We drove from Arizona to California for a week-long vacation. We had planned to spend two days at an amusement park before moving onto a beach cottage we had reserved. My son has always had trouble with his ears beginning with ear tubes when he was a baby. He suffered badly with motion sickness after one of the first rides of the day. We made the best of the day but did not return for the second day. Thank goodness for phones with internet. We came up with wonderful things to do and had a great time.
Behavioral economists would say we were behaving rationally according to a term known as “sunk cost”. We had already paid for the tickets, and would never be able to recover that cost. Did we want to pay twice by doing something that we know wasn’t going to be fun? Life Hack lists other fallacies like this, which we tend to fall for- like eating too much at a restaurant just because we paid for the food. Robert L. Leahy Ph.D., in Psychology Today, has a great article on how to let go of sunk costs. He says our decisions shouldn’t be made looking backward, only forward. If we would have said, “But we paid for two days, we have to go both days.” We would have had a miserable time. Instead, we visited the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. It was a Tuesday, which happens to be free admission day, so it didn’t cost us anything additional.
We might be better off if we can think of our wealth not in terms of money or possessions, but in terms of people and time. What is the best decision going forward for the people involved? Is that how you want to spend your time? The first question tends to be more muddled for me. Sometimes the answer isn’t as straightforward as I would like. The second question is the tie-breaker. It can help to keep looking forward in our decision-making and not backward. For it does not matter how much we have paid for something or have vested in a relationship, if it isn’t working for our future there is no sense in paying twice.
How will you spend your time?
My son brought me some pink tulips for May Day. I don’t care about flowers any other time of the year, but I insist on flowers for May Day. My husband and son sort of forgot this year, but I subscribe to the you-make-your-own-happiness club. After calling them on it, beautiful flowers appeared. Just beautiful.
My mother is in her eighties. She used to garden since I could remember and always had a beautiful flowering garden. Today she lives in a retirement village condo and the grounds are taken care of for her. She decided she was worth buying fresh flowers each week. Why shouldn’t we spend time nurturing ourselves? I will remember this lesson I have learned from her.
I read a letter by advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, who talked about how a mother could be a friend to her adult daughter with young children. While I agree with her answer in principle, I also wonder when is it finally the woman’s turn? It seems from the time she becomes an adult, she spends her life caring for others. She cares for her husband, her children and then her parents. It’s only when she is old and infirm that she may get some reciprocation. But, even then, she is supposed to do all she can for others.
An article from Woman’s Health discussed the sandwich generation- the person raising their own children while caring for their parents. They list self-care as a priority. We can’t be so self-sacrificing that we use up all our energy in the service of others. We need to reserve some energy for ourselves.
I think we need to find ways to replenish our energy, fill our spirit and to make ourselves happy. It will bring the energy back into our lives and allow us to be patient with others. Go ahead, buy some flowers. Join the make-your-own-happiness club. You will be better for it and so will the people around you.
It’s April and I am thrilled to see and hear the chirping of baby birds in their nests in my backyard. I have counted three nests in our tree this spring. Sometimes it just astounds me that nature is so close and so very real. It is easy to get used to how far removed we truly are from the natural world.
My husband takes me to a man-made pond where I can watch the ducks, but mostly we are there to see the turtles. I love watching them swim or sun themselves on a rock. “Just like In real life!” I want to say, forgetting that to them it is real life. It is only the pond that was once artificial.
I go to the store and my food is so neatly packaged for me. I am so far removed from what it takes to grow or to raise anything. This spring, we planted tomatoes. How awe inspiring to watch them grow! I can’t wait to actually be able to taste one. I hope I will appreciate them more. Truly, life is a miracle.
Today is my late father’s birthday. I’ve been wrestling lately with the parenting I’ve seen going on with the friends of my teenager. I thought I would compile a list of important things a parent can do when a child gets in trouble.
I think that just about covers it.
I visited my mother recently. She no longer lives in my childhood home, but visiting her is always like coming home to me. We love to laugh and enjoy each other's company so much. We have fun together.
She is my perfect mother who loves me. I still work to earn her praise just as I did when I was young. Do we ever grow out of our need for praise? Yet every compliment I hear from someone else doesn’t begin to compare to the feeling I get when my mother tells me she’s proud of me. Yeah, I want to feel like that.
I wonder if I tell her enough how she means to me and how much I admire her. I know she would die to know I included a picture of Whistler's Mother (Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1) by James McNeill Whistler as her picture. No, that is not how I see her! She will always be as young as she was on my wedding day even though I am older than that now. Regardless of her true age, she is still an interesting person to know.
When I returned from my week long visit my teenager told me he was glad I was home. Yeah, I want to feel like that, too.
If you are looking for ways to tell your mother how much she means to you, here is a great list.
I am a strong believer in standing up for my beliefs and for having the courage to speak out to defend those who may not have the privilege of voice. Recent news talks are about barring Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking on the floor of the senate. The explanation Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave was, "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted."
Yet, later we’re told that white men were able to read the same letter she was attempting to read. No one interrupted them or barred them from speaking. We cannot be quiet. We cannot play nice. We must persist. Upworthy has put together a great collection of women who have persisted. It is a journey worth taking.
New Year’s resolutions. It seems like everyone makes them. If you can’t think of any, there are even sights such as Life Hack that will suggest some for you- 50 of them! I never make New Year resolutions. I know many people see the new year as a time of renewal. Is it bad to see it as just another day? What if we renewed ourselves throughout the year instead of just at New Years? I feel renewed when I take a walk in the woods. The quiet time with nature helps me to collect my thoughts. It grounds me and brings me back to center.
I live in a city. I can’t run out to a forest every day. Sometimes just listening to music with my eyes closed will help to center me. I know when I am off balance. There is a friction to my life and the things that were easy become hard. There is that needless stress in my life and my sense of humor is gone. I need that restorative time. I need to take care of myself.
Many women have a hard time taking time out for themselves. We are so busy giving and doing for others it is hard to justify that we deserve the same level of care, especially self-care. We know we need to, but the time to do it seems to cut into our sleep, and frankly, I’d rather sleep. So, I guess I do need to make a resolution- to schedule renewal time or at least be strong enough to ask for a time out to get my energy back. That sounds like a plan- not a resolution.
I usually have it all together. My holidays are free from stress and are peaceful family times. No kidding. Two years ago, I caught a cold just before the holidays. I caught it again this year. Why? Why me? I just want to whine the day away with a box of tissues.
Part of our gift to my teenager is money. What do you get someone at his age? So, I had the brilliant idea of turning the money into origami pieces. Why not? How hard could it be? Pinterest has so many wonderful examples. It really isn’t that hard, but the clock is ticking and I’m wasting my time laying around in bed feeling sorry for myself. Maybe I will just put it in a card. Go easy on myself. Nope. Must. Be. Over. The. Top. Sigh, we make our own misery.
This is probably my last turkey as well. Steak is so much easier to prepare. If only my husband didn’t love turkey so much. Perhaps it is the cold talking. I think I need a long winter’s nap.
Hair. Mine. I’ve had it long, short, permed and now dyed. Mostly dyed. I can’t believe how much I have to get it dyed to keep the illusion of youth. I warned my husband never to complain unless he wanted to be married to someone who looked old enough to be his mother. Did I just confess to that?
When I was little, my mother would tell me stories so I would sit long enough to have my hair braided or combed into pigtails or a ponytail. Anything to tame that scraggy mess. But I was a stubborn one and there was many a time I refused to have my hair contained. My poor mother.
I have never liked my hair styles or how my hair would take shape. Some women have the beauty thing down- I never did. The only thing nice about my hair is that is that I have a lot of it. I mean A LOT. Two bowls of hair dye kind of a lot. I will never be an old lady with thin, cotton candy hair. No, I will still be getting it thinned at eighty. Probably having it dyed then as well.