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Welcome to My Ordinary Life!

life can be fulfilling or draining…choose your thoughts carefully!

Welcome!

This site is set up for those of us living an ordinary life.  I know that most of us spend so much of our lives trying to make things better that we forget to enjoy the very life that we already have!  This is a quick reminder to stop for just a minute and appreciate what we have.  Life isn’t always perfect, but we can still be happy and content every day.

There’s a lot going on in our lives every day.  Remember that you’re not alone on this journey.  Let’s talk about things that matter to us.  I would love for you to share your thoughts, stories, ideas for conversations, and comments.   I’m looking forward to talking with you soon!

Debbie

 

What’s the Big Deal About Mother’s Day?

What is it, exactly, about moms that generates all the love, flowers, cards and hugs that happen on Mother’s Day? It’s not just about a day on the calendar; it’s about the one holiday, aside from Christmas, that’s respected and honored for what it’s all about and nobody dares to debate it.

While everybody’s experiences are different, there’s little doubt that a mother or a mother figure is a primary influence in a person’s life, regardless of what that experience is. There are expectations of what a mother should be and then there’s reality.

The expectation is that a mother is perfect; she is exactly what we all need. She is fierce and protects us and she is soft and sweet and nurtures us. She knows what’s good for us and somehow makes everything better. She also makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the world.

The reality is that most of us moms spend our lives not knowing what we’re doing and praying for the best. We’re not trained in being a mother, there aren’t classes telling us what to do or how to do it. It’s something that each one of us must figure out for ourselves. I can say for certain that it’s the hardest job that I’ve ever had in my life and, yes, it IS a job. On top of any other job and the million responsibilities that we all have, we are responsible for a living, breathing, human life and ensuring that they are safe and happy for the next 18 years (forever).  It’s hard and there’s no break. It’s a 24-hour, 7-day a week job.

We fail sometimes. We’re not perfect but we try, and we keep trying. We might not get everything right; in fact, we might get a lot wrong, but the one thing we want you to know is that we tried to the best of our ability to be everything that you needed. A mother loves her child with every fiber of her being for the entirety of her life. This is what Mother’s Day is about!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you celebrating today! Enjoy your day; you deserve it!

It’s a New Year! How are you doing?

Be forgiving of yourself and others. We’re all just doing the best that we can and that’s good enough for now.

I think all of us feel like we should review our lives at New Year’s. What have we done, accomplished, or learned from this past year? It’s always a good time to reevaluate where we are and where we want to be.

What have I learned this past year? I had a lot to choose from. This year, out of all my many years on this earth, I’ve seen more turmoil than I’ve ever seen or experienced before! I don’t recall ever having been exposed to so much news and disruption, so much anger and bigotry and pain, yet also so much hope and support and shared empathy. It’s no wonder we’re all left feeling a bit shaken, if not completely overwhelmed. This year has been a lot!

From the pandemic to protests and politics, we’ve had our hands full dealing with circumstances that we’ve never experienced before. All of these things have put us into a situation that made us reevaluate what we believe and how we choose to react. It has sometimes made us question our choices and beliefs and it’s definitely made us uncomfortable. It’s a perfect time to take a look at ourselves.

Times like this require a different set of skills to adapt to life. On a normal basis, we tend to rely on habits that we create to make our lives easier. We don’t normally have to think as much or make as many decisions as we’ve had to do over this past year. It’s hard work having to be “on” constantly and thinking about new things several times a day every day. It’s not how our brains are set up to work and it’s exhausting.

Whether you’re a student, parent, or teacher adapting to remote learning or an employee that had to learn to work from home or you have to go in to work every day while staying as safe as possible, each of us has had something to adapt to. It doesn’t even matter if you’re used to staying home, HAVING to stay home is something entirely different. I can’t even imagine the stress, the pain, and the emotional toll that it takes to have had a loved one become ill or worse. The amazing people that have had to treat the hundreds of thousands of people that have become sick are truly amazing but I can’t imagine the toll that this has taken on them. There has been more anxiety, stress and pain than anybody should have had to experience over this past year.

While we’ve all had different levels of change, different levels of stress, and different effects on our health and well-being, we’ve ALL been impacted. I feel like if there is any time to be kind to ourselves, it’s now.  In looking at my own expectations of this past year, I’m obviously disappointed that I didn’t have the opportunity to accomplish several (most) of the things I had intended to do. However, I’m still here, alive and well, ready to greet the new year. A lot of us are not that fortunate. I’ve learned to be especially grateful for things that I’ve taken for granted previously. If nothing else, I’ve learned to be more patient, more forgiving, and more tolerant, even of myself. I think that’s definitely a plus for me personally. At this particular time, I’m pretty content with that.

I think the overriding message this New Year should be acceptance. There’s no guidebook on how to survive what we’re living through. All of us have our own set of circumstances and ways of coping, so the answers will be different for each of us. What we can control is how we react to each other and how we treat each other. Acceptance and tolerance is a lot better than anger and hatred. We should also accept our own limitations this year. We may not have accomplished everything we planned to, but maybe we gained a lot more than we would have in a different time. We can value our relationships with each other a lot more; we can feel more compassion for others and show it with our actions. We can support each other through these turbulent times and be there to listen to and understand each other.  We’re all just trying to get through it right now. There’s no precedent for what we’re experiencing, so do what you can to support yourself and those close to you. Reach out to friends and family members if you need help. Reach out to see if you can help them with anything. Be forgiving of yourself and others. We’re all just doing the best that we can and that’s good enough for now.

As for 2021, I think we all deserve a break. I’m wishing you and the people you love a very Happy New Year!

This Summer

I feel like this is the summer that never happened. Once the ‘Rona hit, our choices became severely limited. I know that I, at least, thought it would last for a couple months, maybe three tops. It’s been more months than I care to count. It seems like it was just the 4th of July and all of a sudden, more than a month has passed. Here it is mid-August and we’re not much better off than we were. Now’s the time when I would typically review what I’ve done so far this summer versus what I wanted to do and make a plan to finish off my list.

Continue reading “This Summer”

There’s Always Room for Disagreement

These days, there are so many things in our world that are being disputed. This isn’t a bad thing. Everything SHOULD be up for debate; it’s how we change our world. It’s long-standing practice to question our culture, our laws, and the state of our world. It’s how positive change is made. It’s not always easy and it’s not always pleasant or even peaceful. This practice of evaluation, discussion, disagreement, and action is as old as our country and it’s how we got where we are.

As citizens, it’s not only our right to question what’s happening around us, but it’s our duty as citizens to ensure that our voice is counted and that our democracy continues to grow and flourish. This means that voices should not be quieted, peaceful protests should always be allowed to happen, and every single citizen has a right to an opinion and to express it.

Our current climate of government is unlike any other in our lifetime. It seems as if every norm over the past decades has been turned upside down. The things that we’ve taken for granted such as democracy, fairness, and open communication have disappeared. We’re in a situation unlike anything in the history of our own government. Many flags have been raised; many experts in past and current administrations have grave concerns regarding the direction that our country is headed. Many individuals have strong opposing opinions and believe that the direction that we’re heading is long overdue and the right way to achieve success in our country.

Disregarding opinions on the many matters under discussion, the fundamental right to disagree is still valued in our country. In fact, it’s what we should do to ensure vigorous debate and a healthy outcome. Our voices should be heard and peaceful protests are a way to accomplish that. Other ways to express our opinions can include getting involved in campaigns, joining committees for causes that you believe in, and even just having conversations with others. Most of all, though, we can vote.

Your vote represents your beliefs, your ideals, and your position on all kinds of issues. November is coming up fast. Look at not just the presidential race, but all offices, including those in your own community. Do your homework and look at the issues and the candidates’ views on those issues. What are the things most important to you? What are their stated positions and what is their past voting history? Make your voice heard! Do your part to make this great country of ours become what you want it to be!

Let it go!

How do you know when it’s time to let go of something? Is there a right answer?

We spend so much of our lives trying to get stuff, from clothes to cars to jobs to relationships, that I think it’s somewhat against our nature to let things go. There comes a time, though, that we have to dispose of things that we’ve accumulated for our own well-being. When it no longer serves its purpose or no longer feels good, it’s likely time to let it go.

What are some things that we might consider getting rid of? Hard feelings, toxic relationships, objects that don’t make us feel good anymore, negative feelings that are getting in the way of personal growth or contentment. There are a number of other things that can affect our lives that we should consider dismissing from our lives.

It seems that I’ve been on a purging expedition for the past few years. I’ve reexamined relationships, living environment, finances, emotions and feelings as well as my general “stuff” that I’ve spent decades accumulating. I’m not sure that there’s necessarily one reason why we do this. Rather, I think it’s a gradual process that we go through and sometimes we’re just more aware of it than others. In my case, I think it’s a combination of events including illness, financial necessity, reprioritization of what’s important to me, and capping it off with a milestone birthday (i.e., ageing!).

We all have things that we hold onto that we know we should get rid of. Sometimes it’s emotional, like anger, grief, or resentment. Those things take a toll on us, emotionally and physically. Sometimes we’re able to process these things and move forward with our lives. Sometimes we get stuck in a perpetual replay of whatever incidents caused these feelings. Sometimes we need longer to process something that happened and that’s okay. At some point, though, we know that we’ll have to let it go, to move forward and start healing. That can mean mending a problem that we’re dealing with in order to move in a more positive direction. We can do this by letting go of something or someone or by actively addressing the problem itself. Making a decision and taking action at all is positive.

Sometimes we have ideas, principles, or beliefs that we hold dear to our heart, those things that define us; who we are, what we stand for. These things are really hard to change but sometimes we have to examine them and determine if they’re still appropriate or right for us. If you start feeling uncomfortable about things that you do or things that you think or say, it’s letting you know that perhaps those things no longer belong in your life. Our culture and our surroundings are always changing and what you used to think may no longer be applicable. It’s up to us to ensure that we are self-aware and behave according to our norms and morals. Additionally, as we age and as our life circumstances change, so do our beliefs or the things that we expect in our life. How we think about things at 15 isn’t how our circumstances are reflected when we’re 35 and certainly different than when we’re 65. Things that we experience, people that we meet, and things that happen to us throughout our life will, of course, affect the way we view things. We SHOULD be changing our beliefs and ideas about things. If we didn’t, we would always be disappointed! It’s important to let go of things that we thought should happen or we wished would have happened. We have one life to live and we need to move forward. We need to adapt our own beliefs and ideas to the person that we actually ARE and that may not be the person you expected to be.

Then there’s our STUFF. I’m a person that had (has) boxes of the kids’ stuff in my attic. Every card I received was something that I loved and wanted to keep. I have mementos from vacations and wear a t-shirt to bed that I got at Niagara Falls probably 20 years ago (OMG, I just realized it was that old). I like my stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hoarder and it’s all put away somewhere, but I have a hard time parting with things that mean something to me.

We keep things for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s simply because of where/when we received it (vacations, memorable times, etc.). Sometimes it’s because of the person that gave it to us; perhaps they’re no longer with us or you identify that person with the item. Sometimes it reminds us of better times and we hate to get rid of it. There are any number of reasons that we hold onto things and lots of them are good reasons. There are some things, however, that would benefit us to let go of.

If you’re holding onto clothes from 10 years ago because you might fit into them again, you’re constantly thinking about how you DON’T fit in them now, which is defeating.

If you’re holding onto every single piece of paper your kid brings home, trust me when I say that you’ll be able to remember their accomplishments and their personality 30 years later without looking at that picture they made in kindergarten. If you order just the school pictures you need instead of the full package just to throw away 90% of them, you’re not a bad parent. Don’t let guilt guide your decision. You don’t need to keep or buy everything!

Old batteries and light bulbs are a great example of keeping things just to keep them! How many times have you replaced either of those and held onto the spares because they MIGHT still be good and you MIGHT be able to use them at some point? No more! I’m throwing them away…starting today.

I just let go of my treadmill and exercise bike. If I had to guess, I would say that I’m not the only one with exercise equipment in my home that isn’t used (or used much). I tried to get in the habit of using them, I really did. When I walked past it, I would occasionally walk for a bit or spend some time on the bike, but it was more out of guilt than it was enjoyment or even for the benefit of exercise. I was defiant in holding onto it, though. I kept convincing myself that I would soon be in the habit of using them every day, or at least every couple of days. Why? Because I wanted to be that person! I really wanted to be the person that exercised a few times a week and was fit and toned and healthy!  I wanted to be dedicated enough to stick to it and see results. Sadly, I’m not that person.

Many times, we hold onto things, not because of the things themselves, but for what they represent. To me, that bike and treadmill represented success, diligence, and health. That’s a lot of pressure for exercise equipment. The fact that I had to admit that I don’t have the dedication I expected is something that I finally dealt with. The fact that I had to admit that I’m not physically able to use those things on a regular basis (and likely will never be) was a lot harder to accept. It was something that I’ve been trying to ignore for awhile now. That part makes me sad. So in getting rid of these two items, I’m releasing the guilt and the sadness that I lived with daily when I saw them and reminded me that I didn’t live up to my own expectations. Good riddance!

In the end, not everything is worth hanging onto, from our thoughts to our belongings. Be choosy about what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, and what you’re holding onto. Not everything benefits you. We all have things that we have to deal with. Sometimes the best course is to keep something and other times, it’s to release it. When it’s time to let it go, take a deep breath and just DO IT!