01 July, 2011

"they all seemed to be waiting for something"

from all the pretty horses by cormac mccarthy

sandstorm leaving southeast idaho last year.

i've been meaning to write about this for a while; my newly adopted policy of 'how to live life without stress'. it all came to me in a moment of extreme stress when i realized that:

a. most (not all, but most) of the things i stress about are completely out of my control, i.e. unsuccessful pregnancies, child starvation, the age gap between my kids, student loan debt interest, foreclosure rates and foreign wars...

b. bad things are going to happen. they just are. tires will burst, dumb people will somehow weasel their stupid opinions into your life, blah. i can't control what other people will do, but i can control how much i allow myself to be around said dumb people. i.e., if someone that adds stress to your life is inevitably around, focus on other people that you actually like and don't subject yourself to that person.

c. i have been pulling stressful things into my life, for my whole life.

- on c., i want to clarify - not on purpose. just because i thought i needed to "pull stress" to me because it was required of me to be a good person. making decisions prematurely, setting unrealistic goals, volunteering for things i don't have time for. spending time and energy trying to create or foster or nurture relationships that are more poisonous than good. see?

so here is what i've done.

i only choose to involve myself with people that i feel make a positive influence in my life. i don't walk around saying "talk to the hand," to people who are negative, i'm still polite, jeez. but i'm trying to create this... i guess "emotional community". so it's not like a physical thing, it's an emotional thing. an emotional realm of people that i like. there's this lady that my mom knows who is super nice and super uplifting. she and i have almost nothing in common. i don't particularly want to hang out with her and swap snuggies... but i do like her, she makes me smile and she doesn't gossip. lady, here is your ticket into my emotional community. meaning, she is invited to be in my life. i will have meaningful conversations with her if the chance arises. meanwhile, there's this super annoying lady who is constantly trying to tell me all of the juicy gossip of the neighborhood while she complains on and on about how frustrating it is that she can't stay un-pregnant. bye bye. peace. i will still smile at you and say hello and offer help if you need it. i'll open doors for you and if you needed it, i would clean your house and make a meal. but no, you are not invited to my emotional community.

i don't volunteer or say yes when i shouldn't... when i don't have time or energy. i do what i can the very best i can and hope that's enough.

i exercise and breathe and sleep like a champ.

i avoid even thinking about people that irk me. i've had quite the therapy in deleting facebook friends and for those who i can't delete without causing offense, i hide from my little newsfeed thingy. it works like a charm.
do you get it?

the effort that i was putting into befriending/maintaining/obligatory visiting/all that other stuff is now being directed toward much more cathartic activities. like spending more time playing with gage.

i've wondered.. is this selfish? sometimes i think yes, but then i pause and remember my new creed. which is....

i can and should feel peace every moment of every day.

some people are addicted to drama, like, their eyes light up when they realize that a fight is about to happen or someone wants their weasley opinion about someone else. i think i used to be this way, but i am not any more. thank heavens. i don't want to talk about other people. i don't want to know the bad things they do or the gossip-worthy scandals they're involved in. i don't want to hear about more sadness. now, obviously, if someone has a problem, they can come to me and talk to me. especially if their problem is with me. but if you're a third-party, i don't want to hear about it. even if i'm involved.

when steven and i were just barely married, we didn't worry about things. if it was stressful, we just laughed it off as we worked through it. we didn't let it consume us. but then life became so complicated - money and medical bills and responsibilities and societal pressures to conform to... what? some undefined something, following a timeline that has been arbitrarily chosen for all mormon couples to follow?

but that's not the point! hello?! the point is that life is passing us by so so so fast. it can be over like THAT and then it's done. and everything we did on earth is forgotten by us, by everyone, except for the cool stuff. like being a really good mommy, or living abroad, or the hilarious practical jokes that we played on each other, or the talents we cultivated... not the money, not the things, not the friends in high places... do you see?

so, to all of my faithful readers who never comment, and to the sweetie-pies who do, let's live, okay? i'm tired of sadness, i'm over it. i'm happy. i don't take sleeping pills anymore. big indicator that life is good over here. i love it. i love breathing, i love sleeping, i love walking, i love writing, i love talking and learning. especially learning about other people and places.

so if you are one of those people in my emotional community, or you'd like to be (it is a really nice gated community with a clean community pool and free milk shakes), then talk to me about things of substance. tell me about what you think about life and what you've read recently and how you feel about things.

i'm not waiting anymore, i'm not worrying anymore.
i'm happy, wholly, completely, sans-stress, happy! and it's awesome!


  1. WOW! Thank you for all that! I wish I'd have come to that conclusion when I was your age. I still struggle with it, though, and tend to go in fits & starts. But I'm trying to be better and do better each and every day. Can't wait to spend some time with you!

  2. You're funny and insightful...and you have arrived where I'm at now a whole lot sooner than I got there....apparently (considering I don't really know how old you are! LOL) I'm 52. The urge to be somebody that everybody liked and that didn't like herself left me when I got to my 40s. I mean it vanished!!!....Like the wind!!...Gone! :-) Hopefully I'm still someone people like...but it's not now because that's my goal in life! And I love me! Even better...if I met 'me' and had a long conversation with 'me', I'd like me!! ^_^ And if you don't already, you'll be liking this new you a lot better too!

  3. The free milk shake thing has me sold...

    I have always told my children not to hand people a remote control that can change their moods, or ruin their days. How they react to negative comments or rude behavior is up to them. I need to invite them to create their own gated communities with free milk shakes.

    Nice job on the blog!

  4. I especially like the story about the dumb girl in highschool. Ugh, highschool is. the. dumbest.

    Dont worry about not doing enough, I'm sure you're doing all you can.

    I think this post helped you as much as it helped me and all the readers who read it, doesnt it feel good to get something off your chest?? It was a great post, thank you.

  5. Lovely. I fully support you. And I'm all for the free milkshakes :)

  6. I like free food, and since I'm apparently still a Facebook friend, I thought I would emerge from the silence and comment ;) Good conclusion!

  7. Hahaha! Doing this 2ish years ago was one of the best things I ever did.

    I think part of it is not caring (in the politest way possible) what people's opinions are of you. It's a confidence thing, yeah? And it is so freeing.

    Also, for me it was realizing that I can't change people. They have to do that all on their own. Darnit. I can think of a long list of people that I'd like to change, but feeling the pressure to help them "see the light" is extremely stressful.

    Funny cause Sara and I were just talking about this yesterday. (We had a loverly picnic; wish you were with us!)

    And about the milkshakes. I don't really like milkshakes. Can I change mine to an ice cream slushie?

  8. Mom and I just read this. We laughed and said amen through the whole thing. We love it because it is HONEST! Honesty is so freeing! You are wonderful and we love you!!

  9. haha! thanks for all the comments, everyone. you are ALL invited to my community.

    and lindsey - slushies sound fantastic :)

  10. This is pretty incredible and very uplifting. I just came over from Silver Strands who was incredibly inspired by this post and now I can see why! Thanks so much for sharing and putting some more brightness in my day!



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