Simple Beginnings

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I saw a quote on a reader board the other day that read, “If you want to change the world, go home and love your family.”

I thought it was such a simple truth — indeed that providing a loving, healthy, safe home for your family truly can make the world a better place. Not just within the home, but in schools, workplaces, and the community as your family returns that love, health, and safety out into the world.

Likewise, family dysfunction can haunt those involved for generations. And again, not just in the home but in schools, workplaces, and the community. Much of society’s biggest woes (crime, violence, etc.) can likely be traced back to an unhappy home as the root.

Fill your home with love today and every day. Doing so is naturally easier for those raised in such a home themselves. Yet it’s a choice available on a daily basis to all. I have known many people who have worked hard to give their families something they themselves wished for but did not have.

What are you “playing forward?”

Please share your thoughts in the comments!

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Stay The Course

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A friend whose husband was recently laid off from a high level executive job confessed the other day that she doesn’t know what to do.

They have been married since she was 24, he 31. They are very much a “Barbie and Ken” type couple and make a striking pair. She’s now 49, he’s 56. Both still look very young for their age.

They waited several years after marriage to start a family and now have three teenage sons ranging in age from middle school to a senior in high school.

She was a career gal in her 20s and early 30s and then has been a stay at home mom since the kids arrived. She dabbles in fixing up and reselling vintage furniture and other part time activities to make extra pocket money. She’s contemplated going back to work but admitted there’s no way she could earn enough to meet their expenses.

He has had a successful career in management, working his way up to the executive level. He’s worked for many household name companies over the years, increasing his skill set and marketability. His most recent job, the one recently lost, paid $190k a year.

Like many American couples they have saved little over the years despite his income, mostly because they live right at or perhaps even above their means. They do own their home but after a recent extensive remodel and expansion have little or no equity in it.

As one might imagine, with little cushion to absorb this unexpected blow, she’s panicking. She opened up to me that their marriage is struggling and she’s been contemplating divorce.

Knowing the red pill, I wasn’t shocked at all by this and was glad she shared it with me. I explained to her that the feelings she was having are a normal knee jerk reaction women often have during such times of crisis, but that having such feelings did not necessarily mean they needed to be acted upon.

Women are hardwired to survive, and self-preservation is a natural go-to mode in crisis. This drive is a primative one, coming from deep within the brain stem. It’s the same drive that allows women to survive disasters, wars, famine, disease, kidnapping, rape, and other threats to survival. (See “war bride theory” for more in depth explanation of this. https://therationalmale.com/2011/10/03/war-brides/)

The problem with this urge is it doesn’t come from a logical, reasoned place and unchecked it can lead to disasterous decisions or overreactions when survival isn’t truly at stake but it just feels like it is.

My friend seemed relieved to get these dark thoughts about abandoning ship out of her head and to understand just because she has such feelings doesn’t mean she must act upon them or that they were even in her best interest.

We discussed some alternatives, and also talked about how the current marriage struggles seemed to be situational rather than unresolvable. I helped her understand what her husband might be feeling, and how pulling together as a team would be far more constructive than splitting apart.

I also verbalized what I suspect might have been her biggest fear — at his age he may not find another job at that income level. I have seen many men (and women) downsized a decade short of retirement face this. Unfortunately the work world can be brutal, and often companies will hire the younger candidate for less than someone in their late 50s. It’s ageism, but often not directly so. She admitted this was a huge concern.

Then we switched to outside the box mode. One reason for their home remodel is that her husband dreams of running a bed and breakfast in retirement. He’s burned out in his career, and has been longing to shift gears for some time.

Downstairs they have two spare rooms with bathrooms that are fully ADA compliant. What did she think of the idea of leasing those rooms out right now to two elderly folks looking for an assisted living situation, I asked? Last I heard such arrangements paid up to $2,000 a month, or more. (Still less than assisted living or a retirement home, so such rentals are much sought after.) I saw a light of hope click on.

She also shared they have a fully wired and plumbed RV hookup on the back side of their 10-acre property. Again I asked had they considered renting that spot as well? They are going for $600+ a month and it’s hard to find an available space. Turned out she knows a young couple building a home that are looking for just such an arrangement!

I could see the tension dissipate as she realized these options that are already ready and waiting could help make up for their current lack of income and also supplement it to the tune of $4600 a month so that if her husband can’t replace his $190k salary, it would still be OK. If he could, then they could plow that income into savings and be well set up for retirement vs. not having any.

She could hardly wait to get home to share these ideas with her husband, and seemed completely excited at the idea of taking in some borders. They both love to entertain and love people, so she seemed jazzed at the thought. (It wouldn’t work for everyone but for them may be a perfect fit. She would still be able to be with her sons and work from home.)

She was almost in tears as she thanked me for being a sounding board and for helping her brainstorm some solutions. I told her I was happy to and thanked her for opening up so I was able to, and that I hoped the ideas would help take the pressure off.

Without what I have learned via the red pill and the manosphere I don’t think I would have been able to understand the dynamics at play or advise her why she felt as she did, or why despite those fear-based feelings, the best path was to stay the course, stick together, face the challenge, and not just survive but thrive.

I am hoping they put the ideas into play quickly and take some of the financial pressure and strain off their marriage. I will be doing my best to encourage her through this storm.

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

 

 

Two Paths

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I recently saw on Facebook that a young woman I know who is in her early 30s had just gotten out of a treatment facility after a suicide attempt. She admitted she had made multiple attempts in the past year.

I was surprised by this because from an outside view she seemed to come from a good family, have a fun job as a hostess at a local gathering spot, and was attractive and well liked. She comes across as confident, self-assured, and pulled together.

From her profile I could see she had recently been dating someone for about six months, and had several other such semi-long term relationships as well. Most seemed to be musicians. None seemed particularly promising.

Then I noticed a cryptic and nostalgic posting from her to a male friend about a trip they took together years ago. Curious, I clicked on his page and there it was, a photo album he had made of their trip.

Unlike the musicians, I could tell this young man had been serious about this gal. The captions on the photos made it clear he was smitten. I would not doubt he had thought she was, “the one.”

They both would have been in their early 20s then. They looked so happy, so carefree. He seemed like a really solid and loving guy. They looked charmed, innocent. I wonder what happened, why they hadn’t married, if perhaps she had bought the advice to, “not settle down too young.”

Whatever happened it seems she’s never found another who felt for her the way this guy had. I wonder if regrets about this played a role in her current situation?

I know the guys around here will likely have little sympathy for her. Many have been in that young man’s shoes themselves.

Anyway I thought the situation captured some of the modern relationship pitfalls we so often discuss.

I wonder how her life would have been different had she married back then rather than taken a single independent women, serial monogamy path?

It is of course impossible to know. What lies ahead for her is also unclear. I am hoping for the best as always.  For our purposes here it’s not so much about her particular case as what can be learned from it in general.

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

Lady Killer

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This week I have been in battle. I have killed hundreds, possibly thousands — of wasps.

For some reason they are especially bad this year. Nobody around can remember them building their papery nests in seemingly every crack and crevice like this. Stores are literally running out of wasp spray, people are buying it by the case.

Some ground dwelling type is altogether new. And especially aggressive. Several hover at the entrance, double dog daring anyone who comes near. If they feel it is too close they suddenly charge.

Maybe it was when I was mowing the lawn near a nest and one such scout wasp not only followed me across the yard but then flew up into my hair and lodged there, buzzing menacingly as I tried to shake it off that my switch flipped from “live and let live” to “sorry but this town ain’t big enough for the two of us.” Or maybe it was when it then flew up my shirt and stung me — twice — that I finally decided the wasps had to go. (Unlike bees, wasps can sting again and again, little f’ers!)

And they don’t just sting people! I have a sprinkler head that is leaking that they loved to hang out at like a little wasp oasis. So I turned off the water line until it can get fixed. Later that day I noticed two wasps on the now dry sprinkler head, attempting to sting it like mad, pissed as hell that it wasn’t dripping H2O any longer. Vicious!

I told myself it wasn’t just for my sake it had to be done. The wasps could sting the kids, or their friends, or others visiting. No, I could not look away and hope for the best any longer.

I asked around and got as many answers for how to take out their underground bunker as I asked people. Bury them. Drown them. Spray them. Light them on fire. The list went on and on.

Since I had a can of spray, I decided to try that first. After dusk when all the wasps were tucking away in their beds, I fumigated the tunnel. A heavy rock covering the opening ought to do, I thought.

The next morning not only had they dug out around the edges of the rock, they had made new exits to boot.

It was in the comments of a video of two guys lighting up an underground wasp nest that I got the next idea. As these guys found, while lighting the entrance up like a Fourth of July pyro’s dream might be satisfying, the commenter said doing so would suck the vapors up and out of the cavern, preventing a clean kill. Far better to pour 3-4 ounces in and simply put a rock on the opening till morning, they claimed.

Simple. Deadly. Relatively cheap. And I had it on hand. Perfect.

That night I doused two ground nests, once again putting a big rock on top of the exit. I would not know if I had won the battle until first light.

Low and behold the next day the hole in the ground that had actively  been a buzz with wasps coming and going the day before now showed no signs of life at all.

You’d think I would celebrate but instead I felt guilty. Didn’t they deserve to live as much as myself? Was it fair? Was I being waspist?

I doubt many men would fret one iota over doing what needed done. They might even use it as a bragging right.

I realized what another commenter had said about men and women’s moral reasoning being different based on ancient programming was true.

Most women don’t do well with killing stuff that needs killed. Men? They don’t seem to share that same inner conflict.

Perhaps there are specialized roles for a reason?

In any case I have since offed two more ground hives. I still don’t like doing it. But it’s got to be done.

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

 

Busy

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This is a busy time of year for me and will be for the next few months. As they say, one must make hay while the sun shines.

That said, at this time of year I can also really question the messages I received in early childhood and beyond. That it was all about having a career, being successful, being, “just like a man.”

Perhaps all that is possible minus children, and indeed before I had kids I focused mainly on building my career. But now I find myself in the situation that my busy season coincides with my kids summer break.

I sometimes try to picture what life as, “just a mom” would be like. Sadly it’s so foreign to me, and has never been my world, that I can’t really even picture it.  What would I do with all that time? Who would I “be” without my career? I really have no idea.

One of the big reasons I was encouraged to have a career was because it was supposed to provide a woman with freedom. Freedom from dependence, freedom from being left in the lurch, the freedom of being able to support oneself.

What they don’t tell you is it becomes a trap, too. Once you have a career, especially a successful one, people naturally expect you to continue. Having a career often involves significant investment (education, time, energy, etc.) walking away from that career means losing all that investment. And having a career does provide income, income you and others then often don’t feel you can give up once you have it.

Something else they don’t tell you is everything has a price. There’s no magical path of all upside.

My career has created revenue, yes, but has come at significant cost, as well. To both myself and others. It’s simply impossible to have it all. So I have a great career, but it takes away from other spheres (important, critical ones) no matter how hard I try to “balance” it all.

So is it really freedom? Is it really better?

These are the questions I ask myself as I pay others to take my kids swimming or to enjoy some summer fun while I work.

I guess i did it. I really am just like a man, at least in one way.  Men rarely get to take summer off, spend the days playing with their kids either.

Yay feminism.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

The IKEA Illusion

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Yesterday, my oldest daughter and I picked up a bookcase she has long admired from IKEA for a birthday gift.

She’s been showing a lot of interest in decorating and rearranging her room over the past few years, something I have encouraged as I see it as practice for feathering and keeping her future home as an adult.

She’s shown herself to be quite creative and frugal — repurposing, restyling, and reusing items or moving them around and mixing things up to create fresh new spaces.

Shes also adopted a “less is more” approach, and has already learned that her room looks better and is easier to keep tidy if there’s less “extra stuff” in it.

She loves to study images of home decor, getting ideas and inspiration for seasonal touches or ways to make her room more cozy, comfortable, and inviting. All in all I think these are all good things to be learning and exploring not to mention practice for the future.  She could certainly be interested in less wholesome teenage pursuits and I am so thankful that she’s not.

But back to the bookcase. It was an adventure for us to go to the store, admire the various showroom displays filled with creative and appealing ideas, find the bookcase, load it onto the cart together, then into and out of the car, pack the big box into the house, and assemble it.

I am not the most handy person but I was the handiest of the two so my daughter looked to me to lead the way. We read through the instructions and got down to it. I gathered the tools and we went to work, step-by-step. Luckily there were no major snafus and after an hour or so of good mother-daughter bonding the bookcase was built.

As we were nearly done it occurred to me that we had just experienced the IKEA illusion — that with few skills or tools two rather not-handy people could successfully build something themselves!

I seized the teachable moment and we had a really interesting discussion about this illusion and how often in modern life we forget that for most of the history of humankind things did not come pre-cut, pre-drilled, pre-painted in a box with instructions.

We assembled the bookcase, but we did not make it. Without those who designed, engineered, planned, sourced the materials, cut, painted, drilled, packaged, and sold the bookcase, we would not have had that moment. Because of them, we could.

It was an interesting thing to reflect on and I could tell she understood. We may have successfully put it together but that’s does not mean we “built” that bookcase or that we now have all the knowledge and skill to build bookcases independently on our own in the future. It’s only an illusion that we, “did it ourselves.”

In any case, it looks great and she’s happily reorganizing, decorating, and dreaming of ways to make her little nest more cozy. It was a fun experience and an unexpected red pill moment!

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

Patriarchy

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When you hear the word patriarchy, what images and thoughts come up?

For many raised in a post-feminist world, images or thoughts of oppression, violence, anger, intolerance, abuse, toxic masculinity, and victimization may come to mind.

Yesterday I saw an example of patriarchy that defied all those images and labels. An example that perhaps more truly reflects the true concept of patriarchy.

I noticed the children first, at a small local family fun park where the girls and I had gone to spend a beautiful summer afternoon.

The kids ranged in age from about 17 down. There were lots of them, and they beamed with happiness and joy, good naturedly joking with each other, playing tag, and clearly enjoying themselves. There was a distinct innocence to them, a carefreeness and sense of absolute security.

They were all tastefully dressed, not overtly any distinct religious faith but also not in the latest fashions. Timeless but not at all out of fashion either. The girls wore girl cut T-shirt’s and skirts with Capri leggings underneath, and their faces were glowing and fresh but make-up free.  The boys wore T-shirt’s and shorts.

I could tell they were likely related because of their similar appearance and obvious close ties, I figured perhaps they were cousins.

A man not much older than myself followed the youngest girl, a cute and spunky little blond. She scrambled up to the top of a tall slide and fearlessly barreled down, calling to and waving to the man the whole way.

He laughed and beamed with pride. “Hard to believe she only weighed three pounds when she was born,” he said to me out of the blue. “She was 9 weeks early.”

“I was just thinking what a daredevil she is,” I replied. He beamed even more.

”She’s the youngest of 12,” he said, gesturing to the other kids who bounded around happily, playifully. “She’s three.”

“That’s fantastic!” I replied. “How old is the oldest?”

”Twenty-six,” he replied. “Ages 26 to 3!”

”Any grandkids yet?” I asked?

”The first is on the way this January,” he said.

”Congratulations!” I replied. He smiled a  lovingly proud smile.

The little girl then dashed off to the next activity and he followed at a close but not hovering distance.

Later in the evening I saw him and his wife. He tenderly held her arm as they steered through the crowd of people gathered on the grassy hill to enjoy a performance., heading back to their brood. They looked very content and happy.

I reflected on this couple and their children and thought how this patriarchy wasn’t as so often described — looked nothing like that, actually. It was remarkably refreshing, this family’s dynamic, I found myself wishing more families (of any and all sizes) today looked like that. Happy. Joyful. Secure.

Perhaps the patriarchy isn’t as it’s been portrayed? Perhaps there’s a much more positive side that is rarely celebrated or acknowledged today?

What do you think? Please share in the comments.

 

Problems and Solutions

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Many people are good at pointing out problems, or “what’s wrong” with this or that. And indeed it is step one.

But have you noticed how few people seem to be able to focus on the solutions rather than simply fixate on the problem?

I see this all over the place, not just in relationships. It seems we are a culture very good at identifying problems — calling them out loud and clear. We are not so good at finding solutions it seems… in fact many seem to NOT want to find solutions, but rather just harp and harp on the same old “problems.”

But trust me, solutions are where the good stuff is. The problems are only an opportunity to grow and thrive, reach another level — and you get there by coming up with solutions to whatever the problem is one faces.

Sometimes others will appreciate the solutions, join in, other times they will not. So long as you find a solution for YOURSELF to whatever it is, that’s what matters. Others will have to find solutions for themselves. Or maybe they will just choose to focus on the problems. Some may not want to solve the problems. In any case, don’t get sucked in!

So next time you find yourself with a problem, rather than getting stuck there push on to brainstorming possible solutions.  Soon whatever you face won’t matter as much because you will prove to yourself time and again that whatever the problem, what really matters isn’t that, but coming up with a workable (for you) solution!

What do you think? Please share in the comments!

More on Actions and Outcomes

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To keep riffing on the idea that actions create outcomes, let’s look at some examples. What would the outcome be for the following (best guess, just based on the average outcome.)

Case Study 1: Person shows up to work on time (or a bit early!), is rarely absent, works diligently, looks and acts professionally, adds value whenever possible, is minimal drama, and gets ‘er done on a daily and regular basis. Outcome?

Case Study 2: Person is often late, sick the minute a leave day accrues, often gets off task, looks and acts unprofessionally, does the minimum, often involved in or creating drama, doesn’t complete tasks on a regular or daily basis. Outcome?

Case Study 1: On a regular or daily basis person does the following: walks for 15 minutes a day, takes the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible, parks in the farthest spot in the lot, does resistance training either at home with body weight resistance and bands or at the gym with weights, has an active hobby (boating, hiking, swimming, biking, etc.), and mostly eats a sensible, balanced, high nutrition, low processed and junk food diet. Outcome?

Cast Study 2: Person wishes they could lose weight and get fit, but never or rarely or sporadically at best does any of the above.  Outcome?

Case Study 1: Person wants financial stability so they put away 10 percent of every paycheck, avoid debt or pay extra on any prior debt until it is paid off, pays bills early or on time to avoid fees, shops at garage sales, consignment shops, resale shops, or thrift stores for most household and clothing items, comparison shops and buys new items on sale vs. retail, prioritizes needs vs. wants, has $1500 in a rainy day fund for emergencies and repays the fund when used, puts money regularly into some sort of retirement fund, takes on extra work or generates extra income on the side when possible, lives below their means on a regular or daily basis. Outcome?

Case Study 2: Person wants financial stability but tells themselves they can’t afford to save anything, buys mostly on credit, pays minimum on cards and debts, often pays late including additional fees, always buys household and clothing items brand new at full retail price, has no cash reserves for emergencies so charges such expenses, puts nothing away for retirement, doesn’t look for extra work or ways to generate income on the side when possible, lives paycheck to paycheck or even above their means via credit. Outcome?

As these examples hopefully illustrate, it’s not rocket science. The secret to getting the outcome you desire is taking regular or daily actions that have high odds of leading to the desired outcome. Not doing so greatly decreases it.

I am sure you can think of such case studies of your own (and if so, feel free to add them or other thoughts on actions and outcomes in the comments!)

Actions Create Outcomes

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Actions create outcomes — it’s a simple concept but one that often escapes people (myself included) when the way life is and the way we want life to be do not match up.

Consider the common problem of clutter. Actions can either lead to less clutter (steps are taken on a regular and ongoing basis to reduce clutter) or more (a one time effort is made or no steps are taken, the same actions that led to clutter keep occurring, clutter persists or worsens.)

Another example might be a personal goal, such as losing weight. Actions can either lead to weight loss (increase physical activity combined with a balanced, low calorie, high nutrition eating plan on a regular and ongoing basis) or not (any change is shortly abandoned or no increased physical activity, no change in eating habits.)

Perhaps the goal is financial stability. Actions can lead to financial stability (live below ones means, put extra toward debt reduction and savings on a regular and ongoing basis) or not (continue to live above one’s means or paycheck to paycheck.)

This concept also applies to relationships. Actions can lead to better and more satisfying relationships (taking steps on a regular and ongoing basis to nurture the relationship, increase positive experiences, and reduce negative ones) or not (give little or no thought or action toward improving relationships.)

As you may see, this simple but powerful concept can apply to all sorts of situations. And in every case the solution to whatever the problem is to TAKE ACTION. And often to take that action on a REGULAR and ONGOING basis.

Think of them as habits. At first doing things differently can seem forced and uncomfortable. But after about 21 days, experts say new actions become habits. Once this happens, those behaviors become part of the operational plan — working for (or against) you on autopilot.

So if there is something in your life that you wish were different the good news is in almost every case there is something you can do to change that — take action in the direction you would rather things be and then keep doing so until and after you reach the goal. The path from where you are to where you want to be is just that easy — and also just that hard if you want the outcome but aren’t taking the actions required to produce it.

It’s been said that often the biggest obstacle we face is our-self.  In most cases the only thing holding us back from what we want out of life is our own choices, habits, and behavior. The good news is — we can always choose to change! (And if it’s something you can’t change, you can still take action — accept it and focus on what you can change!)

Take action. Better days ahead await! (And now I am going to take action to water, pull weeds, and tend to my veggie garden, spending 15-20 minutes a day doing so, so I can later enjoy my goal to have an abundance of fresh grown flowers and produce this fall instead of it just turning into a weedy tangled mess!)

What do you think? Please share in the comments.