Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thirty years later...we see that self expression taken to the extremes and available to us 24/7 via technological advances. Anyone can say anything they want with relative anonymity in cyberspace. We can hide behind our screen name, email or blog and express our every thought and feeling. The availability to be anonymous and say what we want when we want has seeped out of the computer and into our daily lives. We have taken to expressing everything we think or feel without any thought for the repercussions. Rather than learning how to communicate in a productive and positive way, we have regressed into childish tantrums thrown out haplessly into the universe. The anonymity has lent itself to the inability to talk to someone face to face about an issue. More importantly it has given us the mistaken belief that we MUST express ourselves about whatever we think or feel.
There is a great danger in this trend that has manifested into two distinct problems. The first problem is that whatever you put out in to the universe comes back to you. The universe is a great cosmic boomerang. If you say it, think it, feel it, you have sent a message out into the world to make it true. It may not show up exactly as you thought or how you wished but it WILL show up. For instance, you will have friends who will tell you that they really want to have a relationship but they can't ever find the "right" guy/girl. They are saying that they want to meet someone, hence they will BUT if what they are really feeling is that they don't deserve a "right" guy/girl, or they don't feel good about who they are as a person, the response will be someone who isn't "right" for them.
The second problem is that saying everything you think or feel may make you feel better temporarily but it doesn't resolve the real issue. If you do not give yourself time to think about WHY you feel the way you do AND more importantly what part you play in the situation, expressing your feelings about it will be like constantly eating but still feeling hungry.
Acknowledging your feelings, thinking about why you feel the way you do and most importantly what you are doing or not doing that is helping to create this feeling, is an imperative part of your growth as a person. If you are not patient with your feelings you will never understand them.
Self-expression is a unique and wonderful part of being a human being. It is how we connect with one another and how we learn about ourselves and our world. But, just because you can express yourself at any given moment, doesn't mean you should. Next time, before you post that blog, or send that email or instant message, give yourself time to think about it and then decide whether you want to put it out into the universe.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
The first step to adulthood is independence but becoming you, knowing you, is far more complex and time consuming than transitioning into independence. Independence is an important part of understanding who you are but it is only a small part.
Have you ever purchased an inexpensive piece of furniture that requires assembly? You purchase the piece, bring it home, open the box and here is what you find: instructions (usually written by someone who has never tried to put the item together), and several pieces, including nuts, bolts and sometimes special "wrench's to insert said hardware. If you have never had this experience - the "put it together yourself" furniture - you must try it. If you want to really learn something about yourself - a "do it yourself" project will give you some great insight into your personality. But I digress...
My point is that YOU are the piece of "do it yourself" furniture. At 18 or 19 or even 20, you are just pieces or who you will become. Your job is to put it all together. Which does not happen in the manner, the speed or the method that you imagine it will happen. It's a slow process with a learning curve the size of the Jura Mountains (look it up).
As you begin this process you will put things together incorrectly and have to start over. You may be missing a piece or something may not fit exactly as you think it should. It will be frustrating and aggravating. There will be swearing, sweat and possibly tears and blood. Hopefully it won't require a trip to the emergency room but sometimes it does. You may put it all together and decide you don't like it and want something completely different. No matter what...it won't be easy.
Putting YOU together is a process. You are in the process of creating YOU. Right now, you don't know what that is going to look like and you're not sure if all the pieces are going to fit right but you just have to dig in and get to work.
The path to adulthood is built upon experience and choice, learning what works for you and what doesn't and ultimately being unafraid to work at creating something out of a box full of pieces. You can't become YOU without learning to do it yourself.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Being a parent and having been a young adult, I can relate to the feelings of both parties. I've thought long and hard about what I could say to someone to help them understand how they can make this transition less painful for their parents and themselves. Below is my advice to young adults fresh from leaving home...
Think of your parents, not as the your parents but as your investors. Whatever support - financial, emotional, physical - they are going to offer to you in the future is an investment in YOUR future. Imagine that your new life is a business. You have talent and great ideas but you don't really have much money and you've never run a business before. However, you are smart enough to know that you can't make the business successful without the support of people who are already successful business people (your parents). So, you need them to invest in your business so that YOU can be successful as well. How do you do that?
First - you need a plan, a course of action for college or work.
Second - you need to be able to explain what you are going to do to make this plan work.
Third - you have to be willing to communicate with your investors on your progress, giving them insights to your successes, being honest with mistakes and what you have done to correct them and knowing when to ask for advice.
Note: The trick with asking for advice is to know ahead of time what specifically you need advice about. Make it a straightforward request - not "I just don't know what to do" but more "I am thinking about doing A but I am also considering B, what do you think?" Coming up with two choices instead of leaving it open to the person giving advice to figure out the choices for you is always the best way to get good advice. Save the "I just don't know what to do" for your friends, who are there to give you unconditional support, not great advice.
You're parents will love you unconditionally, but your investors will not invest unconditionally in you. Investment has conditions. Namely that you can prove that you are worth the investment.
As long as you want your parents to invest in you, you must be willing to commit to the three principles outlined above. If you are unwilling to do this, then plan on trying to get the job done on your own. You may not have to answer to anyone but it's going to take you twice as long, cost you twice as much and be twice as difficult.
You are an investment. The most important investment your parents have. So far they have invested 18 years in you. Now they are willing to invest even more into helping you become an adult. And adulthood is only achieved when you can fully support your business and in turn invest in someone else.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I love quotes. A great quote is able to sum up something that is true in a few words. The less words that you can use to say it, usually the better the quote. One of my favorite websites is www.thinkexist.com. You can look up quotes, subscribe to daily quotes, get a quote put on a t-shirt. It's awesome!
Here are a few of my favorite quotes - the short summation of a truth, a reminder of what we should be aspiring to everyday.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
"All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion and desire.”
“Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
"The unexamined life is not worth living.”
“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”
"To find yourself, think for yourself”
“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
“If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough”
"The only real valuable thing is intuition.”
“The world is not dangerous because of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything”
“Anyone who doesn't take truth seriously in small matters cannot be trusted in large ones either.”
“It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.”
“Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
"There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”
“A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.”
Edgar Allan Poe:
“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry”
“Stupidity is a talent for misconception.”
“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.”
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be”
“The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible, and let your reactions to the things and persons that interest you be as far as possible friendly rather than hostile.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe:
“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”
Find your own precepts, write them down, memorize them, find a place to post them so you can be reminded every day. To Thine Own Self Be True.
I have always been in love with words. I love that you can change the meaning and tone in any sentence with the words you choose. Take for example the difference in these two sentences:
The noise from the other room grew louder and louder. OR
From the other room erupted a cacophony of sound.
They really mean the same thing but one gives you a literal meaning and one paints a picture of what is occurring (plus I just like to use the word cacophony whenever I can).
Words are magic. The great thing (or not so great depending on who you are talking to) about words is that the same word can have different connotations. One of my favorites is the word contagious. The usual immediate reaction to the word contagious is not so good. I mean contagious is defined as “communicable by contact", and usually refers to some kind of infectious disease. But the beauty of words is that contagious can mean to infect with something good.
So BE CONTAGIOUS - spread love, joy, happiness, a smile, a laugh, a hug, a kiss. Spread kindness and positive thoughts. Go ahead...pass it along...infect someone...BE CONTAGIOUS.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
As if that isn't bad enough, there is "The Professor". The Professor is my inner critic and she's (because women are far better at criticizing) an elitist, snobby, English professor from Oxford, England, who looks over her glasses and down her nose as she proclaims my work as "trash".
I'd give up but I'm just too stubborn. Besides, I still think I can win. Maybe I'll invite "The Professor" to a wrestling match.
I hate labels. I am a middle of the road person because I see benefits of different viewpoints and ideologies. This doesn't mean that I have trouble deciding where I stand, it's more that sometimes I'm on one side of the fence and sometimes I'm on the other side of the fence. There are too many people associated with either "side" that I would under no circumstance associate myself with. I hold all politicians circumspect. I vote based on who I think is best for the job given the choices and the circumstances. So here is where I stand on some of the political hot buttons and basic philosophy:
- I do not believe in the death penalty. First, the people most likely to be subjected to the death penalty are poor and do not have the luxury of paying for high-priced unethical lawyers who will find a way to get them off - (OJ Simpson comes to mind). They are therefore at the mercy of the public legal system. In addition, I don't think as a country that we have the right to say that murder is illegal and then murder someone. Keep them locked up, it's cheaper and prolongs their suffering.
- I am pro-choice. A womans body is her body. Abortion is a medical decision that is private. I have one caveat: late term abortion is irresponsible and unless it jeopardizes the life of the mother, should not be performed.
- I truly believe in free speech. Which means everyone - not just the people I agree with. This "politically correct" nonsense and the effort to eliminate any theological viewpoint is ridiculous. No one should try to indoctrinate you, or grade you (public school system - including colleges) on whether your viewpoint is the same as theirs. Differing ideas should be explored and freedom of speech should be protected under all circumstances. Many "theories" about human beings that were accepted doctrine have been proven false by those who dared to question their accuracy. This applies to both "sides" of the political system.
- I believe that most people are so firmly ensconced in their own beliefs that they will go out of their way to read, watch and associate themselves with people and things that support their perspective. It's natural and human nature but if we are unwilling to be diligent about our own beliefs and how we think then how can we expect the same of others.
- I am for the right to bear arms. The whole idea of the type of gun control we try to impose is so ridiculous that it alarms me that there are so many people who believe it will solve our problems. The statistics do not support the band-aid being thrown at the problem. The people who we need to be afraid of, the people who will rob us and kill us are not going to register their guns. They will buy them illegally off the street. They have done studies where they have asked criminals who have committed crimes using guns what they are afraid of the most and the overwhelming reply was they would be afraid of a "victim who was armed."
- I think a lot of the scientific theories being thrown around about the environment are exaggerations and sometimes outright lies. It's very easy to believe the headlines but upon further inspection so much of what is used to come up with the headline is just bad science. For instance, DDT could save thousands of lives every year in Africa and is proven to be harmless in the dose that is needed to kill the mosquitos that carry malaria. But since DDT has a bad reputation in America (which is based on a book about how DDT effected the eggs of birds when used in larger doses), the USA won't fund the use of DDT in Africa. We provide nets for beds (which many African children don't even have) and say we are doing something to help.
- I believe that anyone is capable of anything at any time given the right circumstances. That people will do things in a group that they would never do if they were alone and that if you want to know the truth about anything all you have to do is follow the money. If there is money to be made, truths will be twisted, the plot will be set and the show will begin. "There's a sucker born every minute," said by George Hull, although is attributed to P.T. Barnum.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
with my head
on his lap
Watching the game
as a touch becomes
a caress becomes
as I tell
and she doesn't believe
an I'm trapped
in the lie
The main principles I use to guide me in my life decisions -
- We are all connected and everything that we do - good or bad - effects others in ways we cannot always understand or know.
- You bear responsibility in everything that happens to you in your adult life and it's your job to accept that responsibility and change your life (if you want a different outcome the next time)
- You have no control over other people.
- If you try to change someone or control them, you will be unhappy in your own life.
- No one is responsible for what you do, what you say, how you live, or what you think except you.
- You have complete control and power over your own life - so be careful how you use it.
- Not deciding on something is a decision.
- Every day is another opportunity to change your life.
- Tell the truth - especially to yourself
- You cannot run from who you are or the decisions you have made - everywhere you go, there you are.
Find your priniciples and live them. If you know your own rules it's much easier to live your life.
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a part of a continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were . . .” John Donne
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Then you get a little older, you have to leave the fishbowl and enter an aquarium or a pond, maybe even a lake, river or ocean. Suddenly you gain real perspective. You are not the entire universe, everything that happens to you is not that important and the everyday things you worried incessantly over a few years ago seem beyond meaningless. Where once you could remember in painful detail everything someone said to you, what they were wearing, what you were wearing, and how you felt, suddenly the days blend together and you start to realize that life is merely moments.
When you start to turn and look back at where you have come from, you see only the moments that made you happy or sad or angry or disappointed. If you are lucky you realize that you can harness your new perspective to make the most of "moments". You can create moments that will have a profound effect on your life and the lives of those around you. Most importantly you can hold on to the feeling of those moments so that you can use that power when you need it to inspire you or keep you from doing something you shouldn't.
Learning to enjoy the moments of your life keeps you moving forward, gives you something to hold on to and something to look forward to when the day-to-day minutia overwhelms you.
“The important thing is this: To be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”
Charles Du Bos
Sunday, June 24, 2007
The first time he said it, I was annoyed but upon reflection I had to admit he was right. There is no such thing as true fairness. It is nearly impossible for most people to leave their personal prejudices out of the equation when evaluating the "fair" thing to do. It takes a lot more effort than most people are willing to invest to consider all sides of a situation. We like to say that there are "two sides to every story" but really most situations are multi-dimensional and upon examination are deeper and more complex than anything you can see on the surface.
It is something that I still have to learn to accept on a daily basis...life is not fair, people are not fair and there is little you can do to change that. So what's a fair-minded girl like me to do...besides rant and rave and give myself a headache?
I've opted to embrace a well-known phrase as my antidote to unfairness..."do unto others as you would have them do unto you". I can't change other people but I can try to reflect what I want to see in others through setting my own example. It may not change the world but I have to believe that the point of view I have to offer may help someone to think of fair as more than what they pay to get on the bus.
“Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.”
H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
The irony is, that try as you might you cannot avoid the heavy lifting. You may be able to manipulate someone else into doing it for you for awhile (us do-gooders who somehow ended up with a mutant gene of common courtesy are usually the ones being manipulated) but eventually it will catch up to you. You can run from everything except yourself. Wherever you go, there you are. So if you need to change something about yourself, you need to behave in a more responsible way, you need to own up to what you do, you won't be able to avoid that forever.
Whether you believe in past lives or not, it seems pretty apparent that some people have a rougher time of it than others. Those people seem to be under a boulder that they can never cast off. Those particular people fall into two camps: those that resent it and find it necessary to tell everyone how miserable their life is; and those who embrace it and work to make things better despite their circumstances.
I hope I fall into the the latter category. My boulder is not as big as it used to be but it's still there. It's reminding me that I still have far to go before I can put it down, that my responsibilities are large and that I have the ability to be an example for others. So I follow my path and carry this weight and I hope that someday I will be able to cast it off and say I have done my part.
"Boy, you're going to carry that weight, carry that weight a long time..." The Beatles
Saturday, June 9, 2007
What's odd about these "beginning of the end" moments is that the changes leading up to them are small, almost imperceptible things. It's as though you have been driving down a road with warning signs reading - Dead End ahead in X miles - and you haven't seen a single sign until right before you get to the dead end. And those moments are usually filled with the surprising realization that you didn't see it coming, when in restrospect you should have known all along.
They are milestone moments when you see clearly that what you believed has fallen away and exposed the bare naked truth. There is sadness and regret. Sometimes there is desperation and disbelief. That is particularly true when you aren't really ready to let go of the relationship.
And when they happen, there is a moment that follows where you hope you are wrong. You hope that the sign reads - Road Construction, instead of Dead End. Maybe the relationship is just under construction for awhile and it will be good as new after some much needed attention. You hope that you didn't miss the signs along the way. And if you find out you did miss the signs, you hope you have the will to turn the car around and follow the detour until you find a new road.
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Blogging...what a great idea! Post your thoughts in cyberspace because that's a better place for them than your head. Personally I am always trying to get the voices to stop speaking to me all the time. Maybe if I write down what they are saying and send it out over the black hole of the internet, they will go away...haha.
I came across this website today...http://www.avsweb.com/mom/ (don't you just love google?) The site is advertising a monitoring software but if you read it, you will have to laugh. First, the tag line is "Simply the Best Web Monitor for Tracking Your Kids or Employees Online". Anyone who equates their kids to their employees has more issues than anyone should know about. But my favorite part was the "MoM knows the naughty words", MoM comes packed with its own list of "default naughty words," as well as less-obvious words to track, such as "blood," "kill," "bludgeon" and so on. Okay "kill" I can believe, but what kid or adult for that matter uses the word "bludgeon"? And if your kid is using the word "bludgeon", maybe he/she has been reading too many gothic novels...step into the light my friend!
I'm not sure what I did for entertainment before the WWW, but I am in serious danger of developing chair butt from amusing myself online.
If the MoM software really wants to look for words that could be a problem on the internet, "teen" should be one of them. Type in "teen" in any search engine and you will be bombarded with porn websites...which makes me seriously wonder about the mental health of the average American. How did sexual freedom turn into sexual perversion? Is it just me or is the idea of having sex with another consenting adult that doesn't involve, whips, chains, candlewax, "toys", other people and/or devices, somehow become passe? Wow, you do it in missionary position, you are so 1959.... If I wanted gymnastics in bed I would have married Bart Connor (Paul Hamm for you younger folks). Personally, the idea of being injured while having sex seems like something you would avoid.
It's nice to think that a software program can protect your kids from "naughty" words but they still need a real Mom to help with that.
Monday, May 28, 2007
My oldest daughter is going to graduate from high school next week. Which means that I get to graduate too...from being an every day mom to a "when she feels like calling me" mom.
There are days when I am looking forward to her beginning her new "adult" life and days when I wish I could make her stay a teenager.
There is no preparation for parenting or mothering someone. I have a degree in Psychology and Human Development and an AA in Early Childhood Education and none of that prepared me for being a parent. Nothing prepared me for how fiercely I would love this person. How I would give anything for her to be happy and have every opportunity that life has to offer. Nothing prepared me for the ache of wanting to keep her from making mistakes and the sadness of watching her make them anyway. Nothing prepared me for how hard it will be to let go...
Being a parent makes you live in this "in-between" state of seeing clearly what it was like for your parents and seeing clearly how you reacted to your parents. It's frustrating and humbling.
Finally understanding that although my mother went about it in a way that wasn't the approach I would have used, she really did want the best for me.
These are some things I have learned about parenting:
- You will never know true heartbreak until you are a parent, and your child does something that you know, that they know is wrong. Especially when they get caught by someone other than you.
- You delude yourself into thinking that you have some control over this person, that by sheer will and determination that you will mould them..but they are already their own person and though you have influence over them, it will not change who they are fundamentally.
- You repeat yourself - ALL THE TIME - and wonder why it is that you sound just like your parents.
- You will be manipulated into nagging your children (by them) because you can't stand to see them fail and they refuse to do what they know they are supposed to because they know you will nag them.
- At times you will defend them, even when you know they are wrong because you can't help yourself.
- You will cry - a lot - because they do something wonderful or because they do something stupid and you wonder if you should have done more to prevent it from happening.
- You will be judged by other adults for your childs success and failures and you will feel guilty about it and question your own parenting skills.
So, graduation marks a significant event. My daughter has accomplished the first real recognizable adult milestone. Which means I graduate too. But while my daughter graduates with a life full of promise, not aware of the bumps, hills and obstacles she will face; I graduate knowing that this is only the beginning for her and my job will get harder as the choices she makes become more serious and more life-altering.
So I will cry on graduation day for happiness and for fear. Because I know from this moment on I will be a spectator in my daughters life and I can only hope that I've done a good job of preparing her for what lies ahead.
So here's the explanation - Bugs Bunny was one of my favorite cartoons growing up. Any time he was burrowing to somewhere and ended up in a place he hadn't intended, he would pull out a map and try to figure out where things went wrong...he always said, " I shouldn't have taken that left turn at albuquerque."
So that's become pretty much a metaphor for my life.
Everytime I'm wondering how I got somewhere, I think of old Bugs and wonder which left turn I shouldn't have taken...