1. says

    Anything that stresses me has to go .. within reason of course. You would be amazed how much we put up with and never do anything to change. I make an effort every day to listen to my inner voice and when there is a negative thought look at what instigated it. Gradually I am eliminating those things which cause stress and negativity … usually things but sometimes it can be relationships. Could be as simple as a squeaky door (fix it!) or as complex as a toxic relationship, and everything in between – to simplify my life and be surrounded with optimism, hope and inspiration. Life will always supply the challenges, I need all the fuel I can get to rise up to them.

    My children are grown, I have worked hard, my life is precious … my family is precious. I want to be someone they want to be around and have the time and the serenity to be in the moment with them and inspire them also.
    Sometimes we go through a lot of pain to reach the point of awareness … perhaps that’s what mid life is all about.

  2. Deb says

    well, this post hit home! I have a tendency to complexify things which leads to catastrophizing. I’m working on staying in the moment and not adding stress by imagining scenarios that might happen and just focus on what IS happening. I’m also taking steps to eliminate stresses beyond my control – setting limits on just how much I’ll allow situations in my life that lead me to the crazy place.

    Think the key is in knowing that I ‘m not in control of the universe – a humbling yet freeing realization! Because the truth is, so much of what happens is in the ” not my problem” category, and no amount of organizing or complicating is going to fix those problems because they are not mine to fix.

  3. BigLittleWolf says

    @Deb, I know what you mean about more being out of our control than we admit, and that’s frightening as well as freeing. But don’t you find (American) motherhood puts us into continual contingency conditioning mode? (Does it all start with the ‘everything’ we stuff into the gigundo diaper bag?) I know corporate life taught me backup planning, but also to be efficient in doing it, thus my admission of over-complicating in some areas but work, generally not one of them. So where does it originate? Does it quiesce as we make a concerted effort with kids flying the nest?

  4. says

    I do think motherhood (at least as we practice it in the US) starts us on the “be prepared for everything” from wet diapers up to and including The End of Time! And much of that planning and organizing is essential or everything would go to the dogs. At the risk of sounding sexist, we do it because men (generally) don’t, and it becomes part of who we are. Maybe it is a way to control what we can so we have the illusion that we can control /manage everything – what a huge burden we place on ourselves!

    For me the realization that my over-complicating things was just wearing me down made me reassess. Really, none of the catastrophes I planned and prepared for ever materialized (thankfully) and I’d wasted valuable time and psychic energy.

    I don’t think this means we give up and slide into the “whatever” approach. (God, I hate that word – so dismissive!). I think it means prioritizing – not everything that happens is worthy of calling out the winged monkeys!

  5. says

    It’s not complexity that bothers me so much as all the struggle. I used to struggle over the stupidest things. I still do, but less so. Don’t bleed before you’re shot, I try to tell myself.

  6. says

    Are women more likely to over-complicate? I know we juggle more, absolutely keeping more balls in the air, than our male counterparts. A mother leaves home for a few days? The balls, at least most of them – drop.
    Relationships, to-do lists, career, children, children’s friends, siblings, parents, in-laws, birthdays, special events, finances, meals…..
    My mother-in-law passed away, my father-in-law had no idea how many ways she kept things running.

    that’s an aspect of an empty nest I’m relishing – the freedom to and the freedom from. The freedom to simplify and the freedom to put to rest many of the balls.

    And you’re so kind to bring up the fact that some of us simplify because we CAN. I always bear in mind and heart that many don’t have the option. But examining our life and cutting out what we can, not buying into what doesn’t serve us or our family and bringing awareness to ordinary moments of grace and meaning, move us away from over-complication.

    • BigLittleWolf says

      All those balls we juggle, Barb. I suspect there are many who underestimate the time and care required. Empty nest would, I imagine, allow for putting to rest some of those balls, as you say.

  7. says

    Do we over-complicate our lives? Absolutely. I have no idea why. I think it’s a misplaced sense of control. We all tend to make things much more complicated than they really are…read too much into what is said or done in ways that result collateral damage. Maybe we’re all control freaks? And for the record…the balls are still juggled in that empty nest…they’re just different ones!! :-)

    • BigLittleWolf says

      I actually don’t think we’re all control freaks, Lisa, but it has become part of our culture to “need” (debatable) so many things and need to do so many things – I believe it adds. I can’t help but think of how everything is simpler (not simple, but simpler) in Europe (and yes, very different). We just don’t seem able to allow ourselves to stand still in this country – even for a short time – and recognize that we need that in order to stay sane and healthy.

      And yes indeedy, still juggling even after Empty Nest – just to a different tune, right?

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