Gratitude

I received a nice card and gift for Father’s Day this week. Along with all of that was a small journal book. My daughter saw it and thought of me. I had kept a Gratitude Diary last year after reading the book The Gratitude Diaries. I had laid it aside and frankly I had forgotten about it. Until now.

Isn’t it funny how we can so easily become ungrateful for the things in our lives? How we can take for granted all of the blessing the God has given us?

So this morning I am going to look through my old gratitude diary to see if I have changed at all since I stopped writing last June.

More on this subject later.

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Words That Hurt

Have you ever said these words to someone; “I know how you feel”? Has any kind person ever said that to you when you were grieving the loss of someone or something you loved? Words are amazing and powerful things. They can help as well as hurt. They can heal and they can injure. And we all have a knack of saying the wrong thing at the worst time don’t we?

“I know how you feel” sounds nice, but think about it. First, it’s about them, not you.
Saying “I know” is the wrong place to start. You don’t know how they feel. If you did really understand you would know not to say this to someone hurting like they are. This is not about you, it’s about them.

The problem with saying hurtful words to a hurting person is you cause them to build emotional walls around themselves to protect themselves from further pain.

Here are some suggestions for you if you are dealing with a grieving person.

  1. Say nothing. Just be near them without trying to fix them.
  2. Say “I’m sorry for your loss”. Simple, right? Try to remember it then.

Beyond that there is nothing you can say that will make them better. And when it comes to words, when in doubt, don’t say anything.

Introvert, Loner, And Normal

I enjoy being alone. I do have friends and I do interact with people and I do enjoy doing things with people. But I also enjoy being by myself. Call me a loner or an introvert but in this world’s eye there must be something wrong with me. Like I should want to be more outgoing and I should want to be more talkative. Before I say anything more let me clarify one big issue. Don’t ever tell me what I should do or what I should be.  I am what I am and you telling me to change is pretty arrogant and selfish on your part.

Introverts are not reticent and shy. We are good listeners. We like to talk, but we like to listen too. Have you ever tried to talk to someone who wasn’t listening to you? I am not like that. Ever. I don’t like to listen to someone who is boring or who is egotistical or who is all fluff and no substance. I will listen to you to be polite, but I will find a way to excuse myself.

I used to fret that I was not like some people I admired. Until I realized that they despised me. Then I realized that I am better than them even though they get public acclaim. I am hurt by people who dismiss me or think that I am stupid. But I survive and they cease to be a part of my life. I may not be quick to be your friend. But once I am your friend I will stick with you no matter what. I think before I speak. People who talk first think I am ignorant. I’m not. And usually in the end my answer to their criticism is the last word on the topic.

I am happy being the way that I am. I am happy that you are the way that you are. I won’t try to change you. If you are wise you will not think that I need changing either.

Not Worried Like Before

Back in January when my boss told me that I would be changing positions I was nervous. I had done this job before, and it cleaned out my savings just to pay my bills. But it started out fine and I had no issues with money to this point.

Until this month when the work has really slowed down for my department. But instead of cleaning out my savings again, I am not worried. I can almost live on my SS benefits. I only need a little extra to meet my needs. And I only have one mouth to feed now, not two.

So instead of worrying about how am I going to make it, I am thinking about what I am going to do on my next day off. Which is tomorrow.

Envy: The Ugly Emotion

Sometimes as I am home I notice that my neighbors have company. And I wonder, why doesn’t anyone ever visit me? Or other times when I hear of people traveling and I think, I never get to travel anywhere. And then I stop and think, why am I feeling sorry for myself? Why am I being envious of another person’s life?

I have noticed that people are getting money for the content they post on their blog or on YouTube. Why does it bother me that they get paid to do what I do for free?

A simple definition of envy is feeling pain at another’s good. It’s not that you want what they have, it’s that you are grieved that they have it.

I travel for a living nearly every day. I drive hundreds of miles. I interact with people every day. I don’t need to travel for fun. And I like my quiet solitude when I am at home. And I do have friends come to visit occasionally. And that is enough. And I post stuff for fun, and don’t want or need to be paid for my thoughts.

So in pondering my attitude I answered my own question. I need to learn to be content where I am and with what I have. And to be grateful for all the good things those around me enjoy.

I had posted some harsh things recently that I took down this morning. The old German proverb that the soup is never eaten as hot as it’s cooked came to mind. Maybe I need to learn to not post things when my mind is aflame with personal issues.

The Trauma Of Retirement

I am trying to retire. I have been struggling for the past 10 years financially, fighting to get enough work to keep the lights on. Then I signed up for early retirement with Social Security intending to cut way back on my work load. But that has been easier to say than to do.

Most of the information I read or watch online about retirement focuses on money. How to save enough to live on once you stop working. My biggest struggle has been mental and emotional. What to do when I feel like I should be at work. This must be why my older friends who retired got so busy with hobbies or volunteer work. They had a hard time with the end of working too I guess.

I wish the mental health experts would take the lead in studying the trauma of ending your work life and how to transition to the life of chores and stuff you used to do in your spare time.

So today, I am at home feeling like I’ve done something wrong, like I’m playing hookey for work or something. If you think your adolescent years are times of change, wait until you retire!

This And That

People put too much stock and importance on blogs. They treat them like published work. I know that my blog is like a ship at sea. Anyone who reads what I write is a blessing to me.

To avoid having a mental and emotional collapse when you turn 30, maybe you should do what I did. Get married at 18, start a family at 21, and don’t worry about your career. You won’t do the same thing for the same people your entire life. Build a family instead of a career and maybe your offspring will take care of you when you are old.

Some days I think my house is haunted. Haunted by the memory of what I used to have. When Kathy died a part of me died and my desire to improve this situation died too.

I have a friend who is a widow but not a Christian. My christian friends are still married. Guess who I call when I feel like I’m losing my mind.

Changing my house to purge old memories will take years. I don’t want to spend my next good years dealing with death. I want to enjoy life while I can, and worry about the future when I can’t do anything.

 

Are You Happy?

Are you happy? Do you know why or why not? This is not as simple a question as it seems. One thing that social scientists agree on is that we are mostly mistaken on what makes us happy.  That is why we do the things that we do and still feel empty or depressed or worthless.

In the Bible Jesus said that it’s the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil. Why then do we pursue wealth as a means for good things? We tend to look to the wrong places for happiness. Here is an example. People who earn $35,00/year were asked how much it would take to make them happy. The general answer was $50,00/year. But when people earning $100,000/year were asked the same question their number was generally $250,000/year. And research shows that $75,000/year is the point beyond which money has very little inpact on happiness. Tell that to the CEO’s and hedge fund managers.

I have seen happy but poor people in Mexico. I have met rich but unhappy people in the US. Which would you rather be?

One final thought. Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying that we are just about as happy as we make up our minds to be. Old Abe was also chronically depressed most of his life. Something to think about.

 

Making Ends Meet

It was in January 2014 that I started a new position with my company. It didn’t pay as good as before but the alternative was to be unemployed. It was during this downsizing that Kathy died, adding insult to injury. Shortly into this gig they offered me a different position which paid better, and which I did until the end of January of 2018.

Since then I went back to the old job I was doing when Kathy died. It was scary at first, knowing how hard it was to make ends meet. But here it is the first  of June and this week was the first really low paycheck that I have earned this year. On top of that since my pay is so low I qualify for full Social Security retirement benefits, which I am receiving.

So the bottom line is that I earn a little money to supplement my retirement. And that turns my “job” into something that helps rather than something that I depend upon just to live. And except for the wants and needs that keep piling up around me, I am happy and content.

Fairy Tales

Country music legend Tammy Wynette once sang a song with this lyric:

“I still believe in fairy tales”.

This lady in her life lived what she believed, that Prince Charming or a knight in shining armor would always come to the rescue. No matter how many times her marriages failed she still believed in this fairy tale.

The trouble with beliefs is that we cling to them even when they have proven false or have never happened as advertised. Ladies cling to the dream that the perfect man will one day find her and carry her away to a land of perpetual happiness. Or the man who in spite of no evidence still thinks that a movie starlet will one day appear and be madly in love with him.

The trouble with life is that for most of us it is pretty average. Mr. Right becomes Mr. Good Enough. Miss Princess becomes someone who will stay with us. Can I tell you that Kathy and I were nothing special but we managed to stay married for 40 years. The best years of our marriage were the last when we settled into being happy with each other as we were.

Don’t let a fairy tale or a fantasy rob you of a happy life right here and now.