Thought-provoking Thursday

In continuation from last Thursday’s post, here are my responses to five more questions from Marc and Angel Hack Life’s list of 365 thought-provoking questions to ask yourself this year. Next week I may only answer one or two as my posts tend to be getting quite lengthy. I guess I had more thoughts on these questions than I had expected.

What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?

In March, 2006 I was a full-time grad student with a part-time finance internship at a local Manufacturing company. During that time my father suffered a heart attack which led him to undergo quadruple bypass surgery. I went home immediately, and was lucky enough to have a friend crazy enough to pick me up from the airport late that night and drive me to the hospital he was admitted to in Camden, NJ- murder capital of the U.S. I was able to see him and talk to him before he underwent his surgery and thankfully he made it through the procedure just fine. At the time when this happened, I was not close to my father at all. My parents had been divorced for about a year and my father was dating someone new. I stayed in NJ for two weeks to help take care of him, missing work at my internship, which I feared would fire me because of this, and missing all of my mid-terms which I feared would force me to withdraw and retake all of my classes.

The best way for me to describe my father’s normal personality would be as cantankerous. Now imagine what he was like after having his chest cracked open, two weeks without smoking (being a 40 year, pack a day smoker), and having a near death experience. He was unbearable. My Aunt and Grandmother stopped coming to visit him in the hospital because he was being so mean to them and I was at my wit’s end dealing with him. After two weeks I was more than eager to return home to my husband, my new puppy, work and school. I did not get fired and was able to make up most of the mid-terms and get back on track with school. Life quickly returned back to normal for me. For my father, he was just beginning his battle with depression, which apparently is a common side effect from heart attacks/open heart surgery, which would end up lasting a few years before he got the help he needed to get it under control. He actually still suffers through bouts of depressions even now, five years later.

Although the heart attack and the depression brought me closer to my father than I had ever been before, I wish I would have spent more time with him. I should have sent him more cards and emails reminding him that I loved him and was there for him. I should have visited more especially since I was only an 8 hour drive from him. But I didn’t, I didn’t do enough. I am lucky that I didn’t lose him that day because I never would have been able to develop the relationship I have with him now. Even though he is a grumpy old man who sends me goofy pictures and emails and leaves me random Facebook posts I love him dearly. I just wish that I could have been a better daughter and friend to him when he was suffering the most.

Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?

I would like to think that I am the type of person who asks a lot of questions. I think about my performance at work and how I prefer to ask questions instead of make assumptions even if it might make people think less of me. I would rather ask now and suffer through condescension than be criticized later for making mistakes. Additionally, whenever I am learning something new or am in a training class, I try to ask questions because I feel the more you know the better off you are at understanding and retaining information.

Also, I like to know the answers to the random questions that pop up in life. I am constantly using Google or Bing to figure things out. Just the other day at lunch we were discussing female teachers who have slept with their male students (random, I know) and for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of the teacher from that first big case, Mary Kay Letourneau, so I had to immediately Google it because it was driving me crazy. This is why having a smart phone makes my life so much easier- I have this crazy need to know the most random stuff and I need to know it immediately.

Who do you love and what are you doing about it?

I love my husband Paul- he is the ying to my yang. Yes, we sometimes fight and yes, he does occasionally drive me crazy but that is typical in any relationship and it is not our standard behavior. Most days we laugh and hug and are supportive of each other. Most days we have a loving, caring relationship.

I try to be a good wife for him because he is a good husband to me. When we were first married, I made a lot of career choices that moved us around the country and he put my career growth first and sacrificed his. Every big decision we made together but I know that his decisions always focused around my happiness. Now it is my turn to do the same. I supported his decision to join the Army and stayed by his side even when I really didn’t want to. I try to be supportive of everything he does in the Army and everything he wants to do and I make sure he knows that I am always proud of him.

Paul is very supportive of my new diet and fitness plan but I know it is hard for him to grocery shop and cook for himself. He ended up eating fast food pretty regularly  which is not healthy even for someone who exercises daily. So, I have started spending my Sunday’s cooking all his meals for the week. I have him pick out what he wants and then I just cook it all up and throw it in the freezer. This way we can both be happy while I diet. It is one thing for me to focus on making myself better but I never want it to come at the expense of someone else. I try, and sometimes I am not that great at it, to think about how my actions will affect him and try to make it so we can both benefit from the decisions I make.

Of course, I do think I can show him more love and affection. So I will add it to my list of things to do to become a better person. When it comes to your spouse, partner, friends, family, whomever, it is important to try to show them how much you love and care about them and I think it is all something we can work on.

What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

The act of going to church does not necessarily make you a good person.  I hate to talk religion as I worry people will be offended or misconstrue what I say. I don’t mean this as a slight against those who are churchgoers and for my readers; this is NOT directed to you. I have specific people in mind when I write this and I know none of them read my blog.

My maternal grandmother comes to mind when I think about this topic. She goes to mass every Sunday plus a few other times during the week. She donates her time working the church bizarre and making items to be used to raise money for the church. She does so much good but then turns around and bad mouths everyone- strangers, fellow church ladies, and even her family. She was always critical of me and turned her back on my family when my mother was sick because she didn’t want other people to know that her daughter has a mental illness. She was ashamed of her family.

I could never understand how someone who claims to be religious and God-fearing couldn’t even follow the golden rule. It was very hard for me to forgive her for how she treated my mother throughout my childhood but I have since turned the other cheek and she has as well. I would like to note that this behavior has since changed when it fell onto her to take care of my mother after her divorce. She took her in so I didn’t have to leave college to take care of her which was by far the nicest thing she has ever done for me.

I also think about some of my coworkers who pray before they eat their lunch and then immediately start into this negative string of comments about how people look, or how they act, or what they do. They talk about other co-workers, their family members, TV personalities, politicians; it’s like non-stop criticism. Now I know I have days where I am pissed at someone I work with or maybe Paul has upset me but I am more mad at their actions not them as a person and I try hard to not come across like it is a personal attack against them.

I get so frustrated everyday having to hear about how fat someone looked, or that they don’t like someone on TV because they have a weird nose, or that democrats are stupid (yes, that does offend me and no I won’t stoop to your level and criticize your political beliefs), I just get so confused by all the judgment and criticism. I like to believe that these people are the exceptions not the standards, I do believe most people, regardless or religious beliefs, are good and loving. I just get so mad at the hypocrisy of it all – I just want to scream “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” John 7:24

I know that just by writing this I am being hypocritical because here I sit judging others for their actions and just last week I said that I am guilty of judging other wives in order to make myself feel better and I am working on that. As part of this new practice I try to focus on the good in others, not the bad. One new thing I have incorporated into my life is trying to list five positive things about each person I meet in order to bring the focus to a positive place. I also practice this with people I already know, like the people discussed earlier because maybe they have hurt me or maybe they are critical of others but I know they are all good people.

What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

This one is easy- jogging as well as most basic exercises. I could not have done these things a year ago because a year ago I didn’t even try. Now I am doing so much more physical activity than I have in a long time. It feels great to progress and develop and start to feel a change bringing me closer to doing the activities I have avoided in the past; like hiking. Just yesterday I tried out the elliptical machine at the gym, less impact on my knee, and was impressed with how well I did. I stayed on for 20 minutes and then did 5 miles (18 minutes) on the recumbent bike. Yes, I know it’s not a big achievement for most but for me it is- every step towards a healthier future is an achievement.

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March 24, 2011. Tags: , , , , , . Life.

One Comment

  1. jamesandjax replied:

    Have I mentioned yet how much I love that you’re blogging? LOVE! Although we’ve been friends for so long, there is still so much I’m leraning about you, just by reading your blog!

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