23 August 2016

Feelings Are Exhausting

Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who go through life without any intensity to their feelings.  I think we all know someone like that.  When they are happy, they are happy enough.  Same when they are sad, confused, etc.  They live their lives without extremes.

I, on the other hand, am way too intense for my own good.  I've always known this, and though I consciously try to balance my feelings, it's not that easy.  I do manage most of the time to go through life doing well, but most of the time it takes some effort.  

A few months ago, I decided I was going to try and consciously be as happy as I could be every day.  I surmised that, except for a few people, most people that you are around on a regular basis, who are acquaintances or co-workers, don't spend a lot of time thinking about how you feel.  When they ask "How are you?" they are actually hoping that you'll respond that you are fine, or that if you don't, it's something quick like, "Oh I'm tired, I didn't sleep well last night."  No one wants to know your entire thought process and your emotional well-being stories.  And that makes sense.  Everyone has their own stuff to deal with every single day.

So I did my best to be positive and agreeable.  Some days were a lot easier than others.  I'm not sure anyone cared or particularly noticed - if they did, no one said anything.  One of my co-workers is a person who does NOTHING but complain, mostly about things that don't matter, and she presented a huge challenge.  I didn't want to let her drag me into her negativity.  Even on the occasions when she did, I was able to pull myself out without much trouble.

But you know what?  It's really exhausting to have feelings and just carry on every single day no matter what.  I'm sure you know this if you are a person who is not even as intense as I am.  I found, and find it, as hard to be positive as I do to be sad and miserable.  Keeping things on a reasonable and even keel takes a lot of effort.  Feeling sad but not despairing is as tiring as feeling happy but not euphoric.  Maybe it's just me, I don't know.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I hope anyone else out there who is trying to keep themselves going every single day, no matter how happy, sad, tired, or anything else they are, will keep trying.  I have learned the hard way that we only get this one shot at a life, and it's worth making an effort to do as well as possible.  In the end, the most important thing is to be yourself.

But wow, it takes a lot out of you! :-)

12 August 2016

Summer Friday Smiles

I don't know about things where you are, but it's really hot and really humid and really awful here in Philadelphia.  And weather people are warning that it will be worse this weekend.  Ugh.  

So here are some things that I hope will make you smile.  Just because it's Friday, and just because it's too miserable.

Keep cool and have a good weekend!

02 August 2016


August has arrived.  A month dreaded by many schoolchildren, as it signals the end of - or nearly the end of - summer vacation.  When I was a kid, we used to always go on our vacation during August, after all of the other kids had long ago been on theirs.  It used to please me, because even though waiting through the whole summer seemed unfair, then when it finally happened, it was an even better treat.  And the looming of the school year could be forgotten until it was nearly time to actually show up for the first day.

I still think of August as the winding down of summer, but now that I'm not in school, I think of it more as a month of transition, when summer things start to finish, and thoughts of fall and cooler weather can begin.  In our family, it's month of birthdays for those who are gone but not forgotten, and wedding anniversaries for those here to celebrate.  A bittersweet month, if you will.

by Mary Oliver

When blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles 
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is.  In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.