Tag Archive | happiness

30 Day Writing Challenge-What I’d Say to an Ex

I thought about this post a lot and am a day late, but wanted to write it anyway. 

I didn’t date a lot growing up or even as a young adult. I usually had one relationship and then stuck to it until I didn’t any longer. 

I don’t have things that I would say in a public post, to someone specific. But if I had a chance to say anything to anyone I dated, it would be the following:

  • I’m happy for the time we had together. It was worthwhile and I appreciate what you brought to my life and I don’t regret it.
  • I wasn’t ready for you. I wasn’t an entire person when I was with you and even still struggle to be a good partner. I’m sure that means that I didn’t treat you as well as you deserved. 
  • I didn’t understand it until I was much older, but I had commitment issues even at a young age. That affected my ability to care about you.
  • Life has turned out exactly how it was meant to and I’m happy for the life I have and hope that you are happy too.

Life is too short to live in regret. I don’t look back and wish I had done things differently, because this path has led me to my two wonderful boys and my husband of nearly thirteen years. 

Could I have made better decisions along the way? Absolutely!

Did I love with all of my heart when I should have? No! 

Have I learned how to be a better person along the way? I hope so.

I don’t lack closure in my life from lost love anymore. There have been opportunities lost and things that should or should not have been said. But, when I look into the big dark eyes of my beautiful boys, I know that the love I have now, is the love I was always meant to. 

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Being Mom

I never pictured myself being a mom, when I was a young girl. I didn’t think about being one when I was a teenager or even as a young adult in my twenties. I didn’t even know if I wanted to be one when I got married. Being a mom just wasn’t anything I considered, although I knew at some point I would have to figure it out.

The first time I held a baby, the poor thing cried because I was so nervous. It’s not that I didn’t like kids, in fact I loved them. I babysat, was a camp counselor, and spent a lot of time with my niece who was my favorite kid.

But fortunately being a mom got to be a conscious decision, for me. I knew it meant giving up a lot of who I was and the life I was accustomed to. I knew being a mom meant sleepless nights and lifelong commitment to people I didn’t yet know. Then one day, having children became something I wanted more than anything and I’ve never looked back. I LOVE being a mom. It’s fun, exciting, fulfilling, demanding and rewarding. In addition to loving and absolutely adoring them, I really LIKE my kids and I think they LIKE me, as well.

But when I was a younger mom, I forgot one major thing. Me. I was so caught up in the diapers, sleepless nights, and juggling new motherhood, family, and career, I completely and totally lost sight of myself. It’s a common phenomenon and every mom I’ve ever talked to experiences the same thing. After nearly a decade, I’m learning that being Mom doesn’t mean I have to cease being ‘Jen.’ Finally discovering that, makes me unbelievably happy. It’s not that I am not completely in love with my two crazy, beautiful children. But I also want to love and be proud of myself, too.

I’ve been able to find a way to do that through a love and passion, temporarily forgotten. Writing.

Writing has helped me in every aspect of my life, as I feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment that I’ve been missing. It’s not that career, family, and motherhood haven’t been enough for me. They’ve been more than enough and to have all of those things in my life make me feel incredibly fortunate and blessed. But from a young age, I was always a writer. And getting to write again, has made having a career, family, and being a mother tremendously sweeter. It has opened my eyes to just how beautiful and fulfilling my life is, and it has made everything better.

While being Mom is without question, the most important role I have ever lived, getting to be ‘Jen the writer’ is a wonderful role as well. As a parent, we put themselves on the back burner, often forgetting ourselves completely. Whether it’s writing, crafting, an hour at the salon, a visit to a coffee shop, or a night out with girlfriends, it’s important we remember who we are and what makes us happy. It means we get to be more content for our children and ultimately, makes us better parents.

I’ve come to the realization that one of the greatest gifts I can give my children, is Me. I’m their protector, encourager, motivator, and teacher. But I’m also the person to teach them that following your path in life means being true to yourself. And even though I have boys, I’m hoping this lesson will sink in when they are fathers or they need to support and encourage their overwhelmed wives.

My life has nearly come full circle from a place I wasn’t happy to be in-a few years ago, to a place I am ecstatic to be in-now. I have everything I love; job, family, life, and my writing. I give myself permission to write and shut out the world, when I want to or even sometimes need to. Not because it’s something I’m able to ‘do’, but because it’s who I am; a dreamer and a story teller. Writing takes me back to my childhood where I was enthralled with myths and fairy tales. It thrills my imagination, excites my soul, and awakens my spirit. It’s the miracle of creating something from nothing, and blending creativity with tenacity, which is ironically how I’ve always regarded motherhood. And through it all, I realize the two go hand in hand.

Now I know now how amazing my life is, being Mom.

Thankful for This Life

I purposely didn’t post a blog on Thanksgiving about how thankful I was. Not because I thought I was above doing it. It’s because I wanted to give the concept of thankfulness a little more thought. I wanted to write something that didn’t sound trite and recycled. I wanted to express exactly how thankful I am.

The truth is, I AM extremely thankful for this life that I’ve been given, more than I can share.

So much so, that it sometimes feel more like fear or painful awareness than Thankfulness. I’ve been through some things in my life that I will never write about because they are just too horrible to revisit, and some things that I will never remember, that are probably equally so. For me to share my true thankfulness, I would have to share my entire life, which I won’t do. I believe that some things are meant to remain locked up deep inside, private and painful, to remind you of how fortunate you are to get to live.

The parts I share, through my writing, I only share because I know just how thankful I deserve to be.

My life has been a fabric of different thread, weaving in and out, bright and colorful, sometimes shameful, and often outright ugly. But each thread has meaning. Without one, there couldn’t be another, or another, or another, and then I would be nothing. Colorless, meaningless, without one stitch of gratitude within me. There have been many times that I have wished for that. But I realize that without it, I would cease to be what makes me who I am.

But life is hard. And there are moments when I want to pull my hair out and scream because I wish it was more. And then there are other times that I want to sit comatose, staring out of a window, because I wish it was less. More often, I feel that the true secret may be, just accepting what IS, which is something that I struggle with every single day. As a well-known, and well documented “control freak,” accepting that there are things outside of my control, has been the most brutal lesson of my entire life. It is the lesson that I believe is the key to understanding gratitude in its truest form.

I don’t think that I am there yet.

I still struggle too much with my life, with my path, with the threads that make me who I am. I look far too often at the road I’ve travelled instead of at the road ahead. And I’m still entirely too haunted, angry, and sad on a regular basis to live out this guise of thankfulness fully and truthfully every day.

But I’m trying.

I know where I need to go. I can see it, touch it, taste it. And some days I even achieve it, if not for the briefest of moments. Just sitting back, accepting, and appreciating what my life IS while acknowledging the path that I’ve taken to get there is truly being thankful. It’s not wishing that the thread were a different color, or woven a different way. It’s looking at the tapestry as a whole and understanding that true beauty is in the richness of each individual stitch. It’s loving each thread and not wishing that one had been different, or placed somewhere else.

I look forward to the day that I can look at my life that way, every day. I know in my mind that I have gotten here by decisions that I’ve made, and decisions that were made for me. I know that I am not a victim and that I choose how I view my life. And when it’s all said and done, that how I choose to view my life which will determine how I feel about it in the end.

With each passing day, it gets a little easier. And when I look into the eyes of my sweet, innocent, amazing children, is when I am the closest to feeling gratitude and life makes more sense. In the deepest place in my heart, I feel the glow of thankfulness and happiness every day. But I wanted to be honest so it didn’t sound as though I walk around on cloud nine, every day of my life.

Life is difficult, and we have to seek out the beauty that finds its way through the pain. And when we can do so, we can truly be more thankful.  

   

To Be, or Not to Be…

Part of the reason I write is because I can’t get my brain to slow down and be still. It’s always been that way for me, ever since I was young. This has served me well in a lot of areas of my life. But truth be told… It can be exhausting and frustrating. Reality can never keep up with the pace in my mind which has resulted in a personality of impatience.

My thoughts are in constant motion, jumping from one subject to the next and my dreams are the same. I’m sure they make medication for that, but I’ve always preferred a more creative outlet and have been fortunate to find one.

It seems as though over the years, I’ve tried something else.

Instead of rushing toward the next goal and finding frustration when I don’t get there quickly enough, I’ve been trying to stop and see where I’m stepping a long the way. As a person who has consistently been labelled a “results oriented” person, it has been a Herculean feat to be able to do this. But after many hard lessons, two children, and some much needed perspective, I’m FINALLY able to enjoy not only the results, but the journey and what it takes to get there.

I’m learning how to just, “BE.”

Be… In the moment.
Be… Content.
Be… Satisfied.
Be… Thankful.
Be… Kind and compassionate.
Be… Appreciative.
Be… Patient.
Be… Tolerant.
Be… Attentive.
Be… Understanding.
Be… Happy.

It’s easier, for me, to revert to the opposite of all of these “Be’s”. It’s a fast paced world and we are constantly obligated and busy. We are moving more toward instant gratification in our society than we should ever be. We are glued to our smart phones, instant communication, instant everything.

Myself included.

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and instant results. I’m addicted to it, just like the next person. But one day, I woke up and suddenly I’m more than halfway through my life expectancy and I can’t pick up my babies anymore because they are too big. And I wonder, where did my life go?

I’ve been on this path of “just being” for a while now. While it goes against my very nature, but I find that when I stop, and take it all in, I feel more accomplished. I am content in a way that I never realized was possible. and I am at peace.

To Be… Or Not to Be. Should it really be a question?

Blog Challenge-Day 28 What I’m looking forward to…

We are always looking forward to various events or milestones in our lives. We can’t wait until we have the perfect job, the perfect love, or are happy, or rich, or married, or have kids etc. We are so busy looking forward to moments in our life that we often bypass the moments that are right in front of us.

I’ve often heard that Happiness isn’t a place we get to live in, just a place we get to visit. But through some painful moments in my life, I’ve learned that happiness is a place in our own mind. If we pause to see where we really are, instead of where we think we want to be, we may realize that happiness is directly in front of us. Happiness and contentment are there every day in the simplest of moments.

Yesterday I met a teenage boy, Patrick, with Downs Syndrome. When I met him, I smiled and he smiled back at me. Then much to my surprise he blew me a barrage of kisses. In that one moment, my heart exploded with pure happiness. A sweet boy who was living in his moment, was blowing kisses at me. I don’t know how I could have been anything but happy. Patrick’s gesture was meant to be innocent, sweet, and beautiful, with a touch of mischieviousness~and it was all of that and more.

I’m so happy that I didn’t miss it.

I’ve learned that I can look forward to the most insignificant moments every day. Whether it’s grocery shopping or cooking breakfast with one or both of my sons, cuddling with my family (2 boys, 2 adults, 2 dogs) on our regular Queen size bed, or peace and quiet in my car on the way home from work. If I pay close enough attention~I won’t miss those moments. I try to keep myself open to the moments that take me by surprise, that catch me off guard, and take my breath away.

So I look forward to the tiny moments. And I am so truly thankful for them, so much that I don’t need too much more.

Blog challenge Day 26-an old photo of me

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This is a photo of me when I was in my 20s and all was right with the world. I was free, full of fire, energetic, and hopeful.

It’s many years later and I don’t look quite as young and fresh, but there is a lot about me that is the same. I’m still full of fire, just slower to burn someone with it. I have two young children who keep me full of energy, but I tire a lot easier now and rest when I need to. I don’t know how hopeful I am. Some days I wake up full of hope and other days I’m convinced that the world is a doomed and evil place. But then I look into my children’s faces and I suddenly can find my hope again. It’s just not resting so readily on the surface as it once did.

I love this picture of me. It’s taken with my niece, who I adore, and it reminds me of who I was and who I still aspire to be. That girl in the picture is still alive and well. She’s just a little bit older, and a little less naive. But she’s thankful and wiser, and that’s just fine with me. ❤

Blog Challenge Day 11

Today’s challenge:  List 15 of your favorite things

1.  My family-ALL of my family, even the crazy lovable one and the four legged ones

2.  Singing in the car like nobody is watching.  I love music~It’s Therapy. And I get to pretend like I’m a Rock star.

3.  Writing (I know, obvious :P)

4.  Watching Baseball (watching my kids play and watching professional)

5.  Conversations with my children.  They are funny, entertaining, and interesting.

6.  Ice cream.  I Love Ice cream!

7.  My husband’s voice.  I love listening to him talk, laugh, teach the kids.  It was one of the first things that attracted me to him.

8.  Learning new things.  It’s exhilirating!

9.  Meeting new people; making new connections

10.  How I feel after I work out~Healthy, happy, accomplished.

11.  Genuinely happy people.  They spread their joy to others~it’s a beautiful thing.

12.  Generosity.  When people are generous of their time, their resources, themselves. 

13.  Chick Flicks.  There is nothing like a good chick flick:  Crazy Stupid Love, Friends with Benefits, Steel Magnolias, the Notebook…I could go on and on.

14.  Having nothing to do.  I love having nothing to do.  It’s so rare, but when it happens it makes me so happy.

15.  Dogs.  They love you unconditionally even if they just met you.  I love their sweet, forgiving, “give everything” nature.  I wish people were more like them.