I don’t know how to do that either.
But I am learning to sew. And I bought glitter. That’s a start, right?
But what about liking myself and forgiving myself? What do I like about myself?
I’m very smart.
I’m great at communication.
I’m the best (job title) that (company name) has ever had. Their words, not mine.
I have moments when I’m really fun to be around.
I can make some people laugh.
I think I see a beauty in the world that others often miss.
I’m generous and kind.
I’m a great baker.
I’m fiscally responsible.
I’m analytical (Yes, I like that about myself, but I certainly do have to keep myself in check in that regard.)
And what do I need to forgive myself for?
I’m not perfect.
I sometimes hurt the people I love.
I’m bad at keeping my home clean.
I’m not sure how to forgive God for His silence lately.
I’m not sure how to forgive God for allowing my mom to get sick.
I’m not beautiful.
I’m not as witty as I wish I was (…as I wish I were?)
I’m often lazy.
I frequently don’t do the things I “should” do.
Why does the bad stuff feel more potent than the good stuff? How can I choose to focus on the good things about myself, when they don’t feel as real or as important as the bad things?
J and I both love to read, and sometimes we’ll discuss the books we’re discovering. Not long ago, J read a book called 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam. Truth be told, I haven’t read it and I’m not sure if I’ll ever get around to it, but one thing J mentioned to me while he was reading it was that the author recommended writing a list of 100 dreams or goals. I thought it was a great idea, so I decided to make my own list.
And now, for your reading pleasure, my dreams (in no particular order):
- Take a picture of myself every day (for age progression purposes).
- Attend at least 2 roller derby bouts every season.
- Go someplace new once every other month.
- Feel confident in a bathing suit.
- Have a wardrobe I love.
- Read 5 nonfiction and 10 fiction books every year.
- Give a million dollars to charity during my lifetime.
- Become an activist who fights against human trafficking.
- See the pyramids.
- Buy lingerie in Paris.
Tithe a full 10% to the general fund at church in addition to the other various good causes I support. 2013 and ongoing
- Do a humanitarian trip at least once a decade.
- Learn to sew beautiful clothing and crafts.
- Send anonymous gifts to people twice a year.
- Visit my ancestral roots in Germany.
- Learn to make my own cleaning/beauty products (for the sake of reducing my carbon footprint and household chemical consumption).
- Visit all 50 states.
- Pray at the Wailing Wall at least one more time. Bring J.
- Call Sister and Oma once a week.
See college friend G again before I turn 35. 2014
- Take college friend M out to dinner before the end of 2013.
- Take a Caribbean cruise.
- Find my place in ministry.
- Create a comfortable and beautiful home that is neat, organized, and decorated.
- Become “mostly vegetarian.” Seafood excluded.
- Invest in T’s life. Become her confidante and outside support system.
- Become a prayer warrior.
- Buy roller skates and skate once a month.
- Learn to believe in true love again.
See Oma at least one more time before she dies. 2014
- Write R & R (sponsored children) once every other month.
- Find a best friend in my region.
Volunteer once a month. 2014 and ongoing
- Eat more pizza and sushi.
- See Eddie Izzard, Jim Gaffigan,
and Brian Regan (again)  live.
- Have $0 of debt.
- Win employee of the year.
- See a live theater production once a year.
- Keep a dream journal.
- Take a vacation with Sister.
- At least once in my life, leave a $100 bill for my restaurant meal at Christmas time.
- Get my picture taken with Johnny Depp.
- Watch a documentary once a month.
- Take belly dancing lessons.
- See Petra – the buildings carved into stone.
- Ride a camel.
- Choose and wear a signature scent.
- Take J on a surprise vacation.
- Save enough to retire comfortably at the age of 60.
- Own something from Tiffany’s.
- Take a ceramics and/or stained glass course.
- Learn Sign Language.
- Keep a daily “I’m Thankful For” journal.
- Win a trophy that I get to keep indefinitely (not the Iron Skee Ball trophy).
- Beat J at least once more time at one of our annual Iron Skee Ball competitions.
- Do the “27 Days of J” for J’s birthday one year.
- Finish a half-marathon.
- Learn to swing dance, stunts included. Or salsa dancing.
- Stay up late and watch shooting stars in a cemetery (again).
- Watch the sunrise from somewhere where an ocean is to the east.
- See Ground Zero.
- Kiss J on the top of the Empire State Building.
- Look out the window from the top of the Columbia Tower.
- See the view from the top of the Smith Tower.
- Start celebrating “Treat Yourself” day annually.
- Every presidential election, take off from work the day after the election so that I can stay up late to hear the results as they happen. Have a celebratory or commiseration beverage when the results are announced.
- Take off from work and celebrate Cinco de July-o annually.
- Perform my civic duty and serve as a juror.
- Feed a giraffe.
- Hold a baby hedgehog.
- Decorate my house with 1000 white candles for a special date night.
- Stay at the Albuquerque Holiday Inn.
- Visit New Orleans.
- Get a dog.
- Make and use fabric napkins so that we don’t have to use paper towels.
- Figure out a convenient way to compost.
- Send a care package to a solder (again).
- Make a rag quilt.
- Attend a masquerade.
- Cuddle and play with the little ones at the “Hogar San Francisco de Asis” Center for Destitute and Sick Children in Lima, Peru.
- Accomplish or be part of something truly great.
- Help at a homeless soup kitchen.
- Buy a decent car entirely with $20 bills from my savings account – no financing.
- See the Northern (or Southern) lights one more time.
- See a phosphorescent red tide at night (again).
- Take a long-exposure photograph of the twirling night sky.
Get a mattress that doesn’t give me back/headaches. 2013
- Save the equivalent of three month’s income in case of emergency.
- Acquire enough emergency supplies in my home to survive one week without outside help.
Grow my hair long enough to donate (again). 2014
- Shake hands with a current or former American president.
- Get to know my brother better.
- Pet a penguin.
- Have a vow-renewal ceremony with friends for my 25th wedding anniversary.
- Look sexy in the Wonder Woman t-shirt in my closet.
- Go on a helicopter tour of a pretty place.
- Ride in a limousine.
- Go on a safari.
- Develop my vocabulary to include uncommon words (not to impress anyone, but rather simply for the sake of my love for the English language).
I know it’s unreasonable to expect that I’ll accomplish all of these, but I’ll do as many as I can!
If you’d like, shoot me a comment with some of your life goals. I’d love to hear them.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about happiness lately. Mostly, probably, because I’ve been so unhappy for so many years. In the American culture, despite the adage that money can’t buy happiness, we seem to believe that it can. It seems to me, however, that the more money I personally have, the less happy I become. …or maybe there are other forces at work here…
I’ve dedicated 2013 as the year I learn to be happy. I’ve done some light research on it (and by that I mean I’ve looked at what other people have found out). Specifically, I read a book called The Happiness Project not long ago, and then tonight J and I watched a documentary called Happy.
I think the bottom line is that I need to consider making some major changes to the way I do life. I want to get off the money train and focus on the things that matter. Relationship. Compassion. Generosity. Altruism. (Yes, I know. There is a lot of overlap here.)
Such changes are much easier said than done, though. For example, I’ve been trying to be more social lately, but it’s slow going. I have a kind of social anxiety that makes it exceedingly hard for me to be around people I don’t know very well, and if someone shows an apparent hesitation to hang out with me, I easily lose heart and give up. A pox upon the Seattle Freeze! (Maybe I should just move somewhere else. Oh yeah, I have a mortgage. Never mind.)
So, the pursuit continues.
If anyone out there has any brilliant ideas on how to be happy, I welcome your thoughts.