Sunday, June 28, 2015

The New Normal

Image Credit: Golden Cosmos - Berlin based illustrating and designing duo: Daniel Dolz and Doris Freigofas.

The other day, I couldn't help but notice a couple as they entered the playground with their young daughter. She immediately took to the slides with the girl and he opted for a bench in the shade to surf through his cellphone. The child hesitantly climbed the platform with her mother's steady encouragement. However, she crumbled when she realized how high up she was. The mother called out to the husband wanting him to lift her down so she wouldn't have to balance her as she back climbed the steps. He ignored her. She called out again, this time with more force in her voice. He sighed, and fussed, "really!?!" out loud as he dragged himself over to them and flung the child down one handed. Then, he returned to his phone and his bench. She took the girl by the hand and approached him and I thought, surely, she is confronting him and this will not end well. Then, to my surprise, she just stared with no words. So, he broke the silence with "Are we done here? Let's go eat! I'm hungry!" and off they went.
Later that day, the news and social media lit up with the Supreme Court ruling by a 5-4 vote that the Constitution now guarantees a right to same sex marriage in our country. It was a heated and emotional day for parties on both sides filled with the joy and the right of equality and the threat and discontent of compromising the concept of traditional marriage. There was love and there was hate spread all over my Facebook page as people supported and embraced this ruling while others cried out and questioned what this country was coming to?
As I read their comments, opinions, and concerns, my mind wandered back to the couple at the playground that I had encountered earlier. How did she feel about the ruling today? Was her traditional concept of marriage the life she had imagined it would be? Surely, he saw the ruling as he was face down buried in his phone which seemed typical for him. What did he think or even say out loud about it to his wife and what was her reaction to his comments? If she disagreed, would she let it go rather than confront him?
Yes, there are plenty of happy and successful marriages and I can't compare what I witnessed as a fair representation of a man and woman bond. However, it got me thinking about if we had to fight for this right, would we be more passionate about our marriages and the successes of them? As with many issues in this country, is it possible that this generation takes way too much for granted because they are used to living in the land of the free and having so many rights already handed to them as their privilege of being an American citizen? Have we become so set in our beliefs, though, that there is no room or right for change?
Enter the new normal. Just like adapting to civil rights, this nation may either adapt or keep complaining, but, the definition of marriage has been officially changed and protected.
For me, I respect both sides. My catholic roots encouraged me to believe in and respect that marriage is between a man and a woman and that is what I chose in my own life. Furthermore, my adult life has exposed me to much more diversity and, as a result, I wholeheartedly believe love in all forms are always a better and sweeter option than hate.
Both sides have the right to choose and support their cause. It's their right as Americans and their privilege by living here to have freedom of speech. However, I just wish we could do it more respectfully than what I have witnessed lately. It seems like somewhere along the way, the words we choose to express our feelings to each other have lost their dignity and do not represent or respect the concept of marriage or the gift of freedom we are so privileged to have.  People also need to consider that our actions are being viewed by the next generation like the little girl stuck in the middle of her parents and the watchful eyes on Facebook.
It is okay to agree or to disagree as long as we do it politely but the lack of respect that I witnessed at the playground and on the Internet on the same day bothered me way more than the actual ruling.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

35 (plus one more) Life Lessons From Me To My Boys

A collection of my thoughts, beliefs, quotes, and inspirations that have kept me grounded....

1. Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up.
2. Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.
3. Terrible experiences don't make you stronger, but, they do show you how strong you can be when there is no other choice than to be strong.
4. As time goes by, you'll understand what lasts, lasts; what doesn't, doesn't. And what time can't solve, you will have to solve yourself. So, don't choose to live in an unresolved past. Make peace with it, leave it there, and move on.
5. Seek respect, not attention. It lasts longer.
6. Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.
7. Be an encourager. The world has enough critics.
8. The biggest communication problem is we do not listen to understand. We listen to reply. Make sure you understand first before you reply.
9. The two hardest things in life are saying hello for the first time and goodbye for the last.
10. Never lie to someone that trusts you and never trust someone that has lied to you.
11. People inspire you or they drain you - choose wisely.
12. No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
13. If something is important to you, you will find a way. If it isn't, you will find an excuse.
14. You don't have to attend every argument you are invited to.
15. Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven but not forgotten.
16. Always show more kindness than seems necessary because the person receiving it may need it   more than you will ever know.
17. It's okay to be angry with God. He can take it.
18. Crying with someone is more healing than crying alone.
19. Everyone has a story. Make sure you listen to it before you judge.
20. Take a minute everyday to be still and listen. The Earth is always singing.
21. Your dreams don't have expiration dates. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind and try again.
22. Get rid of clutter. It weighs you down in many ways.
23. Life is a delicate balance of holding on and letting go. Figure out and accept when it is time to do both.
24. It's NEVER too late to be happy.
25. My personal favorite quote is "To see faith, you have to shut the eye of reason." Don't ever be too afraid or too bitter to believe in miracles. They do exist.
26. If laughter is the best medicine, then, silliness is the best therapy. Never be too serious or old to do both when you need it or the moment allows for it. You can't say the word,"bubbles" angry. Try it.
27. Your children will only have one childhood. Make sure you give them wings to fly, roots to find their way back, and reasons to stay.
28. Envy is a waste of time. Accept and cherish what you already have, not what you think you need.
29. It is much sweeter to grow old than to die young. Take care of yourself!
30. Everyone has baggage. You will know you are in love when you want to help them unpack it.
31. Travel is the only thing you buy that truly makes you richer.
32. With that said, remember no matter where you are, everyone smiles in the same language.
33. It feels better to be selfless than selfish. No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed, and show up. Don't let others down.
34. No, child. Life isn't fair but it is still pretty damn good. Always remember it isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. Like Forest said, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You NEVER know what you are going to get." So, don't try and put it back. Eat it and deal with it the best way you can.
35. However, never forget that Life ALWAYS offers you a second chance. It's called tomorrow.

Plus one more:  And finally...Don't make promises you can't keep. Period. I can't promise you I will be here for the rest of your life, but I can promise you I will love you for the rest of mine.