returning home

I have been silent here because I have been traveling.  In fact, I am still far from home…  And yet, I’m home.  It’s beautiful.

I took a trip to visit my parents.  It was greatly needed, and I was overjoyed for the opportunity.  I had the luxury of taking a rather lengthy trip, so I included a few side trips in my itinerary, including two visits to my brother’s family and, right now, a trip to a neighboring state to visit old friends and familiar places.  My daughter is having a fantastic time, I’m feeling revitalized, and it’s really just been amazing.  It seems that, no matter which of these places I visit, they all feel like home.  Then, when I return at the end of these trips, there’s the unmistakable feeling of homecoming yet again.  While having four homes could make me feel always away, I find myself much more impacted by the feeling of COMING HOME in each location than by the feeling of leaving.  There is so much love in all of these cities, and it’s an incredible thing to have.  I am very grateful for it.

My quest for fargazing seems to be going really well.  I had a hiccup while visiting my parents, but I was able to rebound.  In short, I realized that both of my parents live with a tremendous amount of anxiety and frustration.  I hadn’t noticed it before, because it’s been there my entire life.  I was raised in that atmosphere of tangible tension, and I embraced it.  I contributed, and I perpetuated it…  Up until very recently.  Whatever the catalyst was that tripped in my mind the realization that I can opt for a more positive outlook and a more harmonious life, it helped me step away from the way I had lived my entire life, a product of that household, and find some peace.  I realized, watching my parents, that I hadn’t taken a single anti-anxiety medication or supplement in months–something unfathomable a mere year ago, when I required a minimum of two per day just to function.  Clearly, things have changed for me, and for the better.

So, when I recognized this tremendous tension building in my parents’ house, I just walked away.  I retreated to the sanctuary of my old room, and I began reading a book in bed.  I fell asleep early that night, without an alarm set, and got a fantastic night’s sleep.  I chose not to participate in the anxiety, not to contribute to it, and not to let it affect me.  I removed myself quietly and without a scene, and I did what I needed to do to protect myself and preserve my positive perspective.

My parents?  They’ve been this way for at least twenty-five years.  Probably longer.  Possibly since childhood.  Constant anxiety and anger seems not only commonplace in our society, but expected.  Almost celebrated at times.  If you look at a dozen twitter feeds or facebook feeds or blogs and read  back ten days, you’ll likely find a great deal of complaint.  People feel entitled–to entertainment, to being appeased, to not being inconvenienced.  If someone cuts you off on the freeway or gives slow service at lunch or doesn’t respond to a text message in a timely manner…  If you didn’t sleep well or weighed in at more than you’d like or overcooked dinner or were late for an appointment…  If someone didn’t want to go out with you.  If someone didn’t buy you a drink at the bar.  If the store was out of your size in the dress you liked.  If you had a bad hair day.  If the mail was all bills and no checks….  People seem to be actively seeking out things to gripe about.

Stuff happens.  Bad stuff.  Annoying stuff.  Hurtful stuff.  And people don’t always do exactly what we wish they would do.  As I said in a past post…  That’s okay.  And it’s okay to be unhappy, even mad, when things don’t go the way you’d like.  But holding on to it?  Remembering it all day so you can post about it when you get home?  Reliving it while thinking back on your week for your blog update?  None of that is good for you.  It doesn’t inconvenience  me if you choose negative emotions.  I’m doing well enough now that I can filter that stuff out and not let it bring me down with you.  I can be sympathetic and understanding of your crappy day or heartache without having to feel badly along with you…  But what is it doing FOR YOU??  What GOOD do you get out of giving the negative stuff enough attention to post on it?  Why immortalize it on the internet, where it will never be erased, where it just festers and lives on forever in the universe…

I’m sorry, that’s bordering on all spiritual, and that’s not what this blog is.  But it kinda makes sense…  When you post it, you put it out there forever.  There’s no taking it back.  And the bad stuff gains a sort of power over us by living on out there in the world.  In a week or two, you may look back at old posts and see it again, long since forgotten, but you see how upset you were at the time, and all those bad feelings start up all over again…  Or a friend will see it, and it will trigger a chain reaction of negative feelings in them as they relate it to things going on in their own life, and then they’ll come to you in a lousy mood and complain, which will bring you right back down to where you were…  It’s a cycle.  It’s not healthy.  Not for me, at least.

So I’m not clinging to the bad stuff.  I’m letting it go just as soon as I’ve had my healthy reaction to it.  I’m not spreading it out in the world like a toxin that will infect those I love and, quite possibly, come back to reinfect me…  And I’m hoping that the people who are giving me positive feedback about my funny or happy posts on social media sites are taking my example to heart and incorporating similarly positive steps in their own lives.  I’m not suggesting everyone be like me, or that I have something figured out that others don’t, or that my approach will work for everyone else..  But if you see me happy, and I tell you it’s because I’m choosing to do things that make me happy and to not choose to be unhappy…  Well, maybe you’ll start to choose happiness for you, whatever that may look like in your life.  And if you’re happier, I’m happy.

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