Monday, March 18, 2013

Same Circumstances, Different Stories

I couldn't help but pair this post with a picture of the two-pronged carrot we picked
in our backyard this weekend. I bet each of those legs has a different story about growing.
I'm putting my own advice to work this week. My hubby came to visit over the weekend and when I found myself sliding into a fit of sniffles and self pity when he left, I immediately started to examine the story I was reciting in my head.

Changing your story can change your mood in a hot minute. 

Here's how mine seemed to be breaking down:

Story Option #1: My husband is working in Canada for 7+ months. This means I have to take care of two houses, two yards, two cars (we don't want any dead batteries!), incoming mail for two people, some extra outgoing bill payments, and any little disasters that creep up (like clogged sinks and broken light switches). I have to go to bed and wake up alone. I'm solo at social events. I'm sex-deprived and snuggle-starved. We'll be apart on our 2-year anniversary. I miss him every day and we still have four more months to go. Ugh.

Story Option #2: My husband is working in Canada for 7+ months. This means I get to go visit him four times in Vancouver and then see him once for a wedding in Hawaii—then again when his shoot moves to Hawaii! I talk to him throughout each day on Instant Messenger, and we're able to Skype and chat on the phone often. I have more time to focus on my own projects, and if I don't want to shave my legs for a week, no one knows but me! To make up for being apart on the actual day of our anniversary, we enjoyed two special dinner dates together this month. I miss him every day but we only have four more months to go. We're nearly halfway there!

Feel the energetic difference in those two different takes? One makes you pretty much want to lie on the couch with a security blanket and a mojito-filled sippy cup. The other makes you kind of want to high-five me, huh?

There is so much power in focusing on the positive. 

It can literally re-energize you. Both of the stories above are completely true, but when I tell myself option #2, I feel So Much Better. And isn't that what life is about? Feeling good. Feeling joyous. I choose that over the saddies any day.

But, of course, if the saddies creep in, it's important not to ignore them. 

Letting myself shed a few tears yesterday when Mr. W left was what allowed me to focus on my positive story again. I had to move through the sadness before I could get back to the joy. I think a good cry is always a good thing.

But after that cry, I'm always going to lean into the happier ending.

Do you have any two-sided stories swirling in your head right now?


  1. I think when we hear something is a choice, we somehow think it is easy. Or it becomes easy. But you are right, you have to actively decide. Then maybe it gets a little easier. :)

    When I was reading the things you're taking care of while Mr. W is working I couldn't help but wonder what he must have done before? It certainly seems from here that he must be so relieved to know there is someone to take care of all the things that probably caused a lot of pains in the neck before you. I don't know for sure, but maybe that makes it a little better, knowing you make someone's life easier? I get a lot of satisfaction from that... maybe too much! haha

  2. Great post. I totally agree that it is okay to have a mini pity party and then refocus. Although Joe is not gone for long stretches, at times he is traveling every week. So in essence I am a single parent at those times. I am rarely option 1, but every once in a while I have those moments.

    People always ask me how I do it, and pretty much option 2 is my outlook most of the time. Reading great, positive blogs like this one also helps. :)

  3. Lesley - Just using the word "choice" helps. Think about how you feel when you say "I have to do _____" vs. "I'm choosing to do _____ because ______." It totally enables you to take back your power. And Mr. W didn't have to handle all of this stuff on his own before - in the past we've kept things pretty well split between us. But with him being gone, that split has gotten pretty skewed!

    Suzy - Wow I didn't realize you had to play single mama so often. You for sure deserve the occasional pity party! But I love that you choose not to stay in it permanently.