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Posts Tagged ‘Musing’

I read an article a few days ago that piqued my interest (click here to read the article in full). In short, the article talks about how the ‘modern man’ is supposed to be many things to their partner and should avoid some specific pitfalls if they are to keep their wife and their marriage in good shape.

The ‘rule’ that I have the challenge with is #1: “Providing the basics for your family”. It talks about a man working overtime shifts, or keeping his mouth shut if he don’t like his boss so he keeps his job. I disagree with this definition of ‘providing’ for a partner in a relationship.

I am in a wonderful relationship; my husband and I both work very hard at different things and towards different passions, to provide a home for each other and lifestyle that we enjoy together. We make different amounts of salary – but to me, that is the very least of being a provider.

To me, a provider is someone who loves me, when I don’t love myself. Someone who makes me smile, when I’m down. Someone who carries me, when I’m too tired to carry myself. The job or the money is only a single, very unimportant part of all of this – someone who works long hours to ‘bring home the bacon’ is NOT a provider unless they do all the other things that their partner needs them to do along the way.

The idea of a provider within a relationship should also be targeted towards both parties within a relationship, not just the ‘modern day man’. The last time I checked, a marriage and a relationship is a two-way street. Both partners need to be committed to success if the relationship is going to work. Both people need to be invested to keep the relationship, the spark, the trust, and the commitment alive to make it through the good times and the bad.

So how do you define a provider? To me, to be a partner in a committed relationship is, at it’s very basest level, what it means to provide for the person you are with. The technicalities of what that provision looks like will vary in every relationship and to every couple out there, but think about your definition of providing for your partner the next time you work late hours, take on extra shifts, or abandon your partner for the sake or ‘providing’ for them.

What are you really providing? Is it really what they need? Providing isn’t ‘providing‘ if it’s not good for the relationship.

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Re-learning How To Read

I am, believe it or not, re-learning how to read. Not because I cannot read; but because I’ve been so busy being busy, and running as fast as my little long legs can carry me, that I’ve forgotten what it means to slow down and take time to read printed words on a paper page, and to absorb them, value them, and consider the thoughts and ideas behind them for myself and in my own space.

In our lives, we are inundated with snippets of information, fast facts, and 140 characters of meaninglessness coming at us from every direction, 24 hours a day. Many of us have lost the ability to slow down and connect with meaningful thoughts and ideas around us. Thanks to social media, we can’t get away from the information on the super highway known as ‘the Internet’. And while this affords us an unbelievable amount of access to information, it has degraded our ability to slow down and think for ourselves around what is true and what is worth our time.

I started my goal of re-learning how to read in January of this year. It was hard! I sat down, grabbed a book, and began flipping through it before I even realized that I was doing. I was treating it like a blog feed; jumping through it to get to the next detail. I felt like the story wasn’t moving fast enough for what I was accustomed to; the pages weren’t jumping out at me like text on a Facebook page or Twitter account. It was almost like I had a nervous tick for the first few weeks when I started to read; I could barely stand myself to sit still and read a story that crawled along, developing mysterious imagery through my imagination using beautifully written poetry and prose.

So what am I learning as I learn to re-read? I’m learning that the ability to slow down is priceless and is one that I lost once and that I need to try hard not to lose again. I don’t know how many times I can force myself to re-learn to read before the damage is done and the ability to re-learn is lost.

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What’s It Really Worth?

I was at the bottle depot today, and as I watched our collection of wine bottles, pop cans, milk jugs, and liquor bottles go into the bins it suddenly occurred to me: we had spent hundreds of dollars on all of the materials that I had brought back to be recycled, and I was only going to get about $20 dollars back out of the entire deal.

Wow. So what’s it all worth?

What else do we have in our lives that we spend hundreds of dollars on, or even thousands of hours on, only to realize that at the end of the day, it wasn’t worth what we put in?

At the end of our lives, we will not wish that our tombstones would read:

Here lies Adriana, who worked 60 hours a week and never missed a deadline, and had a beautiful collection of silk scarves!

Instead, we hope that our tombstones will read something more along the lines of:

Here lies Adriana, who always took time for her friends and family, and who never said no to anyone who needed her help.

So the next time you just have to have that oh-so expensive thing instead of spending your money on a donation that could really make a difference to someone less fortunate, or the next time you burn the midnight oil on something that won’t be remembered in five years from now while your friends and family gather and wish that you were there – ask yourself…

What’s it really worth?

And make sure whatever it is will be worth it, in the end.

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The good news is – I’m still here. The bad news is that May is LONG gone, and June is half over. Where are the updates? I don’t have a good excuse; only to say that the past couple of months I haven’t even always been sure where I was, much less where my updates were. So better late than never, and here we go.

I am ashamed to admit that I had to look up what May stood for. It was, wait for it, boost energy. HA. Good one, Harper. In hindsight, which they always say is 20-20, I should have known better than to make that type of goal. What was I thinking? Regardless, safe to say that May was indeed a challenge for me. It involved lots of travel for work and teaching my second course with SFU. Both of which I enjoy; but both of which require more than 100% of me in their own ways.

Looking back, I think that the perspective I gained in April went out the window in the month of May, as I tried (unsuccessfully) to boost my energy by doing more, being more, seeing more, etc. I am self-admittedly one of these people who likes to be busy and involved in multiple things at once. But if there was one valuable thing I learned in May, it was that I have a line. Up to that line, the busier I am the more energy I feel. But once I cross that line, things go downhill in a hurry, and typically, my recovery time gets longer the thinner I’ve stretched myself. So lesson learned – be busy, but recognize the signs – and don’t be afraid to understand that, after a certain point, less really does become more.

Okay – enough retrospective. Since we are already halfway though June, I thought it only fair to tell you about my goal for the month, and give you a little update on how I think I’ve fared so far.

June’s goal is marriage. As in make mine better, stronger, more loving, more fulfilling, more everything. Which isn’t to say I’m not divinely happy with my husbee, because I am (and we are), but because, as I was saying to a friend of mine just last week, and as I have said on more than one occasion to many people, having a happy and successful marriage is a choice. Every day, my spouse and I choose to love each other. We choose to compromise in the face of challenges. We choose to listen and support each other no matter what the challenge. We choose to be each other’s everything. And most of all, we choose and vow, all over again, to fulfill all the promises we made to each other no matter how long ago.

I’m very happy to say that June is a success so far. And it has been easy and wonderful to see my marriage continue to grow and deepen, and to reap the rewards of my marriage every hour of every day, with a few small realizations and changes. I am truly blessed to be with the man I chose, who chose me, and that of course makes everything rosy. But I have found that, even on the challenging days, with a little more listening and a little less reacting, the balance between us is stronger than ever.

It helps me to remember these words: “every day is a gift, that’s why they all it the present”.

If today was my last day with my husband, would it be important who was right most often, who was ready first, who took out the garbage the most often, or who spent the most money on whom? No. None of those things would count. Instead, we would be glad for the hugs, the hand holdings, the winks, and the I love you’s. We would remember the dances in the kitchen, the laughs shared at the ball diamond, and the stories told in the car driving to and from work. So it’s important to me that I stop worrying about what doesn’t count and continue enjoying what does.

As they say, June came in like lion. And while I hope my life settles and it goes out like a lamb, I will have an update regardless when the calendar flips to July. So carry on, June. Carry on.

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As I sit here and watch the snow fall, I’m reminded that contrary to all appearances, spring is upon us and another month has come and gone. In particular, with March being over, it’s time for another Harperness Project update.

If you recall, March stood for perspective. And I’m happy to report that I feel very happy with how the month went. Towards the end, things got a bit crazy and I found myself reminding myself that no one’s tombstone ever said I wish I’d worked more but other than that, I think I did OK.

So here we go with April. April’s goal is acceptance and I can’t think of a more eloquent way of putting my goal for April than by using words that came a long time before I did, as written in the Serenity Prayer:

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I want to keep April simple and focused: serenity and acceptance are what I am going to keep in the forefront of my mind. Acceptance of myself and others, of the situations I find myself in, and of my surroundings.

So without further ado. Here comes April.

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