536: Endings


Some things end peacefully, easily, smoothly, calmly. *Some* things end that way, but my life (and my luck) don’t usually work out like that. When something ends, quite often, it isn’t nice. Quite often when something ends, it is downright painful. And no, I am not talking about ordinary, everyday things like the ending of a meal, or the ending of a novel (although, truth be told, I’ve had a few of those cause me some angst, too). The endings I am discussing are a little bigger. Things like relationships, jobs, chapters of life, lives themselves (whether human or animal).

When something big ends, it is seldom a smooth, painless process, even when it is a necessary, unavoidable, or even a healing process. There is still some stuff to sort, and some more stuff to deal with. I always said lessons cost you time, money, or both. That’s true, but they also frequently cost you pain in addition to the time and/or money. Some things are so traumatic they trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which by the way, has nothing to do with war. It is any traumatic event that you are unable to process and get beyond, and you relive it in all its horror over and over. Thankfully, for most of us, those events do dull with a reasonable amount of time and we can move on. But an accident, surgery, a rape, a mugging – any event that traumatizes you can cause it.

You’d think I’d get used to it by now, these endings, and it would not be such a big deal every time one of them happens.  As if the process and the maturity of understanding it makes it hurt any less.



451: Stressful Situations, Good and Bad

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Stress is a part of life. It happens with the bad things, sure, we all realize that – but did you ever stop to realize that stress also happens with the good things, too?

Think about it. When you go on a vacation, that is a darn good thing, proven in studies to be beneficial to you: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/07/business/yourmoney/07shortcuts.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

However, the process of taking a vacation – even the process of planning for a vacation – is stressful. You must choose where to go and what to do, and how much it all will cost. You must book travel, hotel, food, entertainment, etc. You must pack, and travel to get there. There will inevitably be glitches with this planning: a delayed flight, or something wrong with the hotel room, or a problem with the credit card, the restaurant, or the rental car….or SOMEthing you will have to deal with, even if that something is a family member (spouse, child, friend) who is traveling with you. The overall experience might be fabulous – a real stress reliever, but you will encounter some stress in the process of getting the good stuff taken care of.

What about a wedding? That is usually considered a good thing! However, on the list of top 10 most stressful life events, http://paindoctor.com/top-10-stressful-life-events-holmes-rahe-stress-scale/ getting married is number 7.

Getting a new job is usually a joyous occasion – but stress goes hand-in-hand with that, too. There may be a move involved, and even if you don’t have to move, you have to learn a new corporate culture, make new friends and adjust to a new environment and new demands/expectations. Stressful, even though it is a good thing.

What about the birth of a baby? What a blessing!! BUT – having a new baby is a huge (happy) event that causes a lot of stressful disruption to a couple and their family in the process of adjusting to the new baby, and the considerable financial costs associated with the pregnancy and birth, not to mention the costs of providing for a newborn’s needs.

Graduation from high school or college is a milestone ”good” event for someone – but it is also stressful. There are now a lot of plans to be made, and changes to accommodate now that this phase of life is achieved, and new choices must be made about the next phase. Filling out applications for college is stressful, and so is interviewing for jobs. Things to be done and choices to be made! Stress, even when it is all good stuff you are deciding about!

And all of these things that are stressful are GOOD things. I am sure you probably thought of others – the upcoming Christmas holiday season being a prime example. Good times – stressful good times.

This is one reason why ALL humans need to learn coping skills to help reduce stress that don’t involve self-destructive behaviors (such as resorting to alcohol, much as I’d like a stiff drink right about NOW). Everyone needs to be able to deal and reduce their stress levels…now that we all understand that stress is a very real part of the good stuff, as well as the bad stuff. So…..CHILL!!


316: Whew! Breathing Room…..

Panama City

Panama City

Moving is always stressful. Under the category of stressful life events (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holmes_and_Rahe_stress_scale), it falls as number 25 out of 100 for adults. I don’t imagine changing COUNTRIES in a move improves that rating any. Not one little bit.

From the lack of posts over the last month-plus, it is apparent that moving country was stressful for me. I had several issues that cost money and/or time: visa applications that did not arrive, causing rescheduling flights and loss of tickets paid for, being denied boarding, costing time and additional expense to resolve, being denied a pre-paid booking for a rental car, resulting in the loss of that money, too (thanks rentalcars.com – NOT), emergency veterinary services as a result of being denied boarding (thanks to American Airlines – NOT), real estate agents who knew far better than I what apartments were going to be acceptable to me, including their cost, who refused to show me places I could afford, where I wanted to live; TV, phone and Internet providers who blamed ME for their POS, non-working equipment, who refused to refund the money I paid them for their useless, worthless equipment I thought would work because they claim to be the BEST company around – NOT…..and on and on and on…..

The dust is finally beginning to settle down somewhat now, since I have been here in Panama for a month – except I still have no Internet access except while at work (which also explains the dearth of posts since I cringe at doing personal stuff during working time.  I am also fairly well exhausted – to the point I fall asleep in meetings or anywhere else I sit and get still. This is unusual for me, even though I am someone who usually can fall asleep easily. It does not usually happen at WORK.

I am limiting myself to errands only on Saturday, since trying to accomplish something in the afternoon after work in the city means I get home far after dark. It gets dark in Panama about 6:30 – 7 pm, which is not a lot of daylight left over after school lets out at 3:45. The little pueblo (small town) I live in outside Panama City, the capitol, is not really safe after dark, and I have been taking chances unnecessarily – not smart. Asking for trouble is not a good way to start out.

Plus, I have more resting time if I stay home on weekdays. Better all around.

222:Being at Peace in Your Own Skin

You know, there are days when I wake up just pissed off at the whole world. Usually,that happens when more than one of the balls I am juggling (school, personal, spiritual, financial, family, career, etc.) hits the ground at the same time. I can cope with things going to hell in a handbasket with one area of my life, stressful as that is, but when two or more of them go south, than I usually really have problems coping. Here lately, I seem to be having difficulty keeping ANY of them in the air. Period. And you know what? It’s just OK. I am not sure why, but it is just OK.

I read a blog once from a lovely person who is really suffering with anxiety, illness, death of loved ones, mental illness, abandonment issues – made me offer up a genuine and sincere prayer for them. Sometimes it takes losing everything to find yourself. I have also dealt with the death of loved ones (one I was responsible for), depression (clinical depression, not just the blues), surgery, menopause, spousal infidelity, a defiant, oppositional, drug-taking child, and a number of other items including being in debt 35 thousand dollars for a doctoral degree that I cannot finish at the school where I started, due to their negligence (I have a perfect 4.0 GPA in the program with one class to finish), and I have very little recourse for that except to suck it up and to pay up.

But you know what? I am at peace within my own skin. I know damn well that I have done my best. I have worked like a dog. My conscience is clear. I am at peace within myself.

BTW- Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket???

159: Recess

I need  recess.

We  have recess here at the school where I teach. When the recess bell rings, children spill  out of the building at every entrance  on their way to the playground. Their exuberance is plain to see.

Here lately, I have been literally dragging myself from obligation to obligation: school, home, husband,  sleep, school, home….and the never-ending cycle, the merry-go-round of life, continues. I need recess.

What is recess for grownups? It is certainly not found in the bottom of a bottle, I can assure you of that – whether the contents of the bottle be solid or liquid, that is no restorative! I have friends who have tried that –  no help. Drugs and alcohol actually make things worse – exponentially. Besides, it would be my luck to become addicted, and I don’t want that, either!

I’ve heard about the stress-relieving properties of exercise, and I would certainly feel better about myself if I was trim and toned. The only problem is that exercise is real, genuine WORK, and not enjoyable work, at that – at least for me. I have never gotten to the point where exercise was fun – I have heard other people say that, and I think they are lying. Exercise is not recess for me.

So what is recess for me? I enjoy a good book. Uninterrupted (which never happens). I enjoy sewing a new project, whether it be garment, accessory or home furnishing. I enjoy creating jewelry from mismatched pieces and parts, and I love to create – paint, sculpture, whatever – that is real recess  for me.

Now I just need the bell to  ring!