Spring Blog Cleaning is like Spring House Cleaning only no major muscle groups are involved in making a blog tidy. So it should be a lot easier. However, “should” is a very annoying word. And so is Spring, come to think of it, not making its appearance or even hinting at pretending to think about doing so. At least not in my God-forsaken corner of the world where it’s still twenty below. But as usual, I digress, so just ignore that, or store it away with the other bazillion weather complaints you’ve heard this week.
Today I deleted my second blog, which very few people knew existed. Sorry to my 3.5 random followers, but I’m pretty sure you won’t even notice I’m gone. All nineteen (yep, count ’em, nineteen!) blog posts from “Before the Lights Go Out” written over the past two or three years are now pages in a drop down menu in my header here between Home and About. If you would like to check them out before they sit there collecting dust for the rest of my life, that would be nice. But no pressure.
I also spent the better part of my Monday afternoon checking out other Word Press themes and trying to make the number of widgets I have less ridiculous. It was a little like shopping for clothes and trying to de-clutter an entire house all at the same time. There was something horribly wrong with some little thing on every theme I previewed and something endearing and wonderfully right about the things I couldn’t make myself delete.
From all this hard (brain) work we can now safely conclude that I am a creature of habit, stuck in a colossal rut, and not good with change. Although, you know, deleting an entire blog was pretty gutsy I guess.
And it’s not the only thing I did today either. While I was curled up on the living room couch this morning checking my emails and reading blog posts that were several hundred times better than this one, the sunlight caught my right leg at just the right angle for me to notice I’m beginning to look like an orangutan. I didn’t gasp; it was the opposite of a sharp intake of air, and more like feeling totally incapable of drawing another breath. I think this is how people die. Stunned breathless, or something like that. Anyway, my monkey legs are now shaved hairless and no one else’s life is in danger for the time being.
So, cleaned up blog, destroyed razor, onward and upward and spring is on the way. I hope your Monday was equally exciting.
After 41 years of being married to W (42 in November if we both live that long) I totally understand how you might think of me as a relationship guru with all the answers when it comes to making commitments that last. I often think of myself that way. And then I give myself a good smack on the forehead and come back to earth for a while. Because really, who knows why some relationships last a lifetime and others are just practice runs for something better? We’re all different, and we all relate to each other in different ways.
This is an excellent challenge for all the Bloggers for Peace, and for anyone who is now or has ever been in any kind of relationship, wants to end an old or start a new relationship, or wonders if relationships are all they’re cracked up to be or worth the effort it takes to maintain them. So that covers pretty much every human being on earth.
Every one of us has our own individual recipe for a peaceful home with a list of ingredients that makes relationships with others work for us. It should never be carved in stone. We grow, we change, we evolve. My personal formula for happiness is in constant revision. At this particular moment in time, these are some of the things that work for me. If I come back and read this post in five years time and wonder how I could have been such an idiot, that’s probably a good thing. It means I’ve learned something new and changed, hopefully for the better.
Okay! Here we go. Grandmalin’s Relationship Advice Column.What makes a peaceful relationship and what you can do to become a better partner. Because there is nothing else in life I enjoy more than telling people what to do.
1. Make peace with yourself first. You have to create your own happiness first before you can share it with someone else. There is no one out there who can make you happy. That’s your job. Another person can help bring out the best in you, but the best has to be there in the first place. There are also no positive relationships with emotionally unavailable people. If the people you’re currently hanging around with are not happy, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. If you and your significant other have grown in different directions and can no longer connect or appreciate each other, by all means consider that it may be the right time for both of you to move on.
This is number one on my list because it cannot be stressed enough. When you love yourself and are at peace with who you are, that love will spill over into all your relationships with your family and your friends and with every one you meet. And it will open your heart to receive the peace and the love that comes back to you.
2. Don’t try to change each other. Go bang your head against a brick wall instead. It will get the same results. Accept, adapt, acknowledge. Change and growth cannot be forced. Overlook the little things that bug you, because they really don’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things, and work on your own reactions to them instead. Don’t nag, don’t harass. You could maybe try crying and pleading, and see if that works. But don’t get your hopes up. Sometimes you just have to readjust your expectations and carry on.
3. Speak up/Communicate. Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to talk to each other. Express your own feelings instead of trying to make the other person feel something. Saying “I care deeply about what is happening” means “I care deeply about you.”
4. Shut up/Listen. Unless you are both mind readers, you will have to really hear what is being said to you. Don’t blame, don’t judge until you’ve truly listened with empathy and compassion. Everyone wants and deserves to be heard.
5. Admit that you don’t know everything. Because, hey – you don’t know everything. Confess when you mess up. Step back when you are angry. One person should not get to be the boss all the time. Not even you. Apologize when you need to and don’t stay mad.
6. Slow down. Life is short and should be savoured at a leisurely pace. What’s your hurry, anyway? You’ll get to the end of it soon enough. Be patient with each other. Enjoy the learning process together. Shoot for less drama and more calm. Work through the issues. Be strong enough as a team to weather every storm.
7. Be kind. Keep your promises. Each of you deserves to be seen and heard, loved and appreciated. Be grateful for the time and energy and tolerance it takes to support a loving relationship. Be supportive and helpful and happy for each other’s successes. When you fall flat on your face it’s nice to have someone around to help you pick yourself up. Be that someone for the people you love.
8. Give each other lots of space. Respect the other persons right to do things on their own, to make their own decisions and their own mistakes. You may be a couple, but you are still both individuals working hard on whatever it takes for you to be the best you can be, investing time and energy in your own personal growth. Sometimes we simply need someone to be there, not to fix anything or even to do anything in particular, but just to stand beside us so that we know we are cared for and loved.
9. Play. Have fun. Laugh. Be silly. Life does not have to be so serious. Spend part of every day being a bit wild and crazy. See how that feels. Pretty good, hey? Do it again tomorrow.
10. Never forget why you fell in love in the first place. The older you get, the harder it may be for you to recall what the hell you were thinking. Just remember, your relationship does not define you and it does not own you. You are now, and forever will be, yourself, living your own life. But since you’ve decided for now that you’re in this together, don’t stop working on your relationship and everything that makes it sweet.
Love yourself, give love, receive love, be in love. Practice, practice, practice. That’s how peace happens.
Operation De-Clutter has officially begun here in Casa Mia.
I am writing this little declaration, not because I believe anyone will find it fascinating, (and if you do, holy cow, I hope your day improves), but because having it in writing is likely to motivate me to carry this through to a satisfactory conclusion. In other words, embarrass and guilt me in to keeping my word about it and finishing what I’ve started.
It wasn’t rocket science to figure out that the thought of actually getting rid of stuff permanently was what was holding me back. So now I have a giant purple plastic bin into which I will be lovingly placing precious articles with which I cannot possibly part. (Unless they’re confiscated behind my back and I don’t notice they’re gone, but no one has volunteered to do this for me.) So I’m on my own.
Yesterday I donated three bags of miscellaneous toys and puzzles to our local County Clothesline. And hardly made a dent in the “toy room”. But it’s a start. I have donated three big green garbage bags full of clothing to another charity. My bedroom/office is next. Walls and shelf surfaces will soon be bare while I sort out only the necessary from the purely frivolous. There are things in here I don’t even like, but they were given to me or have some sort of sentimental value or have been around so long I don’t really see them anymore. They are on their way out.
There will be many steps to this process – I expect it will keep me busy for days and days. Maybe the whole summer. More purple bins are a very real possibility. At the end of it all, everything will be put in the storage room with the door closed where I can’t see it. Then we wait. If in, say, six months, I haven’t missed or longed to see whatever is in there, out it goes. I will be ruthless.
We never used to be such crazy hoarders because we moved around so much and learned to give it away or toss it out before the move, rather than pack it up, only to pitch it out at the new location. Living in the same house for almost thirty years means we haven’t done a big purge for a very long time, and we are currently running the risk of being buried in the collected rubble. I’m just a little overwhelmed by it all. Time for a change.
So Good Luck Me! Get this done, and then we’ll work on the behavioural collecting problem that started all this in the first place.
Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
I live in the land of Beaver Nickels and Sailboat Dimes. Here is the first coin I came across this morning (and what do you know, it was in the zippered change purse of my wallet, no scrounging around on the dirty floor mats of the car for me).
So what was I up to in 1977? Well, probably my ears in toys. My son turned one year old in February of 1977, and my daughter had her third birthday in July. We were living in Cambridge Bay, Northwest Territories, land of bleak and frozen treeless tundra. It’s the year we moved to Inuvik, NWT, land of bugs and mud and utilidors.
It’s the year my sister got married, and we came south that June to thaw out and delight in all things green and sunny for a couple of weeks.
We went canoeing on the Saugeen River with the soon to be newly weds and our brother and sister-in-law. I wore long sleeves so my pasty white winter skin wouldn’t burn and look ridiculous with the peach colored bridesmaid dress. Unfortunately my hands were the only thing that got too much sun, so they stood out rather nicely in some of the photos. Such a silly thing to remember.
It’s the year we cut off my sons beautiful blond curls so that he looked more like a little boy and less like an angelic cherub. We moved in to an end unit in a row house amidst a sea of similar row houses. We let our daughter ride her tricycle on the board walk but only as far as the hospital and back. She recounted her adventures to everyone who would listen – I rode my bike-a-dose to the hos-pi-dose! Impressive story.
1977 was the beginning of our four-year stay in Inuvik. It was where the kids started school, where I played baseball, drove a beat up old blue Volkswagen, went down the MacKenzie River to a real whaling camp, worked as an enumerator for a federal election, made friends and watched them move away, and then lost touch and made new ones.
In 1977 I was just busy being a wife and a mom, living with the most gawd-awful looking furniture ever issued by a government to a federal employee. The kids did not appear to be bothered much by this at all.
Well here’s the thing about changing the world. It’s already been changed so drastically that it’s getting to the point where further thoughtless change could quite possibly destroy it. Sort of like when somebody has one too many plastic surgeries performed and passes that thin line between attractive and grotesque.
So could we just leave the world the hell alone for a bit and see what happens? Let it try to heal its wounds. For every miraculous change for the better man has made, he’s created half a dozen brand new problems that need to be solved. I think we should stop trying so hard to make things better.
We are a species addicted to change, mostly because we’re never satisfied with anything the way it is. If something goes fast, we want it to go faster. If we make some money doing something, we want to make more. We want the biggest and the best and the most, and we want to fight for it and we want to WIN.
We wish all this nonsense with oil and gas and non-renewable resources would stop, but we sure as hell don’t want to give up our oil burning gas guzzling cars. We want treatment and cures and band aid solutions, but we can’t seem to figure out the concept of prevention.
So just stop. Look around and appreciate what’s right there in front of you. Give the poor world a break and stop developing it to death. Put things on hold, look at the big picture. Be still. Breathe deep.
I grew up on a farm near what is now called Saugeen Shores, (Port Elgin, Southampton and Saugeen Township amalgamated.) My highschool was in Port Elgin, so I suppose I can claim that town as my own, even though it doesn’t exist exactly as that anymore – the town or the building. It’s weird to see the shopping centre where I used to go to school.
The sunsets are still incredible, and the beaches along the shores of Lake Huron are still gorgeous, no matter how built up and touristy they try to make them. There are maple trees and cottages everywhere and the population more or less doubles every summer. It’s sort of famous now for its Pumpkin-Fest weekend in October as well.
I’ve still got lots of family there, and that’s why I go back. It’s hard to get all nostalgic about things when they’re forever changing and I don’t recognize them anymore. When I was quite small one of my aunts took me inside the car of a passenger train because I was dying of curiosity to know what it looked like in there. Now the train station is gone, the trains and the tracks are gone, and I’ve walked along the ‘rail trail’ like a tourist trying to remember how it used to be.
When mom and dad left the farm they lived in a little white house right beside the rail trail and the changes just kept happening. A little grocery store where they liked to shop closed down, forced to do so by the opening of a giant chain. They lived on Victoria street, but when the two towns joined the street name was changed to Arlington because there was already a Victoria street in the adjoining town. Mom was quite put out. To her ” the Arlington” was the name of a not so classy hotel on main street known for carousing and drunken revelry. Plus she had to send out change of address notices when she hadn’t even moved anywhere.
Every visit there’s something new, the old things disappear, people change, things get better, or things get turned upside down – its hard to keep up. Nothing ever stays the same, but then why would you want it to? It’s a great way to annoy the next generation, remeniscing about how things used to be.
This morning I tried to stay focused on this question and get it answered, but I ran out of time and had to go to work and once I got there I promptly forgot all about it.
I think that adequately sums up my focusing powers. If something is fun to do, staying engrossed in the task is easy. If it becomes tedious and boring and too much like work, it just may never get done.
I have a spouse with a sleep disorder (my description, not his.) If he gets tired in the early evening he fights to stay awake until his chosen ‘bedtime’. If he wakes up in the middle of the night he tosses and turns and tries to go back to sleep. I’ve suggested that he sleep when he’s tired and get up and do something else when he’s not. So what if he falls asleep at seven-thirty and gets up and eats breakfast at 4:00 a.m.? Who cares?
When our kids were first in school we discovered that our son had amazing abilities of contemplation and concentration. He would become so absorbed in whatever he was doing that it was like breaking a trance to try to get his attention.
Our daughter had the attention span of a gnat. She rarely ever finished an in-school assignment. However, she could tell you who was in the classroom, what they were wearing, what every person said and did, and fifty more details about what was going on around her that you wouldn’t even think to ask.
So we were advised to push one to focus, and to try to get the other one to be less intense.
I don’t know why we try so hard to change things, and why we can’t be more accepting of our own natures. Who’s to say being one way is better than some other way? Be who you are, do what you want, sleep when you feel like it.
So yeah. I AM trying to justify my own lack of focus. Maybe I LIKE being a scatter brained mess. If things get done, that’s great. If they don’t, well, whatever. Tomorrow is another day.
I hope these tips were helpful. And if you missed them, well shame on you for not paying closer attention.
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