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Why Follow the Rules?

Old 10-29-2004, 01:20 PM
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Why Follow the Rules?

I have always followed the rules - my whole life.

I stop at yellow lights, I slow down in school zones. I put my children's needs before my own. My house is always clean. Dinner is always on the table. I'm kind to people - even when they aren't kind to me. I send birthday cards, I say please and thank you. I studied hard and got good grades. I never lusted after another man during my marriage, let alone consider an affair. I never go to the express lane with more than 10 items. I committed the SR rules to memory before my first post. I don't wear white after Labor Day. I report everything on my tax return. I always stop after two glasses of wine. I spell check, I balance my checkbook.

It seems to me that following the rules has gotten me nowhere. I've followed every rule in every book. I'm now 44 years old and alone with kids almost grown. Half of the money I've saved for college and retirement is not mine anymore. I've gone from having plenty of money to obsessing about paying the bills.

I'm not sorry that I left my husband. I can't imagine going back to that. I just don't understand why my life has turned out like this. I'm a good person. I work hard at being a good person. How is this my reward?
Sorry - just feeling sorry for myself today. :-)
L
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:32 PM
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Lorelai,

Following the rules has given you a way to help your kids through college and you to retirement. Saved a few staggling elementary schoolers from becoming the "top story" on the evening news. Kept food on your table. Kept the express line moving. Helped to fund some Smart Start programs. Kept another mother from having to join the local chapter of MADD. Kept you from working 40+ hours a week at some dead-end, minimum wage job. And saved us from the Dog awful bad grammar moment.

I'd say that the world could use a whole lot more folks like you.

Peace,
Petunia
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:33 PM
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Lorelai: I've told you before and I'll tell you again, I so relate to your posts! It's almost scary!
There was a time I felt like you. I felt as though I had always done the right thing so why was everyone treating me badly and when I had done everything right, why was everything just falling apart around me concerning my life?
It was depressing as well as frustrating.
I always tried to do "the right thing". Most of that was what I thought everyone else expected of me. But what about what was truly right for me?
It took really evaluating my life and what I wanted for me to figure out that doing the right thing per expectations versus doing the right thing for me were two very different things.
I still occassionally have feelings and fears, etc. concerning what I am doing - goodness knows I am the queen of second-guessing myself. But in all honesty, my life has gotten so much better since I've really started doing what makes ME happy instead of what others feel is the right thing or what I had always deemed as what was expected from me.
Ya know, is it really gonna hurt anyone if you wear white after labor day? NO!
Is is really going to make the world stop spinnning if just once, you don't use spell check? NO!
This is your life, and you get to choose how you want it. And this means that you get to do what YOU feel is right. You just have to remember that your own expectations of yourself are what matter - and to choose your battles wisely.

You've been a huge strength for me these past couple of months. I wish that you could see that you have so much value! I wish you'd apply to yourself what you give to so many others.

Please hang in there. I know it's rough and I know that it downright sucks sometimes, but I know that you can do this. And I know that you deserve to be happy!
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Old 10-29-2004, 01:45 PM
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lorelai - makes you believe the old phrase, "good guys finish last" sometimes doesn't it?

think of if we all decided that we really didn't need to follow rules how much more chaotic our already chaotic lives will/would have been!

You done good girl!
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Old 10-29-2004, 02:34 PM
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OK. Petunia made me laugh, cwohio made me smile and Standing gave me a well deserved kick in the butt. I knew you guys would come through.

My H is out partying and spending his paycheck on who knows what. I'm trying to pay for driver's ed and yearbooks and Sr. pictures because that's the right thing to do. Men are asking me out and I am saying "no thanks" because, according to my stupid rule book, that's the right thing to do.

Sometimes I just get sick of doing the right thing all the time.
Temporary pity party over - I'm going to get back on track.
Thanks -
L
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Old 10-29-2004, 02:51 PM
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Well Lorelai-

You could accept a date every now and then how is that against the rules or are you still married?
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Old 10-29-2004, 03:03 PM
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And even if you do say no thanks....it's got to feel a little nice to be asked.
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Old 10-29-2004, 03:46 PM
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I don't even know what to say to you. I have never admitted what you just said. I have felt it though every day of my adult life. I am exactly like you and yet my husband still "ventures" out. I am raising the child going to school part time, working full time, bringing in the income (only income) and keeping a good life style. treasurer of the pta, volunteer of the year with the local senior center, and all of that. I think we just have to be happy with ourselves and know that our rewards will be great.......at another time. keep your chin up. you are loved.
nita
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Old 10-29-2004, 04:59 PM
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I go along with another time, maybe things will be more fair... for now I take it one day at a time, or a second at a time and I look for any bargain, I can find. AND Definetly not in any man. I don't know how old you are, but I read on the net someplace... "That if you are about 50 , forget about finding a decent man..." I'm (past menopause, going into pause- o-men) I'm still with my AB but if that day would come where someone ask me for a date I think my answer would be "I'm reformed gay" As for AB, he has quit drinking (or cut down drastically), no money, also his health is getting bad...
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Old 10-29-2004, 08:40 PM
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Do you think your orderliness has enabled you to make the decisions you did regarding the A and keeping the kids? I do. You know what you want and do it.

I am a disorganized piece. ADD. Discovered that a couple of years ago. I always wondered why I was a ditz. Now I know. I envy your ability to balance a check book. I've been shown by at least a dozen people and still can't do it. I run yellow lights because my father in law told me that red meant stop, green meant go and yellow meant run like hell.

I wonder if there will ever be a time I can take care of just myself and no one else. Including my alcoholic husband and son. I get tired of cooking everyday. I can't lay claim to being a clean freak, but it would pass. I don't want to clean, cook or even be a wife at times.

So, this makes me disorganized and disorderly. In the early days of my husbands drinking, he continually compared me to his mother and his sister who were obcesed with cleaning. I had to oil the furniture at Christmas because that's what his mom used to do. I made fruitcakes which I despised doing. I got to the point I just stop cleaning and told him if it bothered him he could do it. He keeps his mouth shut now.

I don't follow the rules most of the time because I just don't give a damn most of the time. And we're both in the same boat wondering when's it going to get better.

I get some satisfaction out of the thought that one day, I will find the pot at the end of the rainbow. Not today or tomorrow, but one day.

Kathy
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Old 10-29-2004, 11:05 PM
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Ok all you guys have made me smile tonight . I feel like I am a mixture of all of thee above ....lol . Part Gefling and part loreali soo there you have it. Still laughing I know I will get a reward for my good deeds one day so I am not going to worry I am just going to do for me and my kids. Thats what is important to me at this point. Thanks again for the smile.
Rose
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Old 10-30-2004, 10:38 AM
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(((Lorelai))) You're allowed to get on the pity potty every once in awhile. Don't beat yourself up over it. The world (and the people on this board) needs people like you.

Have you every read the Grrrr column in www.foxnews.com that comes out every Tuesday? He has words for people who don't follow the rules. An Oblivion is a person that is just totally oblivious and doesn't follow the rules. That's the person that cuts in line at the speedy checkout counter with 20 items. An Obliviot is an oblivious idiot. Many of us are married to one.

You're neither and we love you.
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Old 10-30-2004, 12:00 PM
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Perfection, Oh My!

Originally Posted by Lorelai
I have always followed the rules - my whole life.

I stop at yellow lights, I slow down in school zones. I put my children's needs before my own. My house is always clean. Dinner is always on the table. I'm kind to people - even when they aren't kind to me. I send birthday cards, I say please and thank you. I studied hard and got good grades. I never lusted after another man during my marriage, let alone consider an affair. I never go to the express lane with more than 10 items. I committed the SR rules to memory before my first post. I don't wear white after Labor Day. I report everything on my tax return. I always stop after two glasses of wine. I spell check, I balance my checkbook.

It seems to me that following the rules has gotten me nowhere. I've followed every rule in every book. I'm now 44 years old and alone with kids almost grown. Half of the money I've saved for college and retirement is not mine anymore. I've gone from having plenty of money to obsessing about paying the bills.

I'm not sorry that I left my husband. I can't imagine going back to that. I just don't understand why my life has turned out like this. I'm a good person. I work hard at being a good person. How is this my reward?
Sorry - just feeling sorry for myself today. :-)
L
I'm 44 too and used to be just like you. I still follow the rules but obsessive
behavior needs recovery, it is an act of trying to be in control of EVERYTHING! It doesn't work! You need to breath, BREATH, BREATH! When
everything isn't done just perfect, learn to say "OH, WELL".
Passion
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Old 10-31-2004, 05:34 AM
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Love all your posts - how true.

I am a rule follower as well, but I have a theory about it. I don't think I follow the rules in order to get fair treatment from the universe. I think that I do it because it is the way I like to see myself. Being a good person is part of the image I need to put out to enjoy my life.
And, I generally get a better response than I would otherwise.

Today I'm thinking of not being such a nice girl and actually getting as mad at my binge drinking husband as I want. But my ego is so strong, I don't think I can even get mad. This is where being a rule-follower is not always the smart thing, huh?
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Old 10-31-2004, 08:11 AM
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After reading all of your posts and giving this some thought, I had an idea.

Maybe I'm not so tired of following rules - maybe I'm just tired of following everyone else's rules.

Maybe if I sit down and think about it and make my own set of rules that make sense for me, I won't resent following them.

Maybe I should write my own rule book. I'm unique - different from everyone else. I'm the one who knows what I should and shouldn't do. Maybe if I don't follow a rule and someone else doesn't like it - who cares?
I'm still thinking about this but all of you have given me valuable food for thought. Thanks so much.
L
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Old 10-31-2004, 04:59 PM
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I love that idea! Feel free to share them. Learning to trust yourself is huge!
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Old 10-31-2004, 10:22 PM
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I get from this sometimes, that it's not what rule you follow, but that you have followed some, and that you (and sometimes I think I am.... a good person...)and then to get this kind of life. Just doesn't seem fair. Getting off the subject a little... It's like sometimes I would like to just take a hold of someone like Dr Phil, or Oprah (when they are telling us all watching their show on taking control of your finances... & they are saying, Well You just have to live within your means....) Well I would like to tell them, just You try to live within the means, on the budget We Have... But then, I get to thinking, my Budget was just fine, previous to this Last relationship... Oh Well

Then Passion your reply reminds me of my sister one time. Her husband was following her around, telling her (actually yelling) about how much he was doing around the house... he was the only one that was doing so much, blah, blah.... While she was getting ready to go with brother and myself, to go to the movies. She just continued getting ready, calmly, then while getting in the car. She said "Carl, You'll get over it" and shut the car door and we left.

I read where only about 10 percent of people balance their checkbook. I'm included in the group that doesn't. At one time, at another bank, I could. Now I keep a watch online and when a check clears, I highlight it with yellow marker on my checkbook register. Then what ever is left is what I gauge to use. I learned this from AB, so I guess from each of my relationships, I have learned some stuff, that comes in handy sometimes
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