Feb 26, 2010

Reunited....And It Feels So Good?


Sometimes all the reuniting that is happening in my life gets a little overwhelming. Maybe Facebook should come with a warning that reuniting with old friends has been known to cause dizziness, loss of breath, speeding up of the heart and excessive wondering. And that only if you have been trained to deal with your past without the aid of chocolate are you allowed to join the social network :)

I was thinking about what I would tell myself from WAY back then if I could do that time travel thing and the very first thing I thought of was:


Not To Burn Things.
What on earth was I thinking? I do love fire and nothing makes me happier than burning things but I had no idea as I was merrily burning that I would forget how people felt about me and wonder about it someday. I mean it is a little awkward to reunite and ask, "So remind me how you felt about me?" I had no idea that I would wonder what kind of friendships I had had with people. You never, ever imagine that you will ever forget all those things that seem so real to you at the moment. I never dreamed that I would want those letters and journals to help me figure things out. Dang, it makes me sick just to talk about it. All I need to do is figure out how to get everyone to write me all those letters again and go through those experiences again so I can write them in my journal and learn from them :)

Trust Your Gut.
I think I may be the only person on the earth who did not trust my gut when I was 18. Did you know thinking too much is bad and trusting your gut is good? :) Yes, I am aware that my blog is titled over thinking everything :) Someday when I am grown up and have earned it I will rename the blog, "Trusting Your Gut" then you will know I have arrived. Did you know thinking too much and spending too much time on a decision can actually lead you to make the wrong decision? I know, it does not feel quite right to have me telling you that does it? Wait, there is more, did you know that it is advised to trust your gut not just in little decisions but .....gasp...especially in big ones, like buying a car and getting married. Your emotions reflect more than your rational mind. Yeah, wish I could tell little skinny 17 year old Jennifer that one. Do you think she would listen?

You've Got Time.
Yes, it is true I thought I had to hurry and do things that I in actuality did not have to hurry and do. I had all the time in the world. Did you know 18, 19, 20 is not very old?


Buy Confidence.
Even if it meant robbing a bank I should have bought myself some confidence. Where does confidence come from anyway? Can you grow it?


So that is pretty much it. Advice 41 year old Jenn would give to 17-20 year old Jenny. (Yes, I recently discovered that most people called me that during that time. I had forgotten :)

Oh and just in case you can not read the writing under the picture of the storm trooper at the top it says "Regret" and then underneath that it says, "Those WERE the droids I was looking for." Yeah, story of my life:)

Feb 24, 2010

I Will Survive.


So what do you know about surviving? Have you ever had to survive? What does it mean to survive? Do you watch Survivor? (JK.. just had to throw that in there :) Do you have Gloria Gaynor's song "I Will Survive" memorized? :)

I have never had something major happen in my life that I could refer to in a sentence that would include the word survive. No major deaths, no major illnesses, no divorce, no getting lost in a forest, no surviving on a desert island for 56 days...... nothing. It is interesting as I get older and look around me at people and how they deal with things that I have noticed that the people I admire the most are people who have had to survive something or even lots of things. These people seem light years ahead of me in the wisdom department. So should I start wishing for a survival experience so I can grow and learn and become wise? Is it weird to say that my lack of experiences where I have had to "survive" seems to limit my ability to act like a grown up?

I am reading a book right now called Deep Survival by Laurence Gonzales. I have read it a few times and this time I am reading it to get ready for book club in March. I thrive on these kinds of books. They fascinate me. This one has a lot of words. But if you hang in there it presents some interesting ideas about who survives and why. I mean listen to Bill McKibben's review of the book, "This book will help you should you ever find yourself pinned under a rock in a roaring white water river. But it will help you even more if you ever find yourself wondering why your brain works the way it does under the stress of everyday life. A fascinating look into why we are who we are." I know!! Are you dying to read it right now? Hurry, come over, I will make Scotcheroos and then we can sit and read it together while eating Scotcheroos :)

What does it mean to survive? The dictionary says one definition is, "to endure or live through something." One of the most fascinating ideas I have come upon so far in this book is that the reason most people can not survive something is that they can not change the map and model in their head of their world from what it once was to what it has become. The very first rule of life according to Mr. Gonzales is to "Be here now." You have to be able to face reality and not resign yourself to your fate. He tells the story of a guy who was lost and how he wandered about for 2 days looking for something familiar, reassuring himself that something he would recognize was just over the next hill. He became more and more panicked and his thoughts became less and less clear and he became more and more lost. Finally he managed to pull himself together which is what distinguished him as a survivor. He stopped looking for the environment he wished for, the environment where he recognized things, and started dealing with his real environment, he stayed put and built himself a shelter and built a fire and within three days was rescued.

Have you ever been lost? I honestly never have been lost. I always have to know where I am going when I leave my house. Map Quest and I are best friends. I can wander around looking for something if I have someone familiar with this uncomfortable, "I do not know where I am" feeling in the car with me but I would never be caught in that situation on my own. Someone once told me that their mom used to tell them you were only lost if you thought you were. Apparently that is true. "Being lost is not a location it is a transformation" it is a failure of your mind. It can happen anywhere, even in your life. Surely you know someone who is "lost?" Is it me? :)

Life is all about surviving, it's not fair and it is full of disappointment. The hardest part of being a mom is wondering if you have equipped your kids with the skills to figure out how to survive. Mr Gonzalez says in his book, "That you don't have to be an elite performer. That you don't have to be perfect. You just have to get on with it and do the next right thing." So with that I better go do the next right thing which is laundry :)

Feb 23, 2010

That Kind of Day.

Quick, look out the window. Is it snowing? Fluffy flakes? Are you still wearing your hat and coat from when you drove to Seminary this morning at 5am....four long hours ago? Are you still staring out the window at the flakes? Do you know why? Is your mind full? HOORAY!! You passed. Today is officially a lay in the bed kind of day. I love those......sigh, if only they were real and could really happen :)

So have you noticed I am back? You should go collect your money from whoever you bet that I would be back before March 1st. You know me so well. Why can't I just be a shy, quiet, private person? What a happy life that would be :) So why am I back? Well yesterday I felt the urge to look at my blog which I had not looked at in three weeks. I started reading and realized I missed it. I keep forgetting I am writing for me...not you :) I mean I love you and I need you but the writing is for me and despite the fact that I can not tell you everything in my head it still is somewhat therapeutic.

So what have I been doing?

Well I had to give a talk in church on Valentines Day and boy do those consume my life. Did you know I have to write every single word of my talk down? Sick, I know. I love preparing them because I learn and grow every time I give one but they do cause the family to not get dinner and the house to become a mess. Someday I will have enough confidence in myself to get up there and talk without having to do hours of research :) I just have this notion that I should know what I am talking about if I give a talk.

I recently did something I have never done before, I took a Baird child to Home Depot and let her choose.. (well, I influenced her choice in a smallish way) a small sample size of color for her room. The color was green......well one of the 9,000 shades of green. We went home and I even let her apply the color by herself to different parts of her room to see if we liked it. Who says I am controlling? :) Well I really did not like the green it was very yellow-ish, I tried with all my might to be open minded about it but after some discussing, tantrum-ing (her not me), and compromising we have decided to paint the room plain white and accessorize with colorful curtains and such. She really did not think I was being fair. But I tried to explain to her that no other Baird child in the history of the planet has been allowed to do what she got to do. She got further than anyone. But she still does not see it as a positive...nope not in anyway.

I took Tatiana and a friend ice skating. It has been a long time since I went ice skating. The Olympics have made Tatiana very curious about ice skating and we have a rink about 7 minutes from our house so I decided we needed to go do it. The rink has one hour a day where they allow beginners and their parents to skate and they provide these little tiny walkers for the kids to push across the ice as they practice ice skating. It is such a great idea. I just skated along beside Tatiana and her friend as they skated. As I was skating around imagining my amazing flowy ice skater costume ( oh come on, admit it you imagine too :) my mind was wondering about when I learned to ice skate? I can not remember when I learned to ice skate. It may have been in college? I do remember when I was a grown up chaparone at a youth activity in Kansas that I had a kid dart in front of me, while ice skating, and while I had two hands occupied holding other kids hands, caused me to fall face first on the ice and break my nose. I do remember going on a date to Salt Lake City to go ice skating when I was at BYU. But I do not remember how or when I actually learned.

I read The Princess Bride by William Goldman. I have almost started this book twice but never quite got into it. It confused me. But this time I read it all and then promptly googled William Goldman and now everything is clear to me. If you ever read it or have attempted to read it it is very important for you to know that William Goldman and Morgenstern are one and the same. There is no other longer more complicated version of Princess Bride written by a man named Morgenstern. It was just a clever writing method that Goldman used. I loved the book. I had no idea you could improve on the Princess Bride movie but believe me you can and I learned a lot more about the well known characters and experiences to help explain who they were. We had a great discussion at book club about the book, about true love, and if it really exists and what it is. I wondered a lot as I read this book about how much Westley loved Buttercup. Some people were bothered by how she gave up on him and went with Prince Humperdink.... after they went through the fire swamp. How could she? But I was never mad at Buttercup for going with Humperdink...she knew Westley would come for her she would rather know he was alive. She could live knowing that he was alive and still have hope to be with him someday....right?

Other than all that all I have been doing 24/7 is watching, wondering, and agonizing over the many teenagers in this house, mulling over how to help them "seize the day." How to help them see their potential when I can barely see my own. How to help them not care about anything anyone else may say. How to help them to see what an amazing time of their life these years are how there are so many options and so many things to try and that failure is okay.

Yeah...good times.

Feb 22, 2010

Arriving at 6:50am for an 11:33am.

A state of uneasiness and apprehension, as about future uncertainties.



Did you read that definition? So do you ever get "that?" Is there
anyway to avoid "it?" I confess I get "it"....... sometimes. I don't need to take medication for "it" but I do get "it" about certain things. Did you guess that "it" was the definition of anxiety? The biggest things that cause anxiety for me are being on time and having to travel to a never before seen destination that I have to be to at a certain time. I do not know why I just can not get lost and be late and be okay. I just really like to know exactly where I am going, see the destination in my head, know exactly what will happen along the way that may cause me to be late.....unrealistic? Really? DRAT. Look, I did not choose this anxiety it choose me. And it has gotten much better over time.

So now that I have over shared with you about my mental state let me tell you my story. We have been discussing the idea, for several months, of Miriam flying to Hawaii to visit my parents. Once we discovered that we could not find a plane ticket for under $800.00 dollars we sort of let the discussion drop. Then one day my dad called to say he had found a ticket for $550.00, still a ton of money but definitely less than $800.00, so we re-opened the discussion and Miriam decided she wanted to spend her money on this trip. So I asked my husband to purchase her plane ticket since he has high speed internet at work and we have, "take all stinking day dial up" at our house. The poor man had no idea that honoring a seemingly innocent request could result in such a mess. But the minute he brought the ticket information home and I looked at it I did not know what to say....big lie...I knew what to say...I just did not know where to start :)

And even today at 1:24 pm EST when Miriam is safely on her first flight on her way to Hawaii I still do not know where to start.

Because everything is close together on the East coast we have the blessing of being able to choose between several airports when we fly anywhere. Bradley International airport is in Connecticut and is 25 minutes from our house so it is always our first choice. But sometimes you can not help but check other airports just because of the whole spending money thing. Well the hubby was doing a good thing and trying to save money when he checked tickets and found, and purchased, the cheaper ticket leaving to Hawaii from Boston (not currently 25 minutes away in Connecticut.) Here is where the story starts to get emotional for girls who have time and unknown destination anxiety :)

Now to get to Boston airport from our house you have to:

Drive 107 miles, (that's okay, love to drive)

To a big airport I have never been to before. ( not okay....see the anxiety paragraph above :)

Through downtown Boston (that's okay, very beautiful city)

During unpredictable, evil, big city, got to get to work on time, Monday morning rush hour traffic (not okay when you have a time constraint and have to be looking at mapquest while driving)

On a day (February 22nd) when the hubby is in far away sunny California.

On a day (February 22nd) when the little kids need to have someone to get them up and ready for school.


So within seconds of assimilating all this info I confess I threw a small, but adorable,(hey, it's my story) tantrum because I was in shock and he threw a tantrum back...( not an adorable tantrum)
So, do I need to tell you that the tantrum did not work? (FYI they never do) And since I could not change what was done, I spent three weeks mulling over all the facts trying to get as much control over the situation as I could.

I laid out all those facts and slowly dealt with them:


I tried to get someone to ride with me to Logan International but no one loved me enough to get up at 4:30 am on a Monday morning to ride with me to the airport and help me figure out where to drive.

I asked a few dear friends who work in Boston, and are acquainted with it's wicked roads, about what time I should leave and graphed and averaged their replies. (Funny, what a little ol anxiety can drive a person to do :)

I swallowed my pride and begged some neighbors to let the 7 and 10 year olds spend the night at their houses on a school night...GASP.... so that they could have some grown up supervision to help them catch the bus and get to school on time.

I mapquested directions and searched the Logan International website to gain every piece of information I could about my opponent.

I got $40.00 cash out of the bank to cover the tolls into the airport and home.

And I confess I even ignored my husband's suggestions that I did not need to leave for the airport until 7am.

So, it was 5:07 in the morning when Miriam and I pulled out of our driveway in Westfield 107 miles away from Logan International Airport....and to her credit she did not say one word about the unreasonableness of our departure time. The morning was clear and beautiful. I do love watching the sun come up when I am driving. The Massachusetts Pike AKA I-90 was clear sailing and we arrived at the airport at 6:50 am. I got her into the airport, checked in and watched her go through security and was back in my car at 7:19 am where I had a text waiting for me on my phone from her that said,"HAHA there is no one else at my gate."Well of course not her flight did not leave until 11:33am..... obsessive? Who me? I started to seriously wonder if I did need medication as I was driving back the 107 miles across Massachusetts but then I noticed that the other side of the Massachusetts Pike heading East into Boston was not moving....I passed mile after mile of cars and heard about a three car accident that was blocking traffic into Boston for miles and miles. Would we still have made it on time if we were stuck in that traffic....probably. But I am glad I did not have to find out. And did it hurt her to sit in the airport and read and stare at people for four hours? I don't think so.

Is it funny what lengths we will go to to control our world and try to master uncertainty? I guess funny is better than sad :) And you should probably make a mental note somewhere to not ask me to drive you to the airport.....unless you want to get there early :)



Feb 3, 2010

On A Sabbatical ?

Well, hello there...the chances are really good if you are sitting there at your computer staring at my rather plain, ordinary blog, that you have just Googled " why do I over think" or "how do I get Carmex out of clothes" and are looking for answers. Well I don't really have the answers. I named my blog "Overthinking Everything" because a dear friend(who I had not seen in 20 years) once told me (after we had reconnected) that I over thought everything. At first I denied it and then within 24 hours I realized it was so comforting to find someone who knew me so well and I also realized it was okay to over think because everyone over thinks something. And the Carmex thing?...well I wrote a post once about how we love Carmex at our house and so when anyone out there in the wide world Googles Carmex they get directed to....my blog, lucky them :)


I started blogging about two years ago when we moved to Massachusetts. I was going through a tough moment in my life and had recently made a discovery that I liked writing.... actually I must get drama-licious here and say emphatically that I NEEDED writing. But the whole blogging thing was tougher than I thought. When you put your words out there you make yourself vulnerable. People can misunderstand you. People can judge you. People could even possibly...gasp...not like you. Some people start to blog so that they can keep in touch with family and friends that are far away. But I knew from the beginning I did not want to use my blog to necessarily keep you in touch with my families day to day life. I wanted the blog to be mine not my kids or my husbands. I share everything else with them. I wanted to say whatever I wanted. But I soon learned I couldn't tell the internet everything that was going on in my mind. You see, situations that would happen that I wanted to write about would involve people who read my blog and thus, I could not write about the situation the way I wanted to. I had envisioned this cozy little place where I share all my thoughts, yes, all of them...does that not sound fun? :) But it has not necessarily worked out that way. I find that the longer I blog the harder it gets to think of things to write about that are "surface-y". I have so many things I want to tell just you about.... but not her, and not him and definitely not her. I can not seem to reconcile it. So instead of blogging everyday, as we all know I love to do. I have found the distance between posts getting longer and longer. I find myself getting more and more gifted at suppressing......I have discovered my new talent which is holding it all in :) I actually am certified in suppressing and could teach some pretty awesome classes on it :)

I have posted 404 posts on this blog. And I have enjoyed every minute of it but I think it is time to stop staring at the blank blogging rectangle and longing to tell you everything but not being able to. Hopefully I am not gone forever. And if you miss me you know there are two years worth of posts here that should give your "Jennifer fix" :)