Uncertainty

purple flower

Uncertainty in life can be scary.

Divorce has added up to be a lot of uncertainty. I don’t think I expected that, at least not to this degree.

I was talking with someone close to me the other day about the uncertainty of divorce and how scary it feels to not know where I will be next month, let alone next year, and he said something that was so wise and reflective.

He said, “Well, you need something to do next year anyways.”

True that.

I like the promise that underlies that statement.

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Adrift

compass

Balanced on my board,

I use my paddle to keep me steady

Even keeled, I try to be

The wind gusts

I guess at least 12 knots

Instead of fighting it,

I let it steer my direction

It’s fruitless to resist it anyway

Glancing back toward the shore from which I came,

I start to draw parallels of my life

It’s easy to see a straight line,

from Point A to Point B,

in hindsight

But life isn’t as simple as it appears to be

Even out on the water

Kindness Towards Others As An Energy Boost

catinglasses

I’m going to use the B word for a minute.

I am a busy mom. There, I said it.

The dreaded b word, because it’s hardly descriptive of anything — who isn’t busy? Everyone is overloaded, such is life these days, no doubt more so for single parents trying to juggle it all.

But when I am inundated by the things I have to do, or when I feel like nothing is going right, or I get caught up in a spiral of negativity, and I just want to fall face first into my bed into a deep slumber, there is one thing that never fails to perk me up.

And it’s not saying “no” or “letting it go” like the self-help books recommend. In fact, it’s actually adding something.

What is it?

I do something nice for someone else.

Pretty simple, maximally effective, and it fills me with joy to help another person, or put a smile on their face.

Which is why when I came across this post, Psychologists Reveal One Of The Best Ways To Boost Your Mood, about a study showing how acts of kindness that are geared toward helping someone other than yourself can lead to happiness, I thought, “well duh.”

And then it dawned on me. Not everyone understands that direct connection.

When I was married, if I were to do something nice for someone outside of my immediate family, my husband would give me a hard time about it. Why was I spending my time helping a neighbor with her baby, when I had so much to do at my own house, he would try and reason with me. And he knew full well I would stay up an extra hour, cutting into my sleep to make sure everything got done.

Weird, right? What a jerk, I used to think. He doesn’t get it! But maybe instead of being a jerk, he was actually in the majority. When you have more to do than you can handle, it can make sense to conserve your energy and prioritize.

In the equation of balancing work, schlepping the kiddos to and from school, getting dinner on the table, and if we’re lucky, squeezing in a little exercise, why add more?

Because the value add is worth it. Because the boost in your mood and energy is worth it, and it’s the right thing to do. It’s how I was raised, so I saw the behavior and benefits modeled for me. It’s what I saw my parents do for a friend, neighbor, or often, a complete stranger, and so I know intrinsically, the value of this type of pro-social behavior. It makes me feel good, and it helps someone else feel good, to boot. Two for one!

Trust me. Just try it. At the end of a long day, Mondays are awesome for this because Mondays suck and your energy is zilch, think up one nice or creative thing you can do for a neighbor. It has to be easy and reasonable. Commit to it, show your kids what you are doing, and explain why. Then tonight as you fall into bed, I bet you’ll be happier and feel better about yourself had you not gone out of your way to show one act of kindness to someone. And that someone? They’ll be drifting off to sleep with a smile on their face too.

For me, tonight, I’m dropping a bottle of wine off on the doorstep of dear friends for their wedding anniversary. I know it will add a smile to their celebration.

How about you? How can you add some kindness into your everyday thoughts?

Scattered

spinning.jpg

My thoughts are so scattered

I just want to cry

I can’t gain focus

My head is spinning

I shift from one thing to the next

Reaching, wanting, just needing something to be done,

to check it off the list,

to feel like I have done something,

that there is order

Spin, spin, spin

Repeat

Nothing gets done

I turn the volume up

Wanting the music to crowd out the noise in my head

Fail

The thoughts persist

Scattered as they are,

scattered they remain

Transition

yoga mountain side

Transition

Fluid movement from one place or one state of being to the next

Not always smooth though, as I am discovering

 

It’s difficult to keep focused

In part because I can’t see what’s on the horizon, what’s next

Everything keeps shifting, despite my best efforts

 

Entangled in a gauzy web

Stuck figuring out a strategy for getting to that place where I need to be

 

That’s the trouble though

It’s not easy to stay put, to just be

Yet it’s not simple to move forward when you don’t know where you’re going

 

I need a plot change

But knowing I need it is not enough

 

Nothing is quite enough these days