Wanderlust

Today I’m going to town to get Joseph a new phone to replace the one I washed with his jeans, take Cole to the doctor to help hurry up his poison ivy into the healing stage (poor kid has it everywhere: his face, his neck, his hands, his…you know), and buy a few things for the upcoming county fair. But I’m not sure which phone to get Joseph (No upgrade! I have unlimited internet with my plan that they don’t offer anymore!) I don’t have an appointment for the doctor, and I’m not sure what we all need for the fair.

I’ll get it done today, though. No worries.

Having a  laid-back personality, I wholeheartedly believe in going with how I feel. I plan, sure, but keep the plan loose enough to deal with any unforeseen situations. I know others have different ways of dealing with life, but I don’t want to have ulcers, thank you very much. And I will secretly despise someone when they freak out because they aren’t in control when something takes a left turn (or even just a curve!).

When planning Joseph’s surgery this June, I worked pretty hard to get everything in order, but I also knew that some things were out of my control or could never be predicted. And last-minute changes were okay.

Sometimes I have to get motivated and really nail down some plans, but that’s usually when things go awry and it was all for naught. As John Steinbeck said:

And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.

I do believe that it’ll all work out, sometimes it’s good and sometimes it leaves us with an opportunity for something else. However, I am working on being a tad bit more pro-active and plan my day, my week, my month, my life with a little more direction. Just without the ulcer.

Extendend Definition of ‘Perception’

Henry David Thoreau once said, “Rather than love, or money, or fame, give me truth.”  Thoreau felt that once we know the truth, we can face it and deal with it.  To him, deception is almost a sin against man and God.  However, how do we know what is the actual truth?  Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is truth.  This explains why the idea of perception is so important to understand.

Dictionary.com defines perception as “the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses”.  To perceive something through senses simply means to hear, see, taste, feel, or smell and ultimately understand what is being sensed.  This focuses on the facts (just the facts, ma’am).  What makes it interesting is when we apply the human experience to these facts.

In a report of an accident, an officer could interview three different people who were at the same scene and come up with three different stories.  The CSI tv series has capitalized on that idea.  Depending on where the witnesses were standing, what they saw, what they heard, what they smelled, what they felt, or even what they tasted was usually something different.  It is then the detective’s job to piece it all together to get the objective “facts”.  The key difference between objective facts and subjective facts is so complex that it is hard to pinpoint.  A good detective would consider as many of these factors as possible to understand what really happened.

The final definition of perception deals with the experiences an observer has been through.  The woman with an abusive boyfriend will perceive Sleeping with the Enemy differently than an innocent, naive teenager who doesn’t understand all of the psychological hell Julia Roberts’ character went through.  Or differently than the boy who was just out of a rebound relationship where she used him.  Here, perception is everything.  All of these are “truths” but from a different point of view.  A truly wise person will understand and not judge these truths.  It doesn’t matter what “truth” is, rather it is more important what is innately believed to be true.

As I was reading Into the Wild for the second time, I was discussing with a fellow reader how Jon Krakauer wrote this book as much for himself as for describing Chris McCandless’ journey of self-realization.  I realized myself that I understood the book much differently than the first read.  A lesson in perception.  In the five years since the first read, I have experienced much, mellowed out, and as a result I view the world differently.

Just because your truth may clash with someone else’s truth, who is to say which one is correct?  It’s all about perspective.  Another transcendentalist, Ralph Waldo Emerson, said this in his essay Self Reliance: “Speak what you think today in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said today.”  Your perception is bound to change.  If it doesn’t, then you will never find your own truth.

 

A Mile in Her Shoes

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Thirteen years ago, I received my second pair of “free” team shoes. They seemed clumpy and boring but were surprisingly light. I liked them. Halfway through the season, we marked #40 on the back to honor a teammate who had to go home for medical reasons. Fortunately for her, our sharpie-to-shoe bit worked and she’s just fine.

After graduation from college, they were retired as my go-to gym shoes. They weren’t used very often, as I was burned out from basketball, but I kept them ready when something or someone finally convinced me to step onto the court again. It was rare as I became a mom and worked full time.

Finally, they were transformed again, changing with me as my life changed. They were my new mowing shoes. They were my I-don’t-give-a-crap-if-they-get-dirty shoes for all occasions. Yet somehow they held together. Except the sewed-on Reebok sticker came off of one. And the soles are trying to separate from the shoe. And the insides are starting to make their way outside.

I am finally able to part with them. I try not to hold on to things, but I have to say that the girls I spent two years with at CCC are worth holding on to. And the first house I lived in that mattered to me where I mowed ALL THE TIME. And when I taught my son how to mow straight.

I’m going to wear them one more time to mow the grass and work in the yard. Then, it’s audios. Although it is time to transform another pair of shoes to fit my needs, I will never forget what the old ones were to me.

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The Easy Way Out

My perspective may be off a little lately, but I’ve been hearing a trend in the conversations I’ve been having. Well, at least the ones I’ve been listening in on. Remember, I can have entire conversations in my head…

Anyway, one topic I’ve keyed in on the most is the one about children of divorce. Odds are that people site statistics of children whose parents have been divorced and point to that one deciding factor in their lives to explain the problem.

Also, whenever my friends say something to that effect, they soon remember that I am divorced and have children. They look at me with “no offense” in their eyes, or they actually voice an apology. I used to think that I was an exception. My divorce was justified because of my circumstances.

Then I realized. I am not special. I am not unique. All marriages have a reason and all divorces have a reason. Some are good reasons, some are lame. But I guarantee that if my children had stayed in a family where all those things happened that caused my divorce, they would have been twisting around more than a wind chime during Sandy. And it was the single most difficult thing I have ever gone through. It was NOT the easy way out.

So there are three things going on here:
1) Kids are probably screwed up before parents split because they stayed together, but divorce can amplify the problems.
2) Divorce can be the best option.
3) Be thankful if you never have to face those kinds of options.

I’ll admit that my kids have an arduous chance at being “normal” and well-adjusted. I won’t pretend that the best scenario is to have a loving, complete family where they see people treating one another with respect and kindness.

I’m forever feeling guilty for making that choice, but I also know that deep down, it was the right thing to do. Besides, I daily see wonderful kids that have beaten those odds.

What are the rules to this game?

I surely hope this is premature, but I am a little worried about some health issues I’ve ignored for a few months. Of course, WebMD says I should have gone to the doctor long ago, but I have never seriously put any stock into the internet telling me the truth.

This time, though, it may be serious. Like life-altering serious. I hate drama queens, so I’m not going to go overboard here. Besides, I won’t go to the doctor for another week and I have to make these next 7 days bearable. And it could be minor.

First of all, no matter what the diagnosis is, I want to document what I am truly feeling now. I can’t rely on movies to accurately reflect life. However, I kind of expect a new love interest soon because that seems to be the rule, but I’m not holding my breath.

I am truly scared. Yet I worry about silly things such as, will I be able to play volleyball any more with my YMCA team? Will I be able to have a glass of wine? Will I be able to enjoy my kids like I should? Okay, that last one is legitimate. I always worry that I have screwed up my kids so much already. How can I minimize the damage if they have to deal with a sick mother, too?

I can’t help but ponder the whole idea of “there’s a reason for everything, we just don’t know what it is yet.” I’ve had a tough go at things for the last 3-4 years and I really think that inning should be over already. I have to be honest. I find myself feeling frustrated at God. I mean, really? You couldn’t spread some of this around? Even limit it to me, but over the course of a decade or something.

If need be, how in the world can I afford any kind of treatment? The healthcare issue in politics is an intangible thing that other people have to face. And besides, I DID deal with it when my oldest was a toddler and always sick in the hospital 7 years ago. I want to use my Get Out of Jail Free card for this one.

I suppose I should repeat the serenity prayer over and over again, but in reality, what else can we do? God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the strength to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

I’m not going to pretend that through writing this I am not afraid any more, but I can more confidently declare this:

Game on.