Confessions of a Habitual Overthinker

I’m going to make a confession today. I’m not perfect. Whew! That felt good. Apparently, some people are under the misconception that I am, or that I should be, or that this blog professes to be the solution for finding perfection. I’m happy to report these are all false rumors generated by individuals who are either insecure and intimidated by my goal of being happy (what the hell, who are you people?) or it is a misconception driven by the belief that I think there is a perfection or only one right way to live. On the contrary, what this entire blog is really about, at it’s core, is that there are MANY ways to live and that as long as you are living intentionally, as opposed to unthinking being shoved along on a path by culture and society, then you are doing the right thing and living the best life for you. I am not sitting in judgment of others, I am merely trying to start a movement or a dialog about finding happiness.

By its very nature intentional living allows for and accepts just about any path or preference of life short of harming others. So I am stymied that anyone who has read my words might feel judged or overwhelmed at them. How hard is it to just live your life, your way? And why does it make people feel insecure or judged when others attempt to do this or suggest they might try it? Why is overall life satisfaction and happiness such a negative thing or a bad word in our day to day lives? Is it really that hard to live your life without worrying what others think and feel? Apparently, yes.

I do not believe there is a perfect life, or one path that we are all destined to go down or that will provide all people with the happiness they crave or the life they deserve. Many people would not be happy in my life or with my choices, and I would be equally unhappy in theirs. However, this does not mean that one of us is right and the other is wrong. Even those folks who follow the status quo blindly are not necessarily wrong; if they are happy and content with the results that the status quo has provided, then it was the right path for them. If they are unhappy and unfulfilled with the result, then I would argue it is time for intentional living.

My desire and project to find happiness by embarking on a new goal each week is not one I take lightly, it is not just a whim, a random quest, or just thoughts in a blog. I am determined to create the life I want by using the best tool I have at my disposal, my brain. I am convinced that if I make the effort, do the research, and apply myself that I can reach a Zen like place where I am happy and content. I’m not talking about a mythical fairy land with Unicorns and leprechauns- I get that life is hard and there will always be moments of craptastic events outside my control- but I also know that if the rest of my life is in balance those moments will be easier to overcome and their impact less devastating.

This week it has been difficult for me to find the energy to write to the blog. Knowing that my determination to find happiness has inadvertently resulted in the loss of friendships is a hard pill to swallow. It has left me rethinking my goals and my method for getting there. It has left me to wonder if the power of words was just not the right venue for expressing my journey or the bumpy road ahead. Was it possible that words could unintentionally  hurt those I care about? The realization I have come to is that while my journey and my words might hurt others, it is only because they are not ready for this kind of path in their own lives not because I intended to hurt them or cause harm. They are not prepared to look at why they are unfulfilled. they are not ready to search and work for their own happiness. Instead they feel insecure, trapped, and overwhelmed and reading my words feels like a slap in the face and a confirmation that everything they thought was lacking in their life really is. For this I am sorry. I am sorry I have made anyone feel like less, when the goal was to inspire everyone to feel like more, that they deserve more.

The important thing I was reminded of, as I contemplated all of this this week, was that I can’t make all of the people happy, all of the time. And more importantly, to find my own happiness I have to learn to be okay with that instead of feeling responsible for their unhappiness. So this weeks goal has been to identify when I should feel responsible and when I shouldn’t, because apparently I struggle with that and I think it leads to a lot of unhappiness that is easily avoidable.

Are there thing you feel badly about that aren’t really your fault? Do you take responsibility for others feelings and reactions? Have you found any solutions to stopping this behavior? I would love to hear from you and I would love for you to share this blog with others. Thanks.

What I’m reading: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion If you like Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory, then you will love this book.

What I’m listening to: Wake Me Up by Avicii

What I’m watching: Shake

SHAKE from Variable on Vimeo.

Now moment of the week: Picking Pumpkins with little boys who say they are “cute”. In love.

Inspirations from the ether:

Wow, I have never felt less productive or more motivated to live the moments I do get very very intentionally. Must watch.

Peace

I feel like I have turned a corner or flipped some internal switch this week. Maybe it is a result of certain things being checked off the to do list, or other things slowly being resolved, but perhaps it is at least in part due to this blog and all my dedicated effort to change my life and live intentionally. Whatever the cause, whatever the reason, I feel like I can feel “it” working, like effervescent bubbles . My mind has calmed down, my worries have lightened, and my twitchy, manic, crazy eye has lessened. I haven’t lost my cool with my boys, kids or dogs. I’ve made new projects and felt inspired. In short, I just feel good.

Feeling good has given me perspective on my journey and where I am in life. A perspective I wasn’t capable of two months ago. Life is not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. And if I am at all honest with myself, I’m not sure what perfect would be anyway. It is funny that no matter how far you get in life, what you achieve, what you obtain, or who stands with you, it never feels like you are done or that everything is perfect. Even people with loads of money still feel lost or are searching for a better way to live (i.e. Oprah). But I think what is important to remember is what you do have, what you managed to bring into the world and the lives of those around you, what you created that has been part of all your goals or dreams. You know the simple ones you had as a kid or a wide eyed high school graduate when you thought anything was possible.

When I was younger my dreams were not all that big and my goals were fairly simple. I wanted to fall in love with an amazing man I could share my life with and have children with. Someone who wanted to be a father and husband, and would be funny and silly. I didn’t have a father growing up and my mother seemed adrift without a partner. I always felt she would be happier if she wasn’t so alone. So to a little girl without a man in her life, a man seemed like a pretty big dream or goal.

I also wanted to have two little boys. I grew up with two sisters, so I was pretty sure I didn’t want that drama around and I wasn’t a girly girl anyway. Boys seemed like more fun and easier. I pictured myself with two little boys playing outside in bare feet all muddy surrounded by a bunch of dogs.

And the last thing this little girl Wendy dreamed about was having horses. I wanted to own horses on my property so I could ride them everyday. I had dreams about their big heads sticking in my kitchen window for apples and riding them during sunsets and on freshly fallen snow when the only sound to be heard are their hooves crunching through the crusty blanket. I could envision their warm breath visible in the cold air, my cheeks pink from the frost. I wanted horses. I wanted them in my yard.

When I was young I didn’t think I wanted loads of money, sure I knew money was important but I didn’t have dreams of being ridiculously rich, just not having to worry about money would be enough. As a family we struggled with money growing up and all I cared about was that I didn’t have to struggle, not that I had lots of extra, ah the innocence of youth. :) When I was young I also didn’t dream about big houses, cars, boats, or other expensive toys. I didn’t think about exotic vacations or giant closets full of shoes. I just wanted to be happy surrounded by living things that made me feel good. Husband, kids, dogs, and horses.

Its funny how as a child I had a much better perspective about life than I ever did as an adult. My shift this week probably came after the realization that I had attained all my little girl goals- okay minus the I want to own my own lion secret dream.

I do have an amazing husband; and while lots of people don’t “get” us, or they think he is a bit odd, he truly is my partner in life and the most amazing husband and daddy I could ever ask for for me and my boys. He is silly and fair, honest and good. I could spend all day looking at his face. I get butterflies when I think about him, and I miss him when he goes away. He is, in a word, awesome. We don’t fight, we don’t carry baggage of our past, and we are the only couple I know who really seem to get each other. If I could wish for one thing for people I love, it would be to find a partner in life that they feel as good about as I feel about my husband.

jay 2

Children. I have two little boys, just like I envisioned. Two amazing little men that I can’t stop staring at in wonder that I made them and they are mine. Despite my little one’s recent medical issues and his rocky road of life, I wouldn’t change a thing about my boys. They bring so much to my life. It has been 3 weeks of no doctor visits for the little toe head; the reprieve has been such a  relief to my heart and mind, not to mention my pocket book. Just looking at his little face and knowing he is on the mend is worth more to me than any boat or motorcycle ever could be. They are often bare footed and often covered in mud, and I wouldn’t have them any other way.

Dogs. Man do we have dogs. If they weren’t all neutered boy dogs I’d swear they were out there multiplying. We have 5 big beautiful boys who love my children, listen most of the time, and keep my critter population under control. They patrol the yard, help build sand castles, alert us to snakes, and make me feel safe. They give kisses and loves when we need them, and smiles and laughter almost as if on cue. I can’t imagine a life not full of all my furry friends. So even though a dear friend remarked that coming to my house is like visiting the Bumpasses with all their redneck dogs, I don’t care. I wouldn’t be me without canines, and our lives wouldn’t have half as much happiness and love. Doubt me? Just a few weeks ago, I caught my oldest son wrapped around our oldest dog, a doberman, telling him he loved him and that “he was a good old puppy dog.” I love that my children will always know the love and humor of dogs.

xaven running

Horses. Okay we don’t have horses. But we do have over 5 acres of crossed fenced property just waiting for a barn and horses to show up. I will have them, oh yes I will. When the boys are a little older, and a little wiser, it will happen. We live in a horse community where more of our neighbors have them then don’t. Where I can see at least 5 horses just by looking out my front door. The properties are arranged with horse riding easements between lots and there is plenty of prairie and room to roam all around us.

IMG_1730

So something in me shifted and moved and I was finally able to see all the dreams I had had actually come true. While I was busy making other plans and worrying about the future, my now was actually the very picture of what I had always said I wanted. The only thing missing from it was me. In all my worrying and anxiety about money, medical, family, health, the FUTURE, I had taken myself out of the life I worked so hard to get. I couldn’t enjoy my now or what I already had because I hadn’t figured out the then of tomorrow. But every day this week, seriously everyday, I have felt so calm, so here, so now. I have really felt at ease and peaceful.

I’m not saying the journey is over, or that I am done. I suspect I will continue to move around in this new skin of comfort and I will ebb and flow between contentment and rip tides. I am sure there is another shoe out there just waiting to drop on me, I am sure there are still people who will create unnecessary drama for me, I am sure my “bad luck” hasn’t come to end. But I am equally sure that I have everything I need to create happiness and success. I have all I need to feel peaceful and Zen like. I have all the tools in my tool box to create the life I intentionally want. Sure maybe the main tool is just the ability to add more tools to my arsenal, but I’ll take it and run.

So call it gratitude for what I have, realization that I have met my core goals of life, or just a sense of accomplishment after 9 weeks of “searching for Zen” in every corner of the world/internet/music/movies/books/and people. I feel today, as I have all week, whole, complete, present, and at peace. And I’m here to tell you, in case you are still searching yourself, that it is possible, it is out there, it can happen, and it feels pretty damn good.

Favorite Now moment of the week: You can set up a swimming pool in September, and if you do, little boys will play in it. Sometimes with all their clothes on. :) card What I’m listening toPlease me Like You Want to by Ben Harper with Jack Johnson, this man has a beautiful soulful voice and lips you just want to kiss… or maybe that is just me…

What I’m reading: Izzy and Lenore By Jon Katz. I find it so ironic that a man whose name is Kats, writes so many books about dogs. I love dogs, and apparently so does Jon.

Inspirations from the Ether: Super cool climbing idea for the boys, but I think I’ll make mine a pirate ship :) Potential pictures to come later?

Bonus Video: Thinking of my childhood and  believing anything could happen

 

5 Ways Facebook is just like High School- For WOMEN

Seems like I’m reading a lot of studies and articles on the dangers and pitfalls of using social media and Facebook in particular. The studies sight everything from envy of other people’s posts to anguish over seeing an ex tagged in a photo, as being the reasons we all feel terrible after looking at our newsfeeds. Maybe this is why there are so many sarcastic “cards” and images floating out there as well- it breaks up all the behind your back bitching and bends it on its ear to in front of your face bitching, done with a smile and a wink so CLEARLY I wasn’t talking about you- oh so subtly not mentioned in the subtext.

I recently made the decision to limit my own Facebook time to see if it would affect me. One could argue I just took up another platform of social media by starting a blog, but I argue its different because I don’t have to hear about your trips to Europe or see your sprawling mansion but instead I get to indulge in one of my special happy places, writing. I removed the Facebook app from my phone thereby forcing me to go to extra steps to compulsively peruse the lives of others and I found that while I was willing and able of going through those steps my use did significantly decrease- and *gasp* I did in fact manage to live happily not knowing what someone else had for lunch. Interestingly enough, I also discovered that my absence seemed to bother others more than it bothered me and in some weird way- that only women can manage- I actually made enemies of some friends simply because I made a conscious choice to alter my life and pretty much everything in it. Who knew not hitting a like button compulsively like a lab rat could create such imaginary drama? Not this girl. So that was when I realized that Facebook is the new High school.

40 is the new 30 (thank god), Orange is the new black (I really must watch this show) and Facebook is the new High School. Here are the top 5 reasons that Facebook is just like high school:

1. Now you actually get to re-know the people you did know when you actually were in high school. So, not much has changed only now you only have to worry about how your hair looks in pictures and not for 7 whole periods. Being “friends” with people you knew in high school  really only has two purposes, one you missed them and wanted to rekindle some of that old high school juju, or two, you just wanted to stalk around with their permission and laugh at them in private because they got fat, still have a mullet, or married an ugly woman. I’ll be honest with you, and please don’t all my friends from high school get up in arms about this or you’ll just be proving my point, there is a reason people drift apart and don’t reconnect, and that reason is their friendship was based on nothing more than the common school or friends they shared. We are supposed to let go of the majority of these people. That is not to say they don’t have anything to offer to you now, it is just to say that just like the good old days IN high school, Facebook puts a bunch of people together that call themselves friends that ordinarily wouldn’t bother. I’m telling you, don’t believe me? Look at your friends list. How many are high school chums you don’t speak to, see or even have visible on your newsfeed? Yep, just like the halls of high school and as the bell rings we all post our best face on FB hoping someone will finely decide to like us or will feel badly that they don’t.

2. It doesn’t matter what you post, when you post it or why you posted it, invariably someone, somehow, for who knows what reason will decide that not only was your post about them, but it was the worst most hurtful betrayal of all time and they will cut you off, cut you out, or become passive aggressive toward you for no reason. (I imagine this blog post is going to do that too) Hm.. if that doesn’t sound like high school then maybe you didn’t go. I swear I could write a post about my son’s poop and there would be someone on my feed who’d get all up in arms that I was really insulting her on the down low and disguising it as a post about poop but it was REALLY a post about her new hair cut. Trust me it happens all the time, everyday on Facebook. And yes, it is only women who do this. Sorry ladies but I’ve never had a male friend stop talking to me because of a sound bite I post related to me lifting weights at the gym.

3. The popular kids are never going to think you are cool. It doesn’t matter how many photos you post of yourself doing cool things in exotic locations or how fabulous your life appears to be. Unless your last name is Kardashian, or you actually are the worlds most interesting man (after all it has never been his bad), I promise you those kids who dissed you in high school are now dissing you on Facebook. Please stop trying to make them like you. It is a waste of time and effort and odds are if you just lived a genuine life filled with activities and people who really care about you, you’ll be a lot  happier than you ever would have been if the popular people did in fact like you. So do yourself a favor and tell your 16 year old self its ok to have bad hair or be seen without makeup. Tell her she has value and move on. Its just embarrassing for those of us who are your real friends to watch the desperation happening.

4. You will invariably feel worse after logging in to Facebook than you ever felt before you bothered, just like going to high school. Somehow the hours outside of high school were always more enjoyable than the hours inside it. Inside you have to put up with an onslaught of images and words being thrown at you and many of them aren’t very nice. They make you feel like less or make you wish you were more, just like Facebook.. Even if you don’t think it is affecting you, trust me it is. Even just a really cool video my husband shows me of someone doing parcore (sp?)will ding me just a little bit (yes the little fat kid inside me still wants to be cool) because I will never be able to do that and it is so freaking cool. Or the dog video of the border collie doing a zillion amazing tricks making me feel like I’ve let my passion die or at least lost it somewhere because if I was a really cool person I could totally teach my dog how to do those things, after all I used to get paid to do that!. It may not be as obvious as, I wish my body looked like that or I wish I lived there, but it is still happening. It is the human condition to want to experience everything in life (or maybe that’s just me and the hubs) so seeing that others are experiencing something while I sit on my couch eating ice cream just thankful my kids were in bed before 9, makes my life seem dull by comparison. Of course I always forget that lots of people would kill to have a cool husband they actually still love and beautiful little boys like mine-that’s right eat your heart out suckas!

5. This one is probably the most significant one, and again, sorry ladies this is only you. Men really are the better sex- I’m sure I’ll regret ever saying those words. Facebook Is just like high school because you spend most of your time on it trying to unravel why someone is mad at you by becoming some kind of technical forensics sleuth and dissecting the entire history of Facebook. Hm… lets see, lets go back and find the last post she commented on, then lets see if I wrote a post that she might have thought was about her, hm, then lets see if one of our mutual friends wrote something she might have seen and decided was about her but that I somehow was involved even though I was changing a poopy diaper when that was posted. Wait, no here is a post from Tuesday that was posted right after I tried to call her . Wait was that the day I tried to call her? Was I mean in my message? Crap I wish I could hear the message again in case I accidentally had a mental break and instead of saying I miss you lets talk, I really said you fucking suck because you never call me. Wait when did she stop “Talking ” to me. Let me just check my timeline. But seriously my husband has never turned to me after looking at Facebook and said, you won’t believe this but so and so is totally mad at me and I have no idea why.

 

I suppose I could just delete my Facebook account, but I do think it has it’s uses. I have reconnected with old friends and found true soul mates of life on there. I have discovered things about people that make me love them so much it hurts. I have been graced with a collection of core FB friends that bolster me up when I am feeling blue, and not because I post some weird cryptic email about feeling unloved (pretty sure at least 5 people I know will think this is about them), because I don’t do that- Seriously, am I the only one who hears Carly Simon singing? I am terrible at keeping in contact with people just terrible, so Facebook has allowed me the opportunity to remain close to those that matter without having to become a different person to manage it. I am thankful family can see my boys grow up there and that I can see that others are just as lost as me. No, I think I’m on Facebook to stay, but that being said, I now plan to treat it just like I did high school.

Sometimes I’m there, sometimes I’m not. I do not derive my self-worth from anything that happens there. I do not judge my “friends” for what happens there. I do not stay friends with them just to make fun of them behind their backs. I do not assume any post is about me unless my name is actually called out in the post.  At the end of the day, I didn’t like high school the first time, there is no way I want to repeat it and certainly not by choice. I’m not sure why anyone would. I wish everyone on Facebook would do the same; but since it is just like high school it will likely remain largely what it is. A fake environment we all flock too hoping someone will like us and never understanding why they don’t as our insecurities rise as we base our value on how many likes we get.

PS. Um… Could you please like this blog on Facebook? Thanks, I would feel really cool and super special if you did. Better yet, share the post so others will like me, thereby increasing my total self-worth like a hundred fold! PLEEAASSEE!!!! Share and like :) -Tongue firmly planted in cheek, but in all seriousness, if you like it share it, no pressure.

And or those of you too young to get the Carly Simon reference….Yes, “you probably think this post is about you”