Ch Ch Ch Changes

Overnight a day changes. A month changes. A year changes.

I’ve encountered two kinds of people – those who reject change or find it difficult, and those who embrace it. For some, even changing a new hairstyle is too much. For others, they thrive on the difference that change brings to their lives. There is some easy change, like a new purse, and then there’s more difficult change, like losing a job.

This past year has brought some of the more challenging types of change. I do enjoy change, and like to have goals I’m working toward because I like the feeling of moving forward, progress, evolution. I haven’t liked all the changes this past year has brought. I lost sight of the evolution that happens to all of us and it’s not always timed the way we want it to be. Some people leave our lives and we struggle to see things the same way without them. Some people come into our lives and because they are new, it can be difficult to fit them into our world. Status quo is comfortable. It doesn’t challenge us. We are lulled by our comfort.

Christmas is a time that brings changes to the fore. Changes that don’t matter in July are overwhelming in December. We need our traditions to give us a sense of continuity over time, starting when we are children. Change at this time can be especially difficult. It’s been remarkable how many times change has come up during this recent holiday season. Anything different is painful and hard to accept. If we don’t  have Grandma’s china on the table, is it still Christmas? If we don’t gather on the 25th of December, can we still celebrate?

Change, even the hard change, is good. You can’t flip through any family photo album and not see the changes. Children grow, new family members join the photos, older members leave seats around the table, which are then filled with new children. Do we not want things to change? No, we want the good stuff, but it’s the uncomfortable change that we’d rather do without. Unfortunately, we don’t get to pick our change a la carte. It’s ordered for us, delivered to our door and there is no returning it to the kitchen.

So what’s the answer to adapting to the shitty change? Flexibility and perspective. I look back at my own life and can see the times that the times that I was part of change may have been difficult to people around me. Some of them were gracious and accepting. Some of there were not. Some of them were downright cruel. I am not going to be one of those people.

I am going to look at all change as a challenge in flexibility; witnessing my family and friends evolve and grow. Someone new coming for dinner? BRING IT! Changing a tradition we’ve had for 40 years? Guess it’s time for something new.

I’m looking at 2018 as a year of growth and success. The past several years have had their fair share of challenges. Last year felt like pushing Jell-O over sandpaper. It’s time for change, either brought to me or created by me.

I’m looking forward to that change, very much.  Happy New Year to all of you!

If You Don’t Laugh, You Cry

So apparently that last post got some people worked up!

Good.

To be fair, within half an hour, I heard from two male friends who expressed, a) horror that this had happened to me, b) support. Within a week I had much more support from both male and female readers. I completely understand why commenting on the post itself was not something they were comfortable with. It’s an uncomfortable topic, and for some, it was triggering. I feel for anyone who has gone through this as well. It’s not a fun club to be part of.

However, anyone who knows me knows I don’t do “victim” well. Never have. That doesn’t mean that I was born as a jaded little scrapper, it means that when faced with adversity/negativity, I tend to look for solutions or positivity. I have coworkers who are annoyed with my “glass half full” outlook. It means when life tees up my order of lemons, I’m looking how to deal with all that lemonade. Didn’t get the job? Wasn’t meant for me. Don’t have an overflowing bank account? I’ve got a great marriage, family and solid health. Think that’s schmaltzy? Ask someone who is sick how awesome being healthy is. “Getting through” is a powerful life skill.

I have also been reassured by some readers that there are still “good guys” out there. Yup. There are. Now those good guys need to get their back up when they see this happening. Don’t just be embarrassed for the woman. Don’t feel ashamed because a member of your gender has made it tough for the rest of you by looking like an asshole. Stand up and speak up. You have mothers, sisters, girlfriends, wives, daughters, granddaughters – again, I would suggest at some point in their lives, they too have had to deal with this. They just don’t post it on a blog. Ask them. Support them. Don’t question their actions, reactions or even their desire not to talk about it. That’s their Right. It doesn’t make them less brave for not sharing. They are brave for enduring it and continuing to live their lives as broken, glued together women. Sometimes it makes you stronger. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I have two mottos for my life: The Best Revenge Is To Live Well; and If You Don’t Laugh You’ll Cry. I’m still the same person I was two weeks ago. I don’t live this in my day to day existence. I will continue to have a bent sense of humor, and say things that might be painful in their truth, but I’m not going to a victim and I’m not to look the other way.

If my last post bothered you, then I hope you’ll do the same.

…and I promise the next post will be a little lighter…

3 Years

Hard to believe it’s been three years.

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In some ways, we talk about you enough that it seems like you are still here. In others, it’s downright painful to see how much you’ve missed. Like yesterday. I know how proud you would have been about First Born Son’s graduation. You would have loved how he dominated his course. How he landed a job months before he graduated. How he bought a truck that you would have fallen in love with.

You would be delighted to see the growth in Second Born Son; literally and figuratively. He’s taller than his father and will soon look down on his brother. He is making decisions about his life that would astound you, as it does us. He reminds us of you.

In some ways, year three has been a bit easier. We don’t look at holidays like the top of the big hill on a roller coaster; unavoidable and rather unsettling. We’ve got some new ways of doing things. Little Sister is living at your home with her family. They are doing amazing things with the property, including looking at organic farming down the road. I can hear you saying they are crazy and then in the same breath, saying that’s what you would have liked to have done. Mom is settled in a new home. It’s perfect for her. She’s walking, close to the library and doesn’t have to weed gardens, so she’s got it made.

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But there are STILL days when a certain song comes on, and you never know which song that will be, that you find you stop singing along because you can’t breathe. Tears and a tight throat prevent you from enjoying it. Instantly transported to a time when you were dancing it it in the family room.

The hard days are farther apart. But they’re not gone. In a way, we don’t want them to be, because they remind us of you. I’ve heard that there is a need to grieve. “You need to grieve.” “You still haven’t grieved.” I don’t know what that means. I do know that being at your grave isn’t where I feel closest to you.

Know that we are missing you, remembering you, and hoping you are having fun with all the dogs in heaven.

 

Looking For The Answers

The tone in her voice said it all.

“So, what do you think?!”

Aside from the fact that I had no answers for her, the question bounced around my head. She has questions. Heck we all have questions. I find myself questioning myself more and more lately. Which, I find rather ironic, given the fact that I’m “middle aged” (if I live to 90) and you’d think I’d have my shit figured out.

Nope.

While I’ve gained confidence compared to my early adult years, I certainly would have thought that I would have more answers, more stability and more clarity about the future. I have, thankfully, have developed more confidence in myself, my abilities and my relationships. This, sadly, does not extend to other areas of my life.

Is this the point where the mid-life crisis settles in? When you get frustrated enough with the plan you set out for yourself when you were mere “child” in your 20s that you say “F it” and sell off everything to move to a Caribbean island?

<PAUSE> For the record, my particular skill set is apparently highly coveted and in one week there were two job postings in Jamaica alone that were TAILOR MADE for my skills and abilities.The Big Guy had to talk me off that ledge, let me tell you! <PLAY>

So when “she” came to me with her question, I thought, “She must think I have my act together!” Followed by “Boy, do I have her fooled!”

What did I actually SAY to her? That her decisions are hers alone to make. That this is the beauty of life; that we are the only ones who get to have that kind of power to make those decisions. This also prevents us from hating the individual who gave us the advice.

This doesn’t make our decisions any easier, and leaves us with the nagging questions…

Resolve

Resolutions.

It’s the annual tradition around this time of the year to reflect, and therefore plan for the year to come.

I hate resolutions.

I’ve done it a couple of times, but quickly found that my personality isn’t suited for them. You can start with the best of intentions but then, life happens. Then there’s the guilt and the sense of failure.

I’ve decided to take a different approach. Instead of looking at the things in my life I want to change, that should I fail will make me feel bad about myself, I prefer to look at the beginning of the year as a chance to challenge myself. Last year, it was to say YES to things that are outside my comfort zone.

I started with food. Specifically, Sushi. Then I moved on. To Indian food.

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Mmmmm – Butter Chicken!

I didn’t just leave it to dining out; I tried new foods at home, and it was pretty much a success each time. I liked the idea of challenging myself, and feeding my family healthy, flavourful meals. We have some new favourites now! (Spaghetti squash anyone?!?)

Then there was recommitting to Yoga. It helped that The Big Guy was willing to give it a go. We’ve made Monday night “date night” as we Downward Dog ourselves to healthier bodies!

I’m also trying to look at better ways of taking care of myself. While it’s traditionally accepted to pop a pill or chug a manufactured syrup, I’m trying to figure out WHY I’m ill, pained or otherwise out of sync. A couple of people have looked at me funny when I show them I’m wearing a crystal or using an essential oil to give myself comfort. Those who have opened their minds to these things are quick converts themselves! Keep learning and keep young!! 😀

So long story short – look at New Year’s Eve as a chance to dust off the bucket list. As I sit here this evening, I’m thinking of what I want to tackle in 2016. It’s certainly more fun than contemplating a diet or deciding what I want to “quit”.

Happy New Year! 2015 was certainly a step up from 2014. Can’t wait for 2016!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

For those who are struggling to find the light in this dark time of year…

For those who push away all that the Christmas Season means…

For those who lose sight of the beauty…

For those who think its about gifts…

For those who almost miss the love in search of perfection…

For those who want a Christmas Past…

For those who live for this day, every other day of the year…

MERRY CHRISTMAS.

May you find comfort in the smallest flame.

May you find Peace in your heart.

May the Beauty of the season embrace your soul.

May you receive the gift of meaning.

May you learn that it is perfect, without the perfection.

May you find joy in sharing memories.

May you be an example of what it truly means to have Peace On Earth.

ORNAMENT

LETTERS THAT NEED TO BE WRITTEN – PART VI

Dear Supreme Court of Canada,

Today marks the start of the hearings regarding assisted suicide in Canada. First of all, I thank you for FINALLY addressing this matter. It’s only been 21 years since the last time it came up. In that time, millions of Canadians have died, and many of them could have benefitted from an assisted suicide option.

I have watched both my grandmothers, my grandmother-in-law, an uncle, mother-in-law, and my father die. It is easy to decide that assisted suicide is a distasteful thing to discuss while in the prime of your life, while you are healthy and when you feel death is years if not decades away.

However, when you are sitting at the bedside of a loved one; when you have a desperate feeling of helpless when they ask for assistance; when you become so low that you actually pray for them to die – THAT is the moment when you realize how truly necessary this conversation, even this legislation, is.

The Baby Boomers are getting older and it’s a decision that we need to commit to, or be prepared for a further increase in suicide rates. Frankly, I don’t want to have another person I love have to struggle with pain, disease and fear. I wouldn’t want them to feel that was the only option for them.

There are those who fear this intervention being introduced to Canada, however, several other countries have had it in place without serious repercussions. (I’m looking at you Switzerland, Belgium and Netherlands!) If we can address Mental Health concerns, specifically through a screening process, and the patient can be cleared by more than one physician, then why would the government, indeed society, try to dictate how a person leaves this world?

It’s certainly something I have a difficult time with.

Sarah