If It Costs More Than I Have



We live in divisive and trying times. We all know it and we all feel it, no matter how much we try to “stay out of it” or avoid confrontation. The toxicity of these days has seeped into the air, the water, every pore of our skin and our relationships. We can’t escape it because it’s everywhere.

This can make it feel impossible to decide what battles to pick, which fights to take on and which to let go of. What incident needs defending and what situation needs cooling off. Who we can help and when we need to step back for our own self-preservation.

It’s a tightrope that very few of us were taught to walk on, even when the world was friendlier and less outright hateful.

We were not taught to calmly talk out difficult conversations with people we don’t agree with. We were taught to ignore and avoid conversations and people we disagree with.

This means that if we’re trying to break this cycle and talk about the hard things, we are going to have some trial and error. Because the human animal, by default, looks for the easy route.

What we can handle and how much we can shoulder is going to be different for all of us, and different every day or time in our lives. It’s a personal choice that rotates like the sun.

For me, it comes down to what I can afford.

Some situations, people, and even friends and family, are energy suckers. They will hog your emotional couch so you can’t relax, keep you up all night with their drama and drain your battery. You have to decide how much to give them. Because some people will literally take all you have.

If it costs more than you have, it’s not worth it. Regardless of how cute they are, what they say, or how long you’ve known them.  No matter what their title or category in your life. If they leave you feeling beat up, blinking red at four percent battery life after every encounter, they cost too much!

We have limited time. Limited energy. Limited waking hours to invest in other humans.

Choose the ones who do not suck you dry. Choose the ones who help fill you up.


The Have It Your Way Era




It seems we live in a world of Delete. Block. Defriend.

Or as I affectionately call it,
The Have It Your Way Era.

You don’t like what someone said on your news feed? Delete their comments! This is YOUR Facebook, after all…

Are they bugging you with what they post? You don’t like that? Block ‘em!

Someone told you that you are using a word wrong? Or maybe they believe the 97% of scientists who think climate change is real? Defriend them. Who needs that kind of drama? You are educated and don’t need anyone to tell you what to think.

I’m going to just say it flat out that I find this behavior just ridiculous for grown adults. It’s like Middle School America around here.

I have a lot of friends with a lot of varying opinions and faiths and political preferences. People from all over the world with a wide range of lifestyles. I do not block you or defriend you for this. I will boot your ass for name calling and downright threats, but I’d also do that if you were nasty in my living room. But, in truth, most people simmer down with a warning. Or go away on their own. Thankfully, I get very little drama on my feed. It seems that despite all the diversity, I have civil and open-minded adults as friends.

But it seems that some adults believe if they delete, then those things didn’t happen. Or maybe weren’t real? I don’t know, because I don’t get it.

I don’t do the delete game. I don’t delete, unless I accidently posted a rainbow or something. I will go in and edit small grammatical stuff, because pretty much everything I do happens while I’m wrangling a toddler and a cat and maybe a dog and a 6-year-old. And I’m kind of a perfectionist so I want to sound like I can formulate sentences. But otherwise, what I post, STAYS. Always. You know why? Because I don’t post it unless I believe it enough to stand behind it. It’s as simple as that.

And because I KNOW that even if I delete something, that it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. And ultimately, WE still know what WE said. Or what someone else said. We can’t UNDO it or make it unhappen. We all know this, right? RIGHT?

It’s like doing something stupid and getting drunk to forget about it. And then you get so wasted that you black out so you just assume that means that none of it happened.

Uh, no. It still happened. Still real. You just blocked it out.

Which is kind of how so many seem to look at life right now.

“I don’t like that. It bothers me. I don’t need to think about that. I’ll block it.”

Uh, okay. But it’s still real. You know that, right? And some of the things you are blocking will seriously impact your life, even if you are flat-out on purpose ignoring it all.

Which could quite honestly be viewed as irresponsible.

So here’s my wish for the day. My challenge to all of you, if you are up for it:

Do not be a Have It Your Way Person. To grow as people and as a nation, we need to drop the Have It Your Way Era and it’s selfish line of thinking.

We need to grow up and accept responsibility for learning about the world around us. And not just the people that look and think like we do. We need to be willing to listen to different people with open minds, and not just the ones that make us feel good about ourselves.

Find who you are and what you believe and share that. Stand behind that. But make it a two-way conversation.

Let the world in and stop constantly micro-managing until you only see what you want to see. We don’t learn anything that way. Not when you make sure every door is locked up tight before you walk by.

It’s an illusion, this “reality” we try to create in the image of what we want the world to be. It’s not real, not when you constantly shift what you allow into your life.

And don’t say it’s only on social networking. Because like it or not, social networking IS where we are.


What would the world look like to you if you stopped constantly filtering what was allowed, on and off your news feed?

We Are ALL Doing Our Best


It’s Christmas, and you know what that means… It means that people apparently turn crazy.

Not really, but kind of.

And then you hear all these songs everywhere you go about this being the most wonderful time of the year. But it seems like everyone is mostly rushing around like idiots trying so hard to complete everything that they are just WAY too busy to enjoy the season.

This is not true of everyone, but there are enough crazy ones out there that it gets kind of tempting to join them.

But the thing is, you have to slow down and take a breath to notice the ones who are truly exemplifying the true spirit of this season. And I’m not talking about Christianity or Jesus or any religion at all. Not specifically anyway. What I’m talking about is kindness.

If you were to ask me about all the problems going on in our world today, I would tell you that what I think we need most to fix them all is kindness. Kindness for our friends and family. Kindness for strangers. Kindness for the earth we live on. And maybe most especially, kindness for ourselves.

What we forget is that we are all doing the best we can with what we have to work with in the moment.

WE are ALL doing the best we can. Repeat that to yourself. We are all doing the very best we can.

Do you think that’s bullshit?

I don’t. You know why? Because we cannot possibly know more than what we know right now in this very minute. We can try harder tomorrow with what we learned today, but we can’t do shit about that right now. Right now, we are all doing the best we can.

Sometimes our best is yelling at doctors and nurses over the phone because they won’t listen to you about how sick your mother is. Sometimes our best is baking 6 dozen cookies and getting all the shopping completed for Christmas. Sometimes our best fixes a preschooler tantrum and sometimes it starts one. Sometimes our best is good enough, and sometimes its not nearly, or maybe it is just exactly right. It all depends on the moment, and the expectations, I suppose.

When my mom was in the last few weeks of her life, I had a song in my head all the time. It was actually from a show my daughter directed last summer. The song is called, “A Little More Homework,” and it’s about how we all are works in progress. How we’re all doing the best we can, and we should try to recognize and honor that if we’re going to be friends, because we really do depend on one another. I listened to that song almost every night in my kitchen as I made dinner in the month while my mom was dying. I didn’t know why I was listening at first, then at the end, as my mom was picking out the last gifts she was going to give anyone in her life, I got it. My mom was the perfect living example of that idea, especially in the last years of her life. She never saw people for who they were exactly, or for who society would judge them as. It was more like she saw them for who they were trying to be, and she looked for the best in them and knew that they were striving so hard all the time to be better.

We played that rather unconventional song at her funeral. I realized that if she had any kind of message to tell people, other than simply, “Love one another,” it would be to give each other a damn break and know that we’re all trying.

So I tried to exemplify that today. I tried to look at every person that I came across as someone who was trying… The cashier in the long line at the store who probably had her own Christmas shit to be doing. The people I almost bumped into in the crowed aisles. The lady on the phone who was trying to help me fix some back child support I’m owed. Everyone. I thought of every single person I came in contact with as someone who was trying their very best.

Want to know why I did that? Not just because my mom believed that and would’ve wanted that, but because I am doing my best all the time. Aren’t you? I mean, really? Aren’t you? Your results may not be what you had hoped for in every instance. And some days, you may have more to give to your own cause than others. But really, don’t you try your hardest?

And the thing is, once I started to look for that, once I started to see everyone as someone trying their very best, then I had all these people being really freaking nice to me. I found people in all corners of the store and in every aisle just downright friendly and full of Christmas spirit. The crowed stores and the throngs of people turned into a lovely place to be. Really. Just like that.

So, that’s my Christmas wish. That you may look at everyone, treat everyone, like they are doing their very best today. Know that while they may not be perfect or anywhere even close to perfect, that we ALL have a more homework to do. And that we all still deserve a kind smile.

May your days be merry and bright, friends.