challenging

Five Unproven Tips

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I have an issue with getting too  close.  I could explain it away based on many things, now that I recognize much of the baggage I carry.  But that doesn’t change it, and I question if it even need to be changed? Or am I like this because I want it this way?

Yesterday I had this imaginary turn of events play out in my head that lead a friendship from casual and strong to really really close friends. And that’s when I noticed this “pull-back” inside of me, I could physically feel it.  It was like – Oh, I don’t want to do “that.

Mind you, in the past few years I have lost five different friends each by one of the following ways; two by way of death, one good old fashion betrayal, one from a realization, and one because of relocation.  Also during this same time my three children left the nest for college.   (Irish triplets; I knew this day would come, didn’t make it any easier) Feelings of loss are never easy.

In the beginning, Unpack The Rat was focused solely on material stuff, clutter and junk, but when some of that stuff made me cry I knew there was much more stuff stuffed inside me.  I realize that now, right now, is the time to fix everything the best I can.  It’s been brutal a continuing challenge.

Another thing I have learned during my journey is, it will go on as long as I am breathing.  Meaning no matter what happens, I will have to work at conquering my demons every day, or they will take me over.   My demon, disguised as clutter, boxes and disarray, is actually negativity and all that encompasses.

Much like an addiction, I have to fight negativity every day or it will overpower my mind, body and soul.

So right now, I am going to come up with five unproven tips to counter my negativity. Maybe they will help you, me or someone we know.

Five Instant Tips:

1. Stop swearing  unless it’s used in positive comment.  Example: ” That’s so f*cking incredible. I am so excited for you!” Swearing when you are upset or angry only serves to  fuel and intensify any negative emotion.

2. Do not allow yourself to get hungry.  We are grown people, we know we have to fuel our bodies and minds.  Pack a lunch box to take wherever you go, make a first aid kit for the hungries.  Suggestions for your kit: carrots, fruit, cheese,  nuts, crackers and water.  Dig in before you end up in a sour mood or even worse find yourself driving through Wendy’s or the likes. 

3. Remember those who are thirsty.  The time you waste being negative could be time spent promoting Charity Water .  I am signing Unpack The Rat up  today. ( if I can do it this way)  Of course what this really means is help anyone (a person, animal or plant) who needs help rather than filling your own cup with negativity.

4. Daydream about a ridiculous or fabulous adventure. If you want, go ahead and close your eyes for a few seconds and slip away. Envision it all as if you were really there.

5. Be grateful for having the ability to love.

That’s what I came up with.  Now I am going to Charity Water and see if I can sign up.

As for getting too close,  I am not going to worry about it for now.   Not everything needs an answer the moment you think of it.  Sometimes you just need to “be.”

I be being.

Okay, it worked…..Here’s the link to donate to Unpack the Rat’s Charity Water campaign.

Cheers!

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Personalized A.D.D.

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Nothing accomplished.  December has become another month to just make it through.  To handle all the crises that came our way and try to do it without total self destruction.  Look at me, it’s only the 2oth and I am already writing the month off.

I am in New York, and last night  hearing my son tell me he is never ever moving back to Ohio makes me wonder than why the heck am I staying here?  My daughter would like us to move some where near the east coast, so she could visit more easily when she wanted.   My youngest son just wants to have his own room again.  Heavy sigh. (he just informed me, So Cal.)

I don’t know how to handle a situation I can not control.  We are not in a position to move anywhere, except maybe locally.  Do you know how scarey it is to have to sell your house, and it doesn’t sell?  Fourteen months on the market, not one offer.  I never want to be there again.  I also am not hip on getting a house that requires a bunch of repairs, but we are limited by our budget.

I don’t know what to do.

I don’t  know how other people do it.  How do they just start over? That’s one of our issues, we can’t start completely over, because we have commitments and constraints. We hold certain cards, and without picking up a pair of aces I think we are working with a measurable handicap.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t change, it’s just means we have to plan around everything.

For about a week, for maybe 5 days, we thought we had an answer. We believed we made a choice.  But now, I am no longer interested in that. Too far and too close at the same time…why bother?

Just got our yearly Christmas news letter from some relatives.  I mean seriously, I had to read it twice  to make sure my sour mood wasn’t clouding my judgement.  Nope, it wasn’t, still as pretentious as ever.  Most years I don’t even read it.

Why did I choose to read it today?  Because I am an idiot, who feels bad, and wanted to feel worse?  No.  I think I was honestly hoping for a twinkle light of inspiration. Not to be.

Have I mentioned how stressful the holidays are for me?  I swear, the biggest luxury for me would be to avoid the entire Thanksgiving to New Years Day season.

I want to move beyond my dissatisfaction,  but it’s inside me tightly holding hands with my lack of clarity.

I can’t tell myself what to do anymore.  I can read my own advice and that helps in certain areas, but not this “where to live topic, how to get there, is it the right choice” dilemma.  So so complicated.

I am flailing.  Holding myself together, with avoidance, denial, and distractions.  My own personal brand of ADD.   A mental cocktail of sorts.  I highly recommended it for anyone, in a messed up situation.

About to go out to dinner…..it’ will be great, I will  be in full ADD mode.   Cheers!

# years, are we there yet?

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“#” is representative of the number of years since you [I] decided that, well, you weren’t cut out to follow the herd. The # number of years that have past since the time in your mind when you said this or that is bullsh*t. Or the time you said, I don’t think this how I want to live, I want to live differently.

I am not there yet, not after many ## years..

It is kind of obviously from my tormented posts, and my ups and downs and my vacillation and creative rationalizations. I fall into the category where I can easily identify the steps anyone else, except me, should take to change their lives. I am excellent at telling others what to do. But I try to do it for myself and I try really hard, and I fail.

Each time I fail, I start to settle for less and then I begin to procrastinate. I justify my failures, and I rationalize them away with excuses as to why some thing didn’t work. This leads me right back to the place I was when first I decided wanted life to be different. That, I will tell you is why my posts are a roller coaster. There are many times I stop believing I will ever get “there.”

I read several other blogs, and I love them all. I see I am in good company with some bloggers. But there are others bloggers who were able to do the hard work and really change their lives. Success stories. Those people have moved on to bigger and better things expanding their lives and living their dreams. And they manage to make it all work out fine within the confines of the need for money, shelter, work, love and fulfilling responsibilities.

I enjoy reading them, especially the honest ones. But they have done it, they are “there.” These blog are inspirational in a way that says,” I did it, so can you.” But they are so far beyond the point I am, that I barely identify with their reality.

Unfortunately, I think I need to see the the process. (someone’s progress other than mine because mine sucks) I want to see how they made their choices, and what they would do differently and how they learned from their mistakes ( if they had any). I want to know how they balanced responsibilities with their dreams. If they ever felt like they were letting anyone down, or possibly crushing someone’s dream to get to their own.

I understand nothing is simple, and one size will never fit all. This is a difficult journey.

For the sake of a simple example; one small change I am doing, trying to do, is I am changing Christmas and it’s not going over well. And maybe I will change it back. But right now, it’s most unpleasant to be the one that stands up and changes something that effects others. No one talks about how they really feel and I am just plain worn out from the dysfunction and I want it to end. So I am ending it.

I will be viewed negatively, and be seen as the odd-ball who “just can’t get along.” I already have be given the silent treatment on my proposal. Zero acknowledgement that I even spoke the words. Nothing negative or positive. Nothing. What I said was so inconsequential, it didn’t deserve the most basic level of respect, an acknowledgement.

And this is why, people who actually accomplish anything challenging, who create change, are so incredibly awesome. Because it really isn’t easy, no matter what “advantages” you may think someone has. To create real and lasting change of any sort, epic or teeny-tiny is quite possibly one of the most difficult things in life to do.

The tide of time never stops and it makes me wonder if we will ever get there.

Tip: Some people are happy with the status quo, they rarely understand those who seek to live differently.

Inspiration: “The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself.”- Oscar Wilde

One-day one-thing: Ignore your detractors, as best you can.

Santa’s not going to do this by Himself.

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I better get cracking.  My starting point: I have nothing planned for Christmas and I am mentally and emotionally spent.

In my de-cluttering mode I sold our fake artificial Christmas tree.  I had no place put it anyway and I figured we would get by with less.  Everything else for the holidays  is in here.

Just an fyi, if anyone is seeking a nice Christmas tree, Costco has beautiful real trees, cut, for 29.99.   They even tempted me.  They have short needles and are a good height and shape.  I think the tree is a good value plus you get that fresh pine scent in your house.

This year’s challenge is to make Christmas memorable,  fun and easy with low stress levels – without spending a ton of cash.

Unfortunately, it’s a super busy month even without the holidays.  First I have a business trip to Monterrey.  It will be beautiful, maybe stressful but maybe not.   Next I’ll be driving to NYC to chauffeur  two of my children home.  I’m not complaining at all, I love both places,  it’s just time consuming.

In New York I’d be happy to walk around with a coffee.  I like the sparkling silver star that hangs high above 5th Ave near Tiffany’s. ( if you go to Tiffany’s jewelry repair, 6th floor as I recall, you an get an awesome view of the silver star)   I also love looking at Bergdorf Goodman’s windows, they never disappoint.

We’ll play it by ear.  It’s not like my kids are teens and I can tell them what we are doing.  It’s more like they are mini-grown-ups, you know, with big ideas of their own.  I remember when I was their age, I went out partying all winter break, without my parents.

You know what?  I am going to buy that Costco Christmas tree and put it up. Why not?  Dress it with lights, garland and ornaments, and put some presents underneath.  Bake some cookies for everyone to decorate and make hot chocolate. Wow, a somewhat normal and simple Christmas.  So what if it’s in a basement?

That’s all it ever has to be….simple and real.   In my heart, I knew this all along.

Post Script: We lost the second house we bid on.  It was a multiple bidding situation once again.  Heavy sigh.  I feel like the world is telling me something, something like “stop what you’re doing- it’s not working.”

Tip: Concentrate on shared experiences instead of things.

Inspiration: ” Discovery is the ability to be puzzled by simple things.” ~ Noam Chomsky

One-day one-thing: If you’re giving gifts, wrap them as you get them –  it’s the only way.

Thankless

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Hopefully you are in a place where an abundance of joy and love are thriving.  Maybe you are visiting your new grandchild for the first time.  Maybe you are sleeping in or making an early morning  trip to buy bagels for everyone, before a day of cooking commences. Maybe you are hosting and cooking a turkey for the first time ever.

I am having dinner at a restaurant with three siblings who have shown me nothing for as long as I  can remember.  But the part that really hurts is that during my last very rough year and a half, not a word.  Not one single communication.   Not a single mention of empathy or kindness.  Not one offer of help.  Zero compassion.  Zero anything.

I don’t expect anything  from them and I never will.  So for me to write about me being thankful for them, is like person lying about being married. It’s untruthful and I  don’t care to live like that.  I am am thankless for them.

 (sounds harsh to even me, but it’s true)

Obviously, I have a different definition of what “family” means than they do.  I carry my idea of family to my family, my husband and my three children and our pets.  I even extend that level of caring to my friends and co-workers, even most strangers; ( believe it or not ) that is without breaking normal boundaries.

I’m going to this dinner solely for my 84 year old mother. She asked us to join them and I first said,” No thank you.”  She said ,”Well they’re coming over here anyway, whether you come or not.” (we are temporarily living in my mother’s house until we buy our own)  I said, “Okay we’ll go.”

What I learn from this is that I am not alone.  Many people have families full of dysfunction.  This holiday, there will be families who dis-own their own children and grand children solely because of sexual preference.  There will be racists remarks made to bi-racial couples who are nothing but deeply in love.  Political differences will spark arguments.  And I know this is morbid, but there will be Thanksgiving killings today.  Some families should just stay away from each other no matter what man-made holiday tells them they need to be together.

So to those of you out there who will suffer through this holiday, acknowledge you don’t have to be thankful for the toxic people in your life, even if you are breaking bread with them or if you are related by blood.  Remember you are not alone.  Family wounds run deep and never truly go away, this I know.  At the table, I will say a silent prayer of support for you and your struggle.

Take this day and be thankful that you can create your own life to be the way you want it to be.  Be thankful that holidays only occupy a small segment in the timeline of your life.  Be thankful for the lessons learned of how not to be.   Be thankful for the people, or person, in your life who is kind.  Be thankful for your dog or cat, or whatever little soul you consider part of your family.  Be thankful  that you have the power to spread kindness to others.  Be thankful to know compassion.  Be thankful you can express gratitude.  Be thankful just to be.

Cheers to you!

Tip: Concentrate on these tips to get through the day.

Inspiration: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

One-day one-thing: Keep your sense of humor today, as this too shall pass. :)

Giving up?

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Wow, can it be happening? Is giving up the same as surrendering?

I wish I knew.  Because I am trying , really trying hard to figure this all out.

I don’t think it is, but it’s awfully close.

Look at the note under my photo to the right.  I adjusted our goals.  I left the old “goals” there so I don’t lose sight of them.  Am I changing because we can’t get the other, am I finally learning that there are some things that can’t be left behind.

We all have commitments.  And the commitments that we can not or do not want to give up are what holds us back.  You can have all the open mind you want but you have to be realistic. Yuck!   I hate being realistic.   It’s no fun.

On the flip side, once you look at the circumstances realistically, it may be easier to focus.   Which is another one of my weakest skills.  Focus.  Blah.

I don’t like the idea of giving up.  I don’t like not getting what I want, in others words, “failing.”  And I hate to feel limited.  No one like those things.  To top that off, once again, I find I am quickly re-learning lessons of compromise and patience. (more of my weaknesses)

Sure, I can change my perspective.  Easy peasy.  Change your mind change your world.  (I do believe in  this)  But to do this at the same time I am redefining our goals, well, it seems a bit disingenuous.

So am I giving up?  Maybe.  But not without getting something out of this.  I have a plan to do something new, to try something, it’s a small independent business not like our other business at all.  It would be mine and have absolutely nothing to do with servers and corporate events.

I think I can manage to make this all work together.  And that idea right now is what is rumbling inside my brain and holding me together.  Keep thinking. Cheers!

Tip: Realize that life is full of unpredictable events, attempt to be flexible.

Inspiration: ” Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” ~ Albert Einstein

One-day one thing: On strike until the children go back to school. :)

Grinchy

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Okay here we go, into the holidays a time when people buy gifts for people because they are supposed to, or because they really want to, or because it’s tradition. Many people do this knowing that they really can’t afford to spend their cash, or worse their credit, and they do it anyway.

I used to love the holidays. Loved them. One year I even dragged my DH to the mall on Black Friday just because I wanted to be part of the chaos. Another year I flew to NYC and back the same day, just to be there on Black Friday for the fun of it.

I use to buy things for people I barely knew, just because it was fun. Fun to shop, fun to buy, fun to wrap and fun to give. Also I bought gift for people in case I ran into them somewhere. Many of those gifts are in my box of “new” things in our storage unit. ( somewhere )

When the children were little I spent every Christmas Eve wrapping while watching “The Christmas Story” marathon, I never went to bed. I would finish about six a.m. and they would be wide awake shortly there after. Those were the good years, even if I was sure to end up exhausted and full of champagne by noon. It was fun and exciting. They were always so surprised and honestly very cute. It was unpredictable and all brand new to them..

After many years of playing Santa Claus I started to find myself a little burned out, but it was still fun.

This year is drastically different. Here are the factors: My children are young adults. They either don’t want anything or what they do want is way too expensive. As for us, we are trying to declutter, so we don’t want anything. Nothing please. Additionally we are in a savings mode, because in the back of our minds we think we’ll be looking for a house again soon.

There will be no decorating, because we aren’t living in our own home. We won’t have our own tree, our own music or anything. And seeing as we were never church goers, we don’t have that tradition to fall back on.

I guess we’ll do the usual, the annual Christmas exchange of cash inside cards for the cousins. (that’s what everyone in the entire family does – every year) We never know if they will be there or not? But I always have the cards with cash ready.

It will be cold. It’s always cold.

This past many years have taught me so much, but right now I am tired of learning these life lessons. Enough already.

( which normally means I am about to get slammed with another one )

So this year I’ll be asking Santa for a big red velvet bag full of love, joy and peace, life lessons NOT included. That’s all I want.

“Pssst Santa, can you hear me? “

Tip: Remind yourself it’s only one day and read Gandhi before company arrives.

Inspiration: ” Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

One-day one-thing: Send someone who has crossed your mind a seasonal card even if you haven’t stay in touch.