perspective

You Can’t Make Me

Parenting and life lessons. My youngest is a senior in high school. With two twenty-somethings, I have had some practice letting go of the reins with my kids. I might be a little more chill about their decisions these days, but that hasn’t come without a lot of years of frustration.

I remember when one of my kids was talking to someone on social media that they shouldn’t be. Waking up at all hours, endlessly glued to the screen. This was many years ago, when it wasn’t quite so usual for everyone to be attached to their screens all the time. After trying so many things, taking away the phone, taking away other privileges, and talking until I was out of talk, I still caught that child up at 3 am, on an old “lost” device, talking to this person they shouldn’t be. Again.

I remember my rage and frustration so clearly, in the middle of that night, and the wide eyes of my kid, completely unmoved by my temper. The look said “you can’t make me.”

There may be few things as frustrating to a parent than the realization that no, you really can’t make them do anything. Not without mental / physical injury or breaking the law. Oh, I wanted to wring that child’s neck that day, but I didn’t. And I remember that “you can’t make me” moment so well.

I remember the time I gave it to my own parents, too. I was running around with a much older crowd, lying about where I was. They went to the place where I said I was one night, I wasn’t there, and then confronted me when I arrived home. I got the lecture, and the “promise you won’t do that again” ultimatum. But I looked straight at my father and told him I couldn’t promise him that. And I am sure, in that moment, when I was supposed to promise, whether or not I meant it, he must have wanted to wring my sassy teenage neck as well. (Sorry, Mom and Dad! Wish you were here so I could apologize to your faces.)

In my adult life, this lesson has smacked me in the face many times. No matter what, you really can’t make people do anything. When you’re left out of a social gathering. When people make decisions that you disagree with or take you further from each other. So many little daily things that happen that may seem puzzling or even hurtful. Here’s what I’ve come to realize:

You can’t make people spend time with you. You can’t even make them want to. People are fickle and messy and unpredictable. You can’t make people thoughtful or considerate. They are or they aren’t, and this changes from one day to the next. Most people aren’t sitting around thinking about how they can make me feel left out or unwanted. Most people are too self-centered to even have that thought. (Or maybe they do, but I’ve realized it’s not productive for me to obsess over other people’s hurtful actions.)

If you have someone who cares about you and thinks of you, cherish that in the moment it happens. Thoughtful moments are rare and to be treasured. If someone thinks of you repeatedly, that is truly special. Enjoy it. Relish it.

In the end it is all just data. I just know what I’ve learned from what I observe.

Everything and everyone is optional. Most people and things will eventually move on. When you change your circumstances, it’s inevitable that things and people change. That probably sounds callous. Maybe it’s the stoic reading I’ve done that makes it a little less personal.

Change doesn’t make the people you’ve moved on from less important. Life takes us all kinds of places and there are only so many hours in a day, a month, a year, a lifetime. It just makes every present moment more special. Time and attention are finite resources for each of us. If we can’t make anyone do anything, how are we spending those precious fleeting moments?

challenges, perspective

Sleepless Shit List

Do you ever have a sleepless night? I do. Sometimes I’m worrying about a kid. Sometimes I’m thinking about a deadline. Sometimes I’m mad. I could even be excited for an upcoming trip. Anxious for a doctor appointment. Any number of reasons.

Today’s reason was just the normal bullshit that built up over the week. Anger would be the feeling or distraction. Wrestling with my kids to find solutions. Planing ahead.

Thinking about rainy day scenarios. Covid blah. Sort of like playing a game of chess with yourself inside your brain. Sounds fun right? Not exactly.

If I don’t sleep good my workout sucks in the morning. If my workout doesn’t flow my morning usually blows. From there the day goes down hill. Add in the crazy of a normal day and everything magnifies.

I am sure there are people in worse situations and that’s why I hit the reset rainbow button in the morning. Training my mind to see the rainbows and sunshine in the day vs focusing on life’s blunders.

Some days this works better than others. Today I decided to make a shit list in my head. Hopefully to tire myself out. Ironically I fueled it. Like gasoline on a fire. Poof. The shit list went from in my head to paper to the white board.

Who is on it? What did they do? How does one get off it? Is it even possible to get off the shit list? So many questions. The point is I have a shit list currently. Funny how my sleepless night turned into a shit list.

I tried to soothe my mind as the weekend approached. I put the AirPods in for a cardio session at the gym. I eased the anger a bit it not enough. I spent time with a loved one. It took the edge off but not enough. I mowed acres of grass. The fresh cut smell of grass was soothing. I found an escape even if temporary.

I circled back to my environment and the shit list was still there. Each of the top three independently made selfish decisions yet again confirming their status on the shit list. How funny to be awake and realizing what I dreamed in my sleep was factual.

So crazy. The shit list remains. Those on it know. Now it’s up to them to get off it. But will they?

author moments

Fear or Courage

When you fear something. It’s easy to turn away. Walk away. Do nothing. When you fear something you don’t forge ahead. You fear the outcome. The fear of the outcome halts progress of any kind. An example may be I fear the dentist so I don’t really like to go go, let alone go back for say a filling.

When you have courage you turn towards something. You don’t walk away. You lean into something.  You don’t let an obstacle like fear get in your way. You courageously move forward. No matter where the path takes you. Back to the dentist example going to get my filling takes a lot of courage despite me not knowing the outcome.

For me I always follow my gut and often overcome fear. I stay true to myself. Nine out of ten times I lean in. I face issues head on without fear.  Then there is always that one time that stretches my comfort zone. That time when the fear monster takes hold and keeps me in fear mode. One out of ten times.

Why? Many times it has to do with others. My actions may impact others. Maybe the timing isn’t right. Maybe the conditions in the air make this and that more challenging. They are all excuses of sorts. Environmental conditions shouldn’t control my mind. Neither should the people who put negative thoughts or thoughts of fear in my mind.

As I age I start to get the bulllshit meter out. I have to call my own bullshit as well as others around me. Sometimes it’s family. Sometimes it’s friends. Sometimes a coworker. All bullshit is the same. Breathe in the bullshit. Exhale the bullshit.

Over the past few days I’ve held on to bullshit of others. Burdens. Biases. Bullshit. Anger. Ignorance. So much blah. All wrapped up in a pretty nuisance bow. Once my mind gets a chance to rest I see the light. I use my courage to push through the bullshit and finish ten for ten instead of nine out of ten. It took some extra time but I didn’t let fear win.

Our minds are powerful. We have to coach and re-coach our minds time and time again. That’s called growth. Today I grew  a little. 

fitness and nutrition

Leather or Lace

What a title, right? Leather or lace what? Are we talking panties or tennis? Could it ever be both? 

Let’s start with tennis. I picked up a racquet a couple of times as a kid. Maybe at a summer recreation spot to try a new sport. It was meh at best as I never pursued it at that point.

I picked up a racquet again around the age of 20. Played a little. Learned a little but moved on after a very short stint for whatever reason. I maybe picked up a racquet with a friend 8-10 years ago and played a couple of rounds of tennis. Fun. Exercise. Time with a few pals. Nothing fancy but I might have learned to keep score.

Fast forward to sometime this year. I was invited to play pickup tennis on a weeknight. I dusted off the racquet and headed to the court with low expectations. I’m old. I’m rusty. To my surprise I had fun. I was into it. How could that be? I opted to play a short season of tennis with one of my gym competition partners. We weren’t great but we won more than 50% of our games. In the process we got some cute skirts. I bought some new tennis shoes so the fancy tennis ladies were not bugging me about my CrossFit shoes on the court. I was set to play again.

This time it was a team. A whole new element. More to learn. New partners to adjust to. Outfit matching, it is a thing?  More games to fit in the schedule. A new fitness routine that makes me take a day off regular training for tennis. A big mindset shift for me. New racquet this season to be all fancy and a friend got me an accessory for it. The butt sticker! Oh boy did I love the butt sticker gift.

Of course it couldn’t be an ordinary butt sticker. It had to have flair. She found the best one for me. Leather or lace. Now as match begins and the racquet is spun for court decisions, I ask leather or lace. What an ice breaker. A personally intrusive question for the ladies on the other side of the court. Giggles. Eye rolls. Game on ladies. So much fun to set the tone early for the crazy of the matches ahead. Now I haven’t had to spin the racquet for a guy yet but I can’t wait for that response as well. 

Each response is unscripted and so fun to watch. Just like tennis. Unpredictable. Unscripted. Maybe this is what I like most about tennis right now. It’s just a go with the flow game. Sure there is a format and scoring but the court play is dynamic. It’s ever changing. It’s unpredictable. You have to be thinking on your toes. I win. I lose. I sometimes play a tie breaker or go into overtime. It’s all a fun experience for now.

Competition is good for me. Trying new partners is good for me. Making room for tennis in my schedule is good for me now. The real question is am I leather or am I lace? Or maybe nothing as the last lady responded. Absolutely nothing. I’ll let the mic drop there and just say I can’t wait to get the guys responses on my butt sticker.

Just a tennis tidbit for you today.

challenges

Too Much Poop

One poop.

Two poops.

Three poops.

My puppy decided to sneak into my home office to poop. Not once. Not twice, but three times! The stinky poops in an average size home office space. Stink lingered but there is a back story.

Poop one was spotted upon entry to the office. Off I went to get Lysol, paper towels, swiffer and so on. Cleaned up only to see poop pile two lurking in the general vicinity. Seriously, I said to myself. Back for more paper towels to clean round two. I thought I was done. I put the cleaning supplies away. Washed my hands and burned a candle to offset the stink.

I settled back into my chair or cockpit. Answered some calls. Sent some emails. Wrote on my to do list. All the while it smelled like poop. I couldn’t figure out why the scent was lingering. I went to the restroom and realized the stink followed!

Poop was on my shoe. I had to clean my shoe, the trail to the bathroom and so on. Back to the chair I go thinking I’m done and ready to work. Nope! Not the case at all. The poop bandit left me a third gift of poop that I didn’t notice initially. Little booger did it under my chair. My rolling chair. The one with wheels with tiny little crevices where the wheel attaches to the base.

I wanted to take a deep breath. I wanted to scream. I maybe even wanted to cry. Why this on a Monday. Not a good way to start a day let alone a week. It was a shit fest. A nasty mess to clean.

Off I went again for supplies. Cleaned. Cleaned some more. Cleaned again to be sure. Today was the day to clean and disinfect. 

One poop.

Two poops.

Three poops.

No more poops.

I definitely had my share of poops.

This poop saga was too poopy not to share. I hope you enjoyed a little giggle at my expense. I think I would have liked to deal with three explosive baby diapers than three dog poops with my circumstances. pile of poo