Tuesday, August 19, 2008



I've had a lot on my mind recently.  So much, in fact, that I've pretty much sat my lazy butt in the red chair (you know the one) full-time since the beach.  I have accomplished absolutely nothing this past month, but at the same time, I have been thinking and sometimes that is work.  I have pretty much cast my to do lists aside, and just thought about my life for a straight four weeks. Throughout this time, I have come to realize that, although it's made me feel like a waste-oid to a certain degree, it's been great to stop and give myself time to evaluate and ponder my life and refocus my mind and priorities.

For starters, when you stay at home, it's easy to feel directionless on occasion.  At least that's been true for me.  One of my best friends said the other day, "Now that I'm nearly 40 I think I'm finally realizing that being happy is up to me.  I'm not going to be a movie star.  I need to learn to be content in my own life."  I know I've felt like this before.

In my case, I keep track of myself and sort of gauge my "daily worth"  by the things I accomplish like house & work projects, church assignments, cooking dinners or whatnot.  So when I don't feel inspired by these things I feel a bit lost and stagnant.  However, when you honestly cannot push yourself to do them sometimes---it's hard to get out of the loser mode...make sense? So, some of what I've been thinking about is how to be happy and fulfilled at the core. When you tire of life's routines, how do you remain satisfied? I won't claim to be profound, but here are a few things I have learned and know are true--for me, anyway.

Remember Who You Are

Haven't we all heard this in one context or another?  Well, I am talking about it in terms of your authentic self.  What do you love?  What makes you laugh?  What excites you?  What makes you feel attractive? What did you used to want your life to look like? I have been revisiting some of these things this past year and they have brought me great satisfaction.  

One day last fall I woke up and realized that I had completely given up on music.  I used to LOVE my music.  So, I got an ipod and started downloading new things I thought I might like. By doing this, I have literally recharged parts of myself and found new music that makes me happy.  I have felt like the old me in so many ways--the part that was energetic, youthful and liked to dance.  I've even gone to two concerts, Depeche Mode (old favorite) and Coldplay (new favorite).  It was a simple change but has given me a lot of great moments. 

Also, I stretched myself, and started a little side business.  It hasn't made me a load of cash, but it's given me something to do out of the ordinary.  It's caused me to make new friends, use skills I haven't used in ages, and get out of dodge and drive the country roads to Leesburg every other week (that in itself has been wonderful).

Make Connections.

I am right in the middle of this.  I love people and being social but am also a major homebody. When I'm not balanced in this area, I feel like something's missing.  It's so important to connect with people and I've recently seen the rewards of doing this, more than ever before.  A year ago a friend of mine told me I should start a blog and the idea stuck--I think at some level I knew it would really enhance my life...and it has.  Making regular contact with my family, dear childhood friends, new friends, and even friends in my neighborhood, has given me so much joy and spontaneous chuckles. I think it is in our nature to get personal and interact; I am feeling so blessed by these re-kindled relationships. 

Also, taking the time to talk.  I can't believe how good I feel when I take time to have meaningful conversations; it's so beneficial.  When you have kids in your face all the time it's easy to never get beyond..."so what size diapers is she wearing now?"  But, for me, the value of a good conversation where you listen and are listened to, is incomparable.  I am making the time to do this more.

Get Grounded and Stay Grounded

So this is the reason I've been on the chair.  I can do the things I mentioned above and zillions of others, but if my priorities and perspective are out of wack, nothing will ever align.  When I am feeling dissatisfied and restless, I know I need to analyze my life and make the changes that will bring deep happiness and peace of mind.  I've learned this lesson before, and know that when I am discontent, I am lacking spiritual consistency.  A relationship with God has to be worked on daily with genuine sincerity.  Going through the motions without true introspection and dedicated commitment, gets me nowhere.  "When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange who you are and what you want to be!"  (The Brady Bunch)

I'm just glad to know this about myself and realize it's all good if I want it to be.  
It's a new school year and a new start.  Good luck to us all.


16 comments:

Chris said...

Love the post. I am always pondering the concept of balance and priorities. It is so easy to get out of wack. Thank you for sharing, I love your insights.

Lauralee said...

oh I loved reading this, thank you for sharing your thoughts..

this is something I think about a lot too.. my mom use to say when I was first married, having my first babies..(okay not that I am old I have been married almost 13 years) anyway, she would say. "make sure you are spending your time on things that matter"

that has stuck with me.. I am kinda a clean, neat freak, I enjoy order.. but I can get carried away spending all my time on that.. there are so many distractions.. it is definatly a challenge to keep focused and do those things that matter most.. just my 2cents!

Mitch said...

Amen Sister. Keep up the good work! I really enjoyed that post. If you need new music to help you stay grounded then let me know. I think you should start listening to my music. We can go to concerts together, Throw people around in the mosh pits together, and really just bond. Think about it ;)......Good work.

Me said...

Thanks for writing about this. I just wrote about something pretty similar that I'm going through so it's good to know that it isn't just me.

I'll have to take alot of this into consideration and hope that it will pull me out of my funk.

The only think I keep telling myself is the famous saying "I never said it would be easy, I only said it would be worth it."

Ann Marie said...

I have had these moments too. Reflection and who am I and what makes me happy is a good thing...

Like your music, the Twilight books did that for me. I know your probably tired of hearing about it.. But, they got me reading ( which was HUGE! ), made me feel like a newlywed again, and made me over all happy...

I am also like lauralee as in thinking my house always has to be clean, and orderly. I am slowly trying to be less OCD, and more about enjoying the little things.

One of the greatest quotes to me is from Elder M. Russell Ballard.

" Find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests. Pick one or two things that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give others, even to your children.. "

I love that quote from his talk, because I feel guilty doing things for me...

I know many people in this sorda * funky state* right now...:(

Too bad you live so far away.. I'd bring over some Jr. Mints to cheer you up.. Wasn't that your candy bar?? Maybe you need a trip to UT or Vegas?

TheMorts said...

I just thought I'd "delurk" and say "hi" I LOVED what you said, it really hits home with me.. I have been feeling very similar lately. Like my worth is based on what I can check off my list...
You really summed things up wonderfully.. I am going to mention it on my blog, so don't be afraid if you get a bunch of hits :-)
I just think it should be shared!

Sarah Jane said...

Oh you say it so well! I have these moments a lot! The kind where you ask yourself, what in the heck am I doing, and am I truly happy? There are so many things to do in this life, but really, the happiest moments come when we are doing what we were sent here for, and for me, it is when I am truly happy as a mom and wife! I had this thought the other day: Life isn't for us to be as comfortable as we can. It is to learn how to be comfortable where we are. And sometimes, it takes sitting on red chairs for month to get those kinds of answers (mine is a brown sofa:) so thanks for sharing jen!! xoxox

Jayne Layne said...

Good post. I really liked it. I liked the second topic on connecting with people. I like you, LOVE company, and to have fun. I love hanging out and being with people WHEN I AM WITH THEM. I just sometimes have a hard time actually getting out of the house to make the effort. I will shoot to actually do things with friends rather than choose just to stay home.

Suzanne said...

Excellent post! It's funny, a saying I heard over the weekend, is that "It doesn't take much to just live." As I look around and watch people, I wonder "why do you do the things you do?" For example, overscheduling ourselves to the point of exhaustion or sitting in front of the tv flipping up through channels 1-150 and then back down.
I believe that everyone should take a moment, like you, and figure out what is really important and do what makes you happy. I find that people do too much to please others and are not true to themselves. I think you are very wise in your reflection and I also find it interesting that the "funk" that has been going on here in Utah is also across the continent to where you are. Something is definately going on in this world. -Suzanne

Jek said...

Oh AMEN. The funk that i have been in is unreal!!!!!! However a lot of that has to do with being pregnant with twins and NO ENERGY. However, the SECOND i started looking for nursery fabrics online i started to get excited again about something and that was everything for me at this time. I am in shock that something has excited me and gotten me to stand up and do something. I think jen and i were talking about this last week about the cleaning to do list and that is pretty much all that we think about and dwell on. But just like that GREAT quote Ann marie mentioned from Elder ballard, it is good to pick a couple things that we REALLY enjoy and make time for them. SOmetimes remembering who we are and what we really enjoy doing will give us the energy surge we have been needing to do other meaningful stuff.
The music thing is SOOOOO true. Music and piano do something for me that NOTHING else can, and when i don't make time for it then I miss out on the best feeling. I am going to try and put that back in my day becuase music really does inspire. It can inspire doing the gospel things, cleaning a kitchen, dancing with your kiddos or if your like me it makes you cry a lot when you think about your awesome family. Mitch, once i cried just about how much i loved you on the 215 driving home. i was listening to a song that reminded me of you and i seriously started crying. That's becuase i wuv you!! Anyway i am starting over and finding Jessica again and i will start with music and decorating and hopefully other things will follow suit.

Jek said...

did i really just write all that?

jessamyn barnette said...

Gosh I'm so new to all of this, sometimes I wish I was still the kid and my mom still made me food everyday! Thank you so much for writing this, you've answered my prayers.

Lisa and Bill said...

I think you've answered a lot of people's prayers in this post. Thanks for reminding me of the need for balance, priorities and finding joy in my life. It's taken me many years to try to accomplish those 3 things...not sure if I'm there yet, but I feel pretty good.

It's been amazing reconnecting with old friends through blogs. I love it. I'm finding we all of similar feelings about things and everyone has the best insight & advice.

JENNIFRO said...

Speaking of connections....; )

Gosh, I can't even tell you how nice it is to read everyone's responses and advice. I loved EVERY single one.

Thank you so much.

Tiff said...

Thanks, I really needed this. But I have a question, what happens when you feel like you don't know who you are anymore, or that you are someone sort of different? How do you find that new person? Recently, I have been living the life/having the career I always dreamed of but I am no longer fulfilled by it. I feel like I don't know who I am anymore (what I enjoy), and I don't know how to find out!

JENNIFRO said...

Tiffany--

email me!

jennifer@calleva.org

GREAT to hear from you........