June 13, 2010

A shift in focus

I am often floored, in moments of clarity, how incredibly easy it is for our attitudes to be affected negatively by little things that annoy, stupid decisions we've made, or just things that happen that are out of our control. Example: We've all come into work with complaints about how our whole commute was ruined because this "one guy cut me off and almost ran me into another car". But honestly, that was one two-second event that suddenly we seem to dwell on for minutes, which affects our mood for literal hours. I've been there, I know many who have, and you just might be one of them.

I don't always make a conscious effort to get out of a funk brought on by an unfortunate event, not because I enjoy the sulking or cynical attitude, but because I haven't made it a common enough practice to consider the pleasant or sometimes fantastic things that happen around me or to me. And usually, the good stuff is going on more often than the bad stuff.

Today I could write a whole post on how angry I was at myself this morning when I went downstairs to the kitchen and Ted pointed out that I had accidentally left out an entire bagful of beef and chicken all night long so of course it was spoiled and had to be thrown out. Idiot! Or I could mention my severe daily discomfort lately of being in a 3rd trimester during a very hot and humid summer and how no matter what I wear or how much deodorant I wear (I told my brother that my supply looks like I stockpiled all the deodorant that India refuses), I end up with streams of sweat trickling down various parts of my body, and it disgusts me. I could be mad that I am going to have to put a lot of effort and money into finding/fixing the leak in my car that's causing the carpet right behind my driver's seat to soak and mildew every time it rains, and in the South, it's a lot more than when we lived in CA. I could also talk about how I get frustrated with myself every night because midnight passes, we finally get around to reading some scriptures, but then we read and read and read, and while it brings much pleasure and relaxation to us, we still have to wake up when Tessa gets up, which means we're only allowing ourselves about 5 hours of sleep every night. Do we change our habits? No. We keep on readin'. I could also complain once again about the plethora of dog poops that are everywhere on the side lawn next to our building because the dog owners here can't seem to understand the societal importance of cleaning up after their pets. I can't let Tessa wander around out there without me having to steer her around them, because she will undoubtedly want to pick them up and/or put them in her mouth. It's gross. Then there are the little things that happen when you have a full-fledged toddler roaming around - how quickly she gets bored, how she still can't communicate exactly what she wants, how she is dying to get into everything at all times. I could talk/complain about those, too. And I know there are moms out there who would "amen" me up and down (and some who would even have the nerve to say "just wait 'til you have (fill in the blank). Then you'll really be hating life." Hint: don't say things like that to me. I'll find out soon enough, and I'd rather go into it unbiased).

Any one of these things and any number of other little things are happenstances that could turn me bitter for quite a while. In fact, if I'm not careful, I could be mistaken for a perpetually cynical person, which I really hope I'm not, nor do I care to be. And while I also can't (nor do I care to) claim to be a reincarnated Pollyanna, I've realized I can focus on the great and the fun, or even just the charming and sweet, and perhaps by so doing, refocus my energy toward ac-cent-u-ating the positive.

And so, I give you a Pleasantries List.
  • I got to teach a lesson today to the Young Women in our ward about the importance of sustaining missionaries with letters. It was a short lesson, with a clear and uncomplicated message, but in so doing, I pulled out the scrapbooks of letters my mom put together for me when I was a missionary and got to relive the moments of glee at seeing some of the great things people wrote to me when I needed them most. Thank you, friends and family, for being the kind of support that every missionary pines for. And thank you, Mom, for not only writing faithfully every week to every one of your kids on their missions, but for taking the time to compile the memories for us at the end.
  • Last night was an Ice Cream Social for our ward. There was a Homemade ice cream competition. They had two judges for it, and I asked to be a third. They let me. It was...awesome.
  • Yesterday the spiders that plagued our front entrance decided to leave our roost, at least temporarily. I was finally able to sweep away the webs without fear of being eaten, and now our tall friends won't sneer at me every time they walk through our door. Yay!
  • We discovered that if we have a movie on with any type of dancing, Tessa will imitate it, and often on or close to the beat. This amuses me to no end.
  • I'll be 32 weeks pregnant in a couple days, and I've only gained 17 pounds so far. I might have to update that number after last night's ice cream frenzy, but until then, I'm going to be happy about it.
  • Ted cleans the dishes and countertops every time I make a meal. 'Nuff said.
  • My mom sent me a small package in the mail a few days ago. It had bacon-covered chocolate, which I've decided isn't my favorite form of bacon, but I was touched she thought of me.
  • My mother-in-law also sent a package recently, for no reason but to show she loves us and her granddaughter. In it, a highly recommended book for boy-raising and two new adorable dresses for Tess. We are so spoiled.
  • I was finally able to decipher a pattern for a crocheted snowflake, so I made one, and it looks pretty. I'm also faking myself out in believing that if I make enough, somehow I'll feel cooler.
  • No pre-eclampsia this time around. Hands and ankles have so far successfully avoided reminding me of Hillary Clinton.
  • Along with getting more active, Tessa has also recently become more snuggly. mmmm...
  • I got to spend an entire day with a new lifelong friend, talking, laughing, and crafting.
  • A 9-yr old boy noticed I was carrying a lot of stuff and held the door for me.
  • Ted reported that two 14-yr old boys were going out of their way to make Tessa giggle, which I think is adorable. They could have ignored her and played games of connect the dots during Priesthood, but apparently they got more pleasure out of seeing her laugh.
  • Our backyard scene is gorgeous. I've never known so many shades of green existed.
  • I finally got to eat at Panda Express for the first time since August. The nearest one is kind of out-of-the-way, but we committed and went and were not disappointed. Orange chicken, I've missed you.
  • I made a pretty slammin' quiche for dinner tonight: Onion & Kielbasa with Tomatoes, Asiago, and Parmesan. Both Ted and Tessa gave me the unsolicited compliments and pleasure-moans I pine for, so I was in a fog of happiness.
I have much to be grateful for, and already I'm in a great mood. I will certainly be carrying it with me as I go join my husband for some scripture reading, probably followed by additional reading. And what's the time? 12:27 am. Baby steps...baby steps.

1 comment:

Jean said...

Haha!! You totally rock. Way to log the pleasantries!

PS - When I clicked on your blog, I was treated to Bust A Move. Thank you for that, too. :-)

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