Ally Try Again: Re-evaluating My Rules Of Life, As One Does

As you may recall The Spectacled Bean is on Summer Hours.  

This means I continue to show up here every few weeks. I write about anything that isn’t current events, instead leaning into my penchant for flapdoodle and twaddle.  

Thus I give you the following.  

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Deconstructing What Was

SORTING through old paper files I found the above.  I published it 13 years + 6 months + 21 days ago on January 01, 2007.  I wrote it, complete with disclaimers, in the context of a New Year’s Resolution + my guidelines for how I wanted to live my life.

For many years this is how I approached my life.

However thinking on my rules of life in light of today’s world I find the above useful, but not in step with how I conduct myself now. And that’s where I want to be, not stuck in the past, like some lost soul who longs for what was.

So I sat down with myself and analyzed what I’d written before.  I decided that when it comes to rules of life I liked short action statements that get to the point.

I also decided that I didn’t want my new rules of life to include pithy sayings [like the watermelon seeds one in the example above].  I say pithy things, but those are personal mantras or succinct commentaries on a particular situation rather than actual rules of life.

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Creating What Will Be

PONDERING what my new rules of life might be, I deleted the ones from before that no longer served me.  Then I made the following list of potential rules adding ones that I believe might be helpful now.  In the bracket behind each rule I wrote what core value I was thinking about when I chose this rule.

Do your best [trustworthiness]

Less is more [simplify]

Maximize your options [creativity]

Pay attention, life is in the details [knowledge]

Ditch the mean people [self-respect]

Keep moving forward [growth]

Say thank you often [gratitude]

Follow your muse [authenticity]

Do no harm [kindness]

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Questions Of The Day

Comments, anyone?

Do you have rules of life you follow? If so do you rethink them, then update them from time to time?

This list is not definitive, it’s in process. What am I missing here?

TGIF: I Answer Jill’s Questions Over There While Announcing Summer Hours Here

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THE JILL’S QUESTIONS OVER THERE PART

Jill Weatherholt asks questions, oh yes she does.

In fact she asked me to answer her questions, so I did.

Should you care to read my answers to her questions then click on I WANT TO READ ALLY BEAN’S ANSWERS TO JILL’S QUESTIONS and you’ll be magically taken over there to her blog.

Forsooth.

THE SUMMER HOURS HERE PART

Wanna know a secret, my gentle readers? Yes? Well then lean in closer and I’ll tell you one.

When I chose SIMPLIFY as my word of the year I planned on taking this summer off from blogging.  Just bug out completely.  Detach entirely.

However plans change.  Perhaps you, too, live in a state where you are still being asked to stay at home?  Well, we do and we are.

This is the end of Week 13, by the way.

Now clearly I have the time to post to this blog, but summer [in the northern hemisphere] is when I’ve found that personal blogging slows down to a dribble.  Plus I’m in a blogging rut, in the mood for a change, a simplification as it were.

Thus I’ve decided to adopt what I’m calling SUMMER HOURS.  To wit:

  • I’ll be posting my usual flapdoodle and twaddle here every other week instead of weekly.
  • I’ll be posting mid-morning, probably on Tuesdays, thereby allowing me to have a relaxed morning in keeping with summer’s mellow vibe.
  • I’ll be commenting less frequently on your blogs, keeping up weekly with the cool kids who keep up with me.

And with that I wish y’all a groovy weekend and a happy summer.  I’ll be here when I’m here.

LOVE ‘YA. Mean it.

May 2020: As We Continue To Stay At Home I’m Getting Silly

As a longtime blogger and a person who attempts to arrive pre-amused to life, I’ve come to realize that I’m at my blogging best when I ramble a bit about whatever is bouncing around in my mind then write about it here.

I tend to naturally process my life in a way that allows me to be entertained… inspired… often educated… sometimes baffled… by what I see going on around me and within me.  Once I’ve done that I babble about it.

No pre-planned editorial calendar for me.

That being said, here is a blog post written today, the 972 gazillionth day of staying at home.  I am, of course, not alone in my home because my Sweet Babboo, who will continue to work from home all this month, is in the next room.

[Pretty pink tulip to any commenter who knows that reference… without Googling it.]

I’ve got big plans for the day, NOT.

Oh sure I may crochet a little bit, I have a wacko project in mind.  I’m not good at crocheting, but I am good at dreaming up pointless projects for snorts and giggles.  More on that as it takes shape.  [Pun intended.]

Who knows, I may attempt to read a novel, something I’ve been unable to do since we all started to stay at home.  Apparently when I’m frazzled by a world gone topsy-turvy I’m unable to focus on reading a book.  This makes me sad, but self-awareness is good, so now I know.

Finally I’ll be fussing around with the annual flowers that I bought last week when I went inside a store, my one adventure in the world during the month of April.  Stay-at-home-ness, I gots it 99% of the time, but pretty posies for the month of May are a siren song to me.

Thus having shared with you how I’ll be fiddle-farting my day away, I’ll ask you:

WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU?

Tell me your plans for the day. Or the week. Or the month.

Tell me how you’re feeling about your life as we continue to struggle with COVID-19.

Tell me anything, anything at all. Entertain me. Amaze me. Inform me. 

Think of me as your agony aunt and ask me your question. 

I am still here at home getting a bit stir crazy silly. 

Please talk to me.

One-Liner Wednesday: A Memorable Piece Of Marital Advice From Aunt Ann

This is one of those you-can’t-make-it-up stories.

Z-D says considering all the bad advice that is on social media lately I need to share this here. It’s a story from my past that imparts some memorable advice.  

Kind of weird advice.

I swear to you that his Aunt Ann said this to me years ago. And I’ll also tell you up front that I can honestly say I took her advice to heart.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

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Many years ago I went to a bridal shower held for moi.  It was ostensibly for me to meet about 20 of Zen-Den’s older female relatives, but was in fact a way for them to size me up.

They were not a friendly crowd.

It was an awkward uncomfortable event for me, an introvert, a sweet little lambie tossed in among the wolves, but I did my best to be likable because back then I cared about such things.

At this shower we played a game in which all the women at the shower were to write their best piece of marital advice on a 3×5″ index card.

While they got snacks I was to read all the cards to myself, picking the card with what I believed to be the best advice.  The person who wrote this card then got the door prize.  I can’t remember what it was, but these women wanted that prize.

There was a competitive spirit amongst them.

That I do remember.

I realized immediately that this game was a trap, the Kobayashi Maru of bridal shower games.  No matter whose advice I picked I’d tick off someone and there’d be repercussions, perhaps for decades.  These were women with a penchant for holding onto resentments.

Grudges were their lifeblood.

I did not like this game, but miracle of miracles I read Aunt Ann’s piece of advice and I instantly knew that I liked it the best PLUS I realized that no one there would ever resent me for picking it.

Yes, that’s how timeless and profound it was.

Aunt Ann told me: Never start ironing your rags, because once you do, you won’t be able to stop. 

Is this not so? And was I not fortunate to have Aunt Ann point this out to me, thereby setting me on the course to a life of freedom that comes from having wrinkled rag?

Huzzah!

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To learn more about Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday click HERE.

Which Three Personality Traits Are Helping You Deal With Today?

Photo by Johnson Wang [@jdubs] via Unsplash

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YEARS AGO I TOOK AN ADULT EDUCATION night class about managing your stress. The 4-part class was offered by a regional hospital and was taught by a woman with a background in massage therapy who was at that time working on a graduate degree in religious studies.

She was wise & funny. Delightful in her pragmatic approach to life.

To be clear this was not a class aimed at finding the causes of your stress or analyzing why you had this stress. It was a class based on the assumption that the sources of your stress were your own business, specific to your own life.

The class was about creating a “tool box” of positive coping behaviors;  that is, by learning to breath in the moment or detach from your ego or chant a soothing mantra or acknowledge your own worth, you could deal with your stress in a healthy way.

The premise being, quite simply, that if you know how to calm down in any situation, then you’ll do better at whatever it is you’re doing.

Is this not true?

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ONE OF THE TOOLS I REMEMBER FROM this class was the question I posed in the title of this post. We were encouraged to think about who we were based on our own particular personality traits. [List of 600 personality traits here.]

This was trickier to do than you might think it’d be.

To wit, we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our relationships so saying I’m a wife, a niece, a sister-in-law was wrong.  And we were NOT describing ourselves in the sense of our job titles/hobbies so saying I’m a manager, a writer, a walker was wrong.

While those descriptions of myself were accurate they weren’t the point of this mental health exercise.  They were considered a distraction from understanding yourself better, a way to gloss over who you really were.

NOPE, we had to state who we were based on our own self-awareness.  We had to acknowledge our individual personality traits whether they be considered a strength or a weakness, then accept the trait.

To thine own self be true, you know?

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I HADN’T THOUGHT ABOUT THIS CLASS IN a long time, but over the weekend I realized I was reminding myself each day to focus on three personality traits, allowing myself to feel empowered as a result of it.

I realized why I was asking myself this question and thought that maybe someone else might benefit from using this simple approach to stress management.

So in conclusion here is my answer to the question.  For me, most of the time my personality traits that are helping me deal with my days during the pandemic are: 1) I’m organized, 2) I’m creative, and 3) I’m perceptive.

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What about you, kids? Care to share which three personality traits are helping you stay above the fray, cool in every way? Or if not cool, at least sane for most of the day?

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