When Life Hands You Lemons

Order a side of salt and tequila!

Hi there. How are you? It’s been a while, hasn’t it. There might be a couple of you who will still read. I guess we’ll see.

It’s hard to believe it’s a new year. It’s harder still to believe that I haven’t blogged for 5 months. What have I been doing, you ask? Oh not much. I graduated with my masters in marketing. And separated from my husband.

Yep. I’ve joined the ranks of esteemed bloggers who have gone through this in the last couple of years. Ok, they’re esteemed, and I’m barely even a blogger any more. Don’t judge me.

It’s a surreal avalanche of emotions, this separation biz. Even when things are about as amicable as they possibly could be, even when you feel like the decision in the end was yours, you still run the gamut of feelings – some normal, some expected, some surprising. Anger, sadness, grief, relief, disbelief, depression, failure, doubt, fear…need I go on? It is overwhelming. It is freeing. It is empowering. It is scary. It is sad. And then you add the emotions of having kids involved.

A few things I’ve come to believe over the last 2 months:
* A marriage break down does not make you a failure
* It’s ok to not be able to make things work
* You don’t have to be married or living together to be great parents
* If the kids best interests come first, always, you will be ok
* It’s much more pleasant, and a bit easier, to be on good terms with each other
* Flexibility also makes it easier on everyone involved
* Friends will try to be helpful, but unless they’ve been through it, they don’t get it
* Everyone will have their opinion and advice; take it all with a grain of salt
* The idea of dipping back into the dating pool is terrifying (and it turns out, tragic)
* Achievements in life are great, but if you don’t have family to celebrate them with they don’t seem to mean as much

I’m not sure if this post means I am coming back to blogging. Or if it is just something I had to do for myself given my current situation. Life events as big as this apparently offer a lot of blog inspiration.
How to Tell The Kids You’re Separating
What Not to Say to a Friend Going Through a Separation
How to Navigate Tinder / Profile Pictures Not to Use on Dating Sites / Cheesy Pickup Lines Used on Tinder / Why Dating on the Gold Coast is Impossible / Insert Inane Dating Post Here
How to Survive on $50 a Week as a Single Parent
The Roller Coaster of Emotions When Separating

There is much to say. There is much to feel. I’m just not sure it all needs to be published for anyone who stumbles across it to read. I am considering a “Tragic Tinder” post. It is depressing separating from your spouse. It is almost as depressing when you realise that if you dove into the dating pool you’d crack your head open. It is that shallow. Here on the Gold Coast anyway. It’s a good thing I really like my own company. And that I just got new running shoes. I think I’ll be spending a great deal of time in 2016 running. Away from something or to something? Time will tell. In the mean time, tequila shots anyone?

 

Words of Wisdom

You know how once in a while, you read something, or someone says something, and it just sticks with you? I had one of those moments recently, and it made me think about a few other things that have stuck with me. I thought I’d share them.

My dad, not too long before he passed away, told me that “Hate is a waste of emotions.”
It’s only been in the years since that I keep coming back to this quote. He is right. We get so caught up in hate and the way it makes us feel. But how does our hate of someone or something affect them? It doesn’t. It only affects us.

Maya Angelou said, “Its one of the greatest gives you can give yourself. To forgive. Forgive everybody.”
Forgiveness isn’t something you for the other person, you do it for yourself. It goes hand in hand with my dad’s pearler above. Inner peace is much more achievable when you are not wasting time being angry and can be the bigger person in moving on, letting go, and truly forgiving.

In college I had to read Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The main habit that really struck me was “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Many people may not even know what he meant by this. If you read it slowly, it sinks in. So many people are so quick and charged with making others see THEIR point of view, they forget to take time to understand where the other person is coming from. Instead of thinking about our response while the other person talks, we should be listening to what they are saying. Then taking our time to think about our response.

“Life offers infinite possible roads. Sometimes your head chooses the route, sometimes your heart. And sometimes, for better or worse, neither head nor heart can resist the stubborn pull of fate.” This quote came from a book written by Dean Koontz. Still one of the best I’ve ever read I think. It’s not really a pearl of wisdom, but it is a source of truth. We can know what we want, in our heads and in our hearts, sometimes those are different things, and sometimes, we don’t get any of it, because fate, God, the universe, whatever you want to call it, knows better.

But my most recent ah-ha moment was when I was reading an article on leadership in the QANTAS Spirit of Australia in-flight magazine. David Morrison, a former Chief of the Army, was quoted as saying, “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.” Wow. Those are such powerful words. Think about how often we complain about things and never do anything about them. Think about how often we see situations we know are bad, but we ignore them. I know mostly we do this out of self-preservation, whether it’s a situation at work, or a personal situation, the consequences sometimes influence our choice to remain silent, or inactive. But this quotes puts the onus directly on us. Whether it’s racism, sexism, abuse, arrogance, entitlement or just plain rudeness. If we remain silent, we are accepting it. Wouldn’t it be nice to live in an ideal world where if we saw injustice, we could speak up about it and stop it. A world where we could hold everyone, including ourselves, to higher standards.

What pearls of wisdom have stuck with you? Do you think we could all manage to raise our standards a bit?

Saying Goodbye To Facebook

On Sunday, I finally took a step I’ve been wanting to take for a very long time. I deactivated Facebook.

This has been a long time coming, but I kept making excuses. “Oh, it’s the best way to keep in touch with friends and family in the US” or “I am admin on a couple of pages so I need to have my account.” But I found that when I opened Facebook, connecting with friends or family, or administering those business pages didn’t happen. Instead, I was wasting hours upon hours of reading posts that varied from funny to meaningless to political. I found I was reading more from strangers than I was from people I actually wanted in my life, or knew in real life. I found I was drawn to political discussions and could not tear myself away from them, wanting desperately to share my opinion, and to persuade others to see my point of view. And so I was essentially getting into pissing contests with people I didn’t know, over things that people don’t just change their opinion on, and I was wasting hours to end up cranky at the world!

I used to think Facebook was great for connecting with people. But it seems to have turned into a political platform, or a place for people to show their highlight reel. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase now, “Don’t compare your worst day to someone else’s highlight reel.” Its all sunshine and fucking roses for everyone on Facebook. Fair enough, too, because who wants to wallow in misery, or read other people’s misery. But at the end of the day, literally the end of the day, it was the last thing I looked at, and the first thing I looked at every morning.

Facebook has enabled us to be a generation of Look-At-Mes. If someone goes on holiday but doesn’t share all the highlights on Facebook, did the holiday really happen? Look at me! I have a new job! Look at me! I have a new baby! Look at how clever/gorgeous/athletically skilled my children are! Look at me – I’m out to dinner! Look at me – my life is awesome! Is it? If you have to share everything with everyone on your friends list, every day, is your life really THAT awesome? Are you even paying enough attention to your life to know if it is awesome or are you too busy living life with your nose in your phone?

Oh look, I am not bagging everyone on Facebook. I am not bagging Facebook. I am bagging the way I let it take over my life, and the way I let it make me feel. But I know I am not the only one.

I have been a bit lost since Sunday to be honest. I can’t stop wondering what news I am missing out on. Because lets face it, no one sends emails or makes phone calls anymore. People communicate through Facebook, even to the extent that if you aren’t on Facebook, you might miss out on an invitation to some big event, like a 40th birthday party, a Christening, or a Wedding – yes, all events I’ve received invitations to through Facebook!

My goal is to be Facebook Free for 3 months. November 1st is the due date of my very last assignment for my Masters program. So for the next 3 months, I am going to concentrate on work, uni, my family and friends who are in my daily real life, and see how I go. Maybe November 1st I’ll be itching to get back on Facebook. Or maybe I’ll be cured of my addiction once and for all and will be able to say Goodbye to Facebook forever.

What do you think? Have you quit Facebook before, only to go back, time and time again? Do you feel like Facebook controls your life?

Linking up for IBOT with the awesome Essentially Jess,
who has been great while I’ve taken a break from blogging, Team IBOTing!