Saturday, January 14, 2012

If wishes were fishes

When I was younger and just starting to come to terms with my family's dysfunction, I wished a lot for things to be different.

I just re-read that sentence and realized that, while true, it isn't entirely accurate to phrase it only in the past tense. I am still coming to terms with my family's dysfunction. On occasion, I still wish for things to be different. The wishing usually happens during a phone conversation with my mother. We live one state apart and don't talk all that often, but our conversations still have a way of making my want to hurl my phone out of a window. So far, I've resisted the urge, but that's still no guarantee for the future safety of the phone. The most frustrating, button-pushing conversations are those that deal with her chronic good intentions. Either her long-term memory is extremely selective, or she is the most blindly optimistic human I've ever met. Either way, the umpteenth conversation about "As soon as I get my life in order" tends to send me over the edge. What she means by that is "as soon as I clean out and discard roughly 3000 square feet of trash, I will start living my life." And what she means by that is "I wish my life were different, but I just can't seem to figure out how to make that happen." If wishes were fishes, as my grandpa would say.

The problem with growing up with the "I wish" mentality is that you don't ever really learn what to do to change a situation when you're unhappy. Wishing, unfortunately, doesn't make it so. Over the past few months, I've embarked on a quest to fill in some of the skills I never learned growing up. I'm figuring out the housework thing (don't walk away from the dishes after dinner -- you'll get distracted and forget about them until the next morning), making friends (give yourself some credit for being someone other people would actually like to befriend -- a little self-esteem goes a long way), and generally just trying to be aware of changes I can make that will make me happier. So far, actually making changes works a lot better than wishing. Huh.

1 comment:

  1. One thing at a time. You are on the right, healthy track to happiness!