Category Archives: opportunities

Pity Party

We all go there sometimes, with or without hats, streamers, and blow horns. We may have been invited by a disappointment, or we may not even know how we ended up there in the first place, hog-tied and teary eyed. Pity parties are the parties that everyone has gone to at least once. And if you have only attended once, count yourself especially special. We have a million things that make us happy. We have things in our lives that make our hearts smile, people in our lives that are there when everyone else goes to their own pity party and ignores the invite to ours. That’s okay.

That doesn’t mean they’re any less of a friend any more than it means we’re any less of a friend when we can’t step out of our own muck to join in theirs. Which is why reflection, during times of joy, is particularly useful and powerful for all of us. If thinking about what we don’t have can get us into our own pity-party, then maybe thinking about what we do have can get us into our own celebration of gratitude – which is typically much healthier, not to mention good for our spirits.

I spent too much time over the holidays indulging in my own pity party. I even pulled others in, and blocked some out completely. It’s easy for the guilt-ridden part of me to focus on that, to drown in my own stupid selfishness. But now that I’m done with that party and my sunshine has shone its rays across the horizon of life again, I find that I have no interest in going back. Sure, the raccoon bagged red eyes were a beautiful site. The hunched over zombie crawl of going through the motions has its haunting attraction. But maybe it was a little ungrateful and self-indulgent of me to be that version of myself. I don’t have Cancer. I have two amazing kids. I have some of the sweetest friendships, a man who loves me even through my obnoxious moments, and a dog who revolves her days around the comings and goings of her two-legged mommy. Sure, I’ve experienced lots of death & heartbreak. I’m 40.

Still, I have 100 New Years Resolutions, and only one year to make it happen. 365 days of self-pity-free openness to life. That should cover all 100 resolutions. I’m so far from perfect, and I’m not so rose-colored as to think that I won’t struggle with this mission. But like anything else worthwhile and life-changing, I’m taking it one day at a time. My wish is that everyone takes time this year to reflect on the good, take inventory of the blessings, to reach out to those who struggle more than ourselves, and journey toward that ever-changing silver lining. Pity parties after all are so 2016. 2017 is about JOYful gratitude.

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As for me…

This month, it will be four years that I’ve been the only adult in my home. That’s the longest I’ve ever been ‘head of household’. Ever. Right now, as I’m interviewing for jobs, there is on consistent theme going on in my conversations. I am Robin. I am the sidekick. I am not Batman. I may be at home, but I don’t want to be full-time, all the time, day-in and day-out Batman. I just don’t have it in me to be the happy boss lady. My mom was the boss. I was the minion. And maybe I wasn’t okay with that until she passed away, until I HAD to be Batman and was forced out of my sidekick flip-flops and into my superhero boots. Still, that has been my epiphany. Some people are born leaders, and admittedly, I always thought I was one of those. Maybe in a way, I still think I am – on an emotional intelligence level but NOT on a business level. 

I am the girl who will give everything away if it’s up to her, and no one is telling her to do otherwise. I am the girl who understands people’s hardships a little too well, and will cave in to their sob stories. And guess what? I don’t want to change a thing. I could’ve become hardened by now. By the grace of God, I haven’t. Have I grown wiser? Yes. At least I hope so. Have I stopped caring so much what others think? Yes. That sort of ended with the passing of my mom. So what’s a girl with sidekick talent and no live-in superhero to do? 

Wait for it.

That’s all. Don’t dive in. Don’t rush things. Just wait until his time is right. Can I get an Amen?!

After two divorces, the absolute LAST thing I want in my life is a husband who is NOT ready to be married, or be committed, or say ‘forever’. Robin is Batman’s sidekick because he respects his superhero and his superhero is respectable and committed as well. Robin didn’t just start following Batman around one day in hope’s that maybe…just maybe he would be accepted. There’s is a mutual friendship, and a mutual commitment. That’s how it should be. That’s how a marriage should be as well.

I don’t know, but I’m pretty certain that Robin could handle his household just fine without Batman. He could pay bills, do laundry, handle the kids’ fighting, keep the yard tidy, shop for the groceries, get the mail – he could do all of that perfectly fine without Batman. Batman could do all of that without Robin. 

But no man (or woman) was created to be ‘a rock’ as Simon and Garfunkel would say. We were made for each other, in our own time, when we’re both ready. Because while both Batman and Robin are perfectly fine alone, together they save the world.

We will also save the world, in our own little way. Until then, we have daydreams and roadtrips. We have weekends and long talks. We have time to savor. Time together, until we have all the time we are given  and we are ready to fly as one. 

Changes

Changes. Nothing moves forward without them. No one gets uncomfortable without them. Everything stays the same without them. We are human. We are not equipped to stay the same, but we’re also ill-equipped when it comes to instigating our own changes.

A new pair of shoes has to be ‘worked in’ before they can ever become anything close to resembling those favorite comfortable shoes. When we move, we are faced with working out a whole new routine; the best route to the grocery store, how to avoid school zones, the nearest gas station, the nearest church, new neighbors, new schools, new teachers, new postman.

It feels like starting over. WE are now the strangers, the freshman, the low man on the totem pole. When we change careers, the same thing happens again. We are now the one in training instead of being the trainer. We have to follow others until we work ourselves into a new routine. We, who once lead, now are shadows, learning our way but leaning on everyone around us. There is a sense of vulnerability, of humility, that kicks in & takes over our thinking.

But while some change is forced on us by loved ones or circumstances (i.e. getting laid off, divorced, a death in the family), lots of change is pre-meditated and intended, even initiated by the changer. Those changes are fun. We don’t tend to change careers unless we are unhappy, and we don’t tend to ask for a divorce if we are content and happy with our current spouse. If we liked where we were, we wouldn’t choose to leave.

For many of us, those conditions have to decline to the level of deplorable before we even flinch. Why? Because change takes more energy than we have to muster when we’re so miserable where we are. One of my favorite things about being human and having free will? Having the opportunity and the freedom to wait for the right time to make changes.

You hear people say that there is really ‘no right time’ for anything, be it getting married, having babies, changing careers, deciding to live a healthier lifestyle, whatever. I disagree. The right time is exactly at that moment of your day, your week, your month, in the middle of the night, where it hits you and you know that you truly are FED up with that area of your life. In THAT moment it really doesn’t matter that you don’t have enough savings yet, or that you may hurt someone else’s feelings in the process. When it’s time, you will know, and in that moment, you will relish in the freedom of free will and know that, because it’s time, everything will work out in the end. And whether you end up where you want or not, you can at least say that you did your part. You took the path with your full heart. There can be no regrets.