I view my negative emotions as feedback and, when they persist, I change my approach.
My summer had some unpleasant moments. Moments which spurred the resolve to reach for better.
The first thing I noticed…
If I am going to do something mean then it’s going to happen at home, after spending the day alone.
I can’t remember a single unforced error happening after a day outside. The errors I do remember start with a slow boil starting at my desk!
I have stickers facing me while I type away on my screens…
Whatever I truly need… it’s not to be found in a chair, looking at screens.
Another lesson I’ve learned, this time about marriage.
Schedule time to enjoy each other.
I don’t know if we’d gotten “too busy”, or complacent.
Either way, when I’m getting jealous of swim meets then it’s a sign we need to increase our us-time.
- Tuesday – train together (outside), then lunch
- Thursday – starting after Christmas break, ski together
- Saturday – date night (and our oldest can handle the sitting)
Three opportunities for “together” each week.
Have fun together and avoid forming a habit of preparing a list of grievances for each encounter, yes I have done this.
The Thursday means we need to help. When I first raised the idea, it was…
I want you to get childcare so I can take an entire day off. Every. Single. Week.
My wife had no idea what, or why, this was important.
Nothing happened, for months.
When I explained the downstream idea (ski together each week), help was found within 12 hours.
Good ideas do better with effective communication.
These ideas were put together with an understanding of enduring drivers of satisfaction in my life…
- Exploring, together
- Being outside, together
The three “weeklies” put me in my best environment, so my wife isn’t interacting with me in my worst environment (the house after a day alone).
We had a bit of an issue with restaurant selection so we rotate choice, by week, with a no-veto policy.
John Hellemans notes there are three plans in any athlete-coach relationship. I goes something like this…
- The plan the coach believes the athlete is given
- The plan the athlete actually does
- The plan the coach believes the athlete did
It’s a reminder to be cautious with assumptions, and pay attention to clues that point to reality being different than expected.
A version of this extends to all things in life…
- What you think you need
- What you actually do
- What you think you did
- What I think I need to spend to make myself happy [A]
- What the family is actually spending [B]
- What I think my family wants me to spend [C]
The punchline here is TIME.
When you are enjoying each other, your family will enjoy inexpensive hobbies.
INVERT => no amount of spending can overcome a lack of meaningful connection
What’s been bothering me, quite a bit as it turns out, was the ratio of B to A. The $5 of family spending that follows each $1 I find useful in my own life.
I dug deeper.
What I’ve arrived at is equity. Equity of contributions and benefits. We’re working on it. A simple change, that is difficult to implement…
I will not burden myself with the task of removing the consequences of another’s choices.
Basically, if someone calls an audible, repeats a bad habit, makes a poor choice… then I’ll limit myself to polite emotional support, while calmly showing the connection between their choice and the consequence.
Then I’ll move on.
Getting What I Want
With the money I think my family wants me to spend… I just smile at myself.
First, because my wants are driven by my peers, my values and the advertising industry => my family is the solution, not the issue.
A bit of effort with my media filter dials down my greed, and dials up useful traits. A simple change… unsubscribe reduces useless spending.
Second, my “wants” are transitory. They come and go, just like moods. I don’t need to take them seriously, they change all the time.
A better question:
What’s it going to take to raise my kids, the way I want, and set myself up for the next stage of my life?
The price is a cost of doing business.
The actions are where to focus.