Memorial Day Weekend and Getting Rid of Shoulds

We spent Memorial Day weekend at the lake. It was the class camp out for the upper grades at my daughters' school. It was a bit chilly and rainy. No swimming, though the kids did go canoeing. The children had a great time hiking around, playing with friends, and throwing rocks in the lake. It was our first large group camp out, maybe ever.  I don't remember camping with this big of a group before, about 150 people I think. Other than a potluck for dinner one night and the trip to the zipline (first time for Adelle, Joel, and I!) there were not any activities planned. Definitely I would bring more activities next time, like card games and soccer balls to kick around. Usually our camping trips don't involve so much hanging out at the campsite so I didn't come prepared for that. I guess I thought it would be warmer and we'd be playing in the water more. But I got to meet and visit with lots of new people, turn down beers (felt a little like high school and college all over again), and relax, knit, and read my book.

I had an epiphany this weekend. It kind of goes along with my Mindfulness Resolution. To live in the moment and accept it for what it is. The story starts a few months ago when a previous co-worker of mine asked me how staying home was for me now. He caught me on a bad day with the children and I told him how I was feeling a little guilty because while I was working I just wanted to be home and now that I was home, at least the day we talked, I felt dissatisfied at home. I said something about how I "should" be thrilled to be home finally. His comment was that he doesn't deal in "shoulds." And seriously that comment has changed my self-talk since that conversation. It has released me from unnecessary guilt. I don't dwell on how I should or shouldn't be feeling, it just is how I feel. I don't get bothered with what I should or shouldn't be doing as much. I just do. or do not. This is mostly in regards to my spiritual life. The Lord is pleased with any effort we make to grow closer to Him. I try not to feel guilty because I should be doing more. I just accept what I am doing. Knowing that I will be blessed according to what I do. The more I pray, read scriptures, serve others, etc the more I am blessed. But even if I do those things a little God is pleased with my little progress. He just wants me to do more so He can bless me more. No guilt. Anyway that thinking has been working for me.

But here was my epiphany. I don't enjoy large social gatherings. It isn't where my social skills shine best. :) It is a bit overwhelming and uncomfortable for me. Particularly a setting where I am relatively new and the others have known each other. I am just not that outgoing. So when we left the campground I was feeling bad about myself, like I "should" be more social, be more fun, etc.  But instead of all this negative self-talk, my big realization was that it is okay. It is okay to not like big social groups. I am quite capable of socializing, carrying on small-talk, and making new friends. I can be fun to be around and have a good time. I just enjoy that more in smaller groups. And that is okay. At 36 1/2 years old (I have kids- that half is important!) I am still learning to understand and accept who I am. And I probably will be at 80 3/4 years old too.