Kicking Negativity’s Ass

I try really hard to be a positive person. Admittedly, I’m not successful at this 100% of the time. I do fall into blue funks now and then, or struggle with only seeing the shitty things in life sometimes.

[Hey —  I’m awesome, not perfect.]

I find myself particularly struggling when I am around other negative people. I am sensitive to the moods of other people….so when someone that I’m close to is having a bad day, it often brings me down. The good news is that this works the other way, too — when I’m around happy and positive people, it makes me feel happy and positive too.

It can be tough to pull myself up out of a negative space when there’s negativity around me. It just is. I’ve realized lately that I’ve allowed myself to be pulled down by individuals and events around me. Not that I’ve been down in the dumps or anything, just that I’ve been a lot more negative and cynical than I normally am –or that I want to be. Now, I understand that life isn’t always rosy. Shitty things happen  in life from time to time. Nothing is perfect in life. Shitty events and people wear us down. It’s part of life.

But once we allow ourselves to get dragged down, then suddenly we’re seeing everything through murky, shit-coloured glasses. All the less-than-perfect parts of life are glaringly obvious all.the.time. The good stuff pales in comparison. It’s hard to feel happy and excited by life when everything is viewed through a cynic’s critical, suspicious eye.

That outlook might be okay for some people, but it’s not okay for me. I would rather go through life with wild, blind optimism than with shit-coloured glasses. The optimist is less suspicious of others and is more willing to show some compassion and cut people a little slack. The optimist sees that while A,B and C aren’t great right now, X,Y and Z absolutely are. The optimist rolls with the punches, sees the rainbow that comes at the end of the rainstorm. The optimist smiles, knowing that it will pay off, one way or the other.

Now, I don’t know if I believe that better things necessarily happy to people with a positive attitude. Maybe this is true, maybe this isn’t. What I do know is that in general, people like positive people. They are attracted to them. They want to spend time with them, and do nice things FOR them. I know that positive people are better able to let the garbage of life slide off their backs because when you’re feeling happy and upbeat, the crappy stuff just doesn’t seem nearly as crappy. Much like a negative attitude, positivity is contagious. So in my books, positivity works. Life absolutely gets better when you work to maintain a positive attitude.

I’ve been wearing those shit-coloured glasses for a while now, and it’s time to take them off and give myself another much needed attitude adjustment. Because the truth is, life is pretty damn good, even with the hardships and imperfections. And even better, there are some good things on the horizon for CBG and I as we head into another year together. And I don’t want to miss one single thing because I can’t see what’s right in front of me.

I’m planning on making a few changes to help push away the negativity in my life and allow the positivity to grow and multiply. I know the person that I am, underneath it all, and the person that I want to be. And you know what? Positivity is going to win this round.

positivity

Solo Sunday

This past weekend I got one of those rare opportunities to have a day to myself. CBG was off spending the weekend with Ankle Biter, and in the morning the girls went off with their dad to spend Father’s Day with him. So I was all on my own.

Truth be told, I’ve been looking forward to having a day to myself for a few weeks now. I’m the kind of person who needs a certain amount of time to myself. Growing up, because of the big age gap in my family, I was basically like an only child. I grew up in a rural area and didn’t see my friends much outside of school. As I grew older I always valued having time just for me. It was something that I missed terribly when my girls were little and I was a stay at home mom.

For those four years that CBG and I were doing the long distance thing, the one benefit was that I got plenty of alone time. I had two nights every week when the girls were off with their dad that were all mine. Sure, sometimes I spent those nights moping around and feeling more than a bit sorry for myself, but for the most part I enjoyed having time to recharge my batteries.

Now with CBG living here, time like this to myself if hard to come by. To be clear: this is not a complaint in any way. As I’ve recently written about, I love having him here – so very much. But even with that, I still need a certain amount of “me time”, and lately, that’s been a little bit lacking.

So Sunday was a welcome day for me. After the girls went off with their dad I headed out for a nice long run. I had a quiet shower in peace, I ate lunch in front of the TV, glued to one of my guilty pleasures lately “Say Yes to the Dress”, before heading out into the sunshine for a nice walk around the neighbourhood.  I picked up some food for dinner before coming home and spending the rest of the time cooking and cleaning up a storm. By the time CBG rolled in the door at around 8:00 pm I was relaxed, smiling, and very much glad to get a huge hug.

Thanks to a little Sunday solo time, I started the week with a smile, feeling relaxed and refreshed, my stress levels lower than they’ve been in a while. It was a good reminder for me of how important time to myself really is, just to feel happy and balanced.

Note to self: Take more alone time. You’re a better person for it.

This Week’s Simple Joys

gratitudeThere were several small joys this week. Joys that I took the time to notice and appreciate. Things that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks, going unnoticed, on weeks when I wasn’t paying attention.

But I did pay attention.

And here are some reasons that I’m glad that I did:

  • A short early morning run for the first time in weeks.
  • A snow day with my two special girls.
  • Make up sex.
  • An absolute perfect bowl of oatmeal.
  • Feeling, without a doubt, how very loved that I am.
  • A dinnertime picnic on the kitchen floor.
  • The sound of the snow crunching under my feet on a walk to work.
  • Reaching out in the dark and feeling CBG beside me.
  • Bright winter sunlight bouncing off the brilliantly fresh snow.
  • Falling even more in love.
  • A heart-to-heart with my best friend.
  • Shoveling with my daughter and breathing in the cold freshness of winter.
  • Family dessert night.
  • Feeling the boundaries of my love being tested and realizing that it runs deeper than I ever thought possible.
  • Loving, loving, loving.

gratitude2

Still Sinking In

It’s been about four months now since CBG moved here. Since our life together finally began.

The official report? It’s still amazing. Sure, we’re not without the occasional issue. But right now, I have to say that we’re still in the “cohabitational bliss” phase of life.

The girls are loving having CBG here with us. On the weekends that he goes away to see Ankle Biter, they miss him when he’s not around. Sure, we enjoy our dedicated girl time, but the thrill of being able to dance around in their underwear wears off after the first 24 hours. The three of them — CBG and my girls — are growing closer together every day. And it’s wonderful to see.

From everything we can see, Ankle Biter is adjusting well. CBG being in another city has actually only meant a small disruption to his day-to-day life. Their twice weekly video chats have been filling in the gap. CBG’s ex has been awesome about that.  I have nothing but respect for her and how she’s been handling things in terms of helping and encouraging CBG and Ankle Biter continue their relationship long distance. Kudos to her. When CBG and Ankle Biter do have their weekends together, they are full of fun and adventure. The girls and I join them every now and again too, which always results in a fun family weekend.

Honestly, though, even though he’s been here for four months now, I still sometimes have a tough time wrapping my head around the fact that CBG isn’t going anywhere. That he’s here — to stay. Just the other night I had one of those “wow” moments….”Wow. He’s here…to stay.” And a huge grin spread across my face with this knowledge.

Having CBG here is better than I ever anticipated it to be. I know that I keep repeating myself on this, but honestly, the point is still being driven home for me. I wake up every single morning completely grateful for all that I have. I wake up more in love with the man beside me than I was the day before. It’s all still sinking in…and every time I have one of those “moments of realization”, I am happier than I ever thought I could be.

Life is wonderful. Wonderful! 

I hope I never get used to this feeling. I want to always appreciate it.

Holiday Gratitude

Last night, CBG, the girls and I put up our Christmas tree together. Our first blended family tree — the first of many to come.

We have a vast collection of ornaments, the girls and I. We have ornaments that have been given to us as gifts over the years. Home made ornaments from when the girls were toddlers. Ornaments that I’ve given the girls over the years. Our ornaments have no special theme, or colour palette. I love all of those ornaments; so many of them have a story or a memory that go along with them. They are all special in some way.

This year we added CBG’s ornaments to our collection. He also has a huge collection of ornaments without any particular theme. His collection blended quite nicely with ours. Seamless, really.

The result was absolutely lovely:

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As we spent the evening listening to holiday tunes, drinking hot chocolate and putting up the tree, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. For my girls, my man, this life that we are creating together. I thought back to Christmases past, when the girls were little and their dad and I were still together. My first few Christmases as a single mom, struggling in so many ways — mentally, emotionally, financially.

I felt grateful for absolutely everything. Every year before this one. Every struggle, every heartache. Because it was all of these things that have worked to bring me where I am today, to this place of so much love and happiness. I would endure it all again — 10 times over — if it would bring me to tonight.

I know that there are some of you reading this who might be in that place of struggling. Maybe things feel hopeless. Maybe you wonder what in the hell you’re doing right now in your life. The future can seem extra frightening when you’re in that place of sadness and uncertainty. If you’re one of those people, then you should know that it won’t always be like this. Good things will come, if you are willing to keep pushing forward and reaching for them. You must be willing to continue doing the work. As hard as it might be to do, focus on what you’ve got right now. If you can find happiness and joy in whatever your situation is — regardless of how much you’re struggling — when things become easier, then you will appreciate it all the more.

Joy feels even sweeter when you’ve overcome obstacles to get there. Four years ago, none of this seemed possible. And yet here I am. Simultaneously loving it all and still reaching for more.

The Guardian of My Happiness

A few weeks ago on Twitter, someone tweeted this: “You are the guardian of your happiness”. It was one of those things that I had the privilege of seeing at a time that I most needed to see it.

It’s tough to know what that means sometimes — being the guardian of your happiness. I don’t think that we always truly know what will make us happy at any given point in our lives. Also, sometimes something that made us happy a year ago isn’t going to be what makes us happy now. Happiness changes as evolves as we change and evolve over lifetimes.

Think about it — when I was a kid, the one thing that would have brought me a lot of happiness was a Barbie Dream House. Not so much anymore. Never did get that Barbie house, btw. Not that I’m bitter or anything.

*cough*

One of the things that evolves over our lives are our friendships. I’m not certain that most friendships are meant to last a lifetime, really. I think that people come in and out of our lives at different times, for different reasons. Sure, there are some friends that are there to stay, always, but others that will only be a part of our lives for a certain time period.

Being the guardian of my happiness lately has meant learning to know when to let go of friendships, and when to hang on. It’s tempting, I think, to try and hang onto our friendships, a certain nostalgia from a time in our lives that has come and gone, maybe. Lately I’ve learned the value of recognizing when it’s time to let go. I’ve learned how freeing it can be to say goodbye to someone whose time has come and gone. Sort of like clearing the clutter out of closet and giving away those things that we no longer need anymore….passing them on to someone who can make better use of them than I can.

Some friendships are worth fighting for. Others need to be allowed to fade away…and that’s okay. It’s all a part of learning and growth. I’m happy that my life isn’t stagnant, always staying the same way. Change is difficult sometimes, but you know what? If my life looked the same as it did a decade ago, I’d be pretty unhappy about that right now. Part of life is learning to embrace change, in all its forms.

And for me, right now, this is a big part of being The Guardian of Happiness. Embracing change.

Thankful

It was four years ago this past weekend that I was at one of the lowest points in my entire life. A year of depression, months of struggling with anxiety, and overwhelming stress all came to a head. I remember at one point thinking that there was no way that I was going to be able to continue on living. My life felt like it was shattering apart — and in a way I guess it was. I felt broken beyond repair; it took me a good long while to realize that this wasn’t the case. Worn down and worn out, yes — broken and defeated — absolutely not.

And here I am, four years later.

I am proud to say that during this time I have carved out a life for myself better than I ever thought I would have. I have proven to myself how strong I am; I have gained independence and self-confidence greater than I ever imagined. I re-started my life with practically nothing, and here I am, happier than I ever thought possible.

Four years ago I never imagined that I would have so much to be thankful for ever again. And yet this is where life has taken me. This year, on Thanksgiving weekend, I spent the time surrounded by those I love most in the world.

What more could I possibly need?

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