I have a birthday coming up this week.   The number doesn’t matter, and I’m at a place in my life where I can say that with a straight face.

As I get closer to social security age, I realize that my happiness is my responsibility.

I’ve gone through some difficult periods in my life.   I’ve been alone.  Scared.  Hurt. Angry.

That is life.   Really, if you think you are going to get through this journey without anything negative or challenging happening, you are going to get a big surprise.

I was in a few relationships where the guy met everything that happened   with a “why me?”  It was always someone else’s fault.   Luckily I didn’t stay in those relationships very long.   I really don’t have a lot of patience with that attitude to tell you the truth.  Sometimes you just have to suck it up and get through it.   Which is not to say that I don’t wallow in self pity at times.  But I get over it.

Have you read any of the writings of Timber Hawkeye?

“I was drawn to the simplicity of Buddhism, which isn’t a religion at all but the philosophy that you will not be punished for your anger, you are punished BY your anger.  And if you’ve ever been really angry with someone then you know it’s punishment enough!  It is toxic and it terribly affects you and everyone around you.  Buddhism keeps reminding me that I’m the one responsible for my own mood; whats more liberating (and annoying) than that?  lol…sure it’s easier to blame other people but it’s not their fault!”

I still struggle with this one.

Steve is retired.  We spend virtually 24/7 together.  We both are Type A personalities and we both are used to managing people.   That, my friends, could have been a recipe for disaster.   And I’ll be the first to tell you that we have had some struggles in this past year learning how to boss each other around without offending each other.  Because trust me, neither one of us is going to stop being bossy.  Or a control freak.  And neither one of us likes to be bossed around.

I read recently that we are wired with a negativity bias .   That is why we focus on the prickly parts of relationships, the responsibilities of our job that aren’t fun, the little annoyances of daily life that can set our mood for the entire day.

Many years ago I realized that I gave to much weight to the little things, without creating balance with the positive.   The trick, however, was to be aware of the positive.   That took work to become a habit.  Being negative was easy, being positive…not so much.

But I had one of those aha! moments a few months ago and I started putting more effort into finding the positive than in wallowing in the negative.

I take deep breaths of my horses smell when I walk outside to see them.   I love watching the sunrise with my daughter as we wait for the bus, and she still wants to hug me as she gets out of the car.   I’m so appreciative of the good relationship with my children’s father Charles, we talk frequently and stay in each others home when we visit.  There is so much good in my life.

Steve and I now make it a habit to talk to each other about how happy we are, with each other and with out life.   Those conversations give us balance when we are pissy with each other.  The good times and good things overwhelming balance out our little annoyances.   The reality is neither one of us is going to make any big changes.   I like who I am.   Steve is who he is. Getting angry is a waste of time.

I have found my tribe.   My tribe of strong, intelligent women that I can laugh and cry with.  We have similar stories, similar interests.   But the important thing is that we accept each other as we are.  Let’s face it, we are most of us in our 50’s and 60’s, how much changing are we going to do?

Our Paso Fino club rode in a parade on Saturday.   Since I was a kid watching the Livestock Show Parade in Little Rock I’ve wanted to ride in a parade.  My daughter and her friend Amber were there carrying the banner. They filmed the parade for a Netflix movie with Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.   And my tribe was with me as I rode.  It was a gorgeous Colorado day, both of my horses were in the parade, and I cried.  I actually sat on my horse as we lined up, looked around and really soaked in the experience and cried. And then we were off and I grinned and laughed the whole time.   How very lucky and blessed I am.

 

That afternoon we drove to Denver.   On the way traffic slowed to a stop.  Then a crawl.  We passed a group of people in the middle of I-25 Southbound performing CPR on an individual.   I couldn’t tell age or sex, but it didn’t look good.   A truck was upside down on the side of the freeway.  Ambulances had not arrived yet.

I cried again that day, with the realization of how quickly everything can change.  I don’t know if the person survived, or if they did with what injuries.  There was such a stark contrast to the joy I felt that morning, and the agony his loved ones would be facing.

More from Timber Hawkeye:

“Do you agree that we essentially create our own heaven or hell right here on earth?  If we go through life witha negative attitude, judgmental, opinionated, rude, mean, angry and resentful, then our lives would be miserable (though we’d blame everyone around us instead of taking responsibility for our own attitude).  But there is another way;  we can admit that it’s not other people’s job to maintain our inner peace, it is our own.

I choose to believe that we are all blessed, not cursed, and that everything is a lesson, not a punishment.  People aren’t obstacles in my way, they are all gifts for me to learn from and grow from.   But that’s just me…you can choose whatever attitude you want :)”

Not being in control is hard for me.   This philosophy puts the responsibility on ME to be happy.   I have to find what mantras work for me.  I can choose to get angry, or dissatisfied, or I can choose to be grateful.   Grateful is a lot more pleasant. I can’t control what others do or say, but I sure can choose how I react.  And I can choose my own self talk.

So my friend that has moved across the country and you haven’t found your tribe yet, keep looking.  Hug your horses and enjoy the beautiful green that you see.   And post more pictures of that beautiful grand baby.

My friend that is finding that your friend is not really your friend;  be grateful that you are wise enough to see through her and not be manipulated anymore.  Keep doing all the great work that you are doing, and don’t forget that you have a tribe that loves you.

I’m so very grateful to call you both my friend.  I’m so very grateful to being living this life that I have.

 

Pioneer Day Parade