Saturday, February 21, 2015

20 Things I Wish Someone Had Taught Me When I Was a Kid

There's so much to know to have a happy life.  And at my advanced age I've noticed that a whole lot of us never got the instructions.  In fact we were taught a bunch of stuff that isn't true.

I was taught:  Do what you're told, get good grades, have the right kind of friends (whatever that is - probably those that do what they're told, get good grades and whose families are of the same social class as yours).

I guess those instructions were not terrible.  However, they were incomplete. Scarily incomplete.  Plus in a lot of ways wrong.

I heard somewhere that someone asked Siri (the voice on iphones) to say something wise.  She said, "Eat your vegetables, get plenty of sleep and be kind to everyone."  Those three instructions seem a lot more useful to me.

So here are 20 things I wish I had been taught before I had to act like an adult:

*Keep track of your income and outgo.  If you were keeping books for someone else, you would do it so aren't you as important?  Spend and earn according to your values, your well-being and your enjoyment. 

*Have an emergency fund so that your basic needs would be covered if you didn't have an income for six months.

*Plan for retirement.  Put a little bit aside consistently.

*Don't have any debt.  Having no debt means you have enormous freedom.  No debt means no debt.  No car payment.  No house payment.  No debt.

*Keep in mind that handling money boils down to two things:  Earn enough to cover your needs and some of your wants and spend less if times are tight.  Pay for necessities before you spend for stuff you want.

*Pay close attention to your physical well-being.  It will pay off now and later.  For starters - eat a bunch of brightly colored vegetables and fruit plus high quality low-fat protein.  Get plenty of sleep.

*Keep your teeth and your body clean.  This pays off now and later too. 

*Keep your back straight and your muscles strong.  Get your heart rate up so your heart muscle will be strong.

*Learn how to dress and present yourself in a way that you enjoy and that draws people to you rather than pushing them away.

*Develop the skill of mindfulness.  Study it.  Practice it.  Be aware of your thoughts, emotions, and behavior.  Be aware without judging yourself.  Just notice.  Notice everything around you.

*Be aware of what you really want for your life.  Be aware of whether your actions every day are steps toward the life you want.

*How other people treat you has a lot to do with your quality of life.  You can teach them how to treat you by deciding how you want them to treat you and encouraging them to do that.  Learn how to do this.  Get really good at it.  If they don't treat you well, and you've tried to teach them, go away from them and stay away.

*Treat other people with kindness; even when they're obnoxious.  Don't be afraid to do this.  Learn how and then practice, practice, practice.  The more kindnesses you do for other people, the happier you'll be. 

*Don't criticize - yourself or anybody else.  It doesn't work.

*Be aware of your environment at home and at work.  Make both nurturing and enjoyable.

*Keep everything simple - personal care, care of your environment, your activities.  Learn how to do this and practice, practice, practice.

*When someone is paying you to do something, be sure you understand what they want you to do, and then do it to the best of your ability.  Do a little bit more than they actually ask you to do.  (If what they ask you to do is illegal or unethical, get another job.)

*Romance and sexuality are incredibly complicated.  Mother Nature is driving us to make babies.  It doesn't actually have much to do with love and long term partnership.  Learn all you can.  Expect good treatment; give good treatment.  Being "in love" and/or being sexually attracted doesn't mean you've found "the one."  You are just being led by Mother Nature to make babies.

*Decide if you want to be a parent.  Not everyone has to be a parent.  If the answer is no, there are plenty of ways to keep it from happening.  If you do want to, be sure you learn how to be a parent.  We're not born knowing how.  How our parents parented us is not always the best model.

*Find what feeds you spiritually.  This is the most important thing you can do to have a happy life.  Learn all you can.  Practice, practice, practice.

Housecleaning without Stress Part 1 - changing your mindset

For those of us who have the responsibility for home care, the weight of it sometimes can feel crushing. Carrying around a crushing weight definitely causes a person's quality of life to stay at a low point on the scale. 

Either I worked like a dog for hours on end in order to get my house clean or I dodged the whole chore until I could hardly stand to live in my house!

I've often wondered why we still haven't solved this huge problem that wearies women/housekeepers all over the world.  Of course, I've also wondered if all of us just accept the weight because we thinks it's what we're born to handle and that there's no escape.

I think I was definitely one of those that just thought I was doomed to have a lower quality of life than other people because home care was my destiny.  Then in recovery I learned that problems have solutions and that maybe it wasn't my destiny to struggle.  I found out that the world is full of information about how to solve problems and the main barrier to solving them is not asking for help!

It turns out that professional housekeepers have figured out how to do a fabulous job in a tiny amount of time.  They do it in a meditative way, without wasting steps and movement, so that when they're finished they're not tired and are not stressed.

So...I took what those professionals have figured out and applied it to my own life.  Guess what?!  I no longer worry about home care.  Specific instructions in Parts 2 and 3.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

How Unsolved Problems Can Ruin Our Lives

It took me a long time but after years and years I finally noticed that I had a long list of problems that I had never solved.  I complained a lot about them - to myself as well as other people. 

I often woke up in the morning worrying about them. 

Thoughts about them plagued me during the day. 

Guilt and regret kept my self-esteem from growing and kept me from going after my dreams. 

In fact, they were ruining my life, but I wasn't doing a thing to solve them.

My appearance and my health concerned me but I didn't know what to do about them.

My ability to carry out my responsibilities worried me.  I worried that I was just incompetent.

My problems with people disturbed me mightily.

Thanks to recovery, I actually followed suggestions and made a list of those life problems and asked for help in figuring them out and taking action to solve them.  I got the help I needed and I'm still working on some of them, having arrived at a place where patient improvement is good enough to keep me comfortable!

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Prayer for Cleaning Up after Cooking and Eating

Dear God,

I was stuck with the dishes from the time I was seven and I was an incompetent dishwasher.  I never really finished and there were piles of dirty dishes in the sink, on the stove, on the cabinets and on the table.  I washed some of them every day but I never really learned how to do it and I never caught up.

Once I was an adult on my own, I continued to do clean up the way I had as a child, but eventually figured out stuff like soaking cooked on or dried on food, washing glasses first, etc.  But I always regarded it as a huge pain to have to do it.  Having a dishwasher only helped a little and my kitchen was always a mess.

So, now I try to clean up once a day, but I'm not very good at it.  I want to change my way of thinking and being.  I want to be present and grateful for the whole process of feeding myself, including the clean up. 

So, dear God, may I be at peace, present and grateful as I clean dishes and kitchen space whenever it's time.

Thank you,


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