Do You Know How Hard It Is To Walk Away From Everything?

I do. And I can tell you with total conviction it is really fucking hard. Damn near impossible.

So what do I mean by everything?

I once heard a tale about a woman who refused to leave her lousy marriage. By all accounts she was quite miserable. Daily. But she didn’t want to lose/leave her brand new kitchen. So she stayed.

Then there was the gal who stayed for the kids. For years and years she stayed for the kids. Her husband was emotionally abusive and any love they had once shared was long dead and buried. But she stayed.

And then there was the heavyhearted wife who did leave. After years of anguish and trying and therapy and torment, she finally left. She did not leave an abusive man, her marriage by many would have been described as just fine, her husband is a good guy much loved by his children and their life together was by no means ugly. But she left. She left because she was unfulfilled. And she had been too-long unfulfilled and had no idea how to attain fulfillment within that union. Her attempts had been exhausted. She was exhausted. Somewhere, somehow she knew that the remainder of her life would be best served differently. So she walked away from everything.

Was this me? Well … no. And yes. I am not the only one, this I know. But I too found myself in that confusing, agonizing conundrum. On the surface my life had everything. A beautiful home on a country acreage, a more than adequate bank account, a lovely husband who cared for me, nice cars, frequent travel, private school for our child and pretty much any old thing that my heart desired. Except … what my heart desired.

Now, please allow me to digress here for a moment. Because my heart desiring leads me to another point. I once read that you should never trust your heart and you should never trust your head because they both always have an agenda. And they will both fight formidably to achieve that agenda, no matter what the other guy argues. Who you should trust is your gut. Because your gut doesn’t have an agenda. No motive. No endgame. Your gut is just there to remind you that something’s up. Something bad. Something good. Something fishy. Just something. You should never ignore your gut.

So there was I, Heart and Head in full bloody battle, and for many years I stayed. I stayed because I was conflicted between heart and head. Heart said “Go!” Heart wanted me to sally forth and find a different kind of love. One that would fulfill me in ways I could only imagine. Head countered “Stay!” Head couldn’t figure out why anyone in their right mind would leave the sweet deal I was living. It was a damn sweet deal, I can tell you that. And I wasn’t entirely miserable and it wasn’t just about a kitchen. I could have just sucked it up, put on my big girl panties and stayed.

But then Gut kicked in. And Gut reminded me that this inner conflict had gone on for a very long time. Gut reminded me that the future was most certainly uncertain but as my everyday life was swimming in uncertainty maybe finding my way away from my everyday life was the only true path to figuring out why everything was so uncertain and finding the certainty I craved.

Yeah … Gut is never very eloquent. What Gut is is persistent. Gut doesn’t let you get away with shit. All the skirmishes that Head or Heart may win along the way don’t worry Gut one bit. Because Gut never gives up. Ever. Gut just keeps nudging you and nudging you until finally you listen. Gut doesn’t give you a solution like both Head and Heart clamour to do. Gut just reminds you that something must be done. And trust me, Gut will keep reminding you until you do something.

And that, my friends, is how I was able to walk away from everything. I simply could not stand the thought of Gut bugging my ass day in, day out, ad infinitum.

These days my gut is surprisingly quiet. Oh sure, I get the occasional pang and when it happens I am sure to check in immediately and establish what is amiss. But the beautiful thing about my beautiful gut is that when I do pay attention and then act accordingly my life becomes decidedly more simple. Simple and honest.

I am not here to judge anyone for the choices they make, the marriages they leave or stay in or the kitchens they love. But take it from the girl who had everything, simple and honest is everything. At least it is to me.

Thank you, Gut.

At ease.

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Great Expectations … and Why We Should Abandon Them.

I recently engaged in a dialogue with a friend about keeping score. She was telling me how her mother used to keep score all the time. About social engagements. As in “We invited them so now it’s their turn to invite us and I’ll be damned if I invite them again before they take their rightful turn.”

Yeah. That sort of keeping score.

I’m sure we are all guilty of merciless score-keeping, even if we do choose most times to keep our tally sheets to ourselves.

I bought her a designer purse for her birthday and she only gave me flowers.

We had them to our house for dinner three times last year and they only had us once.

I sent them an old-fashioned snail-mail Christmas card and all I got was an email.

And on and on it goes.

We all expect so very much. And, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, expectations most often equal disappointment.

So why do we continue to set ourselves up for disappointment, time and time again? Why are we keepers-of-the-score so adamant that our teammates play our game fairly? Our definition of fairly, anyway. Why do we huff and puff and get holier-than-thou when we decide we haven’t received our fair shake?

I have no idea. But here is what I do know, gleaned from many years of great expectations: it’s not worth it.

Keeping score is not worth it. It’s a waste of thought, energy and love. Because it all goes back to that old adage – you cannot control another person’s actions. You can only control your response to those actions.

I am an inveterate entertainer. I love having people over. I love cooking for them. I love setting the perfect stage, candles, music, lighting … the whole shebang. I find it fun. And often in the midst of these festivities, when I look around my great room at the usual suspects, I am struck at the large number who have availed themselves of my hospitality frequently yet have never returned the invitation. Never. As in zero times. And I smile. Because they are not selfish or greedy or stupid. They are obviously just not inveterate entertainers. Perhaps they are afraid of opening their homes? Perhaps they are reluctant to ask their friends to bring booze and food (I’m also an inveterate beggar)? Perhaps they feel their abode isn’t suitable for soirees and perhaps they just don’t wanna.

I don’t care. If it’s not their jam it’s not their jam. And I will still welcome them here time and time again. Because when I issue an invitation I do not expect restitution. I merely hope that a good time will be had by all.

Of course there is also expectation in every relationship. Whether it’s friendship, a love bond or family ties, we all have presumptions. How we should be treated. How we should be loved. How we deserve to be regarded. We line up those expectations like little tin soldiers waiting to be attacked.

Nope. Don’t do it. It’s an exercise in futility. Not to mention stupidity. Because again, in most cases, expectation will equal disappointment.

A long time ago I was mired in “issues” with a long-term pal. These issues were bugging the crap out of me because I truly believed that I deserved better, given our long (and colourful) history. She was just not forthcoming. So my then-ever-so-clever husband suggested that I just accept her for exactly who she is (without expectation) and look elsewhere to fulfill the needs she was neglecting. I took his advice. I developed new friendships. I removed all pressure from her. I carried on with a smile on my face and no malice in my spirit. And you know what? She came around. Resoundingly. Suddenly without my glorious expectations clogging up our communication, she rallied and our relationship flourished.

Naturally, romantic liaisons are huge breeding grounds for disappointment. The number of times I have expected my man to read my mind and then been really pissed off when he didn’t … well, far too numerous to keep score. And yeah, I have kept score. What I gave him verses what he gave me. What I gave up verses what he has given up. What I contribute verses what he contributes. Blah blah blah.

I can assure you (based on lots of practice) that a love relationship absolutely cannot work that way. You must try with all your heart not to expect. You must spell out your non-negotiables clearly and then just be grateful for everything else. Trust me, you will be happier.

Same with family. I have also spent a lot of years expecting my family to treat me a certain way. They treat me just fine (for the most part), just not the way I want them to treat me. You see, I have this picture in my head and for whatever reason they don’t always participate in its painting. It used to drive me crazy.

It no longer does. I now accept them for who they are and who they are not. And I fill in the blanks with new family members of my own choosing. I no longer expect anything from anybody. I take what they offer with gladness and I give without expectation. Because I have learned to find my joy in the giving of the gift, whether it be time, food, help or love. How it is received and whether or not it is reciprocated no longer plays into my motive. My motive is now to be the best me I can be.

Which brings me to today.

I have a couple of nephews who several years ago entered the film-making business. They recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund their latest effort which (even better) stars my ex brother-in-law. You see, these lads are nephews by marriage. My ex-husband’s sister’s kids. When he and I split one of them chose to forgive me and include me in his life. The other did not. Over the years there has been little communication with either but the former is friends with me on Facebook while the latter blatantly ignored my invitation to buy him dinner when both he and my son were in Los Angeles. So be it.

Regardless, I the ever-optimistic filled with love soul that I am, decided to help them out (financially) with this new project. Part of my “reward” was a “personalized” thank-you email and said email arrived today. The only thing personal about it was the “Dear Vickie”. The rest was as standard as it comes.

Was I expecting something more familial? Was I hoping for some acceptance? Some acknowledgment of past affection? After all, they were mere boys when their uncle and I split. They are grown me now. Was I expecting some new-found emotional maturity and maybe even a tiny smattering of endearment?

Of course I fucking was! I am not a damn saint.

But I do try to practice what I preach and so I reigned in my disappointment (have I mentioned it comes from expectations?) and replied. I told them I was proud of them. I wished them great luck and I signed it “love, always.”

Because that is the truth. I will always love those boys. Whether or not they ever choose to return the sentiment is their deal, not mine. My deal is to love them without expectation.

I am so proud of them. Truth be told today I am also proud of myself.

And I can’t wait to see them at the Oscars.

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When You Doubt Your Ability As A Mother …

The absolute God’s honest truth is I never thought I’d make a very good mother. For me, it just didn’t seem to be that “natural” talent that comes to some women, even before they have kids of their own. In my teenage years I had no interest in babysitting and therefore did it only once, when friends of my parents were really stuck. Oh boy, I don’t remember much but I do know I couldn’t wait for that evening to end. I would have blissfully dog-sat or cat-sat or horse-sat any day of the week but kids? Notsomuch.

I guess I was in too much of a hurry to enter the adult world to worry about children, their needs and wants and really, who cares? That was me. I had several pals who were kid-magnets. Mommies-in-the-making. Naturals.

Not I. I didn’t even think about a biological clock until I was in my 30s and even then, the clanging was in no way thunderous. But I got married and a kid was part of that mandate (notice I said A kid cause one was all I ever promised) so I dutifully got pregnant. And immediately miscarried. Same for pregnancy Number 2. Number 3 held on a bit longer (three months) but didn’t go the distance either.

At that point I was thinking this might be a sign from The Universe. “Hey Vic, you’re just not a mother, okay? Go get another puppy and be happy.” I was a little sad but resigned. Who am I to argue with The Universe?

And then came my son. Yep, Number Four was the winner. He went (almost) the distance and arrived at 8 months, kicking and screaming and pooping and nursing all the time. I was really tired but really happy.

And then sometimes I was bored. Because after he was done kicking and screaming and pooping and eating and after he’d had his bath and had a clean diaper and was snoozing contentedly in his pram, I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so used to having a job and a “purpose” I did not know what to do with myself that was worthwhile. Those idle moments scared the hell out of me. So I took on a new hobby that wouldn’t in any way detract from mothering, when mothering called. I got really really good at Super Mario. My husband would come home from work and I would brag about our son’s latest poop and my latest level.

I still didn’t think I was that great a mother. I mean seriously, what kind of amazing mother devotes her energies to excelling at Super Mario in her son’s first 6 months?

Maternity leave ended (damn brief back in those days) and I was back to work full-time. Sad to leave my baby, yes and happy to be back in the land of adults. Yes.

For reasons far too complicated to expound on here, I ended up leaving full-time employment when my son was 6 and I did begin to devote more time to his pursuits. I volunteered at his school. I planned play-dates and excursions. I socialized with fellow-mommies and I tried to be a good one. It just wasn’t a natural calling. I watched those other mommies effortlessly do whatever effortless mommies do and I never quite felt I measured up. I was more “crazy mommy” or sometimes “fun” mommy. Like when I pulled my son out of school for an entire Tuesday so that we could be first at the theatre to catch the debut Pokemon movie.

But I was never “mother mommy.” Even my son would inadvertently extol the virtues of  his friend’s mothers, saying something like “Mom, you should taste the spaghetti she makes … it is the best! I mean, yours is good but she is just one of those MOTHERS who are, you know, like MOTHERS.”

Yeah. I got it. I was one one of those mothers who was like not mothers.

One time when my teenage son had a friend visiting and they were in and out of the kitchen demanding snacks, with their pants hanging precariously close to their knees, I informed them that if they entered the kitchen thusly one more time I too would pull my yoga pants down to my knees. When the friend’s mother arrived to fetch him I explained this to her, and when both those boys entered the kitchen displaying their gotchies (much to their own amusement), she (bless her FUN heart) and I both stood and dropped our pants. BOTH of us. Displaying (much to to the boys’ horror) – lacy thongs.

See what I mean? Fun mother. Crazy mother. Just not mother mother.

I will also admit that my mothering skills took a hit when I decided to end my marriage. I mean really, what kind of GOOD mother walks away? I was told more than once that I sucked. And you know how it goes? When you are told more than once that you suck it’s pretty easy to start believing that you just might suck. Especially when the one and only father of your child is actually being considered for sainthood, that’s how un-sucky he is.

It’s all been a bit of a broken record in my life. I know I am a good friend. A good daughter. A good sister, a good employee, a good girlfriend and a good person. But the mother thing? I was never quite sure.

And then there was last night. Shortly before midnight to be precise. I go to bed early, a fact about which my son is well aware. I am often fully ensconced in dreamland by 9pm. But last night shortly before midnight I received a text from my kid. He has his own text-tone so I knew it was him and I immediately sat up in a panic, afraid of what might be.

“Mom, wake up and listen to this!”

Yeah, okay, I’m awake now and profoundly so, heart beating wildly.  Listen to what?

He then texts me a video with just audio (if that makes any sense). He is in the studio and he and his co-writers have just written a song and they’ve laid down a rough demo and he is SO excited about this new song he HAS to share it with his mother at midnight on Tuesday even though he knows she is fast asleep. He knows I will want to hear it. And he wants my opinion. Even if it means waking me up at midnight on a Tuesday night.

I am thrilled to the point of tears. I love the song. I truly do (and I always tell him the truth about music). But more than that I love that he is crazy, and fun, and breaks the rules, and knows that I am here for him no matter what, no matter when. I love that he wants me to hear the song RIGHT AWAY.

And then it hits me. Maybe I’m not a textbook mother? Maybe I’m not the mother my mother was to me? Maybe I’m not the Spaghetti Queen of Guelph (that would be impossible, given the number of lovely Italians in this town) and maybe I am simply not a “natural” in the traditional sense of the word?

Truth is maybe I’m not the best mother in the world.

What I am is the best mother in the world for Sam. For the path that he has chosen, for the gift that he has been given, for the man he is becoming and for the heart and soul and truth that he is demonstrating at every turn … I am the best mother in the world for Sam.

Thank you, Universe. I get it now.

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Are You Taking Care Of Your Single Friends?

When I was in my 20s I was sort of single. What I mean is I was sort of in a relationship but I still sort of acted single. Hey now, don’t judge me. I was in my 20s. In a band on the road. Living with my best (female) buddy, enjoying crazy adventures and not worrying too much about the future.

In my 30s I got married. And thus began a new kind of life; a life devoted almost entirely to socializing with other couples. It just seemed the thing to do. I still had some single friends and I did still see them on occasion but I confess I was always happier when they got coupled because it meant socializing with me and mine didn’t become a triangle. Even numbers are better, right?

Once I had a child the social network expanded to include other couples with children. I still had coupled friends who were childless and I still had single friends and I saw them all when I could but once you have a kid it just becomes so much more simple to socialize with other couples with kids. Now when I look back on those days I almost throw up a little – picture kids outside running around, men downstairs at the basement bar, women in the kitchen babysitting large goblets of wine. I mean Holy Shit! This was not the 50s! We’re talking the 90s here, even moving into the new millennium.

When I divorced at 48 the entire universe shifted. For a brief spell I was newly coupled and me and my fellow coupler somehow managed to create a whole new circle of friends (with kids and without). But once that relationship ended I found myself resoundingly, screamingly, horrifyingly SINGLE.

Ouch. Because if you have been warbling a duet (in key or not) for over 20 years, finding yourself suddenly singing solo is a harsh wake-up call. And there I was. Wide awake.

So what did I do? I invented a social life. I invited my equally single girlfriends for wine. I cajoled them into staying for dinner. I invited my unhappily married girlfriends for wine. I reluctantly allowed them to depart to feed hubby’s hungry belly. I hosted parties and barbecues and jam sessions and I invited everyone, single or coupled. And I just kept at it relentlessly so that I would not die of abject loneliness.

Once I found myself harnessed again, I would like to think I didn’t forget my single friends. New love is difficult competition, that I remember. And now that I was solidly back in the couples game I was enjoying those perks once more.

Until I found myself, after two and a half years, single yet again. I had moved to a new town. I had a few friends (but not many) and I was alone without even my son’s company to ease the sting of my solitude (he had grown up, as it turns out). And there it was, Easter long week-end, and I was staring at a decidedly empty dance card. Until a new young (in her 20s) friend mentioned she was hosting a surprise anniversary celebration for her parents. I had met them (maybe once) and I barely knew her but at the end of our conversation she said “Hey, come if you like. I’m sure they’d love to see you.”

Boom.

You know, we old folks can learn a lot from the younger tribe. They run how they run, with whom they run, without so much emphasis on coupled or not. And with that simple invitation that young woman changed my life. Because I then realized that NO MATTER WHAT I would never again forget my single friends. I would include them whenever humanly possible because I do know the pain of loneliness. And I also know the thrill of inclusion.

And so I ask you … if you are hitched do you remember the unhitched when party planning? Are your dinner parties always an even number? Do single folk frighten you (there but for the grace of God go I)? Are they just not on your radar? Is it just easier to forget them?

In that same new town reside my cousin and her hubby still. Now, I know we are family and maybe that changes the guidelines a bit but whilst living there I dined with those two almost every week. One week at their home, the next at mine. Oh, how I looked forward to those evenings! As a single woman with most days nobody but a dog for company, I relished that camaraderie. And was always grateful for the inclusion.

And that, my friends, is the word of the day. INCLUSION. Because even though I am once again happily coupled and have been for almost five years I include my single friends whenever possible. I mean, I consciously create events to include my single friends. Sure, every now and then my partner and I host an intimate dinner party for four (two couples). But we have also been known to host an intimate party for nine – two single mothers, three children, one single cousin and a neighbour. And boy, do we have fun.

I’m not claiming here to be Mother Teresa. All I’m saying is that once you get into your 50s you realize that the single population has burgeoned. Whether by choice, fate, divorce or death of a spouse, I suddenly know a LOT of single people. And most of these fine people still crave human interaction. Adult interaction. Hugs. Laughs. Love. Even if it isn’t romantic.

Let’s help them out, okay? Most (not all) of my un-mated friends actually long to be entwined. It just ain’t happening (yet). I get that. Been there, done that. So let’s all think about that next time we plan a get-together. Let’s think about all of our unattached pals next time we want to celebrate. Let’s remember that this is not a couple’s world. It is a world made up of individuals. Some are united. Some are not. But we can all unite. We can all reach out to those who perhaps long with all their hearts to have what we do. We can all think “young” no matter how old we are. We can all act just like that inclusive young woman did for me.

Look at it this way – if you are currently a contented half of a contented pair, then Yay you! But it really is a “There but for the grace of God” kinda world. And you never know what tomorrow will bring.

So let’s all make an effort to pay it forward now.

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How Persnickety Are You About Your Home (tell the truth)?

We hosted a little party this past weekend. This in itself is not an unusual occurrence and this wee soiree was a friendly frenzy of festive folly, such as the season invites. Yes indeed, much merry was made. This makes me glad. When thirty people descend upon our home bearing food, drink, and musical instruments, I do hope everyone has a holly jolly good time.

Clean-up the following day is not quite so jubilant but hey, we don’t really mind. A small price to pay.

So there I am post-party, vacuuming and dusting and polishing and wiping and I discover some new divots in our hardwood floor. A couple of long scratches. A large scuff. Our fairly new glass-topped coffee table is also sporting a hefty new scar, carved right down the middle. And my beloved black baby grand has not only sustained its own share of new blemishes, there’s a stubborn bit of wax residue clinging mightily to its finish, the result of some over-exuberant candle blowing at the end of the night.

So what do I do upon realization of this carnage?

I smile.

Yep, I break out into a big toothy grin and then I chortle. I do love to chortle.

Because my friends were here and they had a good time. And my house and every last stick in it is meant to facilitate the enjoyment of life. The celebration of love. The gratification of friendship. The making of music!

Now I know a lot of folks are horrified when they realize I do not demand coasters on the piano. As a matter of fact, we don’t actually demand coasters anywhere. And we are a “shoes on” house. That is correct. Unlike most of our fellow Canadians we don’t insist that all footwear be left at the door. As long as you’re not snow-covered or sopping wet, keep your shoes on, baby. First of all, we have a big fluffy dog and even though we do try to keep up he does tend to track in a good portion of the great outdoors embedded in his fur. Secondly, and most women will get this (especially at party time), if you have gone to the trouble of decking out and dolling up and your stilettos just happen to complement the outfit, why would I ever ask you to abandon them?

Naturally high-heeled shoes and a lack of coasters render our home vulnerable. And again I will say, I am okay with that. Because our home is sticks and boards and glass and brick. Carpets can be cleaned. Floors can be refinished. And my beautiful piano becomes (in my opinion) even more beautiful with ever new blemish. Because this piano has been used and it has been enjoyed and it has been loved. And do you know what this sweet little gem has even done to repay me (and my friends) for all the loving abuse? It stays in tune. It stays in tune relentlessly. You are supposed to tune a piano after every move (mostly because it will need it) buy my little sweetheart has been taken apart and hauled across province twice since it was last attended to. And it is still in perfect tune. I like to think it’s simply a display of musical gratitude.

We do not live in a museum. We do not expect perfection from people or things. We tidy up as best we can, we accept new idiosyncrasies (better word than flaws, don’t you think?) with grace and we smile at the memories. All the while, looking forward to the next opportunity to celebrate life with our friends.

I do believe with all my heart that is is a far better way to live than worrying, making rules, covering stuff up and worrying some more, all so that your home remains pristine. As my aging face reminds me daily, pristine is overrated. Lived in and loved wins every time. I’ll trade a happy memory for a new scratch every day of the week.

By the way, that wax blob on the baby grand is courtesy of my beloved. My human beloved, not the piano. This is the second time this season he has extinguished festive flames with too furious breath. I will say he is awesome about cleaning up the mess.

I will also say he has been banned from ever blowing out another candle as long as he shall live. Because a girl’s magnanimity can only go so far …

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Not To Be Judgmental Or Anything But …

I have a real problem with manners. Or perhaps more to the point I have a real problem with manners and the lack thereof, especially within my group of (alleged) friends. And maybe it’s just because I am getting crotchety in my dotage but it does seem to me that more and more people … and I mean people in my age group … have lousy, non-existent, just-common-sense-but-apparently-not manners. I’m not talking about teenagers enjoying the full throes of self-absorption. I’m not talking about saying please, thank-you notes, holding doors open or bringing wine when you come for dinner. I’m talking about manners much more basic. And ones that take very little energy to execute.

Case in point: I just did a jazz gig a few nights ago and as I sat at the bar before we started playing, organizing my music and taste-testing some wine (who me?), I witnessed two parties of four get turned away at the door. That equals eight people denied the opportunity to share the festive season in a convivial atmosphere because said convivial atmosphere was sold out and these eight hapless souls didn’t have reservations. Sorry folks – sold out. Except it actually wasn’t. Because six of my (alleged) friends who said they were coming did not. They didn’t call the restaurant to cancel. They just informed the other people in their party at the eleventh hour and that was that. Can you imagine the restaurant owner’s frustration? Turning away paying customers when they could have in fact, you know … paid, because you decided you weren’t gonna? Well … that’s just rude. Okay, now I know you’re going to moan at me that you didn’t make the reservation, therefore it’s not your responsibility to cancel it. Even your portion of it. Grow up. Whoever made that reservation is not your damn secretary. Just let the restaurant know.

I guess what really stings (me) is that these were not random cancel-ers. They were all (alleged) friends of mine who apparently didn’t foresee the consequences of their last-minute (non)actions.

Now don’t get me wrong. I know people get sick and the festive season is busy and shit just happens. I get it. But for Pete’s sake call the restaurant. Especially since you know the restaurant is small and typically busy and someone else just might want your seat.

Here’s another one. Party invitations. Last time I checked, RSVP means respond please. It does not mean respond only if you’re coming. It means respond please. Aye or nay. And if there is a cut-off date offered, it means please respond aye or nay by that date. It all seems pretty simple to me. I am however, apparently mistaken, because I continue to be shocked by the number of my (alleged) friends who can’t seem to find the time to respond to a party invitation. And I’m not talking new, freshly-served, cut-them-some-slack friends. I am talking long-time pals, some virtually lifelong. I guess they reckon I will understand. They probably think last-minute is fine and they will decide the night of. Perhaps they surmise that no response means no, they are not coming. Perhaps they don’t understand a lick of french and believe RSVP stands for Really Screw Vickie when Possible? I don’t have a clue. And apparently neither do they.

And then there’s that new modern (in)convenience – texts and emails. And those delightful manner-less chumps who find it impossible to respond in a timely fashion. I don’t get that either. I know everyone is super-duper busy and we all have our priority totem poles and maybe I’m just at the bottom of every single body’s? Indeed, my own son is one of the worst perpetrators of text-ignoring (although I can usually mama-guilt him into an eventual reply). And in my own defense I will submit that I am not a non-stop texter. Nor am I a conversational texter. I text when I need to know something or need to share something. And I respond to the same in a timely fashion. I adore my friends who do likewise and I simply shake my head at those who don’t. Because I don’t get it.

Like I said, maybe I’m just becoming a cantankerous old curmudgeon. Maybe expecting good manners is old-fashioned. Maybe I entertain too often and maybe I am overly inclusive? Maybe I just expect too much of the human race? Maybe I need to cull some friends? Maybe everyone I know is far busier than I am and maybe it’s not their fault cause they never got learned no fricking manners?

And maybe – just maybe – I believe in that golden rule. You know, that do unto others thingy. And therefore I live it. Maybe it’s just that simple.

My darling ex-husband used to call this common decency. Just live your life with common decency. I applaud him for that.

There. My rant is over. As it turns out, I don’t feel any better. I feel sad and disappointed.

Stay tuned. I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a wild and bumpy ride …

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Why Are You Waiting For The Other Shoe To Drop?

Awhile back I saw a post on Facebook, wherein the writer asked if anybody else has a problem being too happy? You know, when things are going well and you’re basking in contentment but you just can’t accept it and be glad. Nope, you gotta fret and stew and wonder when the heck that proverbial other shoe will drop.

You’ve been there, done that, right? I think most of us have.

I also think it’s time to put that nasty habit to bed once and for all.

First off, let me confess I do not believe in jinxes. I do not believe you can say something, wear something, do something, not say, wear or do anything and in any way affect an outcome. I believe your actions may well affect an outcome, as may your choices, your words and your energy. Yes indeed, I do believe a positive energy will help facilitate a positive result. And negative does the same. I do not believe that rubbing a rabbit’s foot is going to help. Sure didn’t help that poor bunny.

In the same way I believe that worrying about shoes dropping will not prevent shoes from dropping. Believing yourself unworthy of good things, a contented life or abundant joy and therefore tossing in a good measure of doubt so as not to piss off the universe is also (in my opinion) an exercise in foolishness. Answer me this?  Why would you waste any moment of bliss to assuage some imaginary universal police force?  You know, those guys patrolling the cosmos making sure no one gets too happy.

I can assure you, they don’t exist. The cosmos does not need to waste its precious time patrolling your happiness level because it knows darn well that into every life a little rain will fall. Sometimes a thunderstorm. Or even a full-blown damn hurricane. Doesn’t matter how sunny it is today. Sooner or later you are going to get wet.

And that is my point. We all know that peaceful contentment is fleeting. I mean that pure, bliss-filled, glorious moment (or hour or even week) when everything seems to be in place. We get them and we should absolutely enjoy every second of them. Because tragedy will always arrive. Sure enough that beautiful bubble will at some point be burst by illness or accident or heartbreak or economic strife or who knows what? The cosmos has lots of dirty tricks up its sleeve and we will all bear the brunt of its cosmic treachery sooner or later.

So please, please, please … relish your bliss when it presents itself. No matter how brief or how long, relish every moment of your happiness. Do not doubt it, do not doubt that you deserve it (you do!) and do not assume that just because it has chosen to land on your head, you are destined to receive an equal dose of anguish.

Think of it as a bank deposit. Enjoy your funds when you’re feeling flush. Stockpile those coffers so that when that shoe does drop you’ve got the reserves to face whatever comes next.  Go ahead and give yourself permission to relax in your euphoria. And don’t give a single thought to that darn shoe.

Unless its a Jimmy Choo.

🙂

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