Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Times They Are A-Changin'

     I've kept a journal since I was fourteen and with every passing year, I'm more and more glad I have that record of who I was and who I've become. While reading some of the earlier entries are painful at best, it's something that I do from time to time. It helps when I get down on myself for not being the person I think I should be or thinking things I wish had never crossed my mind. This blog serves much the same purpose, I've discovered, albeit in a much more public way.

     My high school self, not nearly as obnoxious as some of the brats I've run into who now populate my former high school, was a rather overly dreamy, unfocused sort of girl. "Idealistic" doesn't even begin to cover it, truth be told. And while there are certain elements of my personality that are still here today, ones that were probably present the day I was born, there are several other that have definitely changed over the course of the years since I filled those black and white composition books.

     There are some things in there that make me shake my head and sigh, some that make me laugh (hello, bad, angst-ridden poetry!) and a few that just make me cringe. There's one in particular that I must have written when my mother pissed me off about something or other that's just ugly. It actually bothered me so much that I briefly considered ripping the pages from that particular journal so that I wouldn't ever have to be reminded that those nasty thoughts were mine.

     I realized, though, that it's far more productive and conducive to becoming the person that I want to be to read over those records, analyze them, and think about how far I've come. Or not come, as the case may be once in awhile. If I get rid of everything about me that I don't like, then that's just being dishonest about who I am/was. And that's not something I ever want to happen.

     Reading back over some blog entries, I saw that the same thing still happens more than a decade later, though in my heart of hearts, I wish it didn't. I read back over things and realize that those feelings don't hold true anymore. Hell, maybe they weren't all that true to begin with and I was just having a bad day - I don't know.

     One entry in particular that bothers me is Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger because when I read it now, I realize that I was not so much discussing an issue as making trouble in my head where there was none. That entry bothers me because I actually put into words that I felt my husband and I weren't equal partners, that I had to pull more weight than him. What an awful thing to think, especially when I knew it was one of his weak points and that he tried to hard to compensate for what he saw as his shortcomings.
 
     I wanted to delete it and I almost did, until I realized that it was actually a good thing I'd gotten those feelings out and into the open where I could break them down and analyze them. When I did, it became very clear to me that it wasn't a matter of my husband pulling less weight than me - it was just a matter of figuring out how to accommodate what he could and couldn't do.

     It's akin to when we figured out that yes, my husband could actually help me with the yard work at our house, so long as I pushed the lawnmower and he used the weedeater. Perfect solution - I did the thing that could cause his back to go out and he took on the equally-important, less physically demanding job that I hated doing anyway. Reading back over that entry made me think just how far we've come as a unit to be able to make little tweaks and changes like that which allow life to roll on with the least amount of fuss.

     I'm not saying that we've got it all figured out, because we're far from it. What I am saying, though, is that I'm glad to have record of the ugly, disheartening thoughts so that I can see and be glad that I'm totally capable of looking at things in a new light. It's becoming clearer and clearer to me that the key to getting over the next mountain is just the approach I take in contemplating whatever problem is at hand. It sounds so cliche that I hardly want to say it, but I'm beginning to think that simply looking for a solution outside the straight and narrow path might just be the key.

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