break the rulesSome rules you just have to follow – like wearing your seat belt. It protects everyone. Some rules are guidelines for being a good person – like the Golden Rule. Some rules we impose on ourselves and sometimes those need to be broken.

I have always been a rule follower. Fear of getting caught and fear of doing the wrong thing have been guide posts for me. I never skipped school or stayed out past my curfew when I was young. (There definitely were some rules I broke but my mom and my kids read this blog so we will just keep it at that). But in general, I follow the rules. I don’t cut in line or pay bills late or keep food past the expiration date. I turn off my cell phone when instructed and wear my sunscreen. I drink my 8 glasses of water a day and exercise religiously.

And then there are the rules and expectations that I have imposed on myself. Those are the ones I feel like breaking. My whole life I did things in order – high school, college, job, graduate school, marriage, house, baby…. Part good fortune for sure, but also good planning. I had an idea of how things should progress in my life and I stuck to the plan. And then the plan blew up – my husband got sick and died.

As a widow and a single mom I made a new plan for myself or at least I tried to. It involved hard work, endless parenting, managing things on my own, and bracing myself for things to stay hard. I started to fix up things in the house in case I needed to move. I threw myself into a tender work experience (the company where my husband worked) so I could get health insurance. My plan was – survive. My plan was – launch these kids. My plan was – steel yourself. Then maybe there would be a chance to grieve on my own or maybe a chance to do something creative. But that could and would only happen when I had followed all the rules and met my own expectations. I am blowing up that plan.

The truth is anytime I stepped away from convention and colored outside the lines I never regretted my choice. I did not marry the boy next door. I married my beautiful foreigner who didn’t have a green card (and didn’t get one by marrying me either, BTW) and came from a different culture and religion. I can’t imagine my life without the lessons I learned from marrying someone from the other side of the world. So maybe I know how to break some rules already.

Late this winter I treated myself to a more comfortable car. I was miserable in the seat of my old car. I would want to tear my own leg off I was so uncomfortable. I wrote in a recent blog about my dance with anger and my new found love of swearing. So hell yes, I said what the **!! and bought a car that I didn’t have to feel miserable in. I decided I didn’t have to suffer through it because I don’t really need a new car. I have not regretted it once.

New rule: I don’t have to be in pain.

My sister is the one that pointed out to me that my life plan imploded so why try to stick to a new one?

One of my boys said recently when your life is sh*t and you see a flower, go stand next to the flower. Great rule.

I swore I would never get another pet and a brand new baby kitten is moving in. I spontaneously left work early one day last week to get out for a walk in the sun. I put whipping cream in my coffee this morning and sat on my deck all evening instead of exercising. I shared a Hunka Chunka Fudge ice cream sundae for dinner one night in a Friendly’s parking lot – not a good plan – a great one!

Who knows what I might do next?

I wonder what rules you have created for yourself? I wonder what rules you might break?


Good advice!



7 thoughts on “BREAK THE RULES

  1. This makes me think of Mary Oliver’s poem “Wild Geese,” which I’ve been quoting to myself and others a lot this year. Maybe you know it? If not, here’s a quote and a link:

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.

    Thanks–Alison (friend of Vicky)


  2. Thank you Caroline…..keeping my eye’s wide open for ‘the flowers’ ! You have inspired me to plant a few more seeds. Imagining what might bloom next. xxxoooxoxoxox

    Liked by 1 person

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