Just a day at a time.

I have to say, no matter how true it is, that has got to be my least favorite phrase. It doesn’t make me grit my teeth the way that “Cool Beans” does (I can’t stand that one because of a particular person also, but in a totally different way.), but it does give me a great big headache.

The reason why “Take it a day at a time” gets to me so is because, if I would have something I really wanted and was planning for, and I would start telling my mom about it, she would almost always say “let’s take it one day at a time.” Interestingly, she never said that about college. But she says that even about what she’s going through now. A lot of times, such as with what she’s going through now, I will admit it makes perfect sense. And frankly, you never have a choice BUT to take things one day at a time. My thought always is, though, that one has to have goals. Therefore, you have to plan and think ahead, which is what I was usually talking about when my mom would pop in with her “take it one day at a time.” That, or hoping for the best. Somehow her saying that gave me the idea and the impression that she was and does expect the worst. I suppose that’s not such a bad thing to expect—if you expect only the worst out of things and people, you will never be disappointed because through your thoughts and actions you make it a reality. If you expect the absolute best all the time, you will always be disappointed because no one can live up to anyone’s false sense of reality. That’s part of why, I expect what will come will come, even though sometimes I admit to falling prey to expecting either the best or the worst out of people and situations, and being either disappointed or surprised. I can’t say I’m any more perfect than my mother, of course, but I try my best with what I know, which I have to admit is all she’s ever done. Sometimes I see her life as being a very sad existence (which is what I know she’s going through in her own mind right now), and I wonder how she gets through. She has no goals that I know of—I mean, other than bringing up my sister and I, and staying with my dad and making their relationship work for as long as it can—I’d be the last to knock those goals, as those are all I want for myself. Well, considering my life, they are the LEAST I want for myself, as being the best mom and wife I can be are the basis for my life and those two titles, labels, whatever are both the only ones (besides daughter, daughter in law, and writer) that I will keep and gladly accept from the outside world. But I also want so much more, and I wonder sometimes if there is anymore my mom wants. I see her life not as pointless (she’s one of the most wonderful people on the face of the earth, my best friend, my mentor, a beacon for me, someone I go to for advice, that’s why it’s so hard for me right now knowing she is not in a condition right now where she can fill those roles, and it hurts me so bad to see her hurting.), not as having no goals or impacts to make. But looking at how I’m trying to shape my own life, I wonder if she has any goals right now. I mean, with all that’s going on in the family—a new grandchild, my sister’s wedding—I can’t see how she might not see a reason to live, or a reason to make goals that, admittedly, could be a long time coming to completion, but that the only way she can start filling them is working now. Once I was talking with my dad about my mom—something we do often, after a visit or just in the evenings to console ourselves because of the loss we feel with her so far away right now, and it’s always amazing how alike we feel—and he made mention that, if she were in state, close, where we could go visit her every day (that’s where I’d be right now if she was in the next town over, where I’m really hoping she can be, because I was there at least 10 minutes a day, everyday, when she was in the next town over, whether I had classes or my internship or what), he’d be there, helping her, giving her support, being a crutch, heck, doing most of the work, walking her from one end of a hall to the other. I told him I’d be right there with him, under the other arm, especially if I wasn’t pregnant (anymore, as it may look). So many times, we said we’d give her our lungs, our kidneys, we’d change places with her in a heart beat. It just doesn’t seem as if she finds a reason to make the goals she needs to, it seems if she thinks she’s stuck where she is and all the worst happened to her because it was supposed to and there’s no way she can get out of where she is. Well, I won’t disagree that what happened to her happened for a reason. Everything does. But she’s supposed to grow and learn from it, not just sit and wallow in it.

All of which in a round-about way brings me around to where I can talk about myself again (ha ha), and even more maybe explain to those who might have misunderstood where I was coming from with my post yesterday. I don’t see myself as a chronically depressed person. For one, I’ve always been so positive, in high school and even now. I don’t like my down moments, which is probably what makes them so much harder for me to go through. I have a friend who has told me countless times that she’s amazed how well I’ve handled everything that’s been thrown into my life recently—the garbage with my mom’s health, even the somewhat surprising arrival of the new person. In part, it’s because, when I do get depressed, I retreat into myself. I will ask for help and go to a psychologist when I feel it’s getting really bad, or whatever’s going on is something I feel I really can’t handle, or I just need something of a reality check—there were at least 2 instances of that when I was in the middle two years of college, and once in high school, when I made appointments. I always got the reaction that I was fairly normal, what I was going through was normal, and that I was handling it in the right way. Somewhat of a surprise, sometimes I think, because of my family’s history—my grandmother being certified (literally), my mom being chronically depressed or, as my dad thinks might be the case, suffering from Post Tramatic Stress Disorder due to her childhood and grandma being certified, as well as my mom’s sister deserving to stay in Jone’s Hill (I swear, if anyone ever says something like that to my sister again, that SHE belongs in Jone’s Hill—oh, I swear I’ll bean them myself!!!!!!!!!!). But I don’t let everyone always know about every little thing. Because I’m so “normal”, I know sometimes I can pull myself out of whatever funk I’m in, and set myself straight and on my feet.

So what I did this time was to sit and do some serious thinking. Writing it out always helps, as I have started doing every day (again, finally!!!) in a really nice journal I picked up at the bookstore a few months ago, with this really cool round pattern on the front of it. I wrote about all the stuff that was driving me crazy, and made little notations about how I was going to fix one of the things (money. It’s always money don’t ya know?). Then, in part thanks to my husband’s little quip about hormones and how I have to be careful about how upset I get and how the hormones will affect the kid (not that I don’t agree…and it helped get me out of the funk at the time), and in part because of looking back at the entries I had made, I decided to take a step back and look at how I was reacting to things, and maybe rethink it all. I considered the times when I did the best, or close to it, felt the best, when I felt the most in control, etc. While certainly the house was nearly always in some sort of a mess, the times I felt most in control, and felt life moved most smoothly, were when I had some sort of structure. Now, it was a disaster when I was in the Army (in part because they are just not flexible enough for love :-P), but I got along okay during college, especially during the school year, in part I think because I knew where and when I had to be somewhere. I think knowing I was doing SOMETHING worthwhile helped too, but it was structure. So I figured I had to find some sort of structure. Also, it was when I was doing something productive. Well, look around. There are a lot of productive things I could be doing during the day. Cleaning, crocheting (omg, you mean sometimes that’s not enough. I’ve been crocheting the whole time!!!), most importantly WRITING. That’s part of why I went to college, it makes me feel complete…so I gave myself a schedule. I also made myself understand that this schedule has to be flexible (look, it’s soaking up over an hour now where I could be cleaning!), and may (ha ha, will) change when the baby comes. I didn’t schedule out every hour, just time frames. A few hours in the morning when I can write. A few in the afternoon to clean. I wrote in an expectation of a 2 hour nap. I wrote in time for me, time for my family, time to make us dinner. Since I wrote this schedule up, and the time for it’s implimentation began, I think I’ve done okay. There are days where I will mess it up, I won’t follow it, for one reason or another—a scheduling conflict between the schedule and an appointment, taking a nap longer than 3 hours, etc—but I’ve got to===*sigh*===take it all one day at a time, with an eye on my goals.

So, what have I done so far today? Well, I have to say, one thing I find a bit amazing is that I have yet to go down for my daily nap. I wrote 4 whole pages of my current story. I think that’s the most I’ve done so far. When I realized I didn’t want to take a nap, and contemplating what I need to get done for today, I made myself a list on one of my dry erase boards I have hanging around the house. It started off with making a couple phone calls I had to make, then I have 2 baskets of clothes to fold—3 when I get the load I have in the washer dry. I also have to do dishes. But I’m really proud of myself, because it’s only the dishes from the actual baking of the Swedish Meatballs last night, and not a whole pile like usual :-(/:-). Since it’s the day before payday, I want to get the checks for bills written so they can be sent out tomorrow. I have made the calls, washed the towels (just have to transfer them to the dryer), put the dishes in the sink—and completed tasks not on “today’s” list, but on another list I have, for all the things I have to clean in the house. I’ve been wanting to dismantle my desk, sort out all the shelves and the organizers I have. My shelves look a lot better, and while I don’t have all my writing stuff organized quite how I wanted it, I do have some of those organizers looking a lot better. I even further sorted the stuff I brought into the living room to give my attention to.

So, the day wasn’t even half over (I turned the tv off at 9, and didn’t turn it back on until noon to “watch” the news…which I changed it to Unsolved Mysteries instead, ha ha), and I already felt accomplished. I think my biggest accomplishment were the 4 pages I wrote. I’m hoping I can pick up the same amount of momentum when I start work on the other stories I have in the wings, the ones from my Creative Writing class that I have to continue and/or edit. I’m proud of me, I know I’ve accomplished something important to me, and that makes me feel good. It makes me feel whole.

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