Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gratitude and Changes

Yesterday I read another Aussie book. This one was Me Myself I by Pip Karmel. It was made into a movie with Rachel Griffiths. Some of you might have seen it?

The plot was a lot like that Nicholas Cage movie....The Family Man.

In both stories, the protagonist is given a glimpse of the road-not-taken. I liked The Family Man, but I much prefer Karmel's story. The basic message I got from the novel is that we should love and appreciate our life; BUT also that sometimes we need to make changes to our life. We can never make things perfect, but if we try....we can make them better.

So, I've decided to make a list...two lists. The first will have aspects of my life that I LOVE. The second will have things I want to change. A Facebook exchange the other day, with one of my best friends, made me realize something. I'm VERY lucky in a lot of life's areas. The only place that I seem to really have bad luck is interpersonal relationships. Therefore, most of my changes will be related to that.

Here we go....

THINGS ABOUT MY LIFE THAT I LOVE

1. I'm blessed with good health and financial security (knock on wood) I don't often take this for granted simply because I know people who are not lucky in these areas. I know people who really have to struggle. I also know that I'm not guaranteed to be lucky forever. I'm a bit paranoid about that sometimes.

2. I have wonderful relationships in my life I am blessed with friends, family, and acquaintances that show they truly care about me. They listen. They make me laugh. They fascinate me. They make me feel like I am valued. I get a warm feeling just thinking about them.

3. My Blog. I know I whine sometimes about all the time and energy I spend on here, but for the most part I LOVE it. I have so much fun doing the research and writing. I love finding treasures on YouTube. I love all the stuff I'm learning. I feel so lucky that I have the time to do it.

4. My little nuclear family. I love it when Tim, Jack, and I are together. We've been spending more time together lately; just the three of us. It's really lovely.

5. Unschooling Jack I love unschooling!! I'm having so much fun with it. I think the best thing is I get to learn along with Jack. We've been learning about science lately. The stuff bored me in high school. Now I find it absolutely fascinating....neutrons, protons, gravity, cell division. All that stuff. I love watching Jack learn, and I'm amazed that he understands so much of it. As a teacher, I had a soft spot for those smart, slightly aspy, deep philosophical children. I secretly wished to have one of my own. And I got it. Jack is so brilliant and entertaining. To me, he's close to perfect. He's brainy, but also so silly, loving, and cuddly. I feel honored to accompany him on his learning adventures.

6. Fiction. I love the fiction in my life. It's a way for me to live my own lovely life, but at the same time live the lives of others. I love reading. I love watching my TV shows. I love being able to temporarily escape into another world.

7. Dreaming I feel so blessed to have such vivid dreams. It's like every night I get a free movie tailored just for me. But it's better than a movie because it's interactive. It feels like I'm really there--immersed in stories full of deep messages and symbolic imagery.

THINGS ABOUT MY LIFE I WANT TO CHANGE

1. Reduce my time with people who disapprove of the choices I have made. There are people who make direct or indirect comments that make me know they dislike things about my life...the fact that I didn't give Jack siblings, the fact that we homeschool, our parenting philosophies in general, the fact that most of my friendships are on the Internet, my interest in Australia, etc. When I'm with these people, I feel drained. I feel defensive. My self-esteem begins to sink.

I know none of us approve of or agree with everything that our friends and family do. My head isn't totally in the clouds. No. But when there's an excessive sense of disapproval....it just emotionally exhausts me.

2. Reduce my time with passive-aggressive people. This relates somewhat to the above. Although I wish people would approve of my life, I'd rather them be direct instead of using the passive-aggressive route. At least if they were direct, we could have open conversations about it. We could learn from each other. We might not change each other's minds, but at least we could come to some mutual understanding.

Also, I'm tired of passive-aggressive people in general. They say stuff that's nice on the surface, but it has a cruel bite underneath.

3. Reduce my time with people that make ME passive-aggressive. I'm totally hypocritical writing the above because I'm passive-aggressive too. I can't deny that. But I feel certain relationships give me that urge. There are relationships where I feel I can't speak up. I don't feel safe being assertive and upfront. I feel like I have to play games. I want to spend less time with people that make me feel that way.

4. Reduce my time with self-centered people I'm tired of people who treat me more like I'm a member of their fan club rather than a friend. Relationships are a two way street. I feel I have relationships where I give and give; then I get close to nothing in return. The other night I was talking to one of my best beloved favorite friends. I love her SO much. She has incredible amounts of shit in her life right now. We talked about it. But despite all she's going through, she STILL asked me how I was doing (going actually cause she's an Aussie). She still had time to talk to me about my issues...which are so much more trivial than her own. I want to put most of my energy into people like THAT.

5. Continue reducing behaviors in myself that I don't like to encounter in others. In other words, I also need to be less judgmental, less self-centered, and less passive-aggressive. Is it possible? Maybe. Hopefully. I think the first step is increasing my time with people who exhibit less of these negative behaviors. Maybe their goodness will rub off on me.

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