On families, stress and living your life

posted by Jeff | Thursday, December 11, 2003, 11:16 PM | comments: 2
This year in coaching my girls, I decided to preach that concentrating only on the things that you can control makes you a better athlete, and more mentally able to improve your skills. It's really a good philosophy to spill over into everyday life too, I think.

The last month or so has been kind of rough for us. Oddly enough me not having a job really hasn't bothered me or caused any significant stress at all. Our families have been a source of stress though, but it comes at you from a couple of different fronts.

At first, you think about how terrible the problems are on behalf of the family members, and because they're your family, you too feel bad about it. Then you feel stressed because even though you don't want to admit it, you feel guilty and selfish that your family puts these problems on you as well.

It's strange, because my grandfather said last Christmas that family was the most important part of your life. While that might be true, I'm tired of feeling guilty for thinking that it's not. I realize that so many of the things that I don't like about myself or my personality are rooted in issues with my family. I never had the security and comfort in my family to feel that it was a unit I could rely on or go to in times of need. I didn't find any of that until college, ultimately starting my own family with Stephanie.

I know a lot of people will tell you, "Oh, but that's every family." I think that's a cop-out bullshit statement. Some of the kids I've coached have these great relationships with their families. Hell, I'm astounded that this year none of them even come from divorced families.

The more I talk about it, the worse I feel, and that's crap too. I didn't choose my family.

But I'm going to try and not let it stress me out. I can't control my family. I can't control the past. I only need to concentrate on my new family, even if it consists of little more than my wife and two cats. They make me happy, and I'm not going to feel bad for prioritizing things that way.



December 12, 2003, 2:08 PM # I have a friend who is consistently coming down on me because I don't put my extended family on a high enough priority level. He feels even cousins and second cousins should have a high priority.

My immediately family, Gordon, Ian, and my mom are my highest priority, and my brother and Gordon's sister are next. But all the rest, including my father in Utah, are on the periphery.

It's true that you are more likely to support those who support you, and frankly, except for my mom, I find we receive very little support from anyone. Sure, I might feel bad when something bad happens to them, but I'm not one to go out of my way for people who ONLY come to us when they need something. I have a thing against people who are constantly taking and never giving. I don't feel guilty about it at all.

There is no law that says we have to love and put our families first, especially when it's never earned.


December 13, 2003, 4:32 PM # There are some days when I wish we could pack up everything we own and move someplace far away to forget about all these things. Pretend we don't even have families. Everyday, having a family is a great burden and a source of endless turmoil. I keep waiting for that day when I see the benefits that will supposedly outweigh the negatives. That day never comes no matter how much I hope it does. I am constantly disappointed I feel as though I don't have a single person in my family I could rely on when I needed it (aside from you, dearest). Then, I feel awful for wishing I was without a family. But life would be so much easier. And I hate feeling guilty for everything too.

People who always use a cliche and say you can't choose your family certainly don't have families like ours. Slowly, I'm learning that perhaps I can't choose them, but I can choose to live without them.

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