No Navigation System

I’ve come across many thought provoking statements in movies and book, but today it was a TV commercial.  Your car’s navigation system is directing you through life – proceed 5 years into the future and you’ll get married, turn left in 3 years to purchase your first home, take a right in another 3 years and your first child will be born, . . .  If only it were that simple to navigate life by having it mapped out for you.  Simple yes, interesting, not so much.  Life is a trip, but one I’ll never find on MapQuest.  Even on the best planned route, there’ll be detours, construction, traffic jams, accidents, and multiple ways to get there.  On Google Maps there’s directions for the shortest time, shortest distance, and the sight-seeing route; each one taking you to the same place, but each having its own unique advantage.  I, like most people, ended up ride-sharing, having company on the journey towards the same destinations.  I’ve never had just one final destination in mind, because I didn’t want to miss the trip itself – navigating the route, arriving at different destinations after each decision to change direction, finding both amazing and challenges.  What else is life about?

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What is All About Me?

I had to laugh when the latest sale offer arrived from Gap.  It said “This September, it’s all about you”.  It’s ironic that my last two blogs were about how it’s not.  It’s hard to remember it’s not and Gap’s not helping!  If the sale really was all about me they would have added, come on in and we’ll make you look like the model on the front page, and it won’t cost you a dime!  When it comes to clothes, it should be all about me, what looks good with my shape, what minimizes the flaws.  Flaws?  What flaws?  The ones everyone has, including movie stars who get lots of help making them disappear.  I like taking a friend shopping for clothes, one who’s willing to be honest about what doesn’t look good.  My husband was OK at this task but his tendency was to make it all about him, not wanting to “get in trouble” by upsetting me with negative comments.  It was a “catch 22” when I’d put a different shoe on each foot and asked him which one looks better.  But I’d wear whichever one he chose – why not let my shoes be all about him.

The Me Factor

Why do relationship break down?  My conclusion is one reason – the me factor.  When there’s conflict in a relationship it’s very easy to only consider me.  You hurt me and, even though you might not know you hurt me, all that matters is you did.  My wants and needs are more important than yours.  You are the problem, so if you go away, everything will be as it should, and I will be fine.  Nope, not true.  I won’t be fine because fine isn’t about what’s in or out of my life, having all I want and need, or my feelings.  Fine doesn’t mean everything’s good, I’m happy, satisfied.  Fine means acceptable; there’s good things in my life, what’s not good I’ll change, and nothing and no one is perfect.  I can only get to acceptable after realizing it’s not all about me.  I do need to take care of me, being mindful of all the “floaters in my Jello” (see Relationship Jello), but in a conflict I let all your floaters sink to the bottom, especially the ones I don’t understand.  Gotta get past the me factor to see that conflicts can be resolved when we open our hearts to us.

Relationship Jello

I’ve never cared for Jello with solids, or what I call floaters, in it.  Jello is a solid, but not quite solid, just like life in general.  I find soft floaters, like strawberries, better than hard ones, like apples, just like the various personality traits incorporated into my life as a result of my journey, turning basic Jello into unique.  Some floaters are there as the result of decisions and experiences, and others based on the many ways uncontrollable events impact us.  We all have a life – Jello – and we all have floaters, some similar but most quite different.  What happens when two lives are incorporated into a relationship?  The Jellos are pliable enough to blend fairly easily, but the floaters, not so much.  Whenever floaters don’t blend together nicely they will have to be tweaked, adjusting the mix, maintaining room for us, not just me, not just you.  The tweaking works best when both people are willing to adjust the troublesome floaters they bring to the mix for that is the very nature of a relationship – incorporating another life into mine and mine into theirs through compromise and consideration of someone else’s floaters, because it’s not all about mine.

Remove the Sliver

When you wake up in the morning and find you don’t like how you feel about your life, dig deep and fix it.  Waiting just makes the don’t like last longer and there’s not one reason to live with don’t like.  When the first professional job I had stopped being fulfilling I decided to see what else was out there after failing to make the one I had better.  It was hard to move, but even harder to stay.  I had my perfect job when my husband died, so the job wasn’t the problem this time, being alone in NH was, so I fixed it.  Looking back, the move, at that time, wasn’t good for me financially, but it was the fix my life required.  Fixing one thing can impact parts of my life or all of it, including things that are good or even great, but if there’s one piece that bothers me and I can’t seem to make it not bother me, then it must be addressed.  It’s like a sliver that can become infected if not removed, making a finger, a hand, an arm, everything around it painful, more painful than whatever it takes to fix it.

With Restraint

The movie Equilibrium raises the question, if there was a drug that took away human emotions so hate, anger, and fear were eliminated, and therefore, violence, murder, and war, would you take it?  I asked, didn’t they consider the consequences of not experiencing love and joy either?  The explanation was that these were sacrificed for the better good.  OK, so there’s no hate, so no desire to kill anyone.  But there’s no love, so no desire to not kill anyone.  Isn’t love the better reason?  The drug took away the human ability to control negative emotions but in doing so also took away the ability to change the world for the better by using the positive ones.  Meanness and hate can be taught, but so can kindness and love.  Anger can be controlled or allowed to grow.  My granddaughter bopped my kitty on the head so I said, don’t hurt the kitty, took her hand, gently stroking her fur and said, be nice to the kitty.  I’ll continue to teach her about kindness and all things good until it’s part of her nature.  To live feeling nothing at all or feeling all I’m capable of?  I’ll choose all, with restraint.

Change it Up

The black bean burgers I make are really good, but recently I added a couple of toppings that not only changed the taste but stepped it up to amazing!  Same old, same old, can be good but if I use my imagination I just might find something to add or change to make old amazing.  I’m always trying new exercise moves – seeing what will stretch or tighten muscles even more.  Some of them are pretty goofy looking, but who’s looking?  Just me.  Sometimes what I try doesn’t work so I go back to what does.  I can get stuck thinking or acting a certain way which is not always a good thing.  If I never consider those thoughts or actions I’ll never have the opportunity to change them for the better.  I considerably lessened the pain in my knees recently by giving up walking around in bare feet or flat sandals.  I didn’t know that would do the trick, but thought why not give it a try.  It can’t hurt me to change it up because only two things can happen.  If the results are worse or no different, stop.  If better, keep with it until there’s something better!  (see Recipes page for all recipes)