Tag Archives: Problem solving

Only Child on going it solo

Growing up an only child had its peculiarities – some good, some bad. On the bad side, there is the obvious – no siblings to confide in, to help you get through your life especially if like me, you were bullied. Of course, siblings fight and tease each other, but for the most part I would suppose that is normal. There are always exceptions.

Throw in elderly parents – where one (Mom) pushes being pro-active where the Bully is concerned, and the other (Dad) is over-protective and you can be left going from one extreme to the other in dealing with what gets shoved at you in life.

Some only children withdraw into themselves and don’t have any close friends.

Following this going to opposites mentioned above, I did have close friends (besides the Bully) but I also kept my own counsel on many things. And I found I was confiding a lot in my mother – not everything, of course. She didn’t need a blow-by-blow account of my dates as a teenager, although she did almost embarrass me once, when a fellow was walking me home from a teen dance at the church. That was our agreement. I could go to these Sunday evening dances but Mom would meet me halfway walking home. In my memoir I write:

After putting on boots, coats, and hats (well, I did the latter), we amble up Donlands, past the bungalows. While we talk – I have no idea about what, probably about where I live as he thinks he’s taking me there – I dart looks in front. No Mom yet. Are we early?

We cross Plains Road and walk by Vince’s Jewellery Store, beyond the Donlands Cinema. I’m cranking my head over towards Joe, then down, supposedly to watch my footing in the snow. I sneak a look up the street and there she is.

Mom is heading our way and I want to duck into the Donlands Restaurant with Joe but I’m too chicken. Maybe it’s closed, I tell myself. But wait. Mom is doing her diplomatic thing. She pulls into a doorway, Hurst’s Drugstore, I think. Joe and I keep on talking and walking. I can feel Mom’s eyes on us.

When we stop for the lights at O’Connor, I turn to Joe.

“I can walk home the rest of the way myself,” I say. “Yeah. It’s just up there.” I point to my right.

“Okay. I’ll call you sometime during the week.”

“Okay. Good night.

“Good night.”

Fortunately, he doesn’t kiss me. Mom catches up with me. Now I’m in for it.

“I didn’t want to embarrass you so I stepped into the doorway,” she says. (Excerpted from You Can Go Home, Copyright 2014 Sharon A. Crawford).

Growing up solo did give me the background to learn to think for myself. Problem was it took me nearly 30 years to start doing so. When you grow up an only child cocooned by elderly parents, particularly if one or both are protective, throw in losing your dad to cancer when you are 16 and your mother to a brain aneurysm when you are 22, and then you get married three months later, you aren’t exactly prime material for sticking up for your rights. Instead you lean towards others taking care of you.

How can you change?
First you have to have a child; then get separated from your spouse or partner, and then get hit with medical and financial problems.

 

But growing up an only child can teach you to problem solve – mainly because you have to learn to go inside yourself and pull out some possible solutions. The flip side is you may have trouble asking others for help. And when you do, it comes out as a big whine.

 

It didn’t all come right away, but I’ve turned into a fighter- finally. True I’m often cranky and come on strong in anger, but I’d rather be that than a perpetual doormat.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Elderly parents, Life demands, Mom and Dad, Only child, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford, Social skills only children

Only Child hits the stress factor

Only Child's relaxing corner  in the backyard - when the garden finally flowers

Only Child’s relaxing corner in the backyard – when the garden finally flowers

There are many studies and articles about how stressed-out we are. It seems to be the norm to be over-busy and stressed out. It’s the so-called remedies that I don’t agree on. One in particular – change your attitudes on your life.

Yeah, right. As if that would get rid of the stress in your life. If it would work, I would try to change my attitude. However, as I mentioned in last week’s post, as one stressor goes, another one pops up to take its place.

Let’s consider changing your attitude. There is a big risk here of going into denial, i.e., you don’t have any problems so you don’t solve them. You might also fall into the Pollyanna attitude. And we all know what happened to Pollyanna. In the 1960 Disney movie of the same name, Pollyanna fell from a tree and was crippled.

So attitude change won’t work for me.

I’ve decided on a three-prong approach:

1. Take a long hard look at just what my stressors are and try to eliminate what I can. I know I said that one will pop up as one is deleted. But there just might be some that can go for good – so that would be one or two less included in the stressor list.
2. Learn to relax – that’s the biggie – but meditation has helped me in the past. It won’t eliminate the stress but might help the cortisol level and my immune system. Because of some physical medical conditions, I already have a compromised immune system and stress capulted it into high gear. No wonder I’m having a hard time getting rid of a viral respiratory condition in my neck and cheek glands, which started as sinusitis and is threatening to include that again. Here, my garden (whenever this weather decides it is actually spring – plants are about a month late this year) can help, both gardening and sitting in the garden and reading.
3. Solve the damn problems – and pick and choose wisely, which ones to tackle. And try not to tackle all at once – if it can be helped.

Here are a few articles and studies on ways to eliminate or reduce stress. I don’t necessarily agree 100 percent with them, but here they are anyway.
Stress and Positive Attitude
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950
Stress and Aging http://www.economist.com/node/18526881
And my favourite – Eliminating Stress Brings Pain Relief
http://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/stress-and-pain.aspx

 

How do you tackle stress? Is it killing you? I’d like some comments.
Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford

 

Only Child Writes
Sharon A. Crawford teaches memoir writing workshops and courses in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Her next workshop, Getting Your Memoir off the Ground is Saturday, May 10, 2014 at Hugh’s Books and the Studio @ Hughs in east end Toronto. If you are in the Toronto area and want to learn more about writing memoir, this might be the workshop for you. More details on at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

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Filed under Gardening, Healing through gardening, Health, Only child, Overwhelm, Pain, Problem solving, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress

Only Child tries to grab control of her time – again

Only Child will no longer sit on time like this teddy bear

Only Child will no longer sit on time like this teddy bear does

If shooting the clock would tame my time I’d do it. However, Mr. and Mrs. Clocks are not the guilty parties. The culprits are having too much to do, especially when some of that is because others are butting in and/or just not doing their job. It is literally making me sick and stealing my sleep time.

I’m fed up with picking up other’ slack and putting up with others’ unnecessary interference – in my personal and work life. So, I’m on the warpath again.

Sometimes I think life is a spiralling whirlwind with no jump off point – unless you want to be drastic and do the proverbial cliff thing.

Not me. I prefer to tackle the culprits, despite the feelings of dread, weariness, anger, guilt and frustration for starters. I’m tired of being dragged down. I want my life back. I want my health back. I want this viral respiratory infection (now in my neck glands) to go away – permanently. I figure without all the stress and with regular sufficient sleep it would never have gone beyond the sinusitis stage, which lasted only three or four days. Then it hibernated and surfaced in the glands. I’m taking a natural remedy to help get rid of it. But I need to do more.

For the house repair stuff , I may not be able to control what needs repairing but I will control what I deal with, when and who else gets involved. So, if I’m focusing on getting one repair done (including the actual doing) the rest takes a back burner and maybe some of the people bugging me about it get ignored permanently.

Some writing colleagues are not doing their job where it is connected to what I do – so I am left to pick up their slack, which I’ve been doing with many worries about how to rectify the situation. Despite reminder emails I’m greeted with silence. So, now I will try the old-fashioned way – use the phone.

Getting more sleep – only one area needs improvement on my part – getting to bed a bit earlier. Here, I need to stop doing household chores after the 11 p.m. news. Once the weather report is finished and I turn the TV off, all that should be left to do is get ready for bed and go to bed.

The other sleep problem is not under my control. My boarder insists on getting up between 4 a.m. to 6 a.m. whenever her cat wakes her up to be fed. Sometime that wakes me up and I have trouble getting back to sleep before my alarm goes off three of so hours later. If that were me, I’d stall feeding the cat – other cat owners do this. But then, I’m not a cat owner, so what do I know?

The weather – and I’ve posted my feelings and beliefs on this one before. Just when I was getting into gardening and being able to sit outside away from everything going on inside, get some privacy and peace, we get snow today. It will melt but I’m stuck inside and back to “hiding” in the living room, with door closed, to sip my morning coffee and read the newspaper or a magazine. In real spring and summer, I sit outside on the patio and read and also eat breakfast and lunch, and perhaps dinner. Now, I’m back to eating breakfast with answering email (with my office door closed).

I find my garden – just being in it – and my writing, reading and walking sooths this savage beast – for a time. Maybe I’m crazy, but I actually enjoy rewriting my mystery novel – the one getting published later this year – even following the editor at my publisher’s suggestions (well, most of them). Perhaps it’s being one with my creative process and shutting out the miserable world around me.

But it helps.

Not today, though. Today, it’s back to another hateful job – working on my 2013 tax returns – which I don’t file electronically. You don’t dare do that with the Heartbleed virus. And getting after one of my writing colleagues to do his job so I can do mine.

Shooting the clocks won’t work anyway. I have only a small water gun.

How do others tame their time? Suggestions are welcome. Let’s share our ideas, especially what works.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Balance, Health, Life demands, Only child, Overwhelm, Prioritizing, Sharon A. Crawford, Stress, Time management

Only Child not keeping cool anywhere

Only Child ponders her problems

Have you ever had one of those week’s where everything seemed to go kaput? I have the past last week, except it was four big problems in four days and two more in the last two days. That, and an ensuing discussion with a friend on Saturday, got me thinking about attitudes, problems and problem solving, and life situations. And no, I’m not going into a long dissertation about all of mine. I guess the bottom line is: what do you think and want (or not want) concerning the problems occurring in your life.

Before I go any further, I need to thank a couple of readers –  I haven’t yet because…

Thanks to Colline and Shirley for their comments on my post last week – Keeping cool in your home office. Usually I reply directly but I couldn’t and the why is one of those aforementioned problems  – disruption in Internet service off and on (mostly off) over three days last week. Unfortunately I was not one of the 99 percent with line problems outside. Nope, the problems were inside. The techie from my ISP/Phone service had to make THREE visits to sort everything out. And in the middle of it all my wireless phone went dead…but that seems to be connected (pun intended) to the ISP line problems because once the line part was fixed, my wireless phone worked. In the end, Mr. Telephone Techie fixed a faulty connector downstairs, updated the split in the line (for phone and ISP) in my home office  and set up a new modem cum router.

Meantime, the adapter for  my external hard drive would no longer connect to the actual peripheral, my kitchen tap set came loose from its setting, and my right eye suddenly developed red eye. Yesterday one of my foot problems kicked in and this morning one of my email servers suddenly isn’t working. A helpful neighbour  (he’s an electrician by the way) fixed the wandering kitchen tap, hopefully the Internet service will continue working and the email service will get fixed – I emailed the company owner about it using my other email account.  I have an appointment with my optometrist  this afternoon. I bought a new adapter and cover for the external hard drive and am still waiting for the other email service.

Enough of those six problems per se. I do find that being an only person is a hindrance. Who do you call for support when you have no siblings, no partner, no… well you get the picture. Not that a partner or sibling could fix all the problems, but misery loves company if only for moral and emotional support and maybe they could call the repair person and deal with him or her some of the time. So, I intend to magnify my GAD (general anxiety disorder) and get angry.

My friend suggested I try meditation and I might – if I can find the time. However, meditation won’t eliminate two things: the influx of too many problems and solving them. I might be a little calmer but I find anger, along with persistence,  helps get me moving to do something about the problems and dealing with any professional I’m trying to get here to fix the problem if he stalls about arriving or messes up in some way. I am polite with my neighbours and friends because I realize they are doing me a favour.  I find the best way to deal with problems is to solve them and get them out of the way as fast as possible. And using your intuition to do so helps – I need to learn to do this more. At the same time I find I get too many problems coming at me.  Which brings me to something else my friend said.

Viewpoint – does your viewpoint change the situation? Nope, not for me. I’ve tried being positive and expecting the best and then I get blindsided by several somethings going haywire. I’ve also been pessimistic and that gets mixed results -often nothing “bad” happens and sometimes it does. So much for the law of attraction or its opposite. I hate to say it but it just might be the “luck of the draw,” whether that luck is good or bad. And I know nobody’s life is problem-free but I also don’t believe that old religious teaching that we never get more crosses than we can bear. Never mind my situation. Look at more serious ones – all the people who have lost their homes through floods and fires, etc. What about people that “lose it” in life after experiencing too many tragedies. True, some people go the other way. Tragedies change them for the better.

Maybe the bottom line is we are all different – not just in who we are but in what we are and how we deal with life situations and just what those life situations are – our environment is a big factor.

What do you think?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Aloneness, Anger, Anxiety, Believing, Decisions, Law of Attraction, Luck, Only child, Overwhelm, Problem solving, Problems, Stress