Feb 6, 2016

we are missing an opportunity

As usual, we are missing an opportunity with this election
And that opportunity is not to be found in a campaign speech or promise.
Please note, one cannot run a fully positive or substantive campaign. Differentiation is found in the positive and negative, and sometimes illustrating what you have to offer must be found in exploring another's deficit.
Similarly, and sadly, as is the nature of our times, the likely efficacy of the candidate is only part of the selling point. So I don't want to get into the fact that a candidate is going to grossly over represent the likelihood of pushing their agenda and strongly under represent the opposition they will face.
People will take everything you say and apply a %. If you offer something realistic people will expect your office to include exactly zilch.

What I am talking about, in my own grass is greener, mildly metaphysical way is something else.
Specifically, what we, the always searching, always snubbing, always frustrated liberal end of the spectrum are missing is the opportunity for celebration.

The front runners are a woman and a man spouting some actually progressive, truly liberal shit.
Not two white guys of middle age, with lots of money and good hair, spouting middle of the road bullshit that represents so very little, not more of the same. Not more of the same.

And the reason we should be celebrating is not because these elements are new. There have been women candidates, there have been progressive candidates for years. There have, in fact, been better candidates with the same attributes in just about every election so far. And we haven't voted for them. We have chosen the guys with the good hair and the least offensive message, and this time though we are painting this election with the angry and resentful, only one of those guys even hung on until the caucauses and he was unusually progressive himself.

Here is what I think...we should be proud and excited that we are actually voting and embracing thoughts and opinions that could make a difference. That we are supporting people who represent a desire for change, and we should be emphasizing that there is no such thing as "they could never win" just because they are expressing thoughts that winners have never had before. We should be shouting that voting is empowerment and the only thing that will stop a candidate from winning is our unwillingess to elect them. And then we should vote for who says the closest to what we want to hear.

That is how we participate, that is how we move forward.

Or we could just keep tearing eachother down and resenting all of the shit going on and making every candidate look like they are a last resort.

All I am saying is: perfect is the enemy of good. And there is such a thing as very very bad.
And we all need to stop fighting like we want to lose the battle just because we are so comfo.rtable feeling the underdog

We need to stop fighting a losing battle.

A promise to my daughter

I can’t promise you I will be fun, or cool, or to love you in the way you want at every point in time.
I can’t promise you I will understand you, or that I will always get what you are asking for or what you think you need.
I can't promise you that you will understand me.
I can’t even promise you that I will always be patient, or generous or kind.
But what I want to promise, today, is that I will love and support you when it is awkward, even when it is inconvenient, even when it is hard and confusing.
And more to the point: that I will use my love for you push the confines of what is easy, what is normal, what is expected, so that I can give you the kind of love you need, whenever I am remotely capable.
So often we let expectations and hopes cloud the reality of necessity. People break their legs on other continents and become republicans. We get on a plane. We love them nonetheless.
But seriously. And truthfully. Being there for eachother will not always look and smell like we hope. The instinct will be the create a shadow of a relationship that allows us to comfortably and cleanly love in areas that least challenge us.
But, It will not be all about warm and well attended family dinners and a speech on your wedding day. 
That isn't love. That is a painting and an indie move.
Sometimes people need you to express love and support in manners that are truly scary, anxiety producing, and even annoying.
That is okay. That is better. That is how we stay alive. That is how we grow.
I promise to model brave love so you may do the same. So that you may recognize, in moments of greatest intimidation and fear, that a door is opening is know yourself and those you love with even greater depth and intimacy. And so that you always feel more secure when you give as much as you can.
I ejected a post that was particularly honest in an attempt to avoid triggering anyone or making anyone feel unduly guilty or concerned
If you read this blog that might be surprising to you, given how I am seldom so considerate.

But yes, even I hold some things…sacred.

That being said, I feel I am remiss if I don’t clarify how it all felt.

I suddenly felt slightly blind. A big wall erected itself, right there, between my eyes and the part of my brain that allows stimuli to come in, to swim around, the poke and this and that, and allow communication and computation and permutation to truly commence. I was sitting there, watching the other people wait, watching the board, and the nurses and the other various front desk and patient information service employees, crossing my fingers and tees, and finding that I could not process even the easiest question. I found myself suddenly alarmed that I would have to drive home. I did not trust myself when I know so many, at the moment, were going to need to trust me.This is why everyone else brought someone, I thought. This is why people call their sister or even the mother in law they cannot stand, to wait with them. Because even though there is no really real reason for them to be there, anxiety alerts the sense and blunts reason and two half brains are better than one partial lobotomy. SO to speak.

The other day my husband noted, as he heals from his surgery, that the pain and insecurity around his physical condition makes even innocuous places seem a little scary.

When you are in a vulnerable the familiar becomes foreign, and even the safest practices can suddenly seem daunting, terrifying.

I have gone through…things, in my life, before. Lost friends and relatives, fretted illnesses, worried on income and other elemental areas of safety. I always forget until I remember and then I really remember.
So here is what I know, again, for the time being, until comfort and ease and the day to day bullshit makes me forget once again.

We should not let people go through things alone. Even if we have nothing of significance to offer. It isn’t about how much stuff you can offer, how much financial support, or wisdom. It is just about being there, being present, giving them that piece of your brain to use when their brain short circuits as it  gets lost in the what ifs and please no factor of things.   A simple “what can I do”, if you mean it, really mean it, is gold.

Jan 30, 2016

This isn't a lifestyle, it is a life

As many of you may or may not know, my husband is in the hospital.
If you know this, you probably know many of the details around it, many of the very specific medical details. You may have even learned some new jargon and more about general surgical procedures than you ever thought you might.

Because if you know my husband is in the hospital, you may have read about it on facebook. And if you read about it on facebook, it was because of him, and his decision.

I have noted a variety of reactions to his very open and clear sharing of the experience during the last few days: relief, alarm, and a certain annoyance or discomfort with such an open and detailed declaration of his situation. I have also had people applaud this openess, even thank him for being so open and brave.

In an attempt to not make anyone uncomfortable by describing my reaction to every and any reaction, I just want to say something:

His posts about this experience, his choice to share any and most (believe me, not all) of the details of this ordeal has made me love and admire him all the more.

Facebook, is such a ridiculous experience, such a spin doctor of life. Everyone is loving eachother on beaches and hiking and biking and clocking their nike miles. Everyone is brave even in bad experiencing, vaguebooking at a possible calamity and coming out on top. It gives you the sense that you are getting a chance to know your 365 friends so much better, but usually you are getting the highlights or the crazy drama or the hints and wisps or things gone awry. You are getting an advertisement for your life in crazy snippets, and if not quite the national inquirer, the fox news equivalent of what is really reality.

Not I am not saying that every Facebook post should be a detailed description of what is totally and truly real, that is what phone calls and late night hangouts are for, but I am just suggesting that our need to gloss over life and technicolor in one of our most frequently used mediums might be depriving of us of the actually real opportunity for intimacy.

But there is more than that, more than the need to be real, and the pride I feel that Jason chose to authentic and honest when so many choose to be prideful or overly dramatic.

It is that sharing that was also brave: and that has something to do with the general shame many of us feel around "weakness": illness, mental or physical, is such an obscured and shadowed portion of our lives. We live very carefully shielding everyone from the reality that we bleed, that we poop, that we cry, that we spent the day or the week in our pajamas, or cursed those we love the best or just did something really really stupid. Our weaknesses are awkward and embarrassing, but covering them up just sends everyone the message that they should do the same, and that, friends, is the real  downward spiral. That is the loneliest and scariest part of all.

There we all sit, online, trading quips for conversation, trading in a chance at love for a moment of admiration.

And then there is this final thing, and this is a selfish one: going through this, through all of it, has been one of the most exhausting, draining, and lonely things I have ever done. And no, it is not all about me, but it has to do with me, as it is our life. And somehow making the details of it more public has curiously lessened the burden, because secrets are heavy, and at the very least, I don't have to pretend we are all having a great weekend, or act normal if I run into someone, or apologize for not calling someone back. Jason has turned our slick city of facebook into smalltown for a moment, where there are no secrets, and sometimes that is a relief, not a burden.

Or maybe not, I don't know. I know Facebook isn't real life, but doesn't need to battle with reality if you use it as it could be used: as a method to spread real information, true feelings and open discourse.

Dec 24, 2015

I am tired. I realized this last night as I was laying in the tub, contemplating my general lack of grooming and pondering how glaringly apparent my general drain was to the casual passerby. 
I pictured the conversation, or the just the general acceptance and acknowledgement that accompanies the inevitability of middle aged sag and drag.

I mean, we all age, and we all have times of fatigue, of even exhaustion.

But if I was to bargain on my effect I might go closer to “wrecked”.

I am a little wrecked. And I am guessing it is the worse kept secret I have.

But what do you do. (If you say sleep, you get a slap, sleep is obvious, and sometimes easier to obtain than others)

I mean, I am not talking about “last night I had insomnia” or “I got to bed a little late last night” tired.
I am talking about that feeling when the cup is light and the lake is far far away.

If you say “me time” you get another slap. 
I have noticed people who tell people to “be more selfish” or “take a little me time” are often the people afforded  a wealth of it. Single or childless, seldom impoverished, and if overworked, usually in a career for their own advancement. All me time, just different brands of me: career me, sun n fun me, night on the town me, domestic surprise me. Change the accessories, variate on the level of general decompression, but “me” time is bullshit, and the power of selfishness has its limits. 
And in the end I am not that interesting, and the variant on me time is: time for my loved ones, who share pedestal. I guess they mean find a time when the people who matter the most matter less. This isn’t always a luxury I have without increasing my own unhappiness, in a round about way.

Besides, most people lives lives of eternal obligation. They have dependents and deadlines and bills and production. It is the very nature of existence to produce and consume, in varying cycles.
The key is in the how, not the what. Not in how much of you you put ahead or behind or in the middle, but how you feel about your place and how you can find peace and relaxation in the equation.
Because my experience is that escapism can work, but the pursuit of it just becomes another goal, and those are exhausting. Better to integrate, with intentionality, the process in which the things that drain you are experienced so that they might also invigorate you.

Paradox for descriptive purpose:
Parenting is exhausting. For a variety of reasons ranging from being constantly on point, to being generally overly emotionally engaged, to little details like sleep deprivation and actually picking up physical humans when you would rather sit on your ass.
Parenting is also incredibly emotionally rewarding. The emotional feedback is great and it expands point and purpose in an exponential fashion and suddenly grocery stores are an adventure.

Things that are emotionally rewarding help produce relaxation and zen and joy, except the same thing produces exhaustion.

Rinse lather repeat.

The devil is in the details.

I guess the point is this: I have no idea what to do, because a bit like depression, the bottom of the well is harder to see out of, and when you are drained, that is where you are at. It might be cool and lovely and away the damn hot sun but it is also cold and far away from the very thing that warms your soul, and it makes it harder to see all the reasons you are there in the first place, and damnit, here is the rain, but I could use a floaty. It is all a blessing, and I will rise to the top somehow, by bucket or by floatation device or by treading water or clawing my way to the top. I know this, but at the moment I just don’t know the mechanism and that is the scariest part of all.

So, I guess my point is: this is a bitch session. And nothing more. 

You can’t help because you don’t know what I need because I don’t know what I need.

Other than things to be easier. 

And I just hope I don’t look as old as I feel.

Dec 23, 2015

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Without speaking the delicate framework and beautiful matrix that is community, and ultimately security and mental health, I wanted to note a trend that I find alarming and concerning.
This new thing in which new moms claim to the world that they are doing something for their child that is ultimately a thing they are doing for themselves. That thing in which they reframe every act they make in order to shed any vestiges of selfishness in the act. 

You know the drill
“why ME time is actually good for the family”
“I exercise to model the way for my baby!”
“I hike to get my newborn back in nature”

Look I appreciate that a happy mom makes a happier baby which makes a happier baby and perhaps a happier world. Like I said, the world owns a matrix of codependencies.
That being said, what really bugs me about all of this is the implicit and barely hidden notion that mothers should be wholly and completely selfless. 
I mean what if you are getting a pedicure just because you like having nice feet
What is you are exercising just to feel healthy?
What if you are hiking because YOU like nature?

Why is that a crime? When did it become essential that every single thing a mother does has to be wholly engineered around the greater happiness and development of their child.

Also you will note I say Mom, not parent. And yes yes yes I know there are stay at home Dads and yes I realize that this is not just a mom problem. Except for the part where what I just wrote is complete fucking bullshit because no one ever asks a Dad to say to he is going to the gym as further proof of his dedication to his offspring.  There are other pressure that they carry.

So I am going to bring this back to the disturbing trend that part of being a good mom, in the increasing atmosphere of doing it all (career mom! Attachment mom!) is that every breath, every movement, every choice needs to be justified by proving oneself a subset to a child.

Which is cruel and anxiety producing when you consider just how innately parenting makes most focus on the general wellbeing of their children. I mean, come on, if you have had a kid, you know how it goes: you get this new, dependent, beautiful life form and without even trying half your brain is taken up with their survival and wellbeing. You want them safe, you want them happy, and you want them to grow up into amazing humans, or, at least, not assholes.
So it is there, every moment, every hour, every second of the day. Whether you like it or not.

I was fond of saying, when I first had a child, how I hadn’t changed. I was just me, now with baby! But that wasn’t true. My brain changed, my architecture changed. I was never alone, never without the sense of how my actions affected the thing that mattered most to me in the word: my child. And sure and yes, my partner and other loves matter, but this was different. It was part of me in a way I can’t explain, and it changed the way I responded to work, life, world affairs, news, and other love. It changes my scope and it changed my depth. It turned out me, with child, wasn’t the old me, at all.  And that is okay. But I can tell you one thing the new me did not have to struggle with: caring about the well being of my child. It was up and front and center and I didn’t need constant reminders that I must take a backseat in the order of priorities and demands. 

And to be clear, I think all parents experience this: male and female, biological and through the many other pathways parental bliss might descend upon them. I don’t think THIS instinct is unique to the sexes. 

What I do think is unique is this instinct to not just demote, but completely destroy the self in the construct of your values.

Which is to say that just because my child matters to me more than life itself, doesn’t mean that I don’t matter at all.

Or to make it more clear: I will work as hard as I can to make changes that do not negatively impact my child, and ideally, generally positively impact my child. But with that overarching prime directive, it doesn’t mean the point or driver of every choice is their happiness.  Put more simply, sometimes  want the chocolate because I want the chocolate. I am not having that to model happiness or body positivity for my child. I just want the chocolate. And if having the chocolate will not hurt my child, or! Even better! Makes my child happier by witnessing my happiness, all the better. But even in a neutral who the fuck cares, my child didn’t even notice I had the chocolate, I can still WANT that chocolate. For me and me and me and me. 
I can also want to work out because it makes me feel and look better, or I can want to take a walk in the woods or want to go to a concert or want to travel the world (or NOT) for my own sake. It is already a forgone conclusion that the ultimate manner in which this effects my child will be considered, need they also be the motivation for every whim and move and instinct?

I guess I am saying: I think we already suffered through multiples generations of cultures that encouraged women to be absorbed into the family at the ultimate subsequent expense of societal unhappiness, not to mention  generations of women feeling lost in how to establish an identity of their own. 
Now that we are moving towards generations of women who are used to having their own ambitions, tastes and goals, need we subvert all of that work by doing gymnastics to justify their every need the moment they have a child? 

Oct 31, 2015

I have been thinking about him a lot lately.

I always thought of myself as a lover of campground rules.  A campground rules lover. I made so very many efforts to, at the very least, leave them better than I found them.
I called and I communicated and I made it my mission to, at the very least NOT be the dick.
Hey, if we all behave well and are kind then even the inevitable pain of a ruined romance will mend, and friendship will prevail.

This was not, ofcourse, though, always me. And when I ponder the curious withholding, the confusing mindgames people play, I am, of course, horribly dishonest if I don't think of him. Of him, and me. Of him and me.

I was, in retrospect, so very clearly in love. But I wanted something else, some other kind of love, or some other kind of me. And so I couldn't reconcile, because if I called it love, well then, I called the game, and I wasn't nearly clear enough on the score. Not yet.

Sometimes I wish I could go back and change what a tremendous ass I was. In it, drowning, but unable to even say those three words. Playing, and scared to be me and understand what I felt for what it was and not some horrible metaphor for every other thing I was working on.

And so I think of him. And the amazing person he has become, and the seed I can never plant in the past that would make me anything other than the curious headfuck I must have been, to a person who was so far past what I even now have become.

You can't do much about it.


But still, the thoughts, they are there.
If you are (someone like?) me...then words are powerful demons.
Not unlike a glance or a scent, a phrase can trigger a cascade of memories, the right combination of words can transport.

"Not nearly drunk enough"

We are driving in a car on W Burnside, leaving one bar, taking us all home.
A man I am friends with, but is drunk enough to imagine more, is making boisterous comments next to me that are meant to be indirect overtures. There is, I guess, a hope, if he seduces me subtly, through clever sarcasm, I'll never see it coming, and won't remember to say no.
But since we can all see how well this is going to work out, his friend, the lucky man who gets to drive all of our drunk asses home, just keeps reminding him that I am not drunk enough to go for his shit.
Every ridiculous move is met with a friendly chime "not nearly drunk enough! she's not nearly drunk enough".

I don't know why that memory flies to the front of consciousness. Nothing else interesting happened that night. I, indeed, was not nearly drunk enough to do anything other than go home to my own lovely bed, alone.

But youth takes on tones and textures. A feeling and a scent and a velocity that isn't ever replicated, again as life goes on. You are new to a city, you are in a car with people you barely know. Everyone is in the know that we are all beautiful and available and free and we are all going home, tonight, to wherever we want to go, and that is our choice, and we may do it again, the very next evening. Or not. The moment is more consequential than the ultimate equation, and the fact that I have so little control concerns me only because there is so little to control, in that moment.

I was on a date sitting in a car, waiting for the light, when a fairly overweight woman dashed across the street. Out of nowhere, he exclaimed “whoa fatty! don’t hurt yourself.” It was a joke. I think. A shared moment of (hopefully) mutually shared shame sharing.  My opinion of him fantastically changed in that moment, as did my mood.

I was sitting in the car and someone made a not especially notable traffic faux paus. I think they failed to move in the split second the light changed. The driver made a bitter comment about shitty drivers and acted like it is had ruined his morning.
Once again, I said little, but my mood and opinion shifted. Subtly.

Look, I know people have bad thoughts. Bad bad evil mean and sometimes completely accurate thoughts. And it is good to get things off your chest and road rage is as common as TV snacking.

But here is the thing, being an insecure person it took years to convince myself that when I am walking around in the world, people are not saying horrible terrible things and about me, and in general, noticing my every deficiency. Case in point: I am not skinny and don’t always look my best. Still, I assume, when I walk in a room people are not cataloguing every jiggle and bump. Another case in point: I am NOT the best driver. I am not dangerous (or so I like to think), but I frequently find myself hoping no one noticed my lame move.

And the thing is, I don’t think I am entirely off in my assumption that most people miss such things. Not (just) because I might be my worse critic, but because my scant 42 years in the world have taught me something even more meaningful: most people don’t notice, period. They just aren’t looking. They are in there own heads, or looking for familiar faces, or just selectively noting the most outstanding thing the room. So if I am not wearing a costume, I tend to assume, when someone notices me, it is because they like my outfit, or they know me. I don’t think it is because they noticed that I have rings under my eyes or have gained ten lbs.

Except. Except Except Except. Except when I hear someone verbalize a strongly emoted criticism of a seemingly average person or maneuver. Except when I hear someone point out that an averagely large women is fat and should be embarrassed to be running in public. Except when I hear someone bitch and moan because someone takes an awkward turn in a car, isn’t aggressive enough merging into traffic or whatever typical run of the mill driving shenanigans one out of every 4 driver seems to engage in regularly.

The world is not always the most hospitable place, and as such, I think within reason, we owe it to others to check our internal and external running commentaries on the typical “faults” and foibles we observe around us. I understand we all have moments when we have to purge. I have been more than guilty of calling a dangerous texting driver a dick for the whole world to see. But in general I am trying to learn that people are powerfully imperfect, and they only get better feeling secure in their moves, feeling supported in their actions.  So when you assess someone as fat, or stupid, or a bad dresser, or uncommonly unskilled in something that you believe yourself to be blessedly competent in, feel free to examine why you truly feel so good to share your own dominance in such a relative way.  Own the thought, think it, but think about why that thought has enough meaning to you to want to shout it, out loud, for a sensitive world to hear.

Or, at the very least, don’t say it around me.

Oct 18, 2015

I left it right here

I lose a lot of things these days. Displace them, I mean. It kinda freaks me out because once upon a time I had a really good spacial memory, and now I have no idea where the fuck half my things are. I am stunned to find I left things in the middle of the room. I put things down and walk away and WHAT?
I think I just stopped paying attention, stopped being very present. I assume massive exhaustion and constant vigilance (ie, toddler) have quite a bit to do with it, but I also suspect that I am moving towards being a new, different person, who notices different things than they used to, cares in ways I never imagined.

SO while a bit of me is inordinately frustrated by this reality, some part of me is a little excited.
it is a little like pregnancy. no one wants to be that big or that nauseous or that likely to topple over in a strong wind. but something big is coming. and that cannot be denied.

negativity nelly

if there is one lesson I fail to learn again and again it is that people don't want to hear the ugly truth.

even when it isn't about them. even when you are talking about situations they cannot remedy, and especially when you are speaking about yourself.

this one is a hard one for me, because while I understand with full clarity why insulting someone is unkind, I still have a hard time walking the grey line between revealing the little faults and adorable foibles that help us bond, and revealing to people that I full well see the ugly demons of my person and my situations.

so the other day, when I revealed a truth that I have worked hard to come to terms with, I was especially surprised to find that I was the one who found it the least angering, the least upsetting.

and this truth is (drumroll)
as I get older, less  and less people seem to like me, and even less people find me interesting.

understand, I am not saying more people dislike me (this would probably be at odds with the second assertion, as hate belies interest). and I am not saying that I am alienating or have ugly or strange interactions.

I also don't mean to imply this is necessarily a static reality that will plague me into old age. who knows. I can't exactly pinpoint the source of it, and I don't know the remedy, but it is a reality that I have come to terms with: middle age has rendered my mostly forgettable to the general masses.

so when I stated this reality, with a little less force, perhaps, than I am stating now, I was surprised the push back I got. The insistence that person A really liked me, or group B found me really interesting.
and I don't like to pull out the big guns; person A hasn't initiated any form of contact in years with me, and is seldom very motivated when I do, or that the inhabitants of group B have the equivalent of polite water cooler conversations with me while filling my drink, or even, frequently, leave the room and me alone in it, after 5 min of conversation, well that is just when the anger truly flies. What do I expect? Why would I say such things.

Look, I am not an idiot. I can tell when things are going badly. I can tell when someone isn't excited to be in my company. I don't hold it against them, because there are a great many people in the world who I, as well, am not aiming to break bread with. There are a lot of people in this world, and we are only going to truly love and like so many of them.

And I also understand that is people get older and busier, they have less and less time to reach out to someone they care about, and sometimes awkward interactions happen because of factors that have nothing to do with me. So I am willing to cede that there may be elements of misunderstanding in my assertion.

But it is cruel to insist that someone embrace a comfortable lie vs understand the ugly truth. It is the kind of wall that creates greater depression, loneliness, and despondency.  It is the reason people stay in loveless marriages and draining friendships. Because they are told to distrust their instincts, to ascribe intimacy and happiness to situations that do not give them those comforts.

And so this is me, acknowledging my reality, not for sympathy, but with an aim to find a way to fix it. Maybe I just need to find new people to be around, maybe I really need to work on myself and the things I share so I can be better friend. Like I said, I don't know, but I am willing to try, willing to figure it out.

so yes, here it is, a shiny black ray of truth hidden away in a spot that is all mine, and where I assert the right to tell my truths, as I see them, and those who care to read them 

Apr 2, 2015

hazy shade of winter

A friend of mine, the other day, in considering a romantic quandary, poised the question to me,
"but won't that be wasting my time"

Well, now, there are some questions you just can't answer for another person.
But, I, in general, and certainly as I get older ,find I have hard time quantifying the value of time. Which is to say: I am not sure time can be wasted, because times value is in its spending.

I mean, sure, get in the wrong line and you could argue you might be wasting a few precious moments waiting accomplishing less than you planned. But, I mean, maybe not. Maybe you had your headphones on it was all more time with the Beatles. Or maybe it was not the most joyous and productive use of your time to spin your wheels, and now you will need to give up spending time doing something more fun. Clearly, in as much as some tasks are more enjoyable than others, time can be "wasted".

But that is where things get more murky. In the case of my friend she was pondering that eternal question of whether time in a relationship that did not, ultimately, flourish and end up where you thought it might is "wasted time".

 Again, a question I could never answer for another person.

But I proffer this, often, as an answer for "did you waste your time".

Did you enjoy that time?
Did you learn something?
Are you who you are today because of that time and do you appreciate who you are?

Understand: I have been in more than one unfulfilling relationship. I have, in fact, been in balls out destructive, ridiculous, should I change my social security number now perhaps types of romantic foibles. I have walked out and holy shit what was I doing and how did I think that would work and why did I think that for so long?

But did they waste my time? Did they ultimately take time away from something more important or more fulfilling? And in the end, do I wish I were somewhere else because of that time spent?

I don't think so.

I mean,  if ones goals were to only fill life with beautiful experiences and mentally healthy examples of mutual support and love, perhaps such years would be considered wasted time. But if one were to make a point of only having positive experiences I am also pretty sure one would slowly find oneself shaking alone in a padded room of ones choosing, unpredictable as life may be.

So the reality is that we are going to choose to spend time in jobs, relationships, social engagements, perhaps musical festivals, in which the learning experience is not entirely pleasant.  Hopefully most of these experiences will inform our understanding of what we want from the present, maybe some of them will simply make us shake from relief when we are over.

But I suspect, if you want to be grateful for the time you have, then you also learn to enjoy the way life tends to hand you joyous and amazing experiences sandwiched right between total shit storms, and you stop considering time as a means to another end and begin to evaluate it in terms of where you want to be, and what you can absorb while you are there. 

Because being grateful for what you have managed to emerge from, the good and the bad, helps foster the kind of joy and self esteem that helps you spend time more appropriately in the future.

Which is to say: time is the one thing you have to spend, whether you like it or not. It is best to spend it where you and when you want, but to understand,  it leaves behind a pile of dust either way. Compress it into a diamond, sweep it under the carpet, consider the future topography it might some day become. You can't reshape the past, but you can use your past to shape your future.

Your choice.