Lessons I've Been Working to Learn

In effort to post more, and increase my writing in general, I plan on coming on here with additional non-bookish topics a little more than normal. I know that I technically don't need to explain, which actually falls into item four below, but it's who I am.

Lately, I've been feeling older than usual, which is technically true if we're looking at the simple math behind things. It's not that my bones are suddenly creaking or I feel less cool (both of those things have been happening for a decade),  but instead maybe I'm just a  little more contemplative about life in general. There's also been an uptick in audiobooks that could be labeled "self-help" this year, which I'm sure might lend itself to some sort of correlation. Nonetheless, I've been really thinking about what it takes for me to be happy,  how to run my life efficiently, and what I need to change to get where I need to be. 

There have been some lessons that have really resonated with me lately, ones that I've worked hard to understand and to use as sort of guideposts when considering decisions and how I view my everyday life. Nothing is fool-proof or works all the time, and I screw up ON THE DAILY, often multiple times. But there has to be something to be said for trying. 

One that I've really had to work to adjust my perspective on is taking the attitudes of others less personally, in all areas of life. I view myself as a pretty considerate person, despite the sarcasm and strong opinions, so I'd like to think that I'm not seen as a highly offensive person, professionally, socially, or at home. Yet if someone is short with me, responds to a lengthy text or email with one word, or is downright rude, I generally assume it's because they're "mad at me," which I struggle with. In reality, the person in question is probably having a bad day, is preoccupied with their own stress, is tired, or is just generally burnt out. It happens to all of us- we're having a rough day and we're more quiet than normal or snap easily. This doesn't mean I'm giving everyone in my life carte blanche to use me as a door mat, nor does it mean that I am assuming I don't give people reasons to be irritated with me. It just means we could all give others the benefit of the doubt. If we've made good choices about who we spend time with these people are probably deserving of a break. And, frankly, it's not all about you. Or me.  

I've  heard it so many times lately, in what I've listened to and while reviewing some philosophy-based content I've been working with for one of my classes, that our levels of happiness return to "normal" not long after something big or life-changing happens. The example that is always given is losing a limb or winning the lottery- whether good or bad the initial "OH MY GOD!!!!!" sort of extreme feelings level out and we just ease back into the status quo, with maybe a few adjustments. Obviously we'd prefer the more positive spin, but my pessimistic-self has been dwelling on some worse case scenarios- it's comforting to know that even if that were to happen, I'd be okay eventually. Our brains and our bodies do what we need to do during times of stress, but then we work on making the best of the new norm (although this isn't always straightforward; emotions, anxiety, and depression can cause additional obstacles). 

When it comes to being productive I'm sort of all over the places. I get a lot done, constantly, but I always feel like I slack on the quick tasks that I could knock of my to-do list. I've been focusing on lately on JUST DOING things that take less than five minutes. Running upstairs to put away an armload of stuff, unloading the dishwasher, folding a load of towels, grading two essays (they add up!), paying a bill, grabbing the dry cleaning, cleaning out my car, checking in with a friend I haven't spoken to, emailing a politician, making an appointment- the list of quick tasks that I tend to procrastinate on goes on and on. But if the dreaded chore takes less than five minutes, I'm really trying to push myself to just effing do it. 

Last weekend I was at a store with my friend and she predicted the saleslady was going to try to convince us to sign up for the store's mailing list. I rolled my eyes and said I'd claim to be needing to reduce my excess email and she pointed out a few podcasts she'd listened to that talked about simply saying no. It made me think- I feel the need to explain why I decline things all the time. I need to learn to just smile and say no thank you, rather than explain. That's honestly really, really hard for me, because I feel like I'm being rude. And I don't think that's always the way to go, but when I'm declining to apply for a credit card, donate to another charity, or whatever else that's not going to cause hurt feelings or confusion, I smile and say "no thank you." I don't owe strangers reasons for my decisions. 

This past weekend our pool pump finally bit the dust, a sentence our pool guy had given it well over a year ago. This sadly means $1500 in replacement costs, half of which I am responsible for, according to how my husband and I run our household finances. I have plenty of money in savings, which has money earmarked for this exact sort of thing, but I was still so irritated with having to use it for that. But, seriously, what is the point of having things if you aren't willing to use them? Sure, it's good to save money, and I do habitually, but the emergency fund is partially for house repairs. And what about the other things in life? I used to only put on my expensive perfume on special occasions, use the good glasses when people were over, and wear certain articles of my clothing when I went to certain places. Part of this was how I was brought up, but, seriously, life's too short, and I don't know about you, I don't want to die with a half-full bottle of $100 perfume. 

So, nothing profound; I'm not going to be penning my own guide or becoming a life coach. Heck, I probably only follow my own advice half the time of the time. It's taken my 34.9 years to figure this out, so I'm hoping by seventy I'll be good to go. 


  1. "I don't want to die with a half-full bottle of $100 perfume." I love it. I need to tell myself this too.

  2. I resonated with this *so* much. The fact that you recognize you are dealing with these things is great and you're taking steps to try and address them, which is also really awesome! But thank you, most of all, for writing this post, because it's always comforting to connect with someone and know you're not alone.

    Nicole @ Thoughts Stained With Ink

    1. It's important to be human sometimes! Part of me really wants to use this space for that, but I also feel obligated to stick towards more bookish concepts.