Thursday, September 13, 2018

But I Gotta Break This Bad Habit. Can't Take This Bad Habit No More.

When I was in junior high, as you can imagine, I was hilarious. I used to do this thing where I would stretch my face back with my hands, because it was funny, and it made my classmates laugh. When my teachers saw me do this, they all told me that when I got older, all the wrinkles it created would make me regret doing that. They were wrong. Stretching my face out here and there when I was in eighth grade had way less to do with my wrinkled skin in my 50's, than tanning when I was in high school and college did. Of course, back in the eighties I had never heard of sun screen, and we used baby oil, so we could really fry. And while the wrinkles are an annoyance, the never ending patches of precancerous cells developing on my skin are WAY more troubling.

Now that I'm much older than my teachers were when they warned me that my actions in my youth could have a bad impact on my (long past) middle age years, I thought I'd amuse myself by listing things I wish I hadn't done when I was younger for the impact those actions have made on me now. I'll also look at the things I'm glad I did when I was younger, because those things are still helping me now.

1.) Since I've already mentioned tanning, I'll mention jerky boys first. I wish I hadn't spent so much time or energy on...Or had kids with guys who weren't all that nice or good for me. My excuse is that my two male role models growing up were either clinically depressed/emotionally unavailable or controlling/abusive. For too much of my adult life, I seemed to go from one extreme to the other. Which, sadly, affected my girls too.

2.) I also wish that I had tamed my sugar addiction when I was younger, because it is still plaguing me now. I know there are many worse addictions, but I honestly love sugar AND it's legal and easy to come by, so it's not even a challenge to try to obtain. I suppose I'm lucky that I don't have type II diabetes...Yet.

3.) I wish I hadn't taken so much Advil in my life. With the migraines, I didn't have a lot of choice, but it has given me dry eye and I'm sure it hasn't helped my kidneys any.

4.) Money. I wish I figured out a way to have more money when I was younger. It's not that I'm bad with it once I have it, it's more that I didn't have enough to raise my girls and alleviate stress from most of my adult life. Some of it has to do with the fact that I had no money in college, so I worked over 40 hours a week and went to school full time and took out student loans I couldn't pay back and then there was the whole jerky man thing - especially having children with someone who didn't help pay for them. So, now I have a husband who makes about the same amount of money as I do, but I'm still paying off things from when my daughters were younger.

On the positive side. Here are some things I'm glad I did when I was younger and that still help me today:

1.) Running/playing outside. I'm glad I picked up my running addiction when I was 10. It has kept me healthy and strong physically, but it has also saved me emotionally. It's definitely helped my self-diagnosed ADHD too. It sure hasn't helped my feet any, but I guess ugly feet is the least of my problems at this point.

 2.) Keeping a journal/working on my issues. I have overcome a lot of shit in my life. When people tell me to "get over" things, I have to roll my eyes. I've never known anyone to be able to "get over" something. I have to work through things and it can take a long time. Keeping a journal and figuring out what my issues really were, and then finding books to read about them, made it so I could work through many things. Of course, I will be working on some of those things for the rest of my life. I'm up for the challenge.

3.) Not smoking. I have been lucky enough to never to have acquired a smoking habit in my life. I would probably credit my brother and my mother for that. Since my mom died of a stroke at 43, I've had that hanging over my head since I was 10 and then once when I was in junior high, I went to a party and my brother walked me home afterward. I told him that I had smoked a cigarette, thinking I was kind of cool for it. He basically lectured me the entire walk home about how exactly UNcool it was to smoke. So, except for a few times where I tried to smoke part of a cigarette for laughs when I was drunk in college, I never had that nasty habit. Which is good, because if you know me at all, you know that I'm not good at kicking my addictions.

4.) Reading/educating myself. I was lucky enough to grow up with nerdy parents. Everyone in my house read, and read voraciously. I hope to keep educating myself as long as I live. It calms me and it's great escapism. It's gotten me this far...

So, for the most part, I've been very lucky about the things I've done in the past. For the most part. Who knows what will kill any of us, but I wouldn't want to live forever anyway if I couldn't learn how to be happy and (mostly) centered. How about any of you? Were there things you did or didn't do when you were younger that affect you negatively or positively today?

1 comment:

NoRegrets said...

Love of reading.

Hanging out with a mom who cooked everything from scratch. Cooking is creative and essential and a money saver.

Youngest of 6 kids so not much extra around the house and parents very thrifty - save save save. Reuse. Stretch. I am not rich but I have savings and know now I can actually spend a little money on myself for quality of life.

Family and school that did not deal with emotions or physical affection - still dealing with repercussions today. There are worse things in life though.