moving on

Small Town Blues

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The last few attempts at writing a post have me lost.  Here are the various titles:

Am I the only one?

It’s a small world.

Get a life.

Down day.

I can’t get a coherent thought on to the screen.  Because I am so perplex as to why I find it so difficult to live my life by my own rules, and beliefs.   I mean I do for the most part, but there are always these interruptions, when someone has to drop a boatload of judgment on me, in what I feel is the most condescending way.

My rules: don’t engage, get away from the conversation, change the topic.  But what did I do today?  I failed at my own rules.

I tried to explain the way I thought.  I was hoping for a sliver of understanding.  What I got was dismissive, and basically a statement saying I am weird, no one else is like that,  and it ( whatever the f*ck “it” is) is my fault.

So when I say this journey was going to teach me something it has.  And here’s my lesson for today: All of the reasons I left town nearly thirty years ago are still here alive and well.  Small towns thrive on gossip and it’s totally acceptable.

There’s a strong overcast of judgmental gossip about people I don’t even remember and I really don’t have any interest in it.   I mean seriously, I have moved on.  I don’t care.    I wish no one ill will, but I also don’t want to hear random bullsh*t about various people when I haven’t even seen them or talked with them  since I was eighteen years old.

Today I was the gossip topic for two other people.  One was on the phone here and the other had called.  I heard my mother lie about where I lived and continue to talk about my children.  Like it’s this person’s business.   I left the house.  I was disgusted.  And quite honestly I still am.  So this woman (the caller) who hasn’t said a peep to me since 1980,  calls my mother and starts the inquisition.

Later I add my two cents.  My mother replies to me, “I don’t think it’s weird.  Don’t you ever call her mother?”  I was floored.  “No,” I answered , ” Why would I?”  I don’t call any old high school friend’s mothers.  I never have in my entire life.

So this makes me the odd-ball.  No wonder I left so many years ago.  Heaven help me.   I can’t do this on my own.

Tip: Do not engage.

Inspiration: “It is one of my sources of happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people’s business. ” ~Dolley Madison

One-day one-thing: Create a fresh outlook, go somewhere and take photographs.

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How to Stay Up

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For the most part I am really happy.  However, once in a while, I want to scream.   When this happens I have learned to stop.  To stop whatever I am thinking.   I then remind myself  to be grateful for the thousands of wonderful moments I get every day.  That is the key;  gratitude.

Trouble happens when I allow myself to considered, to ponder or mull over someone’s  negativity as something that could be true, may be true, or holds some truth.  But I know deep in my heart that every time I welcome one teeny tiny inch of this negativity into my thoughts,  it eats me up alive.  It brings me down, way down,  really quickly.

I can physically feel it happening, every time.  Which is enormously better than how I use to be.  Before I didn’t recognize the darkness of bullshit negativity for what it was.  I took things to heart, took things personally and believed that I could change how these people felt or what they thought about situations.   I can’t.  (No one can.)   I no longer try.

What I need to do is care about myself.  Sounds selfish but it’s not.  Because if I am down, and swimming in a pool of crap, I am no good for anyone.  When I’m blue my judgement blurs and I can’t be there for the people who need me.   I become the negativity.  That’s not what I want for my life.

I am improving my awareness.  But I still need to identify negativity more quickly and remember to move to gratitude immediately. I’m learning this takes practice.  In time it will be second nature for me.

For now, I’m going to create a super power shield and protect myself  from negativity and hatred.  An invisible force field that disintegrates the atoms of filthy negative hatred.

The more consistent I become in quickly moving to gratitude the less I’ll need my shield.  But until then I’ll be my own super hero and I will continue to be eternamente grato.

"bonkers" what a funny word

Tip: Do not engage in conversations that feel wrong to you.  Change the topic or walk away.

Inspiration: “From the backstabbing co-worker to the meddling sister-in-law, you are in charge of how you react to the people and events in your life. You can either give negativity power over your life or you can choose happiness instead. Take control and choose to focus on what is important in your life. Those who cannot live fully often become destroyers of life.” ~Anais Nin

One-day one -thing: Create a gratitude notebook, make it part of your day to record your gratefulness.

Baggage: packed and ready to lose.

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Baggage is a drag. It is clutter of the soul.  One of the most difficult challenges I face is clearing the clutter out of my head and heart.  It’s hard work, and I don’t always do a very good job of it.

the past is gone

I keep a running mental list of  the way I would like my world to be;  my “when” list, my “if” list, and my “dream” list.  I could spit it out rapid fire without even taking a breath.   I bet you have a list you could rattle off in a minute as well.

But those lists rarely resembles reality.  And worse than that, it marginalizes what you have in your  life right now.  By always thinking the grass is greener, the future is better, we fail to see the greatness of right here and now.  I know it all makes sense in words.  It’s easy to say and words are cheap.  The true challenge, and the most important challenge, is applying what we learn to how we live.

For me it all comes down to clutter, at least that’s my analogy.  My initial intention of this “journey to living better with less” was to tackle stuff, less stuff.  But now I believe I’ve learned clutter is systemic.  It goes hand in hand with the rest of my life.  I can close the closet door and I can’t see the clutter, but all the clutter stuffed inside is still there.

Just like our cluttered emotions, beliefs and overall well being.  It’s always there, right inside you, where ever you are.   Clutter goes deep into your psyche, at least for me it does.  This realization is making my simple journey to minimalism a totally different trip.  Who knew?

( someone knew, but not me )

I boiled it down, into four segments.  This is where I have to really seriously declutter and maintain clarity.

Physical stuff: Garage, storage unit, office, boxes, etcetera.  This is the easiest one to identify and I believe it leads to clearing out the more difficult areas of your life.

Emotional stuff: Stress, relationships, sorrow, guilt, regrets, fear – we all have some degree of this in our lives –  find a method to manage this emotional clutter so that it doesn’t ruin your time here on earth. Very difficult.

Spiritual stuff: Belief system – define your personal beliefs and match your daily actions to that belief – create harmony for yourself.

Mental stuff: Identify what is holding you back from your own life- what do you hear in your head that tells you -” I can’t.” Identify that voice and delete it.  This takes constant effort for me.

This is tough and I don’t pretend to know anything about how to accomplish this.  What I do know is, I have been to hell and back a few times, and I am not interested in any revisits.  No matter what, I have made my choice.  I don’t want any clutter of any sort.   So I am willing do the work.  I am willing to let go and move on.

Tip: Try saying an  affirmation: I let go of my past hurt feelings.  Life is good and so am I.  ( I picked something simple, so I could remember it. )

Inspiration: ” It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself. ”  ~Eleanor Roosevelt

One-day one-thing: Let go of one or more expectations….forever.

I was a crystal ball

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During my years of irrational consumerism, I could see the future.  It’s true. I knew exactly what everyone needed before they even thought about what they needed.

Once, I bought an alarm clock guaranteed never to turn off, until a person caught it and turned it off.  It was self propelling, and if it wasn’t turned off by the sleeping human quickly,  it would jump to the floor and run away by rolling under the bed, or any other out of reach place while still sounding the alarm.

I bought this two years before my son went away to university. Every single day of his high school years, I had to wake him up over, and over, and over again.  In the future, I wouldn’t be there to wake him up.  I could see this clearly.  The clock still sold by MOMA today runs 48.00, I think I paid more.  That never opened brand new clock,  sits inside a blue plastic container that contains an assortment of new things, on the second shelf inside U-Store-It unit #227.

I know of another new thing that’s in there.  I bought it for myself.  It’s a bank that is a replication of a wooden water tank like the ones on top of  buildings in Manhattan .  I was “saving” this for when I had a “cool” office not a cluttered mess of an office.  I have an awesome office.  It’s not yet “good enough” so I am using old tea bottle for loose change.  As I am write those very words I see how pathetic this is.  ( I’ll fix the coin bank issue Monday)

Other  purchases are back-ups, duplicates.  I bought these because I already owned the item and I liked it.   Like a certain Ikea scrubber,  I could see in the future this scrubber would no longer be available.  I even taught my daughter if you like something – buy two of them….ugh!  Some of those thing I don’t even like anymore.  Other “new” items I bought for future gifts. I could see who needed the gift and what it was before I even met the person.  I was good.  Unfortunately when it came time to give these gifts away, either I couldn’t part with them, or they weren’t the right gift for the occasions.

When I shopped I shopped with conviction, no second guessing, everything had a purpose.  A purpose in the future that I could clearly see.   I was clairvoyant.  I could see the future as far out as I needed, to infinity.  That is, until I  could not.

What I could not see in the future was not being able to sell our house that was on the market for 14 months.  What I couldn’t see was all our equity was going to disappear.  What I couldn’t see in the future was losing our home of twelve years and having no place to live.  Once I lost my ability to see the future, I was sad for a long time.  I could not see anything and I certainly could not see joy or any shred of happiness in my crystal ball.

But that was then, this is now.  Nothing much has changed except me.  And to tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I have ever had a more defined idea of what’s important in life.  I have learn so much about how we spend our time, how we spend our money and how we interact with people.   My life has completely changed it’s trajectory and I like it.

The more stuff I shed the better I feel.  Simplifying is intoxicating and addictive.  Simplifying has helped me to focus and grow. I like it. I have a long long way to go, but so far it’s good.  I am examining my life on a different level, from a different place.  I am learning about myself and my family and what I am learning brings me great comfort. We are all in agreement that we are on the right track to “living better with less.”

UnPacktheRat is more then a blog to me, it’s my teacher, and for that I am grateful.

Cheer!

Insight:


One Day -One Thing: List at least one new (or not) item on eBay

I have too many names, just like The Cat in the Hat

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Well this is a nightmare. I am having a digital meltdown.   Remember the days of the early internet:  predators, scammers, and identity theft? Oh My!  Well I was afraid.

I created several email accounts, that go with different blogs and different networks, because I was so afraid to let anyone know who I was. I wanted to protect my privacy, stay safe and not hurt anyone’s feelings.  My business was my business. I didn’t want people to know where I lived, how many children I had or where I worked.  It was a safety concern for me as well as a way to set boundaries.   I wanted to be free to say whatever I wanted without risking any negative consequences.

I created one blog just to express sadness (I have bouts with depression), I call it my “sad blog.”  No one would ever need to see that.  It was for me and me only, but it needed to be connected to some email account.  So I created yet another email.

I also like to post comments.  I have to add my two cents, I don’t know why I like this, but I do.  The problem is many sites use different sign-on applications to allow comments.  So I would sign up, and not even remember what name and or password I used.  I didn’t keep good records, too much work.  So how many names and password do I really have?  No clue.

( btw – #$%@ passwords )

Now,  if you don’t use your real name people think you are the creeper. I believe Facebook and Linked-in changed the game.

This brings me to my secondary issue, I don’t even know my name.  What I thought was my name for 20 years turned out not to be my name, according to the government.  The IRS informed me that I either had to change my name to match my social security card or get a new card with my married name on it.  This posed problems because of medical records, school records, property documents, insurance policies and a few financial items.  I didn’t what to go through all the work of documenting the changes to all these different places.

My super easy solution – I’ll just tack on the married name.  No hyphen. I always hated hyphenated names.  I wanted nothing to do the hyphen.  So the last name is just added at the end of my name sequence; my first name, my middle name, last name, and now a second last name.

How many times am I asked, “What name is it under?”

” I don’t know, ( they look at me like I am nuts) my first last name or my second last name.”

“Hyphenated?”

“No.”

Look at The Cat in the Hat, he is very talented. ( but he does have 5 names)  I tried to be him.  For decades I tried.  But that kind of balancing act is far too much for me to handle anymore.  I am not at all interested in even attempting it and that why I am changing.  I no longer what to exist so many places with so many log-ins, and passwords.  It eats up the limited space in my brain.  I won’t change my physical name ever again (never say never), but I am able to declutter my digital existence.

Right now, one singular  identity will not work for me, however,  I figure that three focused areas and dedicated id’s will suit me fine.  I have work, personal, and personal work. Eventually they will meld together, I am sure…..maybe.

I am saying good-bye to my personal Facebook (deleted it last night), and keeping my business Facebook, ditching some twitter accounts, and eliminating old email accounts.  I am also going to delete old emails, on my personal -work account.  I don’t need to see that huge number at my inbox.  I am never going to read them anyway.  Just letting go feels good.  Phew.  This is a start.  What can you delete?   Cheers.

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**In writing this, it spurred a thought to unclutter my name to singular name you know like Cher, Prince and Batman. Hmm.  As long as I am tied to a Social Security number I don’t think it matters. (?)

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Tips :   25 Areas of Digital Clutter to Minimalize

A Minimalist’s Guide to Using Twitter Simply, Productively, and Funly

Plug all Your Leaks Or You Will Die

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Today’s One day- one thing: Deleting old accounts, horrible photos and old emails.

Don’t dwell

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This is particular difficult to achieve one hundred percent of the time.  I mean if you are like me, you spent the last 20 plus years buying stuff.  You bought for your house, your garden, your dogs, your cats, you bought for the new baby, and the new baby after that and so on.   When I am faced with looking at those things I bought sometimes I see the joy it brought, but more times than not I see a price tag.  Front and center my mind tells me, “Man that was expensive.”  The next thought is “and we barely used it.”

My item today: our pool table.  I bought it as a birthday present for my husband, back when the children were little.  We thought they would grow up have friends over and shoot pool, like we did when we were younger.  Not so much.  Video games, organized sports, movies and social networking was the main stay of their teen years.

This particular purchase is more “dwell” worthy than just it alone, because when we moved we actually put an addition on our house to hold the table.  Ugh!  I recently tried to sell it for weeks – not a single bite.

I can’t dwell.  Currently the pool table is in storage, at a U-store-it place.  It’s been in storage before , so there still may be hope for future usefulness.  I am not sure.

My key here is do not dwell on it.  It is what it is.  Move on and do one thing today to move closer to living better with less.