Sunday, May 16, 2010

Moving Update: Welcome to Purgatory! Enjoy your stay.

Yes, that is what I would call it. Purgatory, the in-between, limbo. We haven't yet arrived in our new city, but we are no longer living in our house. Instead we are staying with my parents until our crap arrives at our rental apartment.

To add some fun to the adventure, our moving truck broke down before they had a chance to load it. The result was that we actually didn't get to leave our house until late into the night (while they finished loading our stuff onto a rental truck) which was lovely with two kids and no toys, no furniture, no TV, no nothing. This also means that our new delivery date is 3 days later than originally scheduled. Yay.

Therefore I think that Purgatory is exactly the way I would describe where we are right now. I can't decide exactly which location is Heaven and which is Hell however. That still remains to be seen, since we may have just jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Three Days Until Departure

We are down to the final days. The movers come to take all of our crap away in three short days. It will be a full 7 days from now until our stuff arrives in our new apartment, and then the rubber hits the road. I have to start making some tough decisions. It is at that point I have to decide who I want to follow up with for in person interviews and who I want to dismiss or if I want to blow off the job search entirely. That is starting to be within the realm of possibility.

I will confess that I am beginning to find my stride with this whole "Stay at home mom who is stuck with her kids 24/7" thing. There are so many aspects that are different about it, things I never realized and didn't expect. I have a lot of thoughts on the whole debate about which is harder: SAHM or WOHM and I *must* share them, but I really want to take some time and focus on that post to make sure I can get my point across just so, therefore I will save that for another night.

As for the big move, I guess I am ready. I am going to make one final trip into lab to say goodbye. I am also having a few last hurrahs with my local friends. Friends that go back a good long time. Friends I have memories of playing beer pong with and staying out way too late with laughing our asses off at the boys from Thunder from Down Under. It is strange thinking that these are the last of my friends who will have known me BK (before kids). Anyone I meet in our new city, will only know me as a mom.

And the friends I have made here since having kids are equally special. They have given me support when I needed it, laughter when I needed it and a kick in the ass when I needed it. It seems so scary and foreign to have to do this on my own, since I can't remember what it is like to be a mom without them.

Hopefully I can hold myself together as I watch all our stuff get loaded onto those trucks. I am trying to block out all those thoughts about leaving my friends and support network, avoiding the memories that this is the home where my children were born, the place they took their first steps and said their first words. It is the place they unknowingly hugged their nana goodbye for the last time, right there, on that front doorstep. There are so many memories here, so much I don't want to forget. And I know I am leaving a little part of me, and them, behind.

I guess that is par for the course. This will be our third move in 10 years, but it only feels like it is getting harder.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Striving to be happier, since Happy is a dwarf.

It seems like everywhere I go I just can't get away from people discussing if you can ever really achieve true happiness. Topics like: What makes you happy? How do you define happiness? Can one be truly happy or do you always have to make at least some concessions in your life?

It was the focus of today's sermon at church, my mom brought up the topic on her latest visit, and I feel like lately I have seen discussions of happiness mentioned on TV in everything from talk shows to sitcoms. Maybe it is just timely for me since it is a subject that I have been reflecting on a lot lately and so I just have been noticing it more. (Just like you see everyone else driving the car you just bought.) Or maybe it is a result of the tough economy and people grasping at happiness in non-traditional ways.

In any case, it is something that I wanted to blog about since it has become a small obsession for me as of late: What exactly will make me happy?

Amazingly I think I discovered the answer.

Recently I was in my car listening to a Manic Mommies podcast which featured Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project. I was struck by her assertion that we shouldn't strive to achieve "happiness" or to be "happy" but rather strive to be "happier" since one's definition of happiness is often so abstract and fantasy-like that it becomes unobtainable.

AHHH.. Finally some advice I can sink my teeth into!

I completely understood what she was talking about. Let's call it the "happily ever after" hypothesis. When you hear talk of achieving happiness you (at least I) often think of unicorns and rainbows and utopia. Cinderella and Prince Charming. Life is good, there is no pain, everything is going according to plan. But of course that isn't realistic. (Since we all know eventually Cinderella had a fight with good ol' P.C. about leaving his dirty socks on the floor just inches from the laundry basket!)

In order to enjoy happiness or to feel happy, you have to experience the fear, hurt, frustration, anger as well. You need to have a frame of reference. Happiness, even ultimate happiness is relative. It isn't an endpoint, but rather an ever-shifting perspective on the things going on around you.

That realization has greatly changed my attitude and perspective on this upcoming move and the big changes that lie ahead for me. I was putting too much pressure on myself and my decisions, trying to make them the "right" ones. As if the answers were clearly black and white.

Town A or Town B?
Stay at home or go back to work?
Industry or Academia?
Daycare of Nanny?
Short commute or nice house?

Choose the right path and find happiness, or make the wrong decision and end up in a pit of despair. Oh the pressure! I mean, this is my and my family's ultimate happiness on the line!!

But is it really?

The truth is that neither (or both) of the choices will wind up offering happiness. Maybe not the same amount, but I can always find a way to make either choice work. And if the choice I make ends up not offering up as much happiness as the alternative, it doesn't mean I'll be miserable either. There is no rule to say that I can never be happy again, or that I can't go back and make a new choice. Just like my golf game, I can allow for the occasional mulligan.

The bottom line is nobody can be 100% happy, 100% of the time. But can you be happy most of the time? Or at least happier? Sure. Do your choices help shape that perspective? Of course. But there is no 'happily ever after' and your happiness doesn't depend solely on the choice that you make, but rather the way you look at the outcome of that choice.

So moving forward I am changing the way I am asking the questions.

No more am I asking: "Which of these choices will make me happy?"

Now it is: "Which of these choices will make me happier, at least right now?" and "What can I do to make myself happier about the result of the choices I have made?"

It is time to control my own destiny! Take control of my own happiness! Since in reality my Prince Charming's socks will never make it to the laundry basket and that is okay.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Top 5 reasons my life is slightly shorter after today

1. ThePrincess has learned how to ride her bike at break-neck speeds but lacks the ability to stop, or even slow down. Tonite, this skill set resulted in her nearly decapitating herself on the open tailgate of pickup truck.

2. ThePeanut has discovered her ability to climb stairs. I almost went into cardiac arrest when I glanced over and saw her teetering on the fifth step. Our house is not (and will not be) baby proofed before we move, and so I can see this is going to be a problem.

3. I had a near breakdown today trying to parallel park my ginormous mini-van on the main drag (think bars/restaurants/lots of students on the street) of the University on a Saturday night. There is nothing worse then holding up traffic while you inch into a spot, all while listening t0 your back up alarm alternate on and off.

4. I will never again try to make it home on mere fumes because my kids are cranky. Here is a tip: When your 'low fuel' light has been on for a good 30 miles, you should stop and get gas. Don't put it off, no matter who much whining and crying you have to put up with.

5. If you have a large object (say a freezer or large shelving unit) which has been stored in your garage for years and years, you may want to prepare yourself for what you may find when you move it, since those critters haven't seen daylight in a long time, and they won't be happy when you let the sun shine in. And I don't mean: