Skip to main content

Let It Go: Accepting the Things I Cannot Change

My version of a selfie on my 32nd birthday.
Yesterday I turned 32. I look nowhere near my age, but I think at least now it's less likely I'll be mistaken for a high school student. It wouldn't surprise me to be mistaken for a college student.

It's happened before.

True story: Several years ago, I was writing a profile on a couple of smarty pants kids and this week of the brain they had created at their school. So I went to the elementary school to cover it. The kids' mom knew I was coming. I clearly introduced myself as the freelance writer from Sacramento Parent Magazine, and yet -- and I'm taking an educated guess here -- because of my baby face and little girl voice, she immediately pegged me for one of the student volunteers from Sac State.


But such is my life. It's one of the realities I've come to accept. I can't change my voice. I can dress professionally and wear makeup, but that only goes so far. I just have to suck it up and deal.

I don't always deal so well with things that are out of my control. It's something I've struggled with my whole life. I'm not a Type A Personality, but boy do I share some of those characteristics. I'm also incredibly self aware, so I recognize when I'm probably coming off condescending and when I'm being emotional. There's nothing like acknowledging that you're having an emotional reaction to dampen the fun of actually giving into your emotions.

I am a logical, intelligent, organized, educated and informed woman, and life would be so much easier if everyone could just be a little more like me. But since that's not going to happen, I know what will make life a little stressful.

Lord, in my 32nd year, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.

1. My loving husband of nearly nine years will forever find the floor to be the appropriate space for his "I wore that today, but I'm going to wear it again" clothes. I will always have to ask, "Is this dirty?" before I put his jeans or T-shirts in the hamper because one woman's crumpled pile of dirty laundry is another man's crumpled pile of clean-enough laundry.

Related: If I ask my sweet, well-meaning husband to move the clothes from the washer to the dryer and I don't remind him to check the dryer settings, it's on me if the full load tumbles for an hour without proper heat on wrinkle release. Granted, half the time, he will remember to check. But if I don't follow through with, "Please move the clothes AND check the settings," I should just expect a pile of wet clothes when the dryer buzzes. To expect anything else after all these years borders on the definition of insanity.

Now that I've passively-aggressively complained about my husband, let me move onto my friends and family. See, I told you I was self aware.

2. My friends and family will daily post politically-oriented memes full of fallacies. What they find clever are really just hasty generalizations, false causes, slippery slopes, false dichotomies, straw mans and weak analogies. And then there's the memes that just flat out misrepresent remarks and tie quotes to the famous person they wish had said it.

I cannot change this. I can choose to keep scrolling, click "hide post," or if I'm daring, comment. But I can't expect good results from my comment. "That quote is real, but that person never said it."

"Well, I agree with it, so what does it matter who said it?"

Going into a lecture about why it's wrong to falsely attribute a controversial (or any) quote to someone is most likely not going to matter to the person who just asked why it mattered. So I need to learn to let it not matter so much to me. I cannot change the impulse in others to click "share" on fallacious information, but I can work to change my response.

Family time.

3. My in-laws will most often give little notice for plans, and my mom will want to book the tiniest detail well in advance. As someone who falls in between the two extremes, I can only accept that the way other people do things is not the way I would do them.

I'm not hosting the birthday dinner for the grandparent, so the fact that we were called the day of with the invite is not under my control. I can rearrange my schedule for family time, or I can put myself and my work first and decline. (Spoiler alert: It's always the first option.)

While I can't look into a crystal ball to glean what two side dishes I'll crave two weeks from now for my birthday dinner, I can accept that my mom would like to know sooner than later, so I might as well just pick two safe options and be grateful she's cooking.

To summarize: I need to embrace my inner Elsa and LET IT GO. (Even if the song grates on my nerves, and I maintain Idina Menzel was the wrong choice to voice a young Disney princess. Yes, Elsa sings like a 40-year-old woman, but let it go, Laura. LET IT GO.)


Popular posts from this blog

Top 10 Tips for Packing Early for a Move

I think I'm having the most organized move of my life, and that includes all future moves. I should be; this move is taking forever to actually happen.

The tenants at my future home stopped paying rent over two months ago, and apparently that's how long it can take to evict someone in California. It's a frustrating saga I won't get into it.

I thought I would, however, share some of my tips for an organized move, especially tips on what you can do well in advance of actually moving.

1. Create a box or basket of moving supplies. You want one place to hold packing tape, scissors, your labeling pen, etc. You also want an organizational system for all the pins, pens, screws and batteries you'll come across. (Make sure to separate the working batteries from the dead.)

I like to use little jewelry boxes and small plastic containers to hold these items.

2. Tackle the garage (or wherever your junk space is).

Our garage is tiny (smaller than a standard one-car) and packed. It…

Halloween Decorations: How to Stuff a Life-Size Michael Myers

Michael Myers is our grand finale of decorations, the big kahuna.

The Michael Myers tradition started our first year in our first home.

Aaron had the brilliant idea of stuffing Michael and placing him in my office window, which faced the yard. You had to walk right past the window to get to our door. You couldn't miss Michael; even people driving by on the street would slow to check him out.

On Halloween, Michael amused many and frightened some. A few groups wondered out loud if he was real. Suddenly Michael would move (thanks to Aaron hididng in the office) and screams would ensue.

Eventually, Aaron closed the blinds, quickly un-stuffed Michael, stuffed himself inside and hid behind the front door. I would answer and Aaron would creep out or jump out. More screams.

The next day, we had a knock at our door. A group of kids asked Aaron if he could put the costume back on and chase them. But of course!

The group waited outside, expecting Aaron to come out the front door. He snuck…

Outdoor Oasis: How to Turn a Futon into a Porch Couch

I refer to my back porch as my outdoor oasis, not because it's the most beautiful or detailed, but simply because the furniture is comfortable and the atmosphere is peaceful. It's where I go to unwind, relax and read. And now thanks to a recent project to turn a futon into a porch couch, I have the ultimate reading and napping spot.

Last year, I wrote about getting rid of my busted up outdoor furniture, updating the salvageable and buying a futon to to use as my new outdoor couch.

Shortly after I painted the $20 queen-size, solid-wood futon with outdoor white paint, I got busy getting ready for my move and never updated with the final result.

I love it.