Sunday, 22 March 2015

All I never knew I wanted.

I've touched a little on this in previous blog entries, but basically, I have discovered two truths about my life: this isn't what I was expecting, but I want it anyway.

I had really big dreams about moving from Kadina to Adelaide. I was going to play roller derby, stay out late with my friends, go back to my gym at Kidman Park, have long breakfasts on Sundays... All these things haven't really happened.

Living between here and wherever else I had been living (Balaklava, Pirie, Kadina, and not to discount a few months in Mount Gambier), I had lived for social weekends and loathed the fact I lived in the country. I was tired of being away from everyone all of the time. Four years of sleeping at other people's houses, of eating out because I didn't have anywhere to cook food (yes, this eventually does get old), of adding at least two hours travel time onto any event, was, well, getting tedious. And I am so glad I did all of these things. I am rarely a fairweather friend, but when people move away, keeping in touch is often just something you say rather than actively seek to do.

We have been back four four months now, and things have not really been the way I planned. Best laid plans always turn into something else. 2015 was supposed to be an awesome year, and it's turned incredibly bittersweet, with some silver linings for added effect. But I am not unhappy with this lot in life. In fact, I have maintained my level of contentedness for a very long time.

I am a little sad I won't play derby, that is true. But it's the safest for me, and future Baby Birchy Beans, and I know I am making the right choices about it.

I am also really glad we moved closer to family, because distance would be so incredibly hard right now. This was a case of good timing, or Godspeed, all the same, here we are.

It has surprised me how little I have seen my friends, and also, how much I have spent doing Guiding things. I do Guide stuff two-three nights a week, which was never my intention. All the same, it is a wonderful movement to be part of, and I love my Guiding sisters.

I have concluded that a lot of people move on through the seasons of life, and kind of come and go as we need one another. A few times I've been to parties and lunches, looked around at my friends and thought 'this is it. This is our group now, probably forever'. There is something so comforting in that simple fact, and not at all as scary as what I thought. I have watched my friends grow and change a lot over the last ten-ish years, but also, the fact that so much of who we are remains the same, is settling.

As with planning a wedding (and also, preparing for marriage), having children now seems the thing I am collecting unsolicited advice about. Especially, and so bizarrely, from people who are not actually parents. Can you just all stop now, please?

We are super excited about being parents though. I have said I always wanted to be a 'cookies and milk mum' (that's my term for stay-at-home mums, who are also creepily know as SAHMs). Hopefully I will have that opportunity to stay at home for as long as I can. I appreciated my own mum being around growing up and always having her to talk to, or go places with, or do projects together. I will be honest though. I am not at all clucky. I don't really love babies or small children the same way my baby crazy friends do. Whether this is because my brother arrived when I was ten, or whether it's just because babies don't excite me... yeah, I just don't know. It's okay to say these things, right? I am always super excited when my friends or family have babies, but it's more that I don't know what to do with them, and when someone passes me a random baby to cuddle, they are always going to cry because, babies.

Lots of things are changing, and I hope that I actually have some good friends who are mums sooner rather than later. Talking about friends has made up the bulk of this blog. I am not very extroverted (or, not at all), and yet I have a lot of people I call friends, and a lot of people I care about. Is that weird? Am I normal? Do I even need to be asking these things?

It's a horrible grey sky day here. I'm getting what I call 'huffy puffy', and I am glad, for the first time ever, that summer is actually over and I am allowed to be cold again. Yay for cold weather! Days like this in Kadina often sent me into a funk, and yet blue sky days there would often make me feel lonely for living in Radelaide. I do like our house, which we have worked incredibly hard on, along with having plenty of help from my parents. We live on a corner block, and have three construction sites around us - one two doors down, one on the opposite corner block, and another set a flats facing our garage. It's always noisy here, with the exception of Sunday mornings.

 Shark Tank is almost on, then it's time for lunchies and work.

I am just so grateful for this life. We have so many things to be excited for, to be hopeful for and to be prayerful for.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Just between you and me.

I know this is a weird time to be blogging, but I spent the evening sewing and had lots to think about.
There's this great, and by great I mean totally lame, quote that says 'sometimes the girl who is there for everyone else needs someone to be there for her.' To repost that says more about how you see yourself than how others see you. But there is kind of something there, give or take a few generalisations.

Sometimes I feel that I've entered some kind of Bermuda Triangle world. Oh, I'm happy to listen to what everyone else is doing and what's making them feel hurt or the latest dramas, but being married with soon to arrive children is somehow kind of... Well, under the radar. And whatever world I'm meant to be operating in, I don't understand it and I don't know whether I want to. I feel frustrated by other people's relationships, because I think that sometimes we are untraditional and other people in our lives really aren't. We don't do everything together all the time, we like different things, we don't run well under social obligation. That's just who we are, and I get that other people don't understand or appreciate it.

I know my life is changing, and dramatically. What I thought I was coming home for has warped completely into something I didn't plan for or expect. The things I thought I missed or wanted, I don't.

I'm kind of scared that people see me as boring now. When you're single, life is about friends and food and meeting the right person and being all philosophical about love. Playing the marriage card seems to mean you give that away. At least that's the impression I am getting. I just want to be me again, and not something who isn't welcome to share what's going on in my life, just because it's a little bit different to other people.

On the other hand, I feel like there's not of people I can really share my life and my story as is it is right now. And I want to have that, but I don't. And I don't know if I can fix that, or even deserve it. It's not that I think that being a good listener or a friend entitles me to any of this, it's just that, well, I miss having friends to share the tough times with, as well as the good.

At the end of the day, I don't have any more answers than anyone else. I'm just grasping at straws. I am not tempted in the slightest to give advice based on the fact that I'm a married woman, and therefore know everything. I don't! A lot of this world doesn't make sense to me. I am trying though. I really am.

I don't necessarily need more in my life than what I have now. I have Stephen and cats and my family and good health and a job I like. And I have enough friends, more than I can count on two hands, and not many people can say that. I'm grateful. But I'm not immune to hurting and being sad or messed up or disappointed. One day, really, I hope someone will have my back.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Beaches, crying, Seinfeld, Gilmore and not hugging sobbing girls.

I'll be honest - I love a good cry.

No, really. I cry a lot. sad songs. movies. regrets. shoulda coulda wouldas. feeling remorse. being happy. being sad. frustration. sympathy tears for someone else crying.

A lot of people doing getting us people who like to have a cry, because those people aren't often the type who tear up at these moments. So, here's some thoughts, some advice, and a word of warning.

It should be known that I laugh an awful lot too. I even laugh at the same jokes, even when I remember the punchline. This is an impressive trait. I think it's all part of being super sensitive, and laughing can sometimes be as socially awkward as crying.

Fortuantely I grew out of the super adorable, but sometimes annoying trait of giving people hugs. Other people had not. Giving me a hug probably won't solve the problem, especially if I don't know you, or know you very well. So, my word of warning is this - don't touch me. I really don't need a hug because I'm just trying to process something and move on from that moment. This is such an instinctive thing though, and I feel bad to even say it.

It's really okay to cry and it's actually good for us, believe it or not. This fact always makes me feel better.

I realise that most people don't cry as often as I do, or hardly ever at all. When you know someone who is, like me, easily hyped up with emotion, you just become used to it, as in 'here she goes again'.

The last few months have brought a lot to my life, both wonderfully good and terribly bad. In all the news I have received, there hasn't been crying involved, which leads me to a simple theory about myself. Crying = probably a good sign of processing whatever. Not crying = probably not very okay right now.

Sometimes I forget that people aren't like me, and they seem to leave crying as The Last Resort for Dealing with Life. Unfortunately, allowing yourself to be as melancholy as you wanna be, whenever you like, leads to one thing - there's not a lot of places to go, and when you do, it's not great place to be in. I have never been good at rebelling or risk taking, unless risks are only perceived, and to be honest, ways I have found to deal with problems haven't been very classy, or fair.

There's a great Gilmore Girls episode in which Rory deals with her first break up by planning a huge weekend of errands and Very Important Things To Do, despite the fact her mum just wants her to wallow in sadness so she can move on. It takes Rory a day or so, but finally she embraces the fact that it's okay to be sad. And I get that, because I'm a Rory sometimes, but for me it can take weeks or months or years to be like 'you know what, I actually just need to go and be sad for a little bit'. And that, my friends, is why it's okay to cry. Because putting it off doesn't really help very much.

If you're like me and you want to deal with life in a more mature way, other than crying every time 'Last Christmas' comes on the radio, here's what I have found works well:
- just cry if you need to, but focus on the issue, not every single bad thing that went wrong, EVER
- make better choices in what you listen to or watch. Is Beaches a great idea? No.
- if someone else is crying, listen to them, be comforting (well, if that's what they want), but focus on them, not their emotions. Sympathetic crying is the worst, and not helpful!
- do something fun or distract yourself
- talk about it, because talking almost always helps.

Also, not putting your arm around your crying girlfriend during Beaches is a deal breaker. Just sayin'.

Jerry: [To himself] Now what am I supposed to do here? Shall I go over there? It's not like somebody died. It's "Beaches" for god's sake. If she was sitting next to me I'd put my arm around her. I can't be making a big move like going all the way over there. I can't. I won't. 

[Next day, Jerry and George enter Jerry's apartment]

Jerry: She calls me this morning and tells me she's upset I didn't console her. I mean it was "Beaches" for god's sake. What, what do you do in a situation like that?

George: Where were you?

Jerry: I was sitting on the chair. She was over here on the couch.

George: Well you know, if you were sitting right next to her you'd have to console her no matter what. 

Jerry: Of course.

George: When you're talking about a movie like "Beaches", moving from the chair to the couch , . . . that's quite a voyage.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Happiness, contentedness and everything else that isn't that.

"Well, as long as you're happy," is pretty much the most misunderstood phrase ever.

Think about it for a bit, being happy is overrated. We say such things when people are sad or stuck in a rut or we want things to change for them, and it just doesn't always mean what we want it to say. What we probably mean is, "It really sucks that you feel bad right now, how can we solve this?" but few people say this, or say it well.

If we are forever chasing some kind of happiness, we're going to be unhappy.

Happiness isn't paramount. Safety and security, and being stable in your health (physical, emotional, spiritual) really is. I think this is what we actually mean when we say we want someone to be happy. we just want them to not feel pain, or be sad, or angry. And it's hard to do, especially when what we actually mean is:
- you know, this is a great time to leave this crap situation
- the person is question is a jerk and can you just not see them anymore
- I want to solve this problem, but I can't, so the onus is on you to make yourself be happy
- this happened to me, and I should have made a better choice.

For me, my happiest time was a year ago while I was in India. It met all the criteria - new experiences, great food, a camp, travel, Guides and friendship. It had all the ingredients. But then it came to Saturday night, and I don't really know what happened. I felt homesick, but not enough to be upset. I spent some time reading a novel and cuddling up in bed. Me time was a Lisa thing before it was even a thing thing. The next day, which was my last day there, was actually really special, and I was very happy. And when I got home after a massive stop over, followed by an uncomfortable flight and then a two hour drive back to Kadina... I wasn't happy. I was tired and grumpy and didn't want to go back to work the next day. What we want doesn't always make us happy. But it does create some kind of contentedness that settles the issue once and for all.

One tough thing about being who I am is that sometimes I can be an Eeyore and sometimes I can be a Tigger. The trouble with that is that it's not especially balanced, and it doesn't always show the best side of me. When I was at Sangam last year, the girls all talked about how bubbly and happy I was, and to be honest, I hadn't felt like that for a very long time, years even. At home though, I was an Eeyore, even after I came back. I didn't mean to be, but I couldn't be switched on all the time.

What I think I have realised is that I don't need perfection in my life, at least, not in the form of happiness. There is plenty of things happening right now which point to one simple fact - I am not always in the best place to be happy. In fact, sometimes there is so much sadness that it seems unfair to even think that I can be happy when things go wrong.

When I was sixteen, I realised that as soon as I though something like 'everything is perfect in the world' or 'I am so mature and make great choices,' one little thing would cause it to all come crashing down. I also found that I could talk myself into this state of mind quite easily, and some of the things I was happy for were sometimes lies to myself. Now when I think I am going down this same path, I try and stop it. In some ways, thinking such things before something bad happening is not a terrible place to be. On the other hand, false security is overrated and thinking these things probably didn't help a lot at the time.

It's probably not very fair to say I'm happy at the moment. Other than liking my job (and I hardly ever like my jobs), and having a house, and living where I want, and having an awesome husband and a great family and some pretty good friends... I don't have as much 'good stuff' happening as I do in the usual happiness categories. Am I excited about being a mum? Yes, but scared beyond reason!

I have had some disappointments in the last few months too, and some actually real problems (let's face it, not getting into a derby league isn't a choice right now anyway). And for what's going on in my own life, it really sucks. But it is bittersweet as well, because silver linings help. Well, sometimes at least.

I am happy now, being content. It's enough for me. It seems like a fair state of mind for everyone around me. More than that though, being happy does really wear me out! Being in a constant state of happiness is not the best place for anyone, ever. Being content seems reasonable to me.