Thursday, February 5, 2009

more on misery: Terry Real and Judy Pennington

so here's another important turning point; in fact, it may be more than a turning point, it may have been the basis for my ability to go out and find turning points:

my first couple of months here in Berlin, I was trying to be the domestic goddess and failing miserably. And lonely and resentful. (that part you knew) The only thing I was really good at in the whole domestic goddess thing was getting people up in the morning and making them breakfasts and lunches and keeping them company as they got ready to go places. So that I held onto.

But at some point I started letting go of all the rest. I was trying to make dinner for everybody if I remember rightly back into the fog that was August and September, and shopping was hard and dinnermaking was hard and of course it never works for all four of us. And feeling trapped by Felix's school schedule.

And as Judy Pennington of Bloomington Weight Watchers fame says: insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. So at some point I hung onto the whole morning thing (it was working!), with an exception here and there when I asked another adult or older child to take over for me so I could sleep in (not often) or leave early to meet a neighbor for a walk or jog (more often). But I let go of a lot of the other stuff. Forget making dinner! Forget domestic goddessness! 

Amd that was what let me go out and find all the other ways to be happier and happier.

I also want to maybe talk about Terry Real and misery stabilizers in another post but it's relevant here: in the context of a marriage with unhappiness in it he talks about misery stabilizers, things we do so we can make our life tolerable and don't have to make radical changes. And I found some misery stabilizers, not necessarily for my marriage (that's another post - we're doing pretty well thank you - thanks to Terry Real again and, I think, our own shared desire to work on things and keep coming back to making them better), but for my general overall misery. Terry Real btw was our marriage counselor a hundred years ago in Cambridge and he is now our marriage counselor again, this time in book form, and that will be a blog some day soon.

So: misery stabilizers. I read some books that engrossed me. I read the New Yorker on the bus and the subway and walking around and here in the house. And I started playing online Scrabble and Boggle with a friend of a friend (thank you, Ellen, for the intro).

And I'm still doing those things. Reading books not so much right now, and that's a post too. Old local friend Anja asked me about that yesterday and I do want to post about that. But the New Yorker, absolutely, and the online games, totally. And that's a big question: how much do I just go with it because they make me very happy indeed, how much do I say no, the time spent is keeping me from other important things I want to do?

For now I'm managing by limiting.


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