Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lovely Innocence

Most of our deepest family conversations happen as we are bopping along on country roads in the Volvo...for example, yesterday I found out that my daughter wants to kiss a boy in her class! Gulp. This conversation was no exception.

Liam: "There is a boy in school who says that two boys cannot get married."

Elena: (piping right up indignantly) "You KNOW they can, Liam. What about Doug and Kyle? Or even T and A who are geting married soon?"

Liam: "Hmmmmmm..."

Me: "Maybe that boy comes from a family who does not believe that two men should marry each other. Not every body believes it is right. Like your Grammy Gill does not believe it is right. Her religion says it is not right."

Elena: (incredulous and getting feisty) "WHAT???!?!! What if when I grow up I want to marry a girl?"

Me: "Well, then you would be doing what you want and believe and not what others or Grammy Gill want or believe. That's what you have to do with love, follow your heart and your beliefs."

Tuning In to Tune Out

When you never watch TV, or rarely do...What happens?

When we moved to the Mountain, I decided to subtly encourage less TV watching as a family by discontinuing all live TV. We still have Netflix available for those long rainy weekends or parenting FAIL moments, but for the most part we live without TV. This means, for me, I live without the opiate of the masses. Without the distraction of a good plot or a steamy character interaction. There are pros and cons.

On the positive side, I am never lulled into inactivity by wanting to catch the end of a show, a movie or  just by the droning box. My kids choose to play outside much, much more than they used to. I get outside and hike much, much more than I used to. I read and find other diversions that are almost as distraction, without as much soul sucking.

On the negative side, however, I find my mind to be overactive. I seem to build stories and create long tales in my head. Thoughts are creative and sometimes my own created thoughts are killing me. It would be nice to plug into a TV show or two and just tune out. I miss the tuning in to tune out.

The ways I tune out as of late are far less socially acceptable than a person watching a TV program. When I was little, if my dad was watching a game or a show, we would be shushed, or told, "You make a better door, than a window" if we passed in between him and the screen. When you are lost in thought, daydreaming or texting on your phone, just try and hold up a hand to shush someone. See how that goes over.

So yeah, I am becoming far more addicted to my iPhone. Really, who needs to proudly say they have no TV if they are constantly staring into the tinier screen of their iPhone?

Monday, October 22, 2012

The New Mid-Life Crisis

The new mid-life crisis is not about money. It's not about acquisition of a new Ferrari or an extravagant vacation. Lord, wouldn't that be simple. Would that we could go back to the vapidness of the 80's. I wish a fur coat or a yacht would solve these crises. So, what ARE they about? As a 42-year-old woman, I feel I can speak to this because I have found myself in the middle of one for the past few years. The new mid-life crisis is still about wealth, but it's about personal wealth, personal value and self-worth.

Maybe the old mid-life crisis and the new mid-life crisis were both about self-worth, it's just that one generation was easily appeased by throwing a Porsche at it? I don't know. What I do know is that a lot of my peers and I are experiencing similar feelings of restlessness, wanderlust and a feeling like "something is missing." What do we have to figure out? What is it we need? Our answers do not fall in the material world. I have seen mission trips, religion, new jobs, starting new businesses, outreach programs, and other "solutions" abound.

I, myself, have been searching to fill my restlessness with many things: numerous projects, church, a new job, quitting my stable job, relationships, writing, hiking... I am seeking to understand what the restlessness is saying and to quiet it. I want it to shut up. God and being in nature are the closest I have come to being able to silence its needy voice. What do you need? What do I need to do? I am trying to just be...live in the moment and batten down the hatches until I again can attain a feeling of serenity and calm. I'm getting closer. The less I seek, the more I seem to find. It's really very ironic.

I do wonder though, if our stereotypical 80's mid-lifers rode around in their Ferraris with a bad taste in their mouths thinking, "I thought this was going to help..." At least I my Band Aids aren't costing me $100,000!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I Get It...Life's Not Fair

If it's not one thing, it's another.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's a Constant Battle of Wills

Once, a long time ago, I led a group of people at church in the "Alpha" program. This program was for Episcoplalian churches to host small dinners and for church members to invite their questioning friends to come and ask their questions. I, with another gentleman, ran a small discussion group. I remember one night in particular we discussed the issue of control. How we always want to believe we have control over our lives, but how we are so much better off when we give God the reins.

The example I brought as an analogy to teach this group is still one I think of when I am trying to remember to let God lead. It requires some knowledge of antiquated computer systems. Back in the day, there used to be a computer help desk in Toronto that would assist us in our remote NYC office by tapping into our computer. The technology (called PC Anywhere) was one of the first remote access computer softwares. In order to enable someone to use it on your machine you had to do three things:
1) Ask for help
2) Open the connection and let the help desk have access to your mouse and keyboard
3) NOT touch your own mouse or keyboard and trust their ability to fix the problem
If you held onto the mouse while they were also trying to drive, you would be stuck in a deadlock. No one would be helping. If you let go of the mouse and let them drive, their (much more complete knowledge) could quickly solve the problem. It was hard to continue to remember to not touch the keyboard or mouse....it was hard to remember that you were not the one driving, but if you could, you would realize you were in safe and capable hands and the problem was on its way to being solved.

Just this weekend, my mom told me of a sermon at her church where the minister said, "Goodness! I am so glad God is in charge or I would be worried and freaked out all the time." When I find myself worried and freaked out, I look down to see that the reins are in my own hands or that I am grabbing the mouse...I toss them up gleefully and ask God's help in my giving it all over to Him.

Yesterday, I realized I was again trying to convolute everything...trying to corral matters and events to go a certain way like an errant sheepdog. I went hiking and through walking and praying gave it all over AGAIN relinquishing control. Within two hours, I had two calls for job interviews...the first in quite some time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tis Merely a Flesh Wound...

Lately life has been handing out a lot of lemons...I feel like every time I start to buoy up, I get chopped off at the knees...truncated. I have numerous times remembered The Black Knight from Monty Python. I am trying to maintain a sense of humor about things. In case you live under a rock, here is the scene:

My positive attitude and buoyancy has had about all it can take at this point. I am laid low. I thought about taking a personal inventory of 2012, but felt that was really dwelling in the negative. Per my mother's advice, I toss out prayers at the situation constantly. By my own advice, I am hiking the hell out of myself. And the advice continues to pour in, for which I am grateful. If I felt I were fighting this battle with no one in my corner, it would be next to impossible.

Anyhow, I promise, Kiki with the sarcasm and ridiculous observations should be back soon. Just as soon as I find a way out of this here quicksand.