Something About Nothing
by Julie Seedorf published by the Albert Lea Tribune July 2015
Did you get the Fourth of July card I sent you? How about the birthday card or the Christmas card or the I’m thinking about you card? Of course you didn’t, because I never sent them out. I am greeting-card-sender challenged.
This little quirk of my personality didn’t just pop up out of the blue since I became an adult. I was reminded of this fact as I poured through old pictures and memorabilia from my past. I found letters written to my relatives in my childhood and teen years that I never mailed. It was always a standing family joke: if you wanted a letter or a card from me during those years you had to visit to receive them.
I love receiving greeting cards, birthday cards and postcards. I love any mail that is not junk mail, but I seldom receive it since I am so bad at mailing things myself.
I have good intentions. Recently I found a card that I had ready for my friend, Lisa, a book reviewer. I don’t know why I didn’t send it and I don’t know what it says. I didn’t open it as it is sealed. I am going to send it to find out what her response is. I also found an RSVP that I never sent back. I have that habit too.
The same thing can be said for thank-you cards. I am very thankful for everything someone does for me or a gift that I receive, but I have a problem sending that thank you. Maybe I need to get some counseling to find out why I can’t seem to get around to writing those cards or if I write them — mailing them.
Last Christmas this little quirk extended to Christmas cards. I didn’t mail any out. I didn’t write my Christmas letter. Is it no wonder my friends and family from afar have given up on me?
I have some friends and family that always send a thank you. My daughter-in-law always makes sure I get a thank you, and she has taught her children they need to do the same thing. I am happy those grandchildren do not follow in the footsteps of their grandmother. I hope their kindness and saying thank you continues on.
I could blame my mother. To be fair, my mom didn’t have the time to see that I sent out a thank-you note. She would tell me to do it when I got older and trust that it got done. Her schedule — taking care of our house, taking care of her mother and brother and working in my family’s shoe store — didn’t leave her much time to nag me about thank-you notes.
I also failed at the mother part when it came to teaching my children about thank-you notes, although I think at least one of them is good at it.
It is important to thank people for what they do for others. It is important to make people feel valued in life. I believe that sincerely and I hope I do that with my words. I apologize to those who have been victims of my mailing phobia. Just know that although you might not have received a thank you, I am very thankful for your friendship and your kindnesses.
I cannot go back and change my past behavior, but I can go forward and try and do better.
Recently, feeling stressed, I realized I need more balance in my life. I take responsibility for things and feelings and others actions that are not my responsibility. Because I do that, I get so caught up in worrying about tomorrow and trying to fix things that I get more stressed and more frustrated and live with a constant feeling of being overwhelmed. Balance means realizing I am not superwoman. I can’t fix others problems because I can’t fix my own because I am too busy spinning.
This Melody Beattie quote says it all, and I would be wise to listen, “Letting go helps us to to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for them and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.”
When I write I lose all track of time. I forget to eat and can find myself sitting at my computer the entire day. During that time the stress melts away. The world melts away. When I am in that world I am not worrying about anyone else. I am not trying to fix things beyond my control. I am not telling someone else what to do (I am good at that); only my characters bend to my will. I am refreshed. I find balance in writing. I need to carry that balance into the real world and remember who is in control. If I do that, maybe you will get that greeting card.