Not my Circus, not my monkeys!

The other day I was talking with my daughter about my latest ensnared drama.  She politely listened, and then wise beyond her years, said, “Mom, not your circus, not your monkeys.”  I chuckled at the time at this Polish proverb.  She then reminded me that I have my own circus and my own monkeys.

I thought about my circus with a sigh.  Despite being the ringleader, I felt a failure at dealing with my monkeys.  The lure of another circus where the solutions seem so obvious, fixable and tidy draws me close.

Still, if I were to be honest, nothing is ever so tidy, it just seems thus without the facts, history and complexities that make each situation unique.  While my solution may have tangible results, rarely would it be sustainable.  Immersed, I feel important, critical to the show.

In a quest to help, I walk away from my own circus where the monkeys are now running amok.  I rob the ability for others to learn how to deal with their own monkeys,  to create their own unique solutions, where they are aware of all the angles.  Its nice to help, though when we become the central ringleader as opposed to a mere bit player and in effect care more, we take away their ability to learn, to grow.  Too soon, the monkeys act up and we find ourselves the ringleader of several circuses in town. Large portions of our day are consumed.

SONY DSC

We all like to be included and part of the circus, though I’m now content to sit in the bleachers, enjoy my popcorn and learn a novel approach to tackle a situation as I watch the situation unfold.

When the lights dim,  I’ll go back to my own circus, whose monkeys I’ve known so very long with a new skill.  The show must go on!

 

Becoming Wiser


There are so many things that I wish I knew sooner. With the passing years, wisdom is not guaranteed with the accumulation of birthdays.

These are the things that I know now and wish I knew sooner.

Delaying gratification

My 3 year old grandson has learned this lesson, as he holds his new mashem in his hand and carries it around for hours before finally opening it to discover the character within. I marvel at his ability to wait. It is the anticipation that is sweeter than the reward. It is the dreaming, the planning greater than the last moment of discovery. It is the saving for a home, the work done to achieve a goal, the imagining of the gift before its opened.
Time
How many years I wasted, how many moments hurrying from one thing to another. Like the rabbit in Alice in Wonderland I always felt late for a very important date. I robbed myself of the present while pushing the clock further into the future. Too soon it passed, the girls grew up with families of their own, my parents died, friends moved away. How I wish to have just one hour back from that time, though am careful to stay in the present, building new memories rather than reliving the past.

Weight
How I wish to be the weight that I was when first I thought I had a problem. How important to opt  for health over a pant or shirt size. The time spent trying every fad and mainstream diet, fighting for a body not possible to maintain. Years spent looking into the future of the day when the scale told me my worth and giving the scale the right.
Possessions
How I wish to have understood sooner that less is more. I spent my younger years filling my home and space with things. Each larger home and space filled to capacity. In my downsizing years, I have liberated so many items that seemed necessary when purchased. My load is lighter now, as I am surrounded by items that I truly love. We don’t really own anything, as we all know we can’t take it with us.

These are just a few things that I’ve figured out over the years.

How about you?

Martyr, not me

Martyr
My father died 28 years ago, more than half my life and still his words echo.  He told me never to be a martyr.  At the time I had no idea what he meant, the word not in my vocabulary.  He explained its meaning sharing vivid examples that have stayed with me all these years. His lesson, chart your own course, be yourself, resonated.

Many moments his words reverberated as I discarded the path of least resistance in search of something more.  I left a marriage that did not feed my soul, my wings effectively clipped and embraced the life just beyond.  The decision led to the opportunity of building a new home in the country, training and running a marathon and facing my fear of being alone.  Turns out, you can never be alone as long as you don’t  lose yourself.

I left a relationship that was toxic and embraced the not plus one category.    Trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole sapped my energy and my soul wilted.  This decision led to meeting my husband and the life that we would create just beyond this choice. I learned a relationship should be easy and not exhausting.

I left a job that paid well with great benefits for many reasons, not least was a toxic co-worker who worked hard to make my work life miserable, its effects spilling over into my home life.  The goal was retirement, though I realized I wasn’t ready and worked to educate myself, and build my own successful company. Work should seem like play and it is once again.

There are many moments in life where the path of least resistance seems the easy choice.  Situations where we can wrap the cloak of martyrdom around us like a warm blanket and remain in place, comfortably uncomfortable.  We can even tell ourselves that we are the better person, though in the course of a lifetime it matters little.  Inertia, chips away our authenticity and makes us less, not more.  We cheat ourselves and in many cases prevent the people we are being martyrs for from moving forward to their most authentic selves.  It is a full circle that leads to defeat.

We have only this one life.  My parents died young and working in healthcare taught me it can all be gone in an instant.  We must not waste this gift, for at the end of life no one will applaud us because our souls died for useless causes. Likely, no one will spend a second thinking of what we sacrificed.  It is the work of life to have meaning, purpose and to become our best selves.  I have much to learn, though I thank my Dad for his wisdom so many years ago.

 

 

Lazy Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Lazy Learners.”

language

I’ve always wanted to learn many languages.  I dabble and can say a few words in French, Dutch, Taiwanese, Spanish and Sign language. When I travel to a new country, I learn a few simple words,  please, thank-you, adding to the  richness of travel.

Still, I love the idea of being  fluent in  many languages.  I  daydream about travelling the globe and slipping from one language to another effortlessly. I would  know when I’m being  short changed, could  haggle with the best of them, eavesdrop on conversation and know exactly what the  locals think. I could order food in a restaurant  and know what I ordered, omitting the surprise when it arrives.  I can see it in my minds eye and its perfect.

Therein lies the problem.  I studied French in school, for five  years and although I believed that I repeated the phrases perfectly, my teacher would  beg to differ.  It seemed that I never could get it perfect for her.  I’m reluctant to share my knowledge with anyone about the phrases I know for fear of being figuratively back in  French class.  This phobia seems  to have oozed into all  languages.  I’m  happy  to read and write  the words and will spell  them  out  to  people, awkward  for certain, though effective.

Seeing my excuses written down gives me pause.  The best part of getting  older is that I no longer care what other people think about me.  With  this in mind,  I  will take the time to learn another language and have my daydream become  a reality.  May-be  it isn’t too late?

Hurry scurry

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Style Icon.”

My personal style is hurry scurry. Whatever I do I try to do fast. I love to read but rather than relishing the words, I skim. I walk fast, talk fast, think fast. It seems as though life is a race and yet I know we are all moving to the same target, the end.

I married a man who moves slower, savours the written word, thinks before he speaks and as such is thoughtful. He lives each moment content to be in the moment and present.

As I rush along becoming more frantic, the list of must do and have to do stretching into the abyss I pause and remember why I married him, to learn. I sit down, breathe a full breath, put my feet up and for this moment I’m still

Advice to my Younger Self

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Powerful Suggestion.”

Ten pieces of advice I wish I would have listened to and heard.

1.  On relaxation

Life does not need to be a  series of “to do” lists.

2.  On dreams

Follow them.

3. On kindness

Be kind with  words to yourself

4.  On fear

Face fear head on, don’t shrink back, like all bullies it will retreat

5.  On being alone

You will never be alone as long as you don’t lose yourself.

6. On advice

Sit with it, sort, separate, keep, discard, recycle

7. On friendship

Be there, it’s the centre of everything

8. On drama

Save it for the movies

9. On negativity

Trash day is Tuesday

10. On life

Be present. Live now. Tell people what they mean to you.  See the world like a child.