Monday was United Nations day. I really should write an informative little essay on the United Nations, its history and relevance today. But that, dear reader, wouldn’t be my style. How would I get my whiny complaints in if I just informed you about the United Nations? Impossible. So – happy United Nations day! Now, let’s move on.
I guess unity and connection would be remotely related to United Nations day. How are you at maintaining connections? I’m not exactly batting a thousand right now, but that’s given me an opportunity to focus on the people and things in my life which are really important to keep. Relationships, whether they be friendly, romantic, organized or professional, take work and consciousness. I am truly trying to be present for as many moments as possible during the day. The longer I’m sober, the more I find that if I really try and live in reality with all its emotions and chores, the better off I am. As I try to maintain some sort of balance, the useless weights become more apparent and I can lighten my load. In other words, “Focus, Mary Elizabeth!”
So – I’ve taken some time off from personal blogging because I got sick of the sound of my own voice. But – it’s not bothering me so much today, so I thought I’d reel one out on the beloved subject of gratitude. I know, I know – super boring. Lately, I’ve tried to boil it down, though. For what, exactly, am I grateful? I mean, some of the things I try and list to the universe on a daily basis really belong on a “I wish I felt more grateful for:” list. Like, seriously, who’s truly grateful for your boyfriend every day?How about your job? You get the point. Knowing the things for which we ought to be grateful is a far cry from being grateful. So – I’ve decided to list five things for which I am TRULY GRATEFUL.
my children’s’ health, intellect and good looks
the CD player in my car
For those of you wondering. I left cigarettes off the list not because I don’t love them more than anything else in the world and have found them to be the only reliable constant in my life time and time again, but because I’m actually aware that they’ll eventually kill me. So – off the list. Then, of course, there’s home facial wax without which I couldn’t live either, but it’s expensive and messy and endless. Off the list! Those things listed are the ones I can feel grateful for all the time without any catches. So, I’m curious. In the words of my friends at Café Gratitude, “What are you grateful for?”
I’ve been feeling extra anxious lately. And a little angry, too. Anxiety’s an old friend but anger is something I would normally leave to the experts. I recently had one of those flukey experiences that, although completely accidental and in no way indicative of the norm, confirm all of one’s paranoia and suspicions about the hostility of the universe. Told you so, universe! Anyhow – now that the initial shock and humiliation have started to wear off, I feel a tad miffed. And I’m starting to lose my patience with some on-going frustrations in my life, too. But – I don’t really know how to be angry and I certainly don’t want these external factors to influence my actual life, so I’m trying to find the courage to let it all go to a recently proven to be untrustworthy universe and get on with it.
My life is pretty good right now, to be honest, and all evidence points to its just getting better. When I can relax for a couple of seconds, I’m actually enjoying it. Normally – every time a little stability comes along, I get restless and start making changes. Chaos feels natural; tranquility makes me anxious. Whatever…I’m trying to rock it a little differently now. Maybe feeling a little more outraged and a little less victimized is a part of the whole picture. The whole big picture of my life. Or just some more monkeyshine.
Three of the people very closest to my heart just hate it here: my daughter, my boyfriend and my dear friend Kerry. I don’t really blame them and all three of them make valid points. It is a very small town and there’s absolutely nothing to do if you’re between the ages of 12 and 72. You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone you wish you didn’t know. Everything’s always closed. On those rare occasions when the sun comes out, it’s too windy to enjoy it. Anything that goes wrong, they blame on poor old Fort Bragg. And you know what? I’d like nothing better than to jump on that crabby little band wagon with them.
But that wouldn’t help my “bloom where you’re planted” philosophy at all. Mainly because this philosophy is a relatively new one and I am clinging to it most tenuously. Dissatisfaction with the hand I’ve been dealt is a hard habit to break. For one thing, you can’t feel sorry for yourself anymore. I mean, you can’t be the victim of circumstances you embrace. You can’t cry over milk you’re happy you spilt. I have to tell you, though, thinking this way has made my life so much more bearable for the forty to forty-five minutes a day I’m actually able to master it. Try it! My three little nay-sayers are beyond help, but that’s okay. Not only do I love them anyway, they make me look so spirtually superior! Life is good.
As my very dear and also very wise friend Kate said, you can’t wish your self thinner. Evidently the law af attraction works on all sorts of things like money and matrimony and success – but if you want to lose a few pounds, you actually have to exercise and put that cookie down. I mean – believe it or not – ever since I put that “cash” in my wallet, we’ve been the happy recipients of all sorts of unexpected money. So, I actually thought if I just wished hard enough, I could lose a few pounds. Evidently not.
Body image is a weird thing. It takes a really balanced person to see themselves as they are, let alone accept what they see. I mean – let’s face it – if you can’t button your jeans anymore you’ve obviously put on some weight. But is that always a bad thing? I don’t think so. I’ve been pretty obsessed with my weight lately,though, whipping up a real midlife eating disorder. But of course, the issue isn’t the extra pounds. It’s my old friend self-esteem. And here in midlife, I know if I wake up twenty pounds lighter tomorrow I won’t actually feel any happier until I get myself back to a place of confidence, gratitude and inner peace. If I felt better about myself, I wouldn’t be all that concerned about a few pounds, and now that I think about it – would probably lose them, too. So – wait a minute – maybe I can wish those pounds away…
I’m pretty sure aliens abducted my boyfriend. I didn’t see it happen or anything, but the evidence is strong! Just like in the movies, I keep asking whatever it is they left in his place test questions and it keeps failing.
Me: My company picnic is on Sunday. Should I get you a ticket?
“Boyfriend”: Of course! I’ll make sure I’m off work in time.
Or how about this:
Me: I have to work on the 4th of July. Would you be willing to take the kids to the parade and then to the park for the fair?
See? Clearly not him. My actual boyfriend hates picnics and parades and fun. He hates doing anything that’s community spirited. Evidently, the aliens based my boyfriend’s replacement on some amalgam of the “typical American boyfriend” and not him specifically. But – I’m thinking I may adjust to life with this replicant. I may even grow to love it in time. I kind of miss my angry little rock star, though.
We are just twenty days away from the summer solstice. The days are getting really long and the weather should be getting nicer. The kids will be out of school making mornings peaceful again. But lately I’ve been feeling kind of restless. There’s absolutely nothing going on in my life that warrants complaining, but I sure feel like doing it. I want a more glamorous job. I want my boyfriend to worship me. I want to turn my kids back into babies so all they want from me is milk and a smile. I want to lose twenty pounds but I don’t want to exercise or cut down on sweets. I hate all my clothes. I can’t get comfortable. Do I have to be everywhere I go?
I don’t know why some periods in life are comfortable and some aren’t. That’s just the way it goes, I guess. There’s probably some huge unresolved issue in my life that I need to face. Gross. But – while I’m waiting for it to surface, I’m going to try to welcome summer with an open heart. I’m going to ponder sweet summer memories from my childhood and try to create some for my kids. I’m going to try to remember to be grateful. And – I’m going to start exercising.