Friday, December 28, 2012

On my heart

I am not making resolutions this year - but I am writing a few things on my heart.

Found it here.
- I will not let the problems of others bring me down
- I will thank God each day for all that I have
- I will remember to tell my friends how important they are, and how much I love them
- I will approach each day as though it will be the best day of the year - because it just may be
- I will surround myself only with people who add to my happiness
- I will learn to value myself the way others value me

I see some changes in how I approach my work, relationships, health, and finances in 2013. I know what I need to do, and I plan to do so. If I set a schedule, I know I'll probably fall behind; if I make specific promises, I know I'll probably fall slightly short.

I figure if I approach it by reminding myself of the big things...the little things have a good chance of falling into place.

I will set monthly goals for myself...and do my best to achieve them. I won't be too hard on myself if I don't always get it quite right. There's still next time.

I'm happy to see 2012 go. I was starting to hope it was all an episode of Dallas, and any minute Pam was going to wake up and find Bobby in the shower.

That's not the case, which is fine. I'm going to tuck the lessons and heartaches and triumphs from 2012 in my pocket, and push forward.

I'm ready for 2013. Bring it.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

How kids affect your holiday

My holiday turned out to be more stressful and depressing than I planned. I mean - it's always a little bit stressful and I always get a little down at some point. There was just a bunch of unexpected stuff happening that sent this one over the edge.

I was feeling like this:
A big, jumbled, confusing pile that made no sense.

Then I got my stuff together, and realized my priorities were all out of whack. I had some people to make smile - important people. Plus I promised myself I could do it without help.

Kids make everything just a little bit better.

It's amazing what you can get done when you get your priorities in line.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Right place, right time

This morning, my neighbor couldn't start her car because it was so cold outside. She drives a new Mercedes. My little used Honda, with a million miles on the engine, started right up. I pulled out of my driveway and started my commute.

Less than two minutes from my house, I witnessed a pretty bad car accident. As I pulled over to call 911 and wait for help, it occurred to me that had I left my house just a teeny bit earlier, it could have been me in the car that was hit.

His airbag deployed; and I bet mine would have, too. When you're five feet tall, an airbag deployment is no joke. It's as likely to kill me as the accident.

Those two things are related somehow, in my mind. Somehow, I guess it all comes back to life is full of surprises. It's easy to get annoyed at the little things, but it's important to realize that everything really does happen the way it's meant to, and you really are right where you're supposed to be.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Just believe

It's not always easy to believe in life. Sometimes all you get are problems, questions, and heartache. Other times, you get some good, but it feels incomplete somehow...or just not quite right. You think, "I should be excited about this..." But you're just not.

Once in a while, something magical shows up. Maybe it's not packaged exactly the way you were expecting. Maybe it requires a little bit of work. Maybe it's up to you to look a little harder to find the treasure.

That can be easy to miss. Some say it's not worth it; that if it was truly good, it would show up perfect.

I think that's when you really need to believe.

Christmas is a time of miracles. It's a time for forgiveness. It's a time to set aside differences and worries, and just be happy. It's a time to start over. It's a time when wishes come true. It's a time when nothing matters but a smile on someone's face, or a little joy in someone's heart.

Christmas is a chance for something better; something that brings a little sparkle to your life.

But only if you believe.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Airing my grievance

I have a lot of grievances. Yesterday was Festivus, so I thought in honor of that, I'd air just one. That was a tough's what I got.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Be the good

After last Friday, I stopped checking twitter too much. I started scrolling through facebook really, really fast - past photos of black ribbons, or angels, or of the kids being led from a school in CT. I've remained my usual trivial and sarcastic self. 

I haven't posted any articles, or shared any of the "prayer chains." I haven't "liked" any of the memorial pages. I haven't even mentioned the event on a post, or really discussed it with anyone. According to Facebook, that means I don't care; that I'm selfish and self-absorbed (and probably materialistic).

The thing is...I do care. I probably care way too much. Once you identify that you have depression, one of the things you have to do is learn the triggers. What makes you emotional? What spins you out of control?

The idea of someone just randomly walking into a school and ending innocent lives? Definitely not something I can handle.

When I heard the news, I cried at my desk and then said a small prayer. Then I went about my day. That is what I can handle. The rest is just too much. Surrounding myself with all that sadness and indescribable pain gives it way too much power over me. I'm the sort of person who absorbs all that grief and anger and makes it my own. If I let it, something like this can make me sad about everything.

So for anyone who thinks that people who are not posting about CT must not care - stop. I mean - sure, you might know people who just don't care. But more likely, you know people who simply can't handle the profound sadness or the weight of the whole thing.

We all show sorrow, respect, and honor in our own way. Some people post it all over facebook. Some write letters to newspapers, or sign a petition to make guns illegal. Others might go out and buy a gun.

Some of us just try to live every day bringing as many smiles to as many people as we can reach. Some of us feel that the best way to honor those victims (and anyone else) is to live a life full of positive change and action; to bring as much good into the world as possible.

It isn't helpful to simply complain that there's no good left in the world. You have to be willing to be that good, and then bring it into the world. Those silent friends you have? They may be doing that very thing.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Not this year

When I was a kid, I loved to open the holiday cards family and friends would send to my father. I especially loved when the card included my name, either on the inside or even the outside. I've always loved mail.

I moved out of my father's home November 1995 - and couldn't wait to start my own holiday card list. I took all the names and addresses from his book, bought some cards, and got to work. Soon, cards started pouring in, addressed to me and X (we weren't Mr. & Mrs. at that point).

I was so proud of myself! To me, getting cards sent to my own address was a milestone. A rite of passage, of sorts.

Over the years, I have always looked forward to sending out cards. Selecting the perfect design (usually on clearance in previous year's post-holiday sale), making my list - and checking off the names in the send/received columns on my spreadsheet (yes, I have a spreadsheet).

One year, I even ordered personalized cards signed by me, X - and the dog and the cat.

The first Christmas I celebrated after X and I separated, I used the Christmas cards as a way of letting people know I was single. Not that I wrote one of those family letters or anything. I sent my cards out early that year, signing them just Sue - no longer Sue and X. (I mostly did this because I knew if I didn't, I'd get at least one card that was addressed to us both, and I knew that would be heartbreaking for me.)

Even then, I embraced this tradition learned from my Nanny and my Dad. I used it as another rite of passage, moving from wife to single woman.

This year, though - I'm not feeling it. I dragged the cards out last month and stamped and placed return address labels on a bunch of envelopes. They're still in the box, waiting to be addressed. I'm not sure if it's because of all I went through earlier this year, or all I've got going on now. I just can't get motivated.

So, I'm taking the year off.

At first I felt guilty. I tried to force myself to find the time over the weekend. Well, the truth is, I had the time - but I had other things that needed doing, and the cards just weren't a priority.

I'm sort of this another "rite of passage?" Is the fact that - after 17 years - I'm willing to miss out on the tradition a sign that my life is changing again?

{I'll tell you a secret - I hope so.}

I figure people know I care - and they certainly know I still celebrate Christmas. Skipping one year won't get me kicked off too many Christmas Card lists.

If it does? Fewer to worry about next year.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Material girl

I'll admit it - I like stuff. If you know me well enough to have ever been in my house, that is not a surprise. I have a crap-ton of stuff - decorations, furniture, clothes, purses, shoes, jewelry... The list goes on and on - and on.

I suppose some people think that makes me materialistic. Well, I don't suppose - I know some people see me that way. Which is perfectly fine - stuff makes me happy, and I'm not ashamed. I guess the only thing I don't like is the implication that somehow makes me a bad person. defines Materialistic as:
Excessively concerned with physical comforts or the acquisition of material things, rather than spiritual, intellectual, moral, or cultural values.
See, what I object to is the idea that you have to choose between wanting nice things, and being a good person. Am I "excessively concerned" with my jewelry collection? Some might say so. But it's not like I'd sell a person into human trafficking to support my Stella & Dot habit. If I had to choose between making a donation to a worthy cause or shopping at Sephora - I'd probably alternate back and forth. Sort of a one for you, one for me kinda thing.

I may like "stuff" but I am very aware that it is not the most important thing in the world. I take good care of my shoes and clothes because I love them. But if I woke to find my house on fire, I'd grab my cats and get out of there - because in the end, I know stuff can always be replaced.

Without a doubt, volunteering is the most rewarding thing I've ever done. I maintain healthy relationships with friends; I don't lie, I give advice or help where it's needed, and I'm polite. I go to church, where I'm reminded about what really matters. I read and keep up on what is going on in the world, which makes me very aware how lucky I am to be in a position to offer help to others, rather than needing to ask for help myself.

I know it's important to keep my spiritual, moral, cultural, and intellectual values in check. I know it's important to do what I can to make the world a better place. No one can fix everything, but we can all fix something.

I just don't see any reason why I can't be wearing cute shoes and earrings while I'm doing my share of the fixing.