Tag Archives: family

The Most Important Question Of Your Life

Such  a great find that I had to share. The form it came in had his name link incorrect, so now you can check out his site. Props, Mark. Props.



 by: Mark Manson, on

Everybody wants what feels good. Everyone wants to live a carefree, happy and easy life, to fall in love and have amazing sex and relationships, to look perfect and make money and be popular and well-respected and admired and a total baller to the point that people part like the Red Sea when you walk into the room.

If I ask you, “What do you want out of life?” and you say something like, “I want to be happy and have a great family and a job I like,” it’s so ubiquitous that it doesn’t even mean anything.

A more interesting question, a question that perhaps you’ve never considered before, is what pain do you want in your life? What are you willing to struggle for? Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.

Everybody wants to have an amazing job and financial independence—but not everyone wants to suffer through 60-hour work weeks, long commutes, obnoxious paperwork, to navigate arbitrary corporate hierarchies and the blasé confines of an infinite cubicle hell. People want to be rich without the risk, without the sacrifice, without the delayed gratification necessary to accumulate wealth.

People want an amazing physique. But you don’t end up with one unless you legitimately appreciate the pain and physical stress that comes with living inside a gym for hour upon hour, unless you love calculating and calibrating the food you eat, planning your life out in tiny plate-sized portions.

People want to start their own business or become financially independent. But you don’t end up a successful entrepreneur unless you find a way to appreciate the risk, the uncertainty, the repeated failures, and working insane hours on something you have no idea whether will be successful or not.

People want a partner, a spouse. But you don’t end up attracting someone amazing without appreciating the emotional turbulence that comes with weathering rejections, building the sexual tension that never gets released, and staring blankly at a phone that never rings. It’s part of the game of love. You can’t win if you don’t play.

What determines your success isn’t “What do you want to enjoy?” The question is, “What pain do you want to sustain?” The quality of your life is not determined by the quality of your positive experiences but the quality of your negative experiences. And to get good at dealing with negative experiences is to get good at dealing with life.

There’s a lot of crappy advice out there that says, “You’ve just got to want it enough!”

Everybody wants something. And everybody wants something enough. They just aren’t aware of what it is they want, or rather, what they want “enough.”

Because if you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want the beach body, you have to want the sweat, the soreness, the early mornings, and the hunger pangs. If you want the yacht, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business moves, and the possibility of pissing off a person or ten thousand.

If you find yourself wanting something month after month, year after year, yet nothing happens and you never come any closer to it, then maybe what you actually want is a fantasy, an idealization, an image and a false promise. Maybe what you want isn’t what you want, you just enjoy wanting. Maybe you don’t actually want it at all.

Sometimes I ask people, “How do you choose to suffer?” These people tilt their heads and look at me like I have twelve noses. But I ask because that tells me far more about you than your desires and fantasies. Because you have to choose something. You can’t have a pain-free life. It can’t all be roses and unicorns. And ultimately that’s the hard question that matters. Pleasure is an easy question. And pretty much all of us have similar answers. The more interesting question is the pain. What is the pain that you want to sustain?

That answer will actually get you somewhere. It’s the question that can change your life. It’s what makes me me and you you. It’s what defines us and separates us and ultimately brings us together.

For most of my adolescence and young adulthood, I fantasized about being a musician — a rock star, in particular. Any badass guitar song I heard, I would always close my eyes and envision myself up on stage playing it to the screams of the crowd, people absolutely losing their minds to my sweet finger-noodling. This fantasy could keep me occupied for hours on end. The fantasizing continued up through college, even after I dropped out of music school and stopped playing seriously. But even then it was never a question of if I’d ever be up playing in front of screaming crowds, but when. I was biding my time before I could invest the proper amount of time and effort into getting out there and making it work. First, I needed to finish school. Then, I needed to make money. Then, I needed to find the time. Then … and then nothing.

Despite fantasizing about this for over half of my life, the reality never came. And it took me a long time and a lot of negative experiences to finally figure out why: I didn’t actually want it.

I was in love with the result—the image of me on stage, people cheering, me rocking out, pouring my heart into what I’m playing—but I wasn’t in love with the process. And because of that, I failed at it. Repeatedly. Hell, I didn’t even try hard enough to fail at it. I hardly tried at all.

The daily drudgery of practicing, the logistics of finding a group and rehearsing, the pain of finding gigs and actually getting people to show up and give a shit. The broken strings, the blown tube amp, hauling 40 pounds of gear to and from rehearsals with no car. It’s a mountain of a dream and a mile-high climb to the top. And what it took me a long time to discover is that I didn’t like to climb much. I just liked to imagine the top.

Our culture would tell me that I’ve somehow failed myself, that I’m a quitter or a loser. Self-help would say that I either wasn’t courageous enough, determined enough or I didn’t believe in myself enough. The entrepreneurial/start-up crowd would tell me that I chickened out on my dream and gave in to my conventional social conditioning. I’d be told to do affirmations or join a mastermind group or manifest or something.

But the truth is far less interesting than that: I thought I wanted something, but it turns out I didn’t. End of story.

I wanted the reward and not the struggle. I wanted the result and not the process. I was in love not with the fight but only the victory. And life doesn’t work that way.

People who enjoy the struggles of a gym are the ones who get in good shape. People who enjoy long workweeks and the politics of the corporate ladder are the ones who move up it. People who enjoy the stresses and uncertainty of the starving artist lifestyle are ultimately the ones who live it and make it.

This is not a call for willpower or “grit.” This is not another admonishment of “no pain, no gain.”

This is the most simple and basic component of life: our struggles determine our successes. So choose your struggles wisely, my friend


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New place, New moment.

“Ya know something good about being old? Ya just don’t care anymore. You’re lucky, Mom. KBYEEE!”dropping off L. at school in slippers I still remember this sentence coming from my sweet seven-year-old’s mouth, and at the time I was horrified because I knew exactly what he was talking about. He had decided, based on my unkempt presence that day, that I was old enough to not care if I wore shoes or slippers, or even day-time clothes to take him to school. (I had also forgone the bra and makeup that hectic morning, which just made it worse.) He hugged me quickly, jumped out of the car, and thought no more about it.

I went home and ate some chocolate.

That was during my chaotic time as a stay-at-home mom of three boys, one husband, and a household to boot. It was when Elementary School and the ultimate homemade lunch was all consuming for me. Shoulds ruled my life. I SHOULD be a part of PTA. I SHOULD be a better cook/wife/mom/container gardener/scrapbook-er. I SHOULD be put together, somehow. I would SHOULD all over myself regularly, but at least I had my youth. I was twenty-seven at the time, and was pree-ty proud of myself for surviving any given day.

I just felt tired constantly, that’s all.

Now L. had no idea he wasn’t complimenting me. There was real admiration in his words that day. All he knew was that I spent time with him each school day approving some semblance of an outfit for him, but lucky me, I got to wing my wardrobe. And that was something to look forward to. It’s been fifteen years since he bounced off to school after dropping that bomb, and it’s taken me until I reached the ripe old age of forty-two to agree with him.

Now L. was talking about clothing choices, but I am thinking of the SHOULDS.

I never did buy in to the PTA. Or scrap-booking. I just let ’em go, somewhere along the line. Probably in my Thirty’s. I worked on being a better mom/wife/container gardener, and I’d say there is good improvement, but room for more. But I have outgrown the SHOULDS, for the most part. They are exhausting, demanding, and unrealistic, and who has room for those things AND uncomfortable bras?

Just sayin.

I say I am now old enough to start loving the skin I’m in. And shoes? I am old enough to be happy with my choice of shoes, slippers or not, no matter who’s looking, but that could just be because my shoes are of a bit better quality now, and therefore comfy. I dunno. Let’s just call ’em investments. But while I am on the subject of age, let’s get to the good stuff. I am old enough to make myself a priority, and it looks like this:

  1. Aloette skin care product lineSkin Care. I’m not talking about using the same lotion my husband uses for his callused feet. Nope. I mean my own stuff. The good stuff. With words like Moisturizing Beads, Soft and Silky Radiance, and Satin-ee Serum. (I am not doing the Plumpers, Pouty-Faces, or Lashes-For-Miles. Let alone Age-Defying anything. I’m no Betty White, for crying out loud.)
  2. crab-legsCrab legs. Spiders of the sea. Bottom Dwellers. Whatever you wanna call em, I’m a fan, and I am old enough now to splurge a bit for a lunch or three. I frequent Joe’s when I want to sit in the sun by myself, open up my laptop and write in peace and quiet. Scotty the bartender knows me by name, and he knows that when I ask for extra cherries with my Coke, what I ACTUALLY mean is an entire bowl full of cherries. “Because life is like a bowl full of cherries. Maraschino, even.” Scotty says it, and I believe him now.  I tip him well, just for that.
  3. nap with slippersNaps. The greatest part about being old enough for my kids to get themselves up and out the door for school/work is my naps. KA-CHOW, SUCKAHS! While my kids are out using their boundless youth for things like curling luscious teen-age hair for hours on end, or screwing up their 20’s with rash decisions, I am watching them walk out the door with glee, just to book it back upstairs to climb into my very soft, very luxurious bed. With a push of a button, I enjoy a massage at zero gravity while listening to the sounds of ocean waves from Alexa, the electronic robot that husband ordered from Amazon.
  4. bliss-out-yoga-pose-vivian-neoFinding my bliss. I know, I know. My kids and my husband are my bliss. They are, actually. But I have time, now, to enjoy a hobby/job/cause that brings me joy in addition to them, and so I hone my education and skills at being a Financial Coach, renew my annual pass at the Rec Center for Deep Water Aerobics where I am the youngest one in the class, and Write about whatever the heck makes me smile or cry.
  5. lady cryingCrying Whenever I Darn Well Please. Nope, I don’t turn away if my kids come in the door. Or my husband. Or a stranger. I’ve been through some SSS….tuff. I’ve earned the right to be authentic, and nuts to whomever feels uncomfortable about it. I went a lot of years pretending that “It is no big deal”. Whatever the deal was, it was imperative that I didn’t upset the kids. Or anyone else. Well, that phase is done, and they all have big kid panties they can put on. I know, because I gave them as Christmas gifts.

You will notice that cooking classes have not made it onto my list.

So now I am older than 27, and I found 7 gray hairs last week alone. I pulled them out immediately, of course, as I’m not ready to be Betty White, but I realize that I am more fine with them than I was before. I think it is because I simply didn’t know that it could get good. Getting older, I mean. I didn’t really think that becoming a little calmer, wiser, happier, and having a little fatter pocketbook could balance out the start of wrinkles and gray hair, along with a few more lady lumps.

In the youthful years, I did not take into consideration the look that so many parent’s of 20-something’s have on their faces. I didn’t recognize that small, knowing, smile that the oldsters would give me as I passed them in the halls of church, or in a park, or at a store. I thought those faces were smiling at me because they envied my youth and ability to keep it together at 4 pm, in spite of having 3 boys, a stroller, and a dog as my entourage.

Nope. Not even close.

Those 40- and 50-something parents couldn’t care less that I had water bottles for hydration, snacks that were organic, and that I had just managed to have my oldest son hold on to the pet leash AND his terror of a younger brother without having an all-out brawl. In fact, they probably glazed right over the drama and smiled simply because they knew that once I survived that part, I could partake in what they were on their way to do: Go have a conversation that had nothing to do with kids or bills. It was an encouragement smile, tinged with just a bit of relief that they didn’t have to get involved. It was a placeholder smile, just waiting for me and my entourage to move past them so they could high-five each other and say, “We’re out of that phase! Hallelujah!” and then head on over to find something to do that had nothing to do with surviving the day.

Who knew that was an option? I certainly did not, as I let L. out of the car that day so many years ago. It was a hope, but not a certainty, all vague and foggy, and as I learned that I was no longer as young as a youth, it let me start revving up for the good part. The Today’s.

I’m older, sure. But not old. Old, I have decided, is just about 20 years older than I am at any given moment. And when I am Betty White old, maybe I will look to change my passion to acting.

And then they can make a Bobble-head of me, too.betty white bobblehead doll preview




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Carpet Creature! And Other Lessons…


There once was a girl,

Who had a little curl,

Right in the middle of her forehead.

And when she was good,

she was very VERY good.

But when she was bad,

She was HORRID!

This is a rhyme that belongs to my Memories Of Childhood folder of the filing cabinet that is my life. It’s the same file that holds the times of me laying on the grass at the city park, staring up at the clouds rushing by. And leaping from shadow to shadow, cast by the big trees onto the road, as I, barefoot, would make my way in the sizzling heat to the Butcher’s place on a summer jaunt. Also, jumping from puddle to puddle joyously, after a rare spring downpour, not realizing how dirty it was. Not caring that it was dirty.

It’s the FOND MEMORY folder.

Now, this particular rhyme came out of one of the fascinating books that lined the wall of the library that was my mom and dad’s Answer Place. The answer to everything that they were baffled about but didn’t want us kids to catch on to. It was their answer to 8 children’s whine’s of, “I’m BOOOORRRRDDDD!! WHAT CAN I DO???? CAN I TURN ON THE TV???? OR GET SOME FOOOOOOODDDDD??”. They would direct us to the books for everything from a How-to on making a submarine out of shipping boxes, to what do people in Mongolia do, exactly? Entertainment to fill up the time before bed came from the books. Killing time when waiting for Sunday to end came from that library.  It was located in the living room, which, I believe, was meant as a quiet area. A receiving room for guests,  and study, and contemplation. It was supposed to be, serene, even. It was, in fact, not.

Let me explain.

The living room looks different now, of course. Updated. Clean lines, yet inviting. But back then, when I was a child, the room had a more… chaotic… vibe, in spite of any intention. It paired a pine green sofa, embossed in velvety random patterns, (perfect for tracing fingers around in times of quiet) with golden yellow comfy chairs, jarring to the eye, but perfect for scrambling over when playing Carpet Creature! and Stay Off The Boiling Hot Lava! with the siblings. (Don’t tell my mom. She was a stickler for feet belonging firmly on the floor,  and behinds ONLY on seats. Bless her…) Add next, an un-friendly brick fireplace, also used for scrambling, but at one’s own peril.

Wall to wall imagination, if you will.


Less lamps. More room. Not ours, but still… You get the picture…

The flourescent light hummed loudly, paling our skin subtly. . Cocooning it all was the striped wallpaper that was so prevalent in the 70’s/early 80’s. Two sets of doors closed off the room, which let us be privately chastised, interrogated in a loving but stern way, or even used as a sanctuary on the rare moments that the parents had together. Dishes and food were NOT to be brought in this room. Harrumph.

I loved it.

The central purpose of this room, however, was the function of the far wall. Shelves covered it, with reluctant allowance made for the picture window, in chocolate brown. One half of the wall was dedicated to paper, crafting, and used wrapping paper, carefully preserved for use in rewrapping gifts. (This was only if the said wrapping paper made the cut. No wrinkles. No rips or tears. We were very careful opening gifts that had shiny beautiful paper. Or ribbons. Those had a purpose, as well.)

I digress…

The desk under the picture window was useful for hiding under and making the beginnings of forts. And then there was…The Bookshelf. Floor to ceiling shelves, cram-packed with books. Books of all sorts. Old books, hardbound, with Classic subjects, meant to round out our childhood and make us grateful for what we had. Stories such as “Little Women” and ALL the books from Laura Engalls Wilder (oh how I loved those!) worked to keep us thankful. Poetry,  serious and deep, mingled with whimsical Dr. Seuss and Disney Old Yeller and Brer Rabbit scripts. History books, and Primers were kept to enhance our perspective. Also, my dad’s thesis from the seventy’s stayed as a testament to his dedication in higher learning. (I didn’t read it. Now I am regretful.) Oh. And we proudly used and displayed, the ENTIRE set of something called The Encyclopedia Brittanica, for anyone under 40. (It was the equivelant to Google.)

Glorious, eh?

Along with these books were a set of wonder books. I think they actually WERE called the Wonder Books, but don’t quote me. They were in a set, color co-ordinated in the colors of the 70’s. Mustard yellow, worn out purple, puke green, Flower Power oranges and browns. Not pleasant to look at, but what was inside… INSIDE THOSE BOOKS… was magical. In fact, I was usually looking for the sibling that was reading the current volume I was interested in.

And, THIS is the point of the memory.

One volume spouted poems from far and wide. It was geared for young minds, without all the high-falutin mumbo-jumbo (Nod to Gil in Anne Of Green Gables). I learned about cultures in other lands, and what was considered romantic (and boring, to a kid), and what rhymes with Orange (Not much, it turns out.) What stuck out for me, though, were the rhymes from Mother Goose. Each page had pictures that went along with the rhymes, and were very engaging. Peter Piper picked his peck of pickled peppers there. Jack jumped over a candlestick, and Old Mother Hubbard looked perplexed, alongside her dog, as she stared at her cubbords. Sad, really.

It sparked my imagination.

It brought the what-if’s and the what’s-the-story-behind-this-picture’s… to life. My next step, then, was to use these poems to illustrate the situations I found myself in throughout life. (Not the Miss Muffet one, though. I have no need for a tuffet, or curds and whey…). It is also why, when I find myself pouting, or whining, or throwing a temper tantrum (um, yes I am an adult, but still…), this particular rhyme comes to mind.

My dad would quote it to me when I was yelling about an injustice done to me, years ago. My mom would quietly lilt it out while washing dishes when I would storm in, demanding she do something about the arguement I was having with…(fill in the blank. Pick a sibling. I argued a lot.). It would stop me in my tracks because, Heaven Forbid!, I be like this wretched girl. Which was exactly what they were going for. “UGGG. Just…Just stop it! I don’t even HAVE a curl there. SHEESH!” But, I’d stop.

What I discovered through the rhymes in that library, was a joy in learning lessons. In finding out how people interact, and the stories that live BEHIND the people, I learned about choices and consequences. I got to witness, through rhymes both true and fictional, how to relate to cultures, and families, and friends, and strangers, through words handed down from parent to child, author to reader, community to posterity.  The fascinating world of customs vs. laws. What you could do, and what you should do.

Oh, how I wish I for those actual books. They bring such a smile to my face when I get a chance to pull  out my file of Fond Memories. But for now,  I pass on the rhyme of the little girl… with a little curl… on to my daughter. She thinks I’m a bit odd anyway, so what’s a little more? My own library has grown. By download or paper, our tradition moves on.

Being horrid is something I can learn from. Now if I could just find a rhyme for Orange….

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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Life


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I’m not ready to say goodbye yet, but here it is. It is time to say goodbye. The gift you have given to me is that it was gradual. I get to say thank you, along with the goodbye. Thank you for teaching me tennis. Thank you for giving me lecture 47, about everything from cleaning my room to having a fight with mom, and then turning it into a life lesson. Thank you for getting down on your knees to wrestle with me, and play horsey with me, and pray with me. Thank you for playing the only song on the piano that you know, and doing it well. At least the first part. Thank you for dinners together, and basketball games on saturday mornings. Thank you for teaching me the old man shuffle when running was too fast for me, at age 9. Thank you most for loving me, believing in me, and never giving up on me.

Thank you for instilling in me a desire to be more than just me. To be part of something bigger.. Greater. Thank you for teaching me to expect and give respect. Thank you for never raising your voice or your hand to me. Thank you for showing me how I should be treated as a wife and mother. And thank you for showing me what a father should be like.

I get to say my thank you’s along with my goodbye’s, but also my I love you’s. So here is an I love you…

I love that you didn’t like Ketchup, only Catsup. I love that you would sit with me out on the porch and watch the birds, and the neighbors, and the cars roar by. I love that you let me watch you milk the cows all those early mornings, and even tried to teach me how to milk one. I never got the hang of it, but you didn’t lose your patience. Not once.  I love that you made up the game, Balloon Volley Ball for our Family Home Evening game times. I love that it turned into a neighborhood favorite. I love that you built the addition on to our home big enough that Balloon Volleyball fit so well in our family room. I love that you aged so well. You look great with a bald head. Like Jean Luke Picard.  I love that you loved mom so well and so deeply. And I love that you loved us 8 kids so completely.  We were your life.

All these Thank You’s and I Love You’s I get to say to you silently as I patted your cheek one last time. As I held your warm hand. As I kissed you on your forehead. Almost a goodbye. But not yet. And I am grateful, Your last breath is your first step into your next life, and I envy you your journey. But still. Still, I am not ready to say goodbye.

Not yet. So I just hold your hand while the hospice nurse is called. I look at your peaceful face when mom needs to be close to you. And still I can’t say goodbye. When the mortuary tenderly and respectfully brings your body to the facility to be readied for the funeral, I know you are gone, but can’t say goodbye. The viewing is hard, because your sweet presence is gone from the body that is in the casket.  I know that.

It isn’t until now, when the man in the suit is ready to close the lid of the casket, and asks that any of us that want to come by your body to say the last goodbye, that I realize that this is it. This is the moment that, whether or not I am ready, I have to…need to…say goodbye.

And so I say goodbye silently.

Goodbye to the past heartaches and pain. Goodbye to Cancer. Goodbye to awful pills and hospital beds and walkers with tennis balls on them. Goodbye to all that. And Thank You for all of who you are and have been. And I love you for being strong through this last part.


Goodbye for now.


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#ds469 - Fear, Dread, Neuralgia

I was asked to write about my strongest memory of heart-pounding, belly-twisting nervousness. The memory that pops up is one that still makes me cringe. It was something that made my stomach hurt, and my legs twitch. It felt surreal to me. I can’t remember who helped me get dressed that day or what was said, but before this happened, I was so sick inside that I couldn’t eat or drink. When the event came up I had a dry mouth and bad breath.


Not a good way to walk down the aisle to get married, eh?


Now, I know now that the man I married is my perfect companion, but it has taken every bit of the 21 years we have lived together to find that out. I love this man with all of my heart. He makes me happy, and I work every day to help him remember that he loves me, too.


We just had to grow up together to find that out.


Bride's veil close-upWhen we started the journey, I was 19 years old and had decided that he was NOT the man for me. So imagine my surprise when he wiggled on in to my heart, in spite of circumstance and opinion. Before I knew what happened, I was in an enormous veil (the moms-in-law had made it together as a token of their … support…), an off white, 2-piece wool suit-dress (It was to be something I was to wear later, over and over again), and a baby bump. Now don’t get me wrong. The man I was marrying was an amazing man. He was strong and confidant. He was attractive and charismatic. He was….18.


The nervousness came simply because I was walking down the aisle. The aisle that represented a few things:


1. The vows that say “Till Death Do You Part”? In my part of town, it meant, “FOREVER, Whether You Are Dead Or Not, There IS No Getting Out Of This.”


2.Once we were married, we would be OLD.


3. We have no plan as far as having a job, or an apartment, or a life plan. AAAAAHHHH!


Man, that was a long aisle.


So there I was, in my hideous veil and dress, feeling like this was a pretend day. Maybe a practice day. I knew that some friends and class-mates were there. I knew there was a bishop to officiate the occasion. Even Mr. Butcher, the music teacher, was there to offer the music. And I knew that I had a 2 tier cake from Soelberg’s, the small-town grocery store (they did a beautiful job.).


I had all these things lined up, and I still felt that this was pretend. In the room upstairs where I was to wait for “The Music” to bring me down the stairs and down the aisle, my pits wouldn’t stop sweating. My makeup was running at the corners of my eyes, and my heart kept pounding.


What was wrong with me? I had already decided to go through with it, right? I had made my list of pro’s and con’s (mom taught me to do that for every hard decision in life. It was a close list, but my loving the man at the end of the aisle kind of bumped it over). I was even told, “You made your bed, now lie in it.” (That was my Aunt Marlene. Man, I didn’t like her at the time…). This was a day I should have been happy, right? Nope. I was terrified.


Cold Feet


It didn’t occur to me that anyone else could have cold feet. I didn’t know there was a term, “Cold Feet“. Why should I? I wouldn’t normally be thinking of marriage at 19! Nevertheless, I had them big time. It just didn’t occur to me that any other woman, or man for that matter, could have questions like mine.  I just assumed I was the only one that couldn’t see the carpet under her feet, or the sunshine pouring in on this special day.


Thus the terrified look as I almost slunk down those stairs, then pushed my back straight, and walked down that path that brought me to him. To This. To Now.


I am so glad I went through my most terrifying moment. I am so glad I pushed through, instead of backing away. For me, I have spent my 20’s and 30’s with my best friend. We have gotten to see life as a couple. We have had some really scary, really hard, and really sucky times, but we have pushed through them. I think we got to push through them because we made the leap in the first place, to push through.


My man didn’t tell me until many years later that he had cold feet so bad he almost left me at the altar. Good for him. 🙂




That Worst/Best Memory…


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How To Talk About The Untalkable…

TABOO: Excluded or forbidden from use, approach, or mention. IE: A Taboo Subject. A Taboo Culture.


Many things are Taboo in life to me. Cannibalism, Long Ear Hair, and Walking Around Naked…Those are some taboo’s that I grew up just knowing about, long before I knew there was a word for me avoiding them.  It is simply a fact in life that I would not think to ….think…. of trying it. You see what I’m sayin? Now I own something taboo.  It’s called A Condition.

For me, Conditions are things that sometimes others have to deal with. Other people, got it? Not me. I don’t get conditions. I didn’t grow up in a family that had Conditions. My mom did not ever seem to get sick, my dad didn’t miss any work, and us kids had to go to school rain, shine, or tidal wave. Vitamins were just admitting weakness, so fresh air and an aspirin periodically was the remedy for everything from a sore tooth to a bellyache. I don’t think Conditions were “allowed”. Period. (My family only die of old age, in the 95-year-old range, for crying out loud!)  Conditions were just not a thing that I thought to think about.

So obviously, to me, A Condition now would ruin the “Healthy” badge of honor, and THAT doesn’t make me very happy. In fact, I have just spent the last 6 months of my life with my fingers in my ears, my eyes closed, singing a song that goes, “LA LA LA. LA LA LAAH.” (This was my way of letting it know that I was not interested.  Not a’tall.)  I don’t appreciate it. I don’t want to think about it, and I have assumed that if I ignore it, it will be mis-labeled and fall into a hole somewhere.

That’s not working. None of it is working. It’s time to admit that I should talk about the untalkable. My taboo.

So it’s called Bipolar 2.

What Is Bipolar II Disorder? (Boring medical definition to follow…)

Bipolar II disorder (pronounced “bipolar two”) is a form of mental illness. Bipolar II is similar to bipolar I disorder, with moods cycling between high and low over time.

However, in bipolar II disorder, the “up” moods never reach full-on mania. The less-intense elevated moods in bipolar II disorder are called hypomanic episodes, or hypomania.

A person affected by bipolar II disorder has had at least one hypomanic episode in life. Most people with bipolar II disorder also suffer from episodes of depression. This is where the term “manic depression” comes from.

In between episodes of hypomania and depression, many people with bipolar II disorder live normal lives.

 -Web MD (My go-to for boring medical definitions)

I got really ticked when I was diagnosed with this because what it meant to me is that my “Life Of The Party” personality was not based on my charm and charisma. That it was based on my condition being out of whack. And, when I had so much sadness going on, it wasn’t due to life being so, so, so overwhelming, it was simply that my condition was doing it’s best to let me know it was in charge.


Even worse to me was that I would need to get some medicine to help regulate my moods.  That was a kick in the shin.  How dare I be sick? How dare there be anything wrong with me? I mean, I thought to myself one night as I was feeling particularly sorry for myself, I don’t smoke or drink, I have been to church, and I look out for my neighbors. And this is how I am rewarded???


So I figured I would “kick this thing” with vitamins and fresh air. (Around month 2 after being told I had this pesky … thing…)  I would smile when I wanted to cry, and be still when I wanted to be the life of the party.  That would do it, right? Nope. At month 3 I noticed that I didn’t need sleep at all, and it was perfectly normal for my skin to be all prickly.  At month 4, I noticed that things like Church, Family, and Appointments were not really important to me. And after 6 months of me having ups and downs, I finally realized for myself what was going on in my life.  It kind of sucked for my kids and husband. And myself.  So here I am, writing about it because… it’s real.  It’s not going away, and it’s time to take care of it.

I’m looking for input about this thing.  I spent 6 months being a non-believer and assuming it was a diagnosis for others.  Now I’m sure this is what is going on in my life, and has been a part of my life since I was a teen, at least. And… I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that I interact with, that has it too.

So how to talk about the untalkable, the taboo, the condition?  I guess I just started. Now it’s up to me to find humor in my life, just like before, but without the editing. Life Is Not Tidy, but it can be amusing.  That’s what I’ll look for.


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My perma-grin is shiny…

I have seen tonight:English: Close-up picture of billiard balls

A shimmy.

A coin slot.

3 coins in a fountain.

A lot of billiards.

Also, knees being scraped, hysterical laughter, a small fish flopping around like, well a fish, and 7 children in a scu-fuffle..

The simplest situation that put me here is: FAMILY REUNION

English: Hot tubbing in Keystone, Colorado.

English: Hot tubbing in Keystone, Colorado. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It encompasses 1 patriarch, 5 children, 5 spouses, and a gaggle of teens/kids/infants. And, lots of caffeine. Also, large amounts of laughter, cards, pool, hot tub, tv, and food. This equals chaos to many of the people here, but not me. Nope. My kids are grown enough that they can go away on their own. They are out of diapers, drool, and Disney Jr. channels. So when a child is whining, crying, screaming or begging for something, it isn’t up to me to fix it.


This explains the slight smile that I have worn all day. It means, “I love your little darlings, but I can walk away at any time. And. You. Can’t. Neenerr-Neenerr-Neenerr.”   Or something like that.


Fight! (Photo credit: Aislinn Ritchie)

I call it my perma-grin smile, and it is getting better and better as the day goes on. And this is only day 1. Tomorrow holds hiking and fishing. Also some shopping. None of which includes me worrying if my child is wearing the right clothing, or eating enough, or if it is time for a nap. I don’t have to wonder if my child will be bullied or be the bully. Or if they are not interacting with their cousins enough at all.


I do love the memories of when I had small children. And I love the small children around me. I just don’t have to herd them. And that makes my perma-grin shine right up. Who knows what fantastic-ness will come with this chaos? I’m looking forward to it. 🙂


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