What to expect when your only child goes off to college or: The misery of realizing you are old!

I only have one child. An amazing daughter who inherited many of my personality quirks and who also took that shared DNA and molded it into something even better than I could have ever imagined! She’s bursting with potential and I am trying my hardest not to fuck anything up for her as she moves into her second year of college and finally away from the home nest for good.

Today, I walked into her nearly empty bedroom and the instantaneous sensation of tears welling up in my eyes took me by surprise. I felt the tell-tale tightening of the chest, that vise grip around the heart feeling and I wanted to crumple into a ball on the floor and cry. The realization that this was most likely the last summer she would “come home” and from here on out I will only see her on brief visits over the holidays struck me hard.

Where did the time go? How could the years fly so fast? How did I get so damn old?

Well…I can and do sit around and talk about pooping ALL the time. The kid does it too. Kinda our thing much to Manly Man’s utter chagrin but, come on! Everyone poops, everyone gets old and if we can’t talk about it then why are we even here?

So, back to my sadness over no longer being the one getting asked, “Hey Mom? Where is my charger, book, this. that and the other?” No, wait…I just got a text from my daughter asking me where her Airpods are. And…now another asking me where her flatiron is. Mind you, I’m over 400 miles away but damned if I don’t know exactly where those things are! Mom’s know…everything!

I am thankful for the age of constant digital connection, the FaceTime era where you can see loved ones, often just in weird angle, poorly lit shots of their nose, eyes and forehead while they are lying in bed or lounging on the couch. It’s not pretty but its connecting and I’ll take it!

I’ll take any type of communication now because I know the “little girl” days are over and that is painful. So painful I now have a daily slideshow of memories from the past floating around every corner of my mind at any given moment. I see her room, in our new house and I flash back to an image of her crib, in our old house, with its cute bumper pad and mobile attached to the rail. I see the rocking chair I used to sit in, rocking her to sleep each night while listening to lullabies. I see the stack of favorite books and toys and I long for that again, with her.

Now, mind you, those days included some very irritating moments too which involved an ex-spouse and ex-in laws but I am able to freeze frame the good parts, the laughter and joy I shared with her. I know I will have many more opportunities to experience happiness within her current orbit but those sweet, silly and free moments from her childhood were so satisfying to remember! And, also so, so very sad to look back on now!

Damn it Buble!!!!!!

It’s hard knowing you can’t go back, ever. You can’t get a piece of that bliss, just a small sliver to carry with you now as a reminder that you did something right and your life actually had many amazing pockets of success hidden amongst the bitter experiences. I made it out intact and she made it out as well so now…I just want to focus on the amazing things and let go of all the garbage.

Yes, I made many mistakes with her father but in the here and now I want to move forward new and clean. She doesn’t have to worry about me because I am with a devoted partner who loves her as well and is so very proud of her just like I am. I am OKAY! I just need to learn how to remember wonderful moments with her without the twinge of regret or second guessing myself. I SHOULD have done a lot of things differently but the one thing I did right was having her. That will always be my greatest accomplishment in life, hands down.

https://grownandflown.com/empty-nest-kids-leave-me-behind/

And now I sit alone thinking about her and struggling to find my new path in life. No one really tells you that after your children grow into adults and take off to live their own lives you will be left with an aching void. You are left with a feeling of confusion over what to do next. Am I still a parent or has that chapter concluded? Do I get to go back to being a woman, partner, friend, coworker now or have I always been these things all along it’s just that society told me I could only pick one to be at a time? I was never told what to do with myself once that job was done. Is this a mid-life crisis or a no-life reality?

We give up a lot of our former selves to be parents but what happens when we forget where we left the person we used to be before our children came along? I think I remember where she is…but, do I really want to find her again? So many questions and to think our college age offspring are contemplating who they want to be at the very same time we are trying to remember who we once were. It’s a bit freaky right? I literally want to ask her where I left all my shit now! “Hey, newly adult child? Where did I leave my dreams, my ambition and my sanity?” I just need to know what my role is now.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

As much as we’d like…there’s just no blocking out those who try our sanity forever.

Unfollow. Unfriend. Report. Block.

All of the above are temporary actions that fail to access deep into the core of what is truly wrong within any relationship, whether that be online or real time.

Last night I had a dream that I saw my sister sitting at a bar looking at me from across the room. She looked sad and was beckoning me to come and sit by her. My SO moved past me in the dream to talk to her and after a few moments came back and said, “You made the right decision.”

What does that mean? That I was correct in placing her outside my life for a while, like a time-out for unruly toddlers or that I was right to stop letting our angry interactions of the past impact my here and now? There are days and weeks that go by now where I don’t give her or any of my other ousted family members a thought. That once bothered me a lot. It doesn’t anymore.

My sister and I haven’t spoken in almost two years so to have that dream was both a little alarming but also, telling. The telling part is that this was an obvious signal pointing to a tale of misguided jealousy and misinformation spun out of control, nudging my subconscious to either defrag and reboot the experience or delete it all together.

By delete I mean forgive, let it go, move on or any other trite word people use to describe an action they should do and want to do but can’t because they are cowards deep down inside. I don’t consider myself a coward. Stubborn and opinionated? Yes, but when you get down to the brass tax I will weigh in and fight to the death in defense of what I hold to be true. Count on it.

All of this time has gone by and the things I formerly did as a kindness and duty no longer hold the same amount of meaning. You buy a birthday card, sit down and think of just the right words to say that might touch the person receiving it. You try to find out exactly what they might like, love or laugh at and you get it, cost is no concern. Except now, a lot of those steps are taken out of the equation because you know that the receiver doesn’t actually care and just seeing a package or envelope with your name on it will instantly make their eyes roll in derision.

It’s really the ultimate kindness to stop pushing your name or likeness in front of them I suppose. To stop forcing them to think of you when they don’t really want to. Or, is it? Sometimes I think that I could just forget about acknowledging certain milestones because my milestones of late have all gone unacknowledged. But, then I remember I am an Aquarius! We love a solid grudge but we also fight for justice and to fail to extend a thoughtful gesture, even to those who have wronged us, is blasphemy!

Back to this dream. What was it all about? Was it a sign that I should reach out or was it a sign that I’ve done enough and have earned the right to move on down the road, free of bitter entanglements and resentment? I think I might be there, standing at a fork in the road, one sign pointing back to the darkness I came from and the other directing me to go forward without looking back.

https://blog.rescuetime.com/burnout-syndrome-recovery/

I’m just fucking tired and caring takes time, energy and effort. I don’t have it in me anymore. The well filled with this sad saga is finally dry. So, which way would you go? Back to attend to the wounded or forward to protect your hard earned sanity and serenity? Personally, I prefer the light that clarity and release provides because the heavy darkness of strife and drama is unbearable anymore.

And now, to commemorate this epiphany I have unblocked the door to my social observation deck, as it were. Run free upon my fertile fields of pithy prose! I will try to rake up as many offensive thorns as possible but cannot make any guarantees. Tread carefully though, it has always been my experience that offense is only taken if the insult, joke, meme, fault and so on applies to the one taking it personally.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If all you want to be is right then I guess I will choose to be happy instead.

I have been thinking about this topic for a long time. Right, wrong, in between and I don’t care are all positions people either fight over or simply walk on by without a single thought. I’d like to be in the latter category. To do anything else seems counterproductive and illogical.

There is a whole world of wonder outside of our own heads….

I will let you have your outrage, your vitriol, your angst and also…your misery. Many in that list are well earned so I would never want to take that away from the possessor; I prefer to err on the side of mental and physical well being now. You do what you think will get you by in life and I will do what allows me to climb mountains, sail seas and soar above the negativity. If I live by example, fully immersed in the current moment rather than frustrating ruminations then I won’t have time to worry about how others perceive me. That will no longer be my concern.

How Being Right Stops You From Being Happier

Okay, you enjoy that title! I’m just going to be over here enjoying life. Cheers!

Oh, please don’t think that I am stepping away from being passionate about causes and movements that matter a great deal, that won’t change. What I am setting aside is the reactionary response to little digs, picks, prods and manipulative lead-ins. Also, please don’t dish out the line, “Well, if you don’t speak out and stand up then you are just another sheep waiting to be led to slaughter!” Save your time and breath. When it matters I will speak up, no doubt there and when it’s an effort in futility and only feeding the ego of narcissism then I will have better things to do. Got it?

5 Ways to Handle People Who Always Think They’re Right

I don’t always have to be yelling to be heard and I don’t always have to react in rage to express my disagreement with arrogant and ignorant statements. Sometimes it’s not so much what you say as what you do that matters. I will be happy, despite ridicule over my point of view. I will enjoy my life and revelle in the wonder of new discoveries and new travel adventures and also the excitement over meeting new interesting people. All of those things involve both personal action and intent. There is no praying or hoping here. It’s all ME powered.

So, do you want to be Right or do you want to be Happy? Or, neither? Take a moment and choose wisely.

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Surviving in the land of learned helplessness

Have you have ever heard someone incredulously wonder, out loud or under their breath, “how have you survived on your own as long as you have?” Be honest. You have either thought it, said it or possibly had someone utter words similar about you even.

It’s easy to believe that this is a generational thing, only the young these days are helpless but, I have run into just as many individuals my age or older that can’t chew gum and walk at the same time.

Oh, they try to say their lack of progress in life is the fault of this person or that circumstance but I know it’s really because they like the attention they get, good or bad and/or they just don’t want to try harder. Some blame their parents, their boss, their teachers but once you hit a certain age that blame turns stale when nothing has been done to change the equation.

Why try when enablers abound and “help” can be extracted from even the most unwilling helpers simply because it’s easier to just fix other people’s screw-ups than to teach them how to be more detail oriented and self-sufficient. Even the best teachers can’t reach the willful woe-is-me crowd.

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-learned-helplessness-2795326

We live in times where adult children still live at home with their parents (nothing wrong with this IF they help out and pay rent). Or, they live on their own but still can’t function in the adult world without constant supervision and intervention. How has this happened? Is it because we want to just give up and blame depression, anxiety, lack of opportunity or personal resources?

The world is just against me!

No, it isn’t. It is YOU working against yourself, not the world. Also, please! You aren’t THAT special!

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/learned-helplessness-seligman-theory-depression-cure/

Life is frustrating for sure. I experienced the disappointment, embarrassment, and fear when I was younger and literally didn’t have a pot to piss in. Hear this…you aren’ t the only one that has had this happen to them. You aren’t the first nor the last and in each case, the sun still set and came up again the next day.

Reset. Restart. Resolve to do better than you did the day before because if what you have been doing thus far isn’t helping do something different.

http://www.oprah.com/spirit/how-to-overcome-your-feelings-of-hopelessness/all

You are not a robot. You are not programmed to only function a certain way. And, no one can do this for you. Enablers aren’t helpers, they are hurting and expecting people to clean up all of your messes is inconsiderate, lazy and self-limiting.

So, here’s the point: Choosing to be helpless when you are fully capable of doing all the same things every other responsible, overworked, stressed, depressed, anxious person in the world has completed for eons is on you. Own it and choose to do better.

The world owes you nothing but dammit, YOU owe yourself the opportunity to see how good it feels to be reliant on no one but yourself for success and happiness.

Go get yours!

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Say hello to a new day!

Let’s forgo the “new year, new me” bullshit shall we? Granted, it IS a new year but odds are the same old you is dragging ass into 2019 just like in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and so on. How about we acknowledge that people don’t change overnight, it takes hard work and with each new day the potential to screw up yet again exists.

Work on avoiding screw-ups on a day to day basis.

Dear Diary,

Today, I didn’t fuck anything up. I got up, I smiled at myself in the mirror, I attended to my responsibilities and even had time left over for fun! It was a good day. Here’s to hoping tomorrow is even better. But, if it isn’t and it’s only the same…that’s still a win. I’m alive.

Being grateful to continue breathing air and being allowed to walk amongst all the other world’s inhabitants is so simple, yet many overlook this as they plod about doing the things they think are important. Are those things truly important or are they just busy work done with the express purpose of distracting ourselves from what a life well lived is really all about?

How well do you live? Are you grateful for the supportive people around you? Do you tell them how much they mean to you and how much joy they create? Appreciation only pondered within the mind yet left unspoken is wasted energy and entirely unfair to the person that may need to hear those words.

WORDS…to think but not say…why even bother? To me, if energy is exerted in order to formulate thoughts that then flow into meaningful poetic emotion why, why, why let that creation park in your brain only? Take it for a ride. Drive those words to the intended recipient’s house, pull up in grand style and honk that horn of exaltation and admiration because it might be so vitally needed! You have no way of knowing otherwise so why chance it?

Life is a matter of choices. Some good, some bad and some left to rot in the closet never to be attempted, for fear of being what? Embarrassed? Rejected? WHAT? And, does it really matter if you are embarrassed or rejected? Next! Last I checked no one has ever died of embarrassment but they have died of neglect, depression spurred suicide and even a broken heart.

Yes, you can die of a broken heart! Look it up. https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-08/heartbreak-syndrome-and-takotsubo-are-real-for-heart-disease/9523662

And so, here we are, a different year has begun and an opportunity to decide if we want to continue dragging around all the same baggage from previous years. The burden is getting heavy, isn’t it? Can you at least ask yourself if letting go of maybe a quarter of that might feel good? How about half now? Work your way up.

We have time…as long as you acknowledge each new day is an opportunity to change and actually take some small steps. Baby steps count too. You didn’t get in the dark well of despair you are currently in overnight so don’t worry about sprinting out of the blocks each new day.

Now wave at the sky, say hello to the sun, say thank you to the moon even, anything that remotely sounds like gratitude will help the cause. YOU are the cause. Get it? Charity starts at home. Be kind to yourself.

Peace, love, and understanding,

Reverie

When the “helping” hand actually hurts…

I’m just trying to help...

I don’t mean to criticize but…

This is for your own good…

Here, I found a meme that sounds like what you are going through…

Ahhh, the helpers that don’t really help! It’s one thing to deposit mountains of written support online or via text and quite another to be the person known for physically showing up when human connection is needed most.

Newsflash: a meme can’t hug you when you need a hug.

This is the risk we all face living in a rapidly disconnected world. Oh, sure we are technologically “connected” but we are far from emotionally connected anymore. And, this disconnect has happened so fast many haven’t even had a chance to allow this truth to register deep into their blunted gray matter.

The more time we spend online, away from meaningful human interaction, the greater the chance we will experience gut-wrenching loneliness. Loneliness spurs on hopelessness and hopelessness hands over the keys of your life to potential debilitating depression.

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/the-digital-age-are-we-losing-human-connection/

Why do we risk our precious mental well-being by partaking in this onesided drunk dance with social media? Is there really anything truly “social” about it if all interaction is conducted remotely rather than face to face? How will anyone learn how to read facial cues or body language if we are only interacting with a written transcript and not a breathing, flesh and blood human being?

https://gulfnews.com/going-out/society/how-mobile-phones-are-killing-human-interaction-skills-1.2205044

The thought of never seeing that distinct look of surprise, happy excitement or even pain in the eyes of my fellow human again, because the preferred mode of connection is via text now is truly heartbreaking. How has this happened? Are we really this fucking lazy?

That day is coming quicker than we know…

Or, is it because we are scared? Has the fear of rejection, disappointment, and pain turned us into a sniveling lot of bemoaners rather than get-the-hell-out-there doers? I think so but that’s just my opinion and not verified by any case studies.

So, does it help to strategically place happy sayings and inane memes on the social media accounts of those who have stated they are struggling or does it further fuel the loneliness? Time certainly will tell and so will statistical studies of the increase in mental illness diagnoses and suicide attempts.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: why wait until the inevitable happens? Why wait until someone crying out for help hits rock bottom? Why offer a meme or empty words quickly typed out on your phone while waiting in the Taco Bell drive-thru?

Damn, we have become a selfish and oblivious bunch of assholes, haven’t we?

© 2019 L.A. Askew

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to “In the Land of Reverie” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.