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“Once we make our relationship choices in an adult way, a prospective partner who is unavailable, nonreciprocal, or not open to processing feelings and issues, becomes, by those very facts, unappealing. Once we love ourselves, people no longer look good to us unless they are good for us.”

– David Richo, How to Be an Adult in Relationships

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A very wise friend of ours, who is always there for everyone and is known for his ability to give a fresh, unbiased perspective on any problem, is himself somewhat of a tortured soul on occasion. He would never tell any of us the extent of it, but what is so admirable about him is that he is smart, mature, and healthy enough to know that feeling down is ok as long as you do something about it. So he’ll see a counsellor, or change something about his life he knows is not right for him, or make an effort to lighten his own load. And it helps him, I can see it.

I have so much respect for this guy, because as much as he might doubt it at times, he’s got it all together. And having it all together, in my opinion, is about acknowledging that in life, you won’t always have it all together. There are times that absolutely suck, when you feel like you’re not doing things right. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself, do something about it. It won’t fix things overnight, of course, but it will over time. And while you’re waiting, you at least have the feeling that you’ve got some control.

This friend of ours (who I hope doesn’t mind that I referenced him in our blog) was advised by a counsellor to take 20 minutes out of his day, no matter what he was doing or where he was, for self-reflection. I don’t think it mattered what he thought about, but just 20 minutes to remove himself from everything and just be… it seems important. It seems like something we should all do for ourselves.

 

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Now for me, it’s not such a priority since I’m often alone, often lost in my own thoughts. I think that’s my problem, that I should instead take 20 minutes out of every day to reflect on others. Or what I should do for them, not for myself.

The message I take from our friend’s experience is that life can be immensely challenging, but it’s not impossible. And that I should do everything I can to make my life the way I know it should be.

-Coco

castles in the air

June 13, 2009

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“Wouldn’t it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and we could live in them?” said Jo, after a little pause.

“I’ve made such quantities it would be hard to choose which I’d have,” said Laurie, lying flat, and throwing cones at the squirrel who had betrayed him.

“You’d have to take your favourite one. What is it?” asked Meg.

“If I tell mine, will you tell yours?”

“Yes, if the girls will too.”

“We will. Now, Laurie!”

“After I’d seen as much of the world as I want to, I’d like to settle in Germany, and have just as much music as I choose. I’m to be a famous musician myself, and all creation is to rush to hear me; and I’m never to be bothered about money or business, but just enjoy myself, and live for what I like. What’s yours, Meg?”

Margaret seemed to find it a little hard to tell hers, and moved a brake before her face, as if to disperse imaginary gnats, while she said, slowly, “I should like a lovely house, full of all sorts of luxurious things; nice food, pretty clothes, handsome furniture, pleasant people, and heaps of money. I am to be mistress of it, and manage it as I like, with plenty of servants, so I never need work a bit. How I should enjoy it! For I wouldn’t be idle, but do good, and make every one love me dearly.”

“Wouldn’t you have a master for your castle in the air?” asked Laurie, slyly.

“I said ‘pleasant people,’ you know;” and Meg carefully tied up her shoe as she spoke, so that no one saw her face.

“Why don’t you say you’d have a splendid, wise, good husband, and some angelic little children? You know your castle wouldn’t be perfect without,” said blunt Jo, who had no tender fancies yet, and rather scorned romance, except in books.

“You’d have nothing but horses, inkstands, and novels in yours,” answered Meg, petulantly.

“Wouldn’t I, though! I’d have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I’d write with a magical inkstand, so that my works should be as famous as Laurie’s music. I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle,– something heroic, or wonderful,– that won’t be forgotten after I’m dead. I don’t know what, but I’m on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favourite dream.”

 

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“Mine is to stay at home safe with father and mother, and help take care of the family,” said Beth, contentedly.

“Don’t you wish for anything else?” asked Laurie.

“Since I had my little piano I am perfectly satisfied. I only wish we may all keep well, and be together; nothing else.”

“I have lots of wishes; but the pet one is to be an artist, and go to Rome, and do fine pictures, and be the best artist in the whole world,” was Amy’s modest desire.

“We’re an ambitious set, aren’t we? Every one of us, but Beth, wants to be rich and famous, and gorgeous in every respect. I do wonder if any of us will ever get our wishes,” said Laurie, chewing grass, like a meditative calf.

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air; but whether I can unlock the door, remains to be seen,” observed Jo, mysteriously.

 

From “Chapter 13: Castles in the Air.” Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott.

 

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If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;

that is where they should be. 

Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau