Christopher Hitchens Article on Estrangement, Vanity Fair, 2005
Mother's Day 2012: Eleven Selected Links

On New Year's resolutions & happiness: posts on the E-stranged blog

As the new year begins, some of us make resolutions. I visited Fiona McColl's E-stranged blog this week and found two superb posts that she wrote that resonate with me and that I am linking below along with the thoughts that those posts inspire. The first linked post is on her New Year's resolution. The second is on the pursuit of happiness.

Care Less, a post written by Fiona McColl on her blog E-stranged. January 3, 2012

Emotions being what they are (in other words difficult creatures to control) the goal of caring less may seem daunting. It might make it easier if you can give yourself permission to care less. Many of us feel as though caring less would be a terrible thing to do but when you are in the habit of caring more than is good for you, caring less can be freeing. It is okay to care less. Unless you are the sort of person who never cared at all and then, if you are, the concept of caring less is not something you are going to be making any New Year's resolutions about and you are probably wondering why someone would even write such a post!

The Pursuit of Happiness, a post written by Fiona McColl on E-stranged, January 5, 2012

This post resonated with me as I found myself in a situation as a volunteer where I had misplaced my priorities and was putting an organization's needs as a higher priority than my own personal, family and business needs. I knew this but was having a hard time figuring out what to do about it. And then someone who is inextricably involved in that organization treated me badly. She chose a day that was particularly awful to do that to me as it was a day that I and others had worked really hard to make successful.

The last thing that I or anyone involved needed on that day was to be treated badly. After that, I had the choice of continuing to keep that organization at the top of my priority list or let them find someone else to take over my volunteer work. If I stayed, I would be forced to interact with the person who had treated me horribly. If I stayed, I would be continuing to put the organization's needs higher than my own. If I stayed, I would be in a situation that was getting worse despite the input and warnings from myself and others. Or I could let it go, choose to be happier doing more of the things I needed to do for myself and my husband, and let them find another volunteer. I am choosing happiness. I resigned. That was a bit of a shock to them but my friends are still my friends and it may all work out for the best in the long run anyway. It wasn't reasonable to expect someone to do as much work as I was doing as a volunteer. Organizations will take whatever you offer, even if it is more than you can afford to give.

I am giving them some opportunity to find someone else before I am completely out of there. So I am still doing work for them but not giving it my all any more. I am looking forward to being out.

I am a little bit worried that I won't have the strength to get myself completely out. It will be one more learning experience for me to extricate myself. I guess the worst that can happen as far as I am concerned is that I might continue to do some things for them that I particularly enjoy doing. And do those things at a pace and time frame that doesn't conflict with other things that are more important.

Going back to Fiona's "Care Less" post, I wish that I could care a lot less when I put myself in this kind of situation. For the future, I know myself better now and I intend to be far more cautious when offering my services as a volunteer. It is not happiness when I have no time for my own things but only time for others. Volunteering is a good thing which I like to do but, like so many things, it can take up 100% of my time if I let it.

I feel sure that my life experiences had a lot to do with how I ended up doing too much of a good thing for a good cause to the point that it was not good for me. I am aware of that. I know it is up to me to make decisions that are healthier so that I don't find myself in that same kind of situation again. Now I see "red flags" in certain situations that I might have jumped into too quickly. I see other people putting themselves into tough situations. I don't try to talk them out of what they are doing because it isn't any of my business and they would not appreciate my butting in but seeing them do the same kinds of things that I have done makes me realize that it isn't just me who does these things. A lot of us do them and then eventually we figure out where we've gotten out of balance with what we're doing and how to get back on track. And then allow ourselves to make decisions that let us live happier lives.

Happy New Year everyone!

Ginny