Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Maximizing Joy

Since summer started, my life hacks and accoutrements have really come out in full effect. Like, all my stuff that makes life easier, is in use and on display. No one will ever be able to say that I travel light, but I'm always extra prepared. I joke that we could live in my car, but we probably could, at least for a couple of days, quite comfortably. Food, water, changes of clothes, cleaning supplies, first aid, etc.

I'm not a survivalist in the true sense. I don't live on conspiracy theories, or even in any kind of fear. I'm not even that organized, in any traditional sense. My car and my space is almost always a mess or appears to the naked eye to be in some kind of chaos. I just happen to have STUFF. Meaning, I have umbrellas and/or ponchos if we happen to be somewhere and it starts raining. Or instead of having to buy a 16.9 oz bottle of Poland Spring for three dollars a bottle at some kind of event, I have this car canvas cooler thing strapped to the back of my driver's seat filled with my own bottles of water. E always has thought of my car as some kind of magical restaurant because food and water always seems to appear out of nowhere.

Stay with me here as I shift gears...I was listening to a podcast where the hosts were talking again about how it's summer now and they planned nothing for their kids. Now every day is a pain because they have to figure out stuff for their kids to do. They were like- why does everyone else seem to be on the ball and get this planned in February? It's cold & they don't want to think about summer. Meanwhile, I'm in the car, yelling at them, which is incredibly frustrating because they can't hear me. And E has been signed up for eight weeks of camp since the end of the last summer.

Ok- so you think I'm anal and really pay attention to detail now...NO. Ask anyone who really knows me, and they will tell you that I'm SO not "Type-A". I used to rely on my friend Cohen in pre-school to remind me that we had off from school, AGAIN. Because every other week there was another holiday. I've forgotten pizza day and given E lunch. I've had library fees up the wazoo.

I realized today what my deal is....I've been on message boards since I found the internet. I like message boards because there's the element of advice giving. Idea sharing, but also advice giving. I went to school to be a counselor. I'm not doing it in the traditional sense, but being in sales is still a form of counseling. Being a good salesperson means counseling someone into what to buy. Not just handing them something and calling it a day. So I use it, but not in the way I get total fulfillment. So I've become part of message boards. However, when things don't make sense to me, or seem to impede people's enjoyment, it's like a trigger for me.

Someone called me out for not being empathetic to a serious fear. I didn't take my answer as being particularly assholish, although it could have been construed that way, depending on how sensitive one is, I suppose. I realized that it's my nature to be a problem solver. I think it's usually how women describe not being understood by men. She wants to vent, he wants to find a solution. She doesn't want a solution, she just wants to vent. That's fine. However, I think like a guy I guess, and when someone presents a problem, my immediate thought is to find a viable solution. Then, I get annoyed when the response to solutions, mine and others, are just met with excuses. Usually, it's also excuses that don't really make any sense. I didn't see excuses in the situation this morning, I don't even know what the aftermath was of calling me out. I just mean in general with the excuses. You know- people that always ask for advice, or have things they're venting about but never seem to want advice, or have a million reasons why the advice won't work, without actually doing anything to remedy a situation.

In calling me out, it was said that it would be better to say nothing. I thought about it though, and I don't know how that's better. Even my answer, possibly on the bad end of the asshole-pendulum, does give a different perspective. If someone said- I'm having a fear but I just want to know that others can commiserate, I could just be quiet. But if someone isn't asking just for hair petting, I'm going to give it to them straight and say- no, this is not good, it doesn't make sense, and you need to do something different. 

The fear in question HAS/HAD a solution. One that seems relatively easy. Do xyz and then you don't have to be afraid. I guess the assholish part was the tone of, "why wasn't this solution common sense prior?", which I take ownership of said assholish tone now. But the overall solution seemed like common sense because it's what would make that person's life easier, happier, more joyous, if you will.

My friend had a fear of letting her kid have some independence. I told her to get the Gizmo Gadget like I got E. She waited and waited. Then we let them run amok at the town fair and she was really nervous. She got it the next day. She said that she's only pissed she didn't get it sooner. Problem solved. Not being all, "oh thanks to me"- but it was maximizing OUR joy- I was happy her problem was solved and then we could have joy TOGETHER, socializing, not having to watch our kids like hawks. 

I realized that my solutions for me, are all about maximizing my joy. My fun. Getting the most out of my time and not letting what could be a small thing, if prepared, stay small. I'm always focused on MY enjoyment and what will make MY life easier. Enter- my life hacks and As Seen On TV products, if you want to get more specific. My friend has been goofing on me since summer started, about my beach cart that I take everywhere. Everyone goofs on me that I bring it to the town pool. They're goofing until they're loaded down like a pack mule and trying to keep their kids from running into traffic in the parking lot. As I happily push my cart, filled with our bag, food, chairs, etc. without sweating, stopping, and dropping stuff.

Even with swimming & kids- as scary as water can be, there's still a way to maximize your joy. A lot of people, I've found, are paranoid about their kids and being around water, not knowing how to swim, and even dry-drowning. It doesn't make sense to me to just live with this fear, especially when the fear is debilitating to the point where you're not sleeping, worrying about what could happen. To me, the solution is to make sure your kids are proficient in the water.

I didn't want to have to worry about water. I made sure E had swim lessons as soon as he turned one, I think. I'm not a great swimmer- I can hold my own but I never swam competitively and I barely go in the pool now. By five, I had E try out for a swim team because I knew he'd be swimming or around water without me, and I didn't want to have to really watch him at the town pool. To me, swimming is a necessary life skill, not just an activity you do for fun, and I didn't even really have a specific strong fear about him and water. To be able to enjoy MYSELF at the town pool or the ocean though, I made sure that he's a strong swimmer. I made it a priority. It doesn't make me better than someone else- I just know what *I* needed to enjoy myself around water. If I only had money for one extra curricular activity ever- then it would be swim because it's not about what he likes, it's about necessity for safety. If he likes it, which he does, it's just a bonus. Hear me- I'm not saying I'm a better parent for making sure he can swim- I'm saying that if my peace of mind is being severely threatened then the answer is clear to me as to what needs to be done. Or if my fear is really unfounded, then I need a hypnotist, medication, or therapy.

I have Pack-It bags like I own stock because I don't want to deal with separate ice packs. I don't want to hear "sorry mama, I lost it". I don't want that aggravation for my OWN joy's sake. I have a side table that fits on my chair so I can keep track of all the stuff I like to have near me at the pool or beach without getting up. Those are for "fun". But my kid is signed up for eight weeks of camp the summer before the next, not because he's spoiled, or I don't want to see him, or even because I work, but because it would ruin MY time if summer arrived and all of a sudden *I* had to scramble. I would be miserable if I had to figure out what the hell to do with him everyday. We'd both be miserable. I have a cart so I don't have shoulder pain or don't lose or leave anything important at the pool or beach. I have ponchos in the car because I don't want to have to leave somewhere fun because it started to rain and getting wet would force us to vacate.

It's all about getting the most of our day, our time, our experiences, our fun. Or more specifically, mine. B was telling our friends yesterday that I'm the "most prepared" with stuff he and E likes- so that's my way of showing caring. It is...I care about their likes- I try to make them happy in that way. It's also a more of a way for us to be able to have the most fun. We don't get to go on vacation. We only have one full family day together a week because our store is open six days a week. In the little free time we have, I want to to suck every moment of joy I can out of it, with the the most...EASE I can find! Now you're all been told the method to my seeming madness.

Some photos of just a few of my joyous life hack accoutrements- just by the way...

cherry pitter
My face hole chair

Brown & Crisp bags
Beach chair side table

Saltwater Canvas Whale Bag

Clear $3 poncho from somewhere

My cup that unscrews to put ice in

No comments:

Post a Comment