Tag Archives: married for the long haul

Stay Present in the Hustle & Bustle

This year, my holiday spirit is in a different place. My friend’s husband that was fighting brain cancer passed away this week. A life taken too soon in a marriage that is too young to experience it. The Universe has been sending me these types of messages through various forms to be more mindful of my fellow humans and of my own heart. Lately, I have felt the strong pull to pay attention more to the people around me that support me at all times in my life: my husband, my family and my best friends. That’s a small circle of people. 

Life is fleeting before my very eyes and I am trying to maximize the love that I have for it and the people that I am graced while here together. The past 2 months have been some of the most reflective I have ever been of my 20 year relationship with my husband. I am more loving, patient, kind and hopeful in our love and forgive myself faster for unintentionally hurting him. It has taken a long time to get to this point. He really is my rock and I am thankful for every moment that the Universe gives us. THIS is why I am fighting with all my might to figure out the way to retire early. I want to maximize that time we have together. I want to make sure that the time we have left is meaningful for the both of us and not sacrificed to the mighty dollar. I want to make sure we are actually LIVING.

A taste of my ADD and story-telling, I am going to go off on another path for a minute to make a point…. Elephants have been making their way into my visual presence lately via pictures, gifts, articles, etc. When those types of visuals happen, I try to pay attention and so, I’ve been studying their symbolism. I’m learning, according to Animal-Symbols.com, they represent “strength, wisdom, solitude, strong sense of loyalty to the family and intelligence.” I think I am experiencing all of these things right now. Also, these are long-living animals and often I’ve heard  they do not forget anything and are a wise creatures. Perhaps, I am on a journey of wisdom. Funny, I’ve always drawn an elephant facing backwards since I was a child that I called Wilbur. Here is a pic of him.  Maybe I was an old soul all this time.

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So I might not be fully engaged in all of the holiday hustle and bustle this year, but I am completely in tune to my loyalty to those that matter in my life. There is so much anger and hate in our world today. We do not need to add to it with more anger and hate because of minor inconveniences of planning the “perfect” Christmas dinner or fighting the traffic to get the “perfect” gift. The perfect gift is not a material thing or a specific event or a religion. It is not Christianity or Judaism or Buddhism or Islamism or Hinduism or “introduction” to their spiritual leaders. The perfect gift is emitting the love that those leaders were trying to teach us how to do. The gift is to be kind, patient, loving, helpful, generous and considerate when people around you are hurting or are in need.  It is representing the core of those religious beliefs and their leaders. All religions promote those gifts.

So this holiday season, give these gifts graciously and generously!  Take a moment to breathe and perhaps re-evaluate where you are at this very moment. Are you focusing on the things that matter or on the things that do not?

 

Until next time, I’ll be continuing my journey out of the rat race. Thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment below!

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Untitled Adventures

Building on my blog Maybe I Don’t Want to Retire from a week and a half ago, I’m starting to wonder if I really want to retire early. I mean, of course, I want to live differently and move on to another phase of life and enjoy a more relaxed life. I commented on “Our Next Life’s” The Anti-Greed Manifesto Blog a few weeks ago, our salary is freedom of time. I want more time.

 

This week, I had LASIK eye surgery and was forced to take Friday off. I ended up relaxing a majority of the weekend and spreading out my chores quite a bit. I was FULLY relaxed. Nothing felt like it was crammed into a few minutes that I had. I had all the time in the world not running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It was nice!

 

I am perplexed though. On one hand, we want to retire. Then on another, my husband and I are talking about a HUGE opportunity that I have with my company. It’s the potential of reporting to someone very high in the company and being in charge of the food safety verification program for ALL imports related to the company. I was called out in a meeting of higher up managers that I was the only person in the room qualified and the more that I think about the job, the more excited I get. Does this sound like someone that is ready to retire early? I am so confused.

 

So what are our main reasons to want to retire early? I’ve mentioned before about in my blog, The Trailing, GenX Husband, that we want off the train of trying to fit into this world. Every time we talk about my husband finding a meaningful career, we can’t find any. For the first time ever, he was able to put on a job application that a big reason for his job history is my career moves. He put together a very good application, so we’re hopeful it will get him noticed. In the meantime, I’m planning on meeting with the hiring manager of the other position to determine if it is a fit for me. I have a vision of what I expect it to be like and I am hopeful that we can compare notes on it.

 

Until then, I’m still trying to figure out my journey out of the rat race. At this time, it’s about timing. A reasonable timeline that I have been telling myself was 10 years (making us close to 50 years old). If we can do it earlier, it would have to be over something that we both feel supremely passionate about. My text to my husband today was, “I don’t think I’ll be ready until you’re passionate about a plan. You don’t seem passionate yet because we haven’t identified a secure way.” We’ll still be looking for the answers….. Comments welcome! 🙂

Maybe I Don’t Want to Retire

This evening it dawned on me that maybe we’re not looking actually to retire early. Or maybe it is that my definition of retiring early is different than others.

We both know that we want to have a life that is happier. My corporate job is great, but I cannot sit by and watch my husband suffer any more while I grow. Here is a bit of our conversation today since my epiphany:

ME: well I am dead serious about figuring out how to start up a small business in Cedar Key. I think all of your job stresses from the last decade are why you are suffering health issues. A happier state of mind helps a healthier body.

HUSBAND: How could we do that?

ME: I think we need to figure that out. First we need a business plan. But after that, I’m thinking utilize our savings like a few other people we know. I don’t think it’s worth living unhappily until you retire because we will watch ourselves do exactly what we have seen other people do and that is retire and die. Literally.

HUSBAND: I’ll work on that and finding a job that is tolerable.

ME: You do whatever you need to do on the job front here. But I am really thinking we need to set a deadline for ourselves, target it wtih the ideas to move and start a business, cash in some or all of our savings and use that to live on while we set it up.

HUSBAND: But you are growing and getting fulfilled in your work and friends. Baby steps.

ME: Baby I’ll grow wherever you plant me.

I know it’s crazy to think this way sort of, but is it worth your health? You don’t know the things that I see in him. His mental health is shutting down and he’s depressed. The best place on earth for us is Cedar Key and we know we want to live there. Why do we have to wait? Why can’t we figure it out now? We have friends that have taken risks. What really makes us happy?

That’s what it all boils down to. And health insurance…..

Are we Really MEANT to fly?

I have the best thoughts while showering and today was no exception. I used to think that my husband held me back from flying, but that has changed. He grounds me. There’s a difference.

First, let’s discuss the flying part. Are we really meant to fly? Biology and evolution would say no. We have legs to walk on. And we do not have wings. So I would say that we’re not equipped to actually fly.

Oooohhhh, it’s a METAPHOR. Okay then. My bad.

I get it. I do. But I have become a firm believer that everything is connected for a reason. I met my husband in 1995 for a reason. While I take flight in my career, he’s keeping me grounded. I do not need to be up in the sky with my thoughts. I need to still be grounded and he helps me be smarter, wiser, and humble and understanding of people that struggle with their jobs and life satisfaction overall. Without him, I may be an ass. I already know without him, I would probably be entrapped in a spiritual warfare and a codependent situation with my family that probably would still be going on. I would not be open to therapy like I am and be willing to share it openly with people like I do. There’s a lot about me that would be different without him. So does he hold me back because he’s not as successful as me? No way, Jose! He’s helping build the mountain under my feet! There’s a reason for everything.

So, the next time you hear or say the phrase that someone is holding you back, think about why they might be. It could be for a reason – maybe you’re growing; maybe you are learning a lesson about relationships; maybe you need to learn a lesson how to move on from people that do hold you back, or maybe you need to remain humble and they are there to remind you of that daily. There are so many reasons that could exist. It may have nothing to do with your lessons either.

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Life is one big lesson.

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Ego

Last night, amidst my rum and diet coke, my husband and I talked about my ego. I need to check my attitude and watch my tongue when I’m frustrated. Whether it’s work, gym, church (my previous life), family, friends or my husband, sometimes I run my mouth more than I should and honestly, more than I want to worry about later. So I’m on a quest to figure out how to tame mine.

So how does one tackle the unreasonable devil on your shoulder?
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Maybe first I need to describe what that devil on the shoulder actually looks like. For me, it is laced a lot with codependency. Here are a few examples:

*It’s when I overreact emotionally and get overwhelmed by the anxiety in my head when my boss sends an email that feels like he’s questioning my ability.
*I don’t trust motives of people and concoct in my head what they are really saying.  My therapist calls it mind-reading (and I’m terrible at it.)
*My good friends aren’t talking much to me and it feels they aren’t there for me, so I push them back in my head emotionally and make myself unavailable. 
*I want to control everything – including your reaction to whatever I need to say.
*There are sooooo many more….

Back to my before question: how does one tackle the unreasonable thought logic at the time of the thought? Through time, my husband and therapists have given me some tips. Here are 4 tips that work most of the time for me, but I have to be constantly self aware and that is not always easy.

1) Rescue Cards

My husband taught me these. They are little notes to myself to remind me of logical thought patterns. Sometimes they are note cards placed in strategic locations that I will see at the right time and other times, they are notifications on my calendar. Do what you think makes sense for you. What to put on them is also specific to you. For me, I write stuff like: “We didn’t get into debt over night, so we won’t get out of debt over night either.” or on my calendar when I know my hormones are going to be flared up, “Treat yourself today.” or “You are enough.” It varies by circumstances, but it’s good to have the reminders whatever the format.

2) Relaxation Techniques

These are techniques to calm the central nervous system: deep breaths, meditation, prayer, yoga, rest, progressive muscle relaxation, calming music, peaceful scenery and noises, etc. There are so many things you can do. I tend to do a variety of things, but what seems to work the best for me is yin yoga and to set intentions. I often focus on a personal behavior that I need to keep in check and try to balance that chakra if it’s related to a specific area of my body. Recently I downloaded the app called “happify” and they have a relaxing beach scene that plays a rolling video of waves crashing into a private beach. I can hear that in my imagination without even opening the app.

3) Focus On Positives

This is the latest assignment that my therapist gave me. It is really helping me focus more on positives things that happen throughout my work week instead of just negatives. My husband and I are now making a habit of asking what positives happened in the day, so we can both do this together. I blame my codependency on this, but I often struggle taking on other people’s negative opinions of others and then struggle knowing what I believe. Some of it might be normal though because people have a natural tendency to vent about things and paint negative pictures. By having my husband tell me the positives in his day, I see our life and situation less grim and that is good.

4) “Frothy Fran” Accountability

My husband introduced me to this term. I don’t think it’s caught on as a new catch phrase, but he’s trying. Maybe this blog will help. A “Frothy Fran” is someone who can turn bitchy at the drop off a hat and tear down the character of another person while complaining about them. We all have a natural tendency to do this when we gossip, and no one is really above it. For me, it is very related to trying to be positive about things, except it’s specific to my opinion of people and running my mouth. I tend to adopt other peoples’ negative points of view of someone and compile to the negative feelings I have of that person. I’m just now receptive enough mentally to ask my husband and a couple of other friends to hold me accountable and call me out when I’m negative. It’s hard to hear that type of confrontation. But it is very needed!

Again, these things work for me most of the time. On the occasion that they don’t, I typically make my husband crazy. 😝

Eating Marital Crow

Ouch. My young, hopeful/semi-afraid, engaged friend just shared this blog about marriage from the perspective of a lady married just over a year and I’m eating a bit of Crow: Is Marriage Really as Hard as People Say? This young lady, Stephanie, does an excellent job describing why the first year of her marriage has been hard, but worth it and how she’s had a lot of positive things come out of it.

I have been guilty saying how hard marriage is to many young, hopeful people. To those people in my life, I want to say I’m sorry. I stated these things as a way to prepare you for how difficult the road might get ahead and I did not mean to paint such a bleak picture. There are so many wonderful things as well and I want to share those too. And to be clear, my friend did not direct her post of Stephanie’s blog to me. She is a dear friend and we share a lot of reality, which she expects from me. But I do not like that I have started to paint such a negative picture for her either in the beginning phases of a wonderful relationship she has started.

In Stephanie’s blog, she talks about marriage being a three legged race and how the couple is awkwardly working towards the same goal. I think the key is exactly what she says: working towards the same goal. Each portion of that three legged team has different strengths and talents and can go different paces, and oftentimes, different directions. The trick in any team sport is to keep in check with those strengths, talents, and paces and keep them going in a mutual direction. And in marriage, it’s no different. A couple gets pulled and pushed in so many directions and communication and trust are the checkpoints. There’s so much in those two words, but if you do them well, you’ll have a lot of hope for your future.

So with that, I want to share 14 positives in for my near 14 year old/5010 day old marriage  (and 7202 day old relationship):

1) I’m married to my best friend still to this day.

2) I cannot imagine my life without him.

3) He is a mirror for me to see when I am beautiful and/or ugly inside and out.

4) He still makes me laugh almost every day.

5) He knows my heart more than anyone else in the world

6) I know his heart better than anyone else in the world, including his mother who thinks otherwise and doesn’t know this blog exists.

7)  He shared his love for music and there are not enough words in my vocabulary to state how blessed I am because of that.

8) He taught me the phrase “Expect the Worst, Hope for the Best”, which has helped my codependent nature cope.

9) He still thinks I am beautiful.

10) I respect the way he hangs in there every single day when I might have given up myself in his shoes.

11) I swear I have a history book with me at all times when he is by my side and I love that. No history professor could teach me the way he does.

12) I love his laugh and when his eyes sparkle with joy.

13) He has supported all of the hobbies that I have had over the years whether they are related to singing, working out or even going to church too much.

14) Most importantly, I am thankful that he has stuck with me all these years and grown up with me. I would not be who I am today without him by my side.

That Junior

Today on the way to work, a song  kicked me into a trans. It took me back to my freshman year of high school when I dated a junior. That junior was the first guy I dated after I started high school and he was the first guy I didn’t trust for no reason. That was an epiphany I had while I was in the trans on my way to work. He did nothing to cause me to not trust him, yet when he tried to give me a piece of who he was through a band, I questioned his motive. Why?

That junior was also my first sexual encounter. It wasn’t full on intercourse or anything, but he was the first to get in my pants. That gave me another realization during my morning commute trans that I went with the flow without batting an eye. He could’ve done basically anything to me and I probably would not have stopped him because I liked the attention.  I felt special because he looked at me and wanted me sexually, but I didn’t trust him.

What does that say about me? I was messed up early on. My poor husband has had so many cobwebs to break away from me to find me deep down in the caverns of my codependent self.