Thursday, June 18, 2009

Attitude is Everything

I started this blog about 3 months ago. I was in a bad place at the time. It had taken me many years to get there, but I was feeling restless, dissatisfied with my life, fearful of the future as a caregiver to someone with a progressive disease, wondering "is this all there is?"

Historically, I'd prided myself on my ability to deal with issues in all parts of my life and find creative solutions to those problems. I tended to have a positive outlook on life, expecting good things to happen to Skip and me. I expected I'd be able to keep on dealing and moving forward with my life.

Something happened. Did I get worn down by the demands of life? Draw on the reserves a bit too much so there wasn't more to give? Did my need to be the one who could handle it all keep me from facing my fears and feelings? Yes, yes and yes.

I became brittle. I couldn't deal. I got cranky. I saw little purpose to my life. 2008 was, without a doubt, the worst year of my life.

So, how am I feeling today? I feel optimistic about the future again. Of course it will have challenges, but I know we'll face them and figure out how to deal with them. We'll even plan ahead for some eventualities so we're able to handle them most effectively if they come to pass. I don't feel a big empty hole in the middle of my life anymore. That hole was the lack of purpose and meaning. I feel confident again that the giving and receiving of love is what life is all about and caring for Skip gives my life purpose.

Is the major attitude adjustment a result of blogging? Well, yes. At least in part.

I've mentioned before that I'm not particularly introspective and need to think "out loud" to really understand what I'm thinking and work through issues. By writing posts about why I get cranky, how to counteract my crankiness, and how I feel, I've gained some insights into my motivations and feelings. This blog has been a great tool to open up pathways into the murk that lies below the surface in my brain.

Gaining these insights has prompted some behavior changes in me. Even more importantly, though, they've allowed me to react in ways other than with crankiness as I honestly understand my feelings and motivations better.

These outcomes were what I'd hoped for when I started blogging. They could have occurred if I'd written these posts in a journal that never saw the light of day.

There was something I didn't realize I was missing before: the blogging community. I've barely put my toe out into the blogging world and already I can feel the positive effects of the community. I've "met" some great folks as a result of blogging. And, many of them are struggling with the same stuff as Skip and me. It's great to write a post and then see comments come in that give support, put a new slant on the post's content or just say "hi." Similarly, I've begun reading lots of others' blogs that I've found since I began this one. I am constantly impressed by what others write, both in content and quality of writing, and often find it quite moving. I look forward to reading from my blogroll every day.

I know my attitude will swing into the dark side in the future. I see blogging -- both the process of posting and interactions with other bloggers -- as a great way to climb back out of future funks.


harkoo said...

I don't have my own blog but am reading your thoughts your pups (6 cats here). Do you ladies have an air conditioner for summer? Maine is very humid this week causing an MS dullness to my mind! Hope your lady feels better

Cranky said...

Harkoo - thanks for your note. Fortunately, we do have air conditioning. Skip would be in horrible shape without it. It is humid here as well in Massachusetts. Skip is definitely on the mend; thanks for your good wishes.

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,

Blogging is indeed an excellent way of getting things off your shoulders that may be too heavy.

The feeling of community is really good.

Can't believe you have only been blogging for 3 months feels like I have been reading your blog much longer.

Very happy to have met you and to read your stories and see the photos of your beautiful pups.

Lots of love to you and Skip,

awb said...

I agree 100%. I never thought I would get into the blog scene, but I look forward to what people have to say, to tell me, and what they can teach me. There is a certain comfort to having friends, but keeping ones anonymity.

Cranky said...

Herrad and Andy - thanks so much for your comments. You two are both people I've enjoyed very much getting to know through your blogs and your comments. Love to you both!

Anonymous said...

Hi Cranky! Blogging has given me the ability to come out of hiding. I posted my photo for the first time in April (or March) and I was panicky over it, but I feel so free now. The support is wonderful, the friends are fabulous! I've been journalling for years, but never felt such release as I did when I started blogging publicly. I think it's a wonderful thing that you feel a purpose and that you are able to learn things about yourself through blogging. I've made some great strides and changes too and I have become somewhat addicted to reading my blog roll and finding new ones!!! Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Cranky
I can't imagine the feelings you experienced when trying to arouse Skip. My heart sank just reading about it. I don't know what I'd do if it was M and I in the same situation, but I know I wouldn't handle it nearly as well or stoic as you are. You are our hero.

Just know that we are always there in spirit and will be there physically within 7 hours...just say the word.

Hugs to both! I'm smoking a stogie for Skip tonight. Go away cold.

Cranky said...

Rain - it is truly an addiction - the blogroll. And, the support and insight of other bloggers is great ... such as yours. :-)

L - it was concerning when Skip was so hard to awaken. Thanks for your support! Enjoy the cigar ... hugs to you two, too.

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,

The blog world and blog friends are wonderful.

Just want to say that I love you all.