Saturday, 25 October 2014

Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have

I have been known at times to be a bit of a pessimist...ok a lot of the time,  I mean husband doesn't call me Captain Complaino for nothing. I do tend to dwell on the negative and focus on the things I don't have- a lot. And although I am fully aware that I really do have so much to be grateful for; a husband, two 'apple of my eye' kids and family and friends that I adore I tend to spend a lot of time looking outward. Especially when it comes to jobs/careers/life ambitions and houses.
 
I have an obsession with looking at real estate (which I have written about before). I am sure constantly moving house contributed to my inability to be happy with where I am but I admit I do spend too much time lusting after kitchens, gardens and libraries I will most likely never own. Recently husband and I had a 'disagreement' that spawned from a statement I made that went something like this... "Isn't it depressing to think this is it?".

Now there is certainly no blaming husband for being offended and angry at me for making such a statement as his interpretation of this comment was "Your husband, your kids, your life makes you depressed? Thanks very much". (You can see why words were then 'had') But that is not what I meant. 


I am sure everyone at some point has been guilty of obsessing over something they won't ever attain, or daydreaming of a job/house they won't ever have. Being surrounded by inspirational quotes like "Reach for the stars" and "Live the life you've imagined" can sometimes serve to be more of slap in the face rather than a fist pumping motivator. There comes a point in most adults' lives when you realise that rather than reaching for the stars, reaching for the remote is probably as far as you will go. When you realise that you, like most people, won't make it to the Forbes Top 100 list or the pages of InsideOut magazine a little bit of that starry eyed kid dies. I know I am digging myself a bigger hole, but bare with me. (I have also been accused of being a bit dramatic).

When you have a job such as mine where you have a pre-determined salary and that pre-determined salary determines you are a well established part of the middle-class there is not much point dreaming of having the aforementioned house with a library, expansive marble kitchen , extensive landscaped gardens and a winding tree-lined driveway. This is just not going to happen. There is a point where it is better to accept and appreciate the things you have rather than always hoping for something you most probably won't get but for me letting go of this daydream is a little, well depressing. (Ok so maybe I should have used 'disheartening' in my declaration to husband but you know what I mean).

 
After attempting (badly) to explain what exactly I meant by this statement husband suggested that these things are still attainable if that's what you want- the question is how hard you are willing to work to achieve these 'goals'. If I was willing to sacrifice time with my family to work full time or was willing to give up the little sleep I have to work longer hours then we might be able to afford the ladder for that imaginary library bookcase. But these aren't things I am willing to sacrifice, no matter how much I drool over the pages of Home Beautiful magazine.

I know that I am not alone in wanting more in life but when is it best to stop aspiring for the unattainable?

I suppose the answer to that is simple:

 

I have over the last few months toyed with closing down my blog. I originally created this space as a way to workshop ideas for a career change, to find my "Plan B" and as some of you might know I recently returned to my "Plan A" job (which you can read about here). It was disheartening to say the least but for the first time in a long time I decided that I would do my best to remain positive about it.

This would be my usual go-to mantra
The person who was going to suffer the most from my bitching and moaning was me. So I did, I reminded myself that this didn't mean my "Plan B" was dead, just in hibernation mode and that contributing to the household budget is something I should be proud of. Being an example to my kids, showing them that you have to make sacrifices in life for the ones you love, these were good things. It's good for them to see me set off for work just as much as its good for them to see husband cooking dinner. 
 
Whilst googling "how to be more positive" last night (yes I was desperate enough to ask Dr Google) I read an article which stated being negative was a 'choice'. I don't know why but this sentence struck me right between the eyes. I had always willingly and proudly declared that I was a pessimist not really ever thinking I could change my perception of the world, but when I read this simple sentence I realised I could, being negative was a choice I was making and so conversely I could make a choice to be positive.

Obviously this won't happen overnight, changing what has become my natural instinct will take practice but I do have a life to be grateful for, laminate kitchen and all. By spending so much time and energy focusing on what I don't have I am ignoring all the wonderful things I do have. 

So from now on my Plan B project will focus more on being positive, being grateful and being content with what I have. Sound good?  

14 comments:

  1. Plan C: Making the most out of how life actually is, rather than how we had hoped it would be. Hopefully, you'll find out how rich you really are some where a long the way. And there's no harm in a little day dreaming to make the work day go faster! Hang in there, you're doing a great job.

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    1. Thanks Sam! Ha ha, yes Plan C- focusing on the good in my life but don't think I can give up on the white marble kitchen just yet!

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  2. Actually, I'd be really interested to hear your thoughts on being a "stay at home mum", how you, your husband friends and famlily value that. I'm struggling with that at the moment...

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    1. (Damn you inter-me-net! I've typed a reply 3 times tonight, geez that's annoying! Sorry Sam had to get that off my chest!)
      You certainly aren't alone in that struggle Sam. I think it really comes down to how you value your role. I don't think society values SAHMs as much as they do working outside the home, but that is sad, as being a Mum is probably the most important job we will ever do. Some of my friends work part time and feel it makes them a better Mum, some work part time but are jealous of those who can stay at home full time. I know my husband values what I do but to be honest I think only a fellow Mum can really understand the emotional and physical energy it takes to be a SAHM. I thought now that I have returned to work part time I would feel like I am 'contributing' to society more but to be honest I think the workforce just thinks I am more of a drain than an asset! You can't win. My advice is don't underestimate the value of the job that you are doing, you are developing an adult human being, and your role as Mum to tadpole can't be filled by anyone else. The time that our kids are fully dependent on us is so short, its a blip really, when they are off to school and older our roles will change again. Appreciate it while you are their world. Don't look to others to validate your role as a SAHM, the only persons opinion that matters is yours. Pat yourself on the back, I'm sure tadpole thinks you are the best Mum in the world!

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    2. You're the best, even though you made me cry (not hard at the moment!). Thank you, I really needed that.
      Now as for marble, I think I'm a Ceasarstone (how do you spell it?) kinda girl... same look without the staining...? Did you watch The Block? Does me in every time!

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    3. Ha yes I am a Blockoholic! Althought this season was a bit tough to watch, too much made up drama. And yes I am more of a marble look caesarstone girl too!

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  3. Love this post - such a great reminder for a Sunday morning "Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have" - that's going to be my mantra for the week..... Thanks for a little inspiration for the week ahead xx

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    1. Thanks Rachel! Yeah its a good one isn't it, I've got this quote in front of me at my desk at the moment and next to it is my other reminder "Comparison is the thief of joy", think this is a good one for all us bloggers!

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  4. One thing that really helped me shift my perspective was keeping a gratitude journal for an entire year. Some days it was really hard to find something to feel grateful for (I opted to have a new thing every day) but it happened and it really shifted how I feel about my life.

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    1. Good on you Lila! I attempted this when Grateful April started last year, I only lasted a week. Definitely takes discipline! It's a good idea though, might start that one again...

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    2. I'm experimenting with a "something I liked today" list. Just to appreciate good things that happened but not digging for gratitude all the time ;) Anyway, huge hug for writing this, it was honest and refreshing.

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    3. Thanks Stephanie! That's a good idea, gratitude can be a tough one some days, 'something I liked today' is a lot more doable, might start off with that, baby steps!

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  5. Great post Nicole! I was in the same boat a few years ago and you're right it doesn't happen overnight but boy it's fabulous when it does happen! A gratitude journal was really helpful for me but I did need to make a choice to be disciplined enough to write in it as well. I enjoyed writing in the evenings to reflect on the day but sometimes I would write in the morning as well, just to set a positive tone for the day. And be KIND to yourself when you slip up, we are human. Good luck, it sounds like you're doing a fabulous job already :)

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    1. Thanks Rachel! That's a good idea writing something in the morning, hadn't thought of that but definitely a good idea esp those days where you don't want to really face them!

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Thanks for your comments!