If you are of a certain age, you will remember when computers were new and shiny and scary. When schools had “computer labs” rather than providing 5-year-olds iPads. When mobile phones in cars were something special and *gasp* had cords.
Now? Almost everyone has at least 1 computer, 2 phones, an e-reader, or some combination of this. Buying a computer for your child is not an event; it’s almost expected.
So, what brings on this rant?
As a corollary to my previous post of looking for beauty, I feel like I have become hyper-aware of the constant barrage of media stories about celebrities and politicians who think they can get away with things and act “surprised” when they get caught.
I cannot watch the news – local or national. I’m sure I’ve written about this before. I just cannot do it. The constant reminder of all the horrible things that go on in the world – what’s that saying? “If it bleeds, it leads”? Um, no. There *are* good things going on in the world. Babies being born, weddings, medical advances, estranged families finding each other. Really. Happy events occur all the time.
Obviously, horrible things *do* happen. I’m not living in a fairyland bubble where everything is rainbows and glitter. I just get to choose what I am exposed to.
Now, here’s where the love/hate part comes in. There is a headline today about a judge, caught on video beating his disabled daughter. My first thought, other than the obvious disgust and horror, was “Who the hell would put that on video and put it on the Interwebs???” That was quickly followed by “Thank goat someone DID video it and exposed this monster!” I will not now, or ever, watch the video. It would make me physically sick, I’m sure. Nor will I put a link to the story. This “thing” is (hopefully *was* at this point) a judge, tasked with the duty of deciding the fate of the people in his court. My heart hurts for his daughter.
Another example is the ocean of information we get about celebrities. Who is dating/marrying/divorcing/having dinner with whom. I know many celebrities court this notoriety and call the press to let them know where they are. I cannot imagine living that life. Luckily, I will never have to.
I follow celebrities on Twitter. I read some magazines (NOT tabloids!) about celebrities. Just as I am looking for new blogs to read, I have changed my taste in magazines as well. I am just as susceptible as anyone else to checking out who is doing what over there in Hollywood. But, jeepers! Leave these people alone! I don’t need to see stars grocery shopping. Or going to the dry-cleaner. Nor do I need to know every. single. move. they make throughout the day. The celebrity that most recently “announced” her divorce after 2 months? Now we get to hear every. gory. detail. Over. And over.
Technology is fantastic. I love my laptop. And I would be lost without my phone. I get my exposure to world events online. Some of my favorite people in the world? I know them from online. Exposing horrible people so that they will stop doing what they do? Good thing. Holding a magnifying glass to every facet of life? Could go either way, quite honestly.
I could never see myself “going off the grid” as they say and giving up technology. I can’t change it. But I can change my attitude about it. I can change how much I allow myself to be exposed to. I can turn off the “bad” things. And I can surround myself with the glitter and rainbows.
You go to work everyday, dreading it.
While at work, you find yourself crying, at least once a week.
After 2 weeks vacation, you head back to work and the second day back, you wonder if you can call in sick without getting fired.
You know that continually bitching about the situation is not at all helpful, so you keep it all inside.
You have your resume out on the interwebs on every. single. job-related website you can find, but don’t have any bites yet.
You have applied for no less than 25 new positions, internally, and have heard ABSO-PHUCKING-LUTELY nothing on any of them. Yet they claim that they are Pro-Employee and help employees with career development. AND! If they treat actual employees this way, how do they treat potential employees?? (Go ahead and ponder. I’ll wait.)
You are well aware that the job market blows right now, so you should be thankful you even have a job.
You know that you are NOT what you do, but you are so desperately unhappy at your job that you don’t know which way to turn.
You know that changing jobs will not necessarily, nor magically, improve your happiness. But you want to try because staying here won’t help it either.
You know that you choose your happiness but you can’t find even that one thread to hang on to.
You aren’t suicidal, but your doctor thinks you might be.
We’ve all heard it. Heck, we’ve all said it:
“You choose your attitude.”
“What you put out comes back to you.”
“Thoughts become things.”
And on and on.
And d’you know what? MOST of the time, I really do believe that stuff. I really do.
Most of the time.
But how do you go back to that frame of reference when circumstances in life have left you feeling so tired, so beat up, so discouraged, so blue, that that frame of reference might just as well be on Pluto?
It’s no secret I have depression, controlled most days with happy yellow pills. I would love to not take them, or not have to take them, but for now, they are my best friends.
And because of my best friends, most days, I can be like Wonder Woman and her super-power wrist bands, fighting off anything yucky.
Lately, though, the batteries on my super-power wrist bands must be dead. I just can’t hear anything bad right now.
But, and here’s the thing, I HATE asking for help. Hate it. Hate. It. And I HATE venting/dumping/unburdening whatever it is I’m going through on people I love or who love me. I don’t want to burden them, or make my problems, their problems. Or worse, have them tell me their problems so that I know they know what I’m talking about? And then I’ll take on their problems too!! (My back just tensed even typing that!)
Okay, you’re thinking. Go talk to a stranger. Go to therapy. See a counsellor. I get that. I’ve done that. And I liked it. But actually finding a therapist with whom I am comfortable? Not so easy. The last one I went to made me feel I was in a principal’s office. Hard, straight-back chair, no pillows, no arm-rests, no tissues. She sat behind her desk and looked at me (in my mind) disapprovingly. And when I would curse? Oh, dear goat. You would think I just kicked her ferret.
Not good. So now I’m a little gun-shy, so to speak.
I REALLY want to get back to believing those happy statements.
So, I’m dumping my woe into the interwebs, so that I can let it go. Sorry to be a debby-downer.
That seems to be the consensus from most people I follow on Twitter and also the 3D people I know. It seems the outgoing year was less than kind to many people. It was a year of parents passing, children passing, relationships ending, broken bones, broken hearts, and other general events of suck.
However, this past year was also a year of good things: babies born, weddings, new jobs, new relationships and other events of YAY. And, quite honestly, these things, in both categories, were all experienced by people I know.
I’m not going to pretend this is a “normal” year in review or recap or look back. I am also not going to do a look ahead at all the things I want for the coming year. One would be trite and the other would be presumptive.
What I will say is that while 2010 may have been horrible for so many, and yet so tremendous for so many others, here is my hope for 2011 for all.
I hope for all that the new year is filled with excitement, love, challenge, growth, health, happiness and adventure. I hope each person is I encounter experiences kindness and wonder and some level of bliss.
There will be times when things will be horrible. There will be times when things are beyond wonderful. But, in my opinion, ALL of these events will help each of us to become more full, more well-rounded, better people. We will learn how to better treat each other, and how to treat ourselves. This is my goal for the new year. Based on this post by one of my favorite people on the planet, KINDNESS is my word for the new year. I want people to be kinder – with themselves and with each other.
Please approach the new year gently and kindly. There will still be bad things, and old hurts, but my wish for you and for the planet is to be kind and to have the best, most interesting year possible.
I know I’m going to try to do that.
Oh, hello. Have a finger sandwich.
I had every intention of continuing the 30 Days of Truth today.
But I just found out that the 5-year-old daughter of a coworker passed away yesterday. And my heart is broken for the family.
I follow people on Twitter who have lost children, and recognized the tragedy of the situation. But I don’t “know” those people and that made it so easy to go on, unaffected. Actually knowing, and interacting, with the parent that has the horror of burying one of their children makes it so much more real. So much more horrible.
I don’t have kids. So I will never *really* know the depth of love and attachment that parents have for their kids. I can try to imagine it, but I recognize that even my imagination will never come close.
So, my dear coworker, my heart and thoughts go out to you today. I will forever be in awe of your strength for going on after this unimaginable tragedy. I wish there was some way to make it “better”, but there isn’t. You are now forever changed and your world will likely never be as bright.
And to all of those I follow on Twitter, and anyone else, who have had the unfortunate experience of this, know that I now will not read your story and move on, unaffected. I will recognize that your world, too, is forever broken. And while you may go on, I know that it will never be exactly right again.
Oh, hello! Come in. Have some tea. And I finally filled the candy dish again, so have at it.
I’m pretty sure that I have stated on here before that I SUCK at managing money. (I would go back and put a link to a previous post, but I’m too lazy. So, you can either look back, or just take my word for it. I suck.)
I have a few theories as to why it is that I suck at it so much, but I won’t go into those here. Suffice it to say, if I have cash in my wallet (or tossed in the bottom of the suitcase I call a purse), I will spend it. On what? It doesn’t matter. Anything. Everything. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what 2 days later. It’s really pathetic.
About a year ago, I cut up my credit cards. It was traumatic and scary and hard and horrible and the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. (I still had balances, mind, but at least I could no longer ADD to those balances. Just go with it.) Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would. But I would keep one card. Because it is really hard to live in this world with no plastic.
What that little exercise in self-control has taught me is that if I don’t have the $ in my checking account, I can’t buy it. Whatever “it” is – food, entertainment, whatever. I am not always successful at sticking to that rule, and the amount of money I have actually given to my bank in the form of overdraft fees is staggering, but I am learning and getting better at it as I go.
So, why this story of woe on a Friday morning? Well, last week, I think it was Wednesday, I discovered that, yet again, I was overdrawn. And I had $1 in my wallet. Literally, one dollar. Oh. My. Goat. What was I going to do?? I couldn’t buy a coffee, or lunch, or stamps, or groceries. I had 10 days before I got paid again. Have I mentioned how much I suck at money? S.U.C.K.
With no choice, I had to eat whatever I had in the cupboard/fridge/freezer. I had to resort to the free coffee at work (with that powdered creamer crap) (which, BTW, GROSS) or nothing at all. There were no snacks, no nips to the cafe downstairs for a muffin or scone or salad. So much for my new goal of eating more healthful foods and cutting down on carbs and starches. I lived with a hunger headache and a rumbly tum. I dug deep into the bottom of my suitcase purse for spare change for an emergency Hershey bar yesterday.
But I made it. Today, I was able to walk into the grocery store across the street to get something for breakfast and know that I had the cash to pay for it. It was exciting. But, do you know what? I didn’t want most of it. I had a new perspective on the overwhelming number of options. I still have to go grocery shopping tonight, to stock up on food, and to replenish my larder, but I think my choices will be much more carefully made.
There were some good things to come out of this inadvertent experiment:
- I was finally able to clear out all the stuff in my freezer/cupboards that I had purchased, but didn’t feel like eating. You know the stuff. Pasta, rice, popcorn, whatever leftovers you may have frozen to “have later”. CLEAN START!
- I lost 9 pounds. That, right there, should tell you something. Clearly, I was eating too much.
- I learned that I really didn’t have to eat if I was bored/sad/depressed/stressed/happy. I could really only eat 3 meals a day. No snacking. And? I DIDN’T DIE. I didn’t (couldn’t) use food to mask those feelings. I ate when I was really hungry (read: dizzy and headachey), and that was it.
- I learned that I didn’t need to eat so much. I had to eat smaller portions in order to make the food last longer.
- I learned that powdered coffee creamer? Just as gross as I remembered.
- I learned that I don’t *have* to have dessert. But I just wanna.
- I learned that I really can live, and do it maybe not well, but sufficiently, without spending every last cent. It’s okay to NOT go to the drug store and buy magazines or whatever. Or to turn on the Kindle and download the 36 books that I have seen recommended lately that I now want to read. I can read the books I already have (that I haven’t read before) and discover “Oh, yeah! That’s why I bought that!”
- Oh, yeah, and I’m all set with carbs and starches for a while. Thanks.
So, I know this post started out about money and ended up about food. But, I found that the lack of one really impacts the other. This past 10 days has been hard and while I wouldn’t recommend anyone letting themselves get into the position I did, I would recommend trying to not spend money for a week on those little things that seem to so easily add up. And also, go through your stores of prepackaged foodstuffs and use that stuff up. Start over without all that stuff that really isn’t good for you. Maybe it would be better to just toss it, or to just NOT buy it in the first place, but you know what I mean.
And that cup of Chibani yogurt this morning? SO. FREAKING. GOOD!!!!! (If you haven’t tried this stuff? Holy crap. The best Greek yogurt out there, IMO. Seriously.) And it filled me up. I never thought I could be satisfied with just a yogurt, but I am. (If someone put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of my, I wouldn’t say no, mind. But I’m comfortable with just the yogurt for now.) This may be the start of something big for me. *fingers crossed*
Oh, and that dollar in my wallet? Yep. I still have it.
Oh Hello! Come in. Sorry about the dust and cobwebs. I’ll tidy up. But have some pasta salad.
I haven’t been around. I didn’t have much to say for a while. Now it seems I have a whole bunch of things, and hope I remember all of it so I can get it down here.
Let’s see… Last Thursday, I participated in the UW Day of Caring by helping to beautify the local YMCA. Weeding, mulching, etc. It was a long day, with a lot of work, but I’m glad I did it. While I was weeding, one of the residents came over to “help” me. Recently, the city closed a YWCA, so there are women living there too. So, this resident that came over to help me – I never did get her name – was very nice. I’m pretty sure she was a little bit crazy, but she seemed nice enough. She was telling me about her huge house 2 towns over, and the house on the beach in another state. Yes, she lives at the shelter and goes to another shelter for her food. She has a 15-year-old daughter with whom she doesn’t get along.
Then she started telling me about her husband, and how he beat her. She worked 2 jobs while he went to school, so now he’s educated and she’s not. And for some reason, she seems to think she can’t go to school now.
While she’s telling me all this, part of me was screaming in my head – I JUST WANT TO WEED!! I CAN’T HANDLE ALL THIS INFO!! But I tried to be sympathetic and most of all, just listen. I think that’s what she wanted most of all. I know that much of what she said was probably not true. And that’s okay. She wanted someone to listen to her.
She must have thought I was nice, too, because she went inside and brought out Minnesota. What? Yeah, Minnesota is a kitten. Probably 6 months old. Double paws. White with 2 different color eyes. OH EM GEE. What a sweet little boy. She was very proud of her little boy.
So, I’ll admit that my initial reason for volunteering for DoC was to get the day off from work, and also to add to my list of volunteerism. That is now part of my annual review – how much I help in the community.
But after that day? I have a new perspective. It is very easy to see a homeless person and marginalize them; avert your eyes; walk by without “seeing” them. But they all have a story. They all have a past. They all came from somewhere. What’s that saying? There but for the grace?
I’m not saying that I’m going to go sign up to work with the homeless or volunteer at the shelter. But it’s nice to get a new perspective and to see things from outside my comfort zone once in a while. I appreciate what I have so much more.