Patience: giving myself time

We live in an impatient world. We are used to instant gratification or easy access to all commodities we would need (and almost all we would want). We are constantly being told we deserve the best, fastest service in every industry from drive-thru coffee, vending machines for movies, to self-checkouts at grocery store.

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This makes it rather difficult to teach, learn, or live-out any form of patience. Patience is more than a virtue-it is a mostly forgotten way of life. There are many areas I desire to learn to live out patience, but today I am writing about patience with myself.

As you probably know by now, I am working on transcending this issue of self-judgement. (see self-judgement a story definition) I wrongly accuse myself for circumstances out of my control. I expect the world of myself. So you can imagine I do not show myself much patience.

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When I moved this past November to New York, I was like a dog chasing it’s tail. Luke started a job right away. But I had hours upon hours by myself, with no particular agenda or aim. I kept trying to accomplish everything and anything but got nowhere. Slowly I began to discover what roles/responsibilities to take on: to maintain the home and to support Luke as he worked. But I expected to find a job,  set up the home, find a friend network, get involved in church and be established within the first two months. (If any of you have moved  you realize how impractical these expectations were.)

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my pocket watch necklace

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The truth is, I was not ready to take on the world the second that we moved. I needed time. Time to adjust to dramatic change, to let go of the life I had in California. Time to embrace life here in New York, to adjust to married life away from family and friends. Everyone told me to embrace this break, to enjoy it: after a chaotic year I deserved it. But that was hard for me to hear. I love having a schedule, having routine, feeling involved and connected.

Once I began to embrace the time I had,  a flexible routine formed. Now six months into marriage and more than 5 months here in New York, some of my expectations have been fulfilled; (see spring is coming) the home is (mostly) set up,  the name changing paperwork complete (see Becoming Mrs. ____________), and we are getting involved in church.

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Still my patience is being challenge all over again as I work through job searching. It is a challenge to find a job in a state where you have no connections. Job searching feels often like a rush and waiting game. You find a position you are interested in, you turn in the paperwork and forms-then you wait. If the door closes then you start over. If the door opens you set up time for an interview and wait. Then you have then interview and wait. It can be an exhausting process of elimination.

At times I worry about having a more than 6 month long jobless gap on my resume. But I have to believe the right job won’t care. I have to keep moving forward toward what is right in front of me.

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 What I struggle to see is that giving myself time is not wasting time. By not insisting that I accomplish my daunting list of expectations right away, I learn flexibility, to not try to control what is out of my control,to trust, and that time to learn more about myself is a blessing. Being patient with myself is recognizing the time in the waiting room is not wasted. Giving myself the gift of time helps me understand myself better and it is in the waiting that I am prepared for what I am waiting for.

Any of you waiting on something important?

Do you struggle with our instant-gratification society?

In what area of your life do you want to learn patience?

Social Media: Beauty or Beast? Part 2

As I wrote yesterday, the internet’s social medias can be a beautiful thing, connecting us to those we care about even if they are miles away.  But the internet’s social medias can also be a beast. They can cause a burden of responsibility, a lack of privacy, distractibility, hollowness, and discontentment.

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The internet’s social media requires discretion and responsibility. I can easily learn more about a person’s life with the click of a button than they would tell me or ever want me to know. It is easy to post too much information and put yourself at risk of fraud or any other forms of deception. I too have fallen prey to careless actions posting pictures or words I shouldn’t which give away too much personal information. If you are not careful, the internet’s social medias can box you into a glass house without any personal privacy.

Social media can also be a great distraction causing people’s actions to not match what they say they value. Too often I have watched families out at dinner who sit in silence. Restaurants are full of children on iphones or ipads watching youtube or playing angry birds, parents responding to new message from facebook or work emails. All more important, urgent, interesting, or enjoyable than time with each other-or even their food!

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I too am guilty of this distractibility, which can easily turn from a bad habit into an obsession. There is constant wondering: what is going on in other people’s worlds? or my own? I am always checking to see if someone new has read my blog, if I have a new email, if an employer found me on Linkedin, if someone liked a new pin on Pintrest, if  . . .

But for all of this connection to the world,  the internet has it’s limits. It cannot give you a hug, it cannot enjoy a cup of coffee or share a piece of pie with you, or laugh with you at something ridiculous you just saw. Yes, it does connect me to those I care about, but it is a poor substitute for face-to-face interaction.  It does not replace my desire to make a good meal, take a hike, play a board game, or sing with my family or with new friends. The likes or comments I get on facebook , repins on pintrest, the positive feedback on my blog, rings hollow in comparison to the opportunity to spend a day with a good friend or with my family.

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I also confess social medias like facebook, pintrest, recipe websites, blogs; they feed my perfectionism and often make me feel discontent with the status quo or with myself. I go into overdrive with ideas and with these come expectations to be even more inventive. Next thing I know I have joined the rat-race to be noticed. I begin to wonder-why didn’t I think of that?! I start to look at the world around me as opportunities to prove I have something to sayhave something to show: See: I am a good baker, cook, housewife etc.

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Websites like pintrest or Etsy are a blessing but also a curse for someone like me who can easily create expectations (and unrealistic ones at that). I see pristine kitchens, perfect outfits, organized drawers, homemade  crafts and I see my: perpetually dirty kitchen, cluttered house, outdated clothes, and half-done crafts. I judge  (as so many females do) my life to other females. (Oh yes that judgement-free topic again). But this time it is to other females online.  The problem is I am not comparing myself to the rich and famous. Instead I tell myself: these are ordinary people-just like me-if they can do it-why am I not?

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But the truth is: these are idea boards. Many of the pictures linked to websites: Martha Stewart or Better Homes and Gardens. It is the extreme version of clipping pieces of magazines to create wish books for future homes or weddings. It can become a modern and just as obsessive version of Monica’s wedding book on Friends! Half these people, whether the venue is facebook, pintrest, or twitter are not posting their own ideas but those of others that they feel compelled to try. Is this a beautiful way to share ideas or a beastly pile of expectations and comparisons?

Social Media is a beautiful tool we can use to our advantage to stay connected to those we care about. But if we allow it, it can take advantage of us , prevent us from face-to-face relationships, hold us captive to unrealistic expectations of ourselves, connecting us to the wrong people and/or making us worry about what those people think of our lives.

I for one am going to choose to make internet social media a beautiful but limited tool and discipline myself to not allow it to anymore be a beast which controls me or my thoughts.

What about you?

Social Media: Beauty or Beast? Part 1

Starting off my newly-married life far from family and friends, I find great beauty in the internet and it’s social media sites. It has helped keep me connected to those I love around the world or a few time zones away.

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Not only do I have the opportunity to share in the lives of those I know and love, but also with those I have never met who also desire to communicate their creativity and life experiences through blogging on wordpress. WordPress has provided me with the venue to communicate my heart, my ideas, my cooking, and my life with all of you.

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Facebook provides me the ability to share in other’s pictures, or encourage and celebrate in my friends/family’s life moments with a comment, like, share, lol or consolation. I have the ability to quickly share a quote, song, where I am, or where I am going.

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LinkedIn allows me to find organizations I care about, people I have worked with, or contact those I used to be employed by. I can endorse those who I have worked for and with, or those who have taught and trained me. In return they can endorse or write references to my job related abilities.

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And most recently I have start on Pinterest with which I can share pictures, ideas, and words that mean something to me. From my baking, to decorating, travel, crafts, to party planning: I can get gift ideas or learn more about the style, preferences, and values of those I know-or connect to others who have similar interests as me.

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 This past year we have joined in our families holidays celebrations including Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays, and Easter via a phone call and/or skype. Or I can go on skype and see my niece and nephew and/or brother and sister-in-law just starting tomorrow in China as we are relaxing and finishing today.

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In addition to these, Luke can go on Xbox Live and play some of his favorite games and chat with his best friend on the WestCoast.

It is a beautiful thing; getting connected with others in a way never dreamed of less than 50 years ago. Through the beauty of the internet’s social media I can share in the process of engagements, weddings, family vacations to Disneyland, college or Master degrees, new careers or jobs, new additions to the family, or the passing of others through just a few clicks and typed words.

How about you? What do you appreciate about the world wide web’s social medias?

Marriage Myth-Busting Round 2

I told you there was more where Dispelling Marriage Myths blog came from.

3. After marriage your image of your body can still be distorted by the media .

The truth is, I was highly motivated to loose weight when I thought of all the life-long pictures associated with marriage. So I worked hard and off came the stress weight of three jobs and my MA degree.

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But then I went on a honeymoon, moved, and the holidays hit. (If you need an update see  Part 3 update: life in 2012 blog).

In addition to this, I’ve been learning to cook for someone who needs about 1,000 calories more than me a day. So of course I’ve gained weight. (I’m enjoying zumba at the Y and getting back on track-but that’s another blog).

Staying healthy is a constant struggle but it’s even harder to believe that you are a beautiful/handsome individual. The media will make you think, that once you have someone in your life who will always tell/show you that you are beautiful/handsome that you will never doubt your physical attractiveness again.

Sorry, not true.

You may have one very important voice in your life reminding you of the wonderful being that you are, but if  you watch TV at all you’re going to begin to doubt it.

I don’t know about you, but I do not have a personal trainer, diet coach, makeup artist, or hairstylist.

I also don’t have the lifestyle required to be as the media would consider “beautiful”.

Think about it: their lives are not glamorous-they are torture. Who wants to have their lives micromanaged? Not me. I’d like to know that it’s my choice whether to have pizza, a salad, dessert,  another drink or a drink at all! I’d like to know I can run my errands in peace without wondering how they can be twisted into a soap opera for moms to browse at the grocery store checkout stand. I like being able to say what is on my heart and mind without my agent wondering how it’s going to effect movie offers.

Still this lifestyle is what the media-world considers a requirement to be deemed physically attractive. Unless I live without any exposure to TV,  smart phones, or a computer with internet, marriage will not change the influence media has on my body image.

No matter how often your spouse compliments you, it will never be enough to prevent the on-slaught of the media-world saying you’ll never be “_________ enough” (fill in the blank: strong, skinny, tall, toned, etc.).

The truth is our physical attractiveness is in our personal physical uniqueness, in the genetic combination of physical attributes that represent our ethnicity and family background. Weight (or any other specific physical “flaw” you obsess over) is not what measures or defines you as beautiful/ handsome.

What you are thinking about when you watch TV or look at magazines?

What are your thoughts about the character’s/actor’s physique /style vs. your own?

Believe it or not,  your mind does not shut off when the TV turns on.

And just so you know that I am not pointing fingers, I am sharing this all from personal experience. If this speaks true to you at all: it is because I does for me too.

Dispelling Marriage Myths

Although I like to think of myself as serious minded and realistic, I cannot ignore the fact that media affects me and what I believed about marriage. I know I definitely fit into the category of “newly wed” but there are some media-induced myths about being married that I’d like to dispel.

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1. You can still feel lonely

Although your spouse does “complete you” they are not your  “everything”. Luke is not my co-worker, student, girl-friend, parents, or God. As we are still adjusting to a new area most weeks he is the only person I have a conversation with that does not end in “thank you and have a nice day!” So yes, sometimes it can get lonely. Sometimes I wish our conversations would go deeper than talking about taxes or planning out our meals (and sometimes they do). But I would be abusing his role in my life to treat him like and expect him to be everyone and everything to me.

Can you imagine the pressure I would be putting him under to fulfill more roles than he was meant to? (I’m pretty sure he did not vow to that). He is my husband and that is very important to me, but opposite to what the media portrays, his role in life is not to succumb to my every whim. Although I am less lonely than I was before he was apart of my life, he is not “all I will ever need in the world”.

2. Your personal problems and insecurities don’t go away.

In fact they are highlighted by how you interact with and treat your spouse.  It amazes me that in the most unexpected moments the lies I believe about myself (you know the ones in your head “I am   . . . ” “I have too little/too much” . . . “I will never be” etc.) get in the way of clear communication. I can easily misinterpret an attempt at encouragement to be an expectation on how I need to live my life!  It is true, we make each other better people-but it is exactly that make, it doesn’t happen automatically or easily, it is what we choose to do.

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Because in reality your spouse is a mirror/window into your self. And Yes! sometimes that can be scary. Honestly: if you don’t like facing your problems and insecurities-don’t get married! The positive thing is that you have someone who thoroughly knows you and  has committed to love you who will help you work through those issues.

Well there is more I’m sure where this comes from.

But now it is your turn:

Those that are married-you find this to be true for yourself?

Any stories about relationships you are willing to share?

Any advice for the newly-wed on other myths that need to be busted?