Archives for December 2010

29Dec

Why I Don’t Want to Change

In 1992 – 3, I discovered the magic of direct deposit.  After standing in a bank teller line on countless occasions, in which I would count the seconds between each customer so that I could approximate the amount of time that I would be stuck in line, (multiply the seconds X the customers / divided by the number of tellers)  I never looked back from the miracle of direct deposit.  I also never changed credit unions, why risk it?  The confusion of a new checking account, a new Master Card, why take the chance to change?

Over the years, I’ve moved, divorced, grown kids up – but the trusty old bank account stayed the same, and so did the direct deposit.  That credit union did right by me too.  All of my cars – in those intervening years – went through the credit union.  Once during a very difficult storm in my life, the credit union lent a thousand dollars to me – and trust me – it did the trick.

I’m moving, and I just moved and I just moved – yes – 3 times in 18 months.  Every time I make this kind of change, I plummet myself into a myriad of scary experiences.  It’s just part of the deal right now.

For good reason I had to cancel the Master Card yesterday, Dish Network jerked an unauthorized and inappropriate $200.00 out of my checking account 2 days before Christmas.  Whoa.  So, when I discussed this with my bank, they advised me to cancel the card that goes with the checking account.  Okay.  Well yesterday I realized that I had no debit/credit card and in my new location, I had no idea where my credit union was located.  Uh, no money.

Being the cosmopolitan woman that I am I set out for a previously located credit union service center this morning.  The service center does not open on Wednesday until 10 am.  Uh, I’ve got to get to work.  So being the cosmopolitan woman that I am I search on the internet, using zip codes and mapquest and all of my other nifty tools and I locate another credit union service center.  I get into the car, drive into an unknown area and…Uh, it moved.  It no longer exists.  So here is what I am thinking, it’s the change that is causing all of this confusion, being lost and now anxiety… A simple task like retrieving cash from my checking account has become a difficult half day chore, that still has no results, no outcome, no achieved goal.

It feels kind of like how I feel when I try anything for the first time.  There is this energy in my stomach that feels like it is squeezing me.  And even though the squeezed feeling is in my tummy, I feel like I can’t breathe.  There is a part of me that is panicked, and a part of me that is just frustrated.  I start thinking ridiculous stuff, like I have to drive 40 miles just to get to A credit union, or maybe I’ll never find a credit union again!  This does not feel like I normally feel about the credit union…Normally, the credit union is like the rock of Gibraltar, it is there, the money is there and anywhere at any time it can be accessed, managed and used: warm and fuzzy.

Alright, so here we are on our third attempt at finding a credit union and therefore accessing the cash…I realize that part of the problem is that in my new location I do not know the “location rules” like the fact that on Wednesday, we don’t open til 10 am.  It’s like a new relationship, you don’t know the rules of the relationship until you get into the relationship and make up the rules together.  So, in a new relationship you can have all of the things that I am having this morning, false starts, disappointments, anxiety and even panic.

I finally locate a credit union that I can get to quickly, I memorize the rules (they close at 4:15pm) and I am actually able to retrieve my cash.  And this is what I think: I don’t like change, I think I would like it if I never moved again and I never want to try another relationship and I definitely will never-ever change banks.

05Dec

Getting Kids to be Adults

My sister and I were reviewing our childhood and the question came up “How do you want it be different?”   Becky asked me that because I was lamenting the fact that all of my parents are gone, passed away, heart attack, obesity, all of the above.  We were also discussing the belief structures that we had formed as a result of our childhoods.  From the German side (paternal) we received these lamentations: “Suck it up, Deal with it, Sacrifice until you are done.”  From the Italian and Irish (maternal) the exhortations were somewhat different, the Irish were always concerned with drinking and Italian concerned with eating…  Always the Prohibition and Recession era people were concerned with practicality, saving everything and sacrificing now for something (un-named) later.

From this background noise, I somehow developed a belief system that the way to deal with bad situations was to “suck it up and deal with it!”  While I believe there are situations where this can be true and good advice, it is not a good belief system.  Particularly if you mix it with an Italian mama who MUST feed her children!  What comes to pass is a belief system of self sacrifice and martyrdom, that can be ad nauseam.  This is important because beliefs guide our actions of everyday life.  Belief tells us how to raise our children.

Over the last month, I’ve had occasion to discuss the current generation with lots of folks.  I have discussed today’s kids with professionals, with parents and with step-parents.  There seems to be a lot of disappointment and discouragement out there.  Kids are uncooperative and appear to lack any understanding of self-awareness and responsibility.  There is ravenous hunger among kids for self and instant gratification.  They seem to have an uncanny ability to increase parents’ guilt and inadequacy feelings and all for the sake of the the correct and most fashionable footwear and the latest in electronic games.  Divorced parents seem to lead the pack in ability to feel guilt, but lots of parents feel guilty about their ability to parent, for no other reason than because they can’t buy the latest $300.00 electronic game.  It’s easy to fall into the guilt trap and it’s easy to say yes to your child – even when you know the price is very high.

So here is what I thought after this long, long discussion with my sister and with my boyfriend – These beliefs that were inculcated into our psyche from my generation need to be passed on, not as beliefs, but as coping mechanisms for this new “I want it now” generation.  I don’t think that my generation’s belief systems were exactly correct, nor were they health producing.  However, I do think that they are great ways to cope.  The fact of the matter is that we can’t always get what we want, and we need to help this generation learn that fact of life.  On the other hand, I don’t think that this new generation needs to sacrifice everything all of the time (like we did, or our parents did), just to get by. 

The belief system of “toughening up” should instead be a coping mechanism.  It should be in the psyche on a temporary basis to help us with a situation.  It should not be a belief system.  As a belief system it is damaging, because it implies that any situation can be dealt with if you just “suck it up.”  That’s not true, we must develop a healthy balance of coping with problems AND taking care of our sacred self.  We must find a way to deal with the fact that life is somewhat disappointing, yet there is nothing inherently wrong with pursuing the best and happiest life that we can.

02Dec

Just Awful

Some things and some people are just awful.  It is just the way it is.  Don’t try and change or re-arrange what is awful.  Stop putting effort into the awful.  What is awful is awful.  Let it go.