Pinning + control

I keep on thinking, if I manage to realize that I’m thinking at all, I’m fine.

I don’t miss Joseph.

And it’s true.  In a way I don’t.  I have plenty to keep my mind occupied.  I’ve always been more of an independent sorta woman.

I didn’t used to “get” pinterest.  To me, it was all just pictures.  Trying to live life vicariously through others.  Like, my house is a mess, so I’ll pin 20 pictures of how to clean, rather than actually cleaning.  Or, I’m broke, but I can pin a dozen things that I’ll never actually buy nor ever actually afford.  Since I have terrible utilitarian tendencies, pinning just seemed like a waste of time, equivalent to chronic daydreaming or playing golf on a wii (why not just play real golf?).

I know this all sounds terribly pessimistic.

But I tell you this, because this week, I found myself, unable to sleep (despite exhaustion), pinning away.  In a sleeping house, I find myself at my computer.  Getting lost on other people’s boards.  Pinning & pinning, categorizing, rearranging & organizing my boards.  And for what?  I don’t have a house of my own.  Those beautiful kitchens, throw pillows, immaculate living rooms, spacious & bright gardens cannot be mine right now.

I’m living in limbo, without my husband.  Further, we are about to embark on a daunting debt-reduction plan, austerity measures the likes of which we’ve never before experienced.  It’s clear, for the foreseeable future, I won’t have any discretionary income with which to buy those pinned “wish list” items.

I realized, that my lack of control over the circumstances in my life is making me search for something, anything that I can dominate.  It’s simple, really.  I can’t control the fact that I’m currently in transition for the next 4 months.  I can’t control that my husband is not here.  I can’t control my environment because I don’t live in my own house.  But I can carefully, methodically create & organize the life I want to have, wish to have.

Yes, at it’s worst, pinterest can be an escape from really living, an imitation.  A fantasy of the life one may never have.

At it’s best though, pinterest, like any other social media tool, allows one to explore, discover, share, imagine, escape.  And for now, I really need that.

I have to go pin now.


Have you ever found yourself doing something, only to realize later that you were doing as a way to assert control in your life?
Do you pin?  What do you think of pinterest?


  1. Alaina
    on September 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm said:

    I’m sorry-it’s Joint Base Lewis- McChord, now. I guess I thought you were out there for some reason. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth
    on September 2, 2012 at 12:16 pm said:

    I’m currently in the middle of a bad break-up and when I can’t stand my tears anymore, I read or cross-stitch or sew because it distracts my mind from what could have been.

    Transition isn’t easy but from reading your posts you are handling it with grace and a sense of “can do”. I can only imagine that the example you are providing to your beautiful children will pay off in ways you would not have expected down the line.

    On debt reduction… it’s only “stuff” and we can take none of it with us when we go. We only want because every message we get everyday bombards us with the idea that we need. “Stuff” won’t fill us…love will and you appear to have that in abundance.

    With much encouragement… Elizabeth

    • Janae Wise
      on September 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm said:

      Elizabeth, I’m sorry to hear about your break up. Oh, those things are hard. It’s been awhile, but I remember the sting of a broken relationship with clarity, & do hope to never have relive those emotions. Tumultuous & heart breaking, I feel your pain.

      Thank you for the compliment. It’s true, I have a “can do” attitude, but as these matters go, I’m not sure if there is a “right” way to deal with complicated feelings & circumstances. I know there are things that aren’t productive, but in the end, figuring out how to productively/positively deal with frustration & loneliness is key. For now, my plate is full with love & laughter of children, I need to focus on that. And, it doesn’t hurt to be able to connect with others online via pinning, tweeting, etc. That said, as Sabrina pointed out, I can’t let it become a disproportionate chunk of my life.

      Regarding debt. I wholeheartedly agree with you that we can take none of it with us. I think it’s good to remember next time I’m coveting that cute jacket or shoes. Joseph & I had no debt prior to starting law school. The heavy debt we have is law school education related (not anything to do with cars, vacations, or shiny, expensive toys). Fortunately, with a lot of intense focus & the help of loan repayment programs through the military, we can be rid of debt in a few years, which is our intense desire & goal.

      Thank you for stopping by & taking the time to comment. I really wish the best for you, I think you’re just genius to pick up cross-stitching or sewing as a way to cope. What a lovely & productive way to channel your energy. ox

  3. Alaina
    on August 31, 2012 at 11:53 pm said:

    I definitely agree. I was pinning like crazy when I first got it, but now, I’ve trimmed down my food boards to things that I’ll actually make. I use it for meal planning or kids activities. I also like to look at the humor section every now and then for a good laugh- my husband is gone on deployment right now, so it is too easy to fill my alone time with pinterest, or just the internet in general. In fact, I should be in bed right now, but started blog stalking! thanks for the reminder and I hope you and I both can start sleeping again!!!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm said:

      Alaina, I need to give the humor section a try! I’m always open to finding reasons to laugh.

      I love the internet, & all the tools therein (+ so much of it is free!), but it’s a two-edged sword. Learning how to balance media (in whatever form) & life is something each individual needs to figure out if they want to have a happy, meaningful life. I don’t think I’ve figured out the perfect balance, but it’s something I strive for.

      (p.s. how long is your husband deployed? which branch?)

      • Alaina
        on September 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm said:

        He’s Army, and its our first deployment- supposed to be 9 months!

        • Janae Wise
          on September 5, 2012 at 12:05 am said:

          Oh good luck! How’s everything going so far? My husband’s only been gone a week, but feels like eternity. I suppose I’ll get used to it at some point.

          • Alaina
            on September 5, 2012 at 1:10 am said:

            I don’t know if we’re ever going to ‘get used to it.’ I mean, we just have to power through and find ways to cope with the extra burden, but that’s just our life 🙂 So far, it’s been…better than I expected at times. Mostly, it’s just rough. With three little boys who are very active- I’m glad we relocated to be near family, or I would be losing my mind right now! But we just celebrated my oldest’s 5th birthday, and Daddy was able to be near on Skype the whole party, so that was bittersweet. I can’t remember if I gave you a link to my blog, but I’m kind of sort of writing about experiences that we have had or will have, good or bad: I wrote about our final goodbye, and just things here and there:)

            How long is your hubby gone for? He just joined, right? As a Jag lawyer? We are hoping to get orders back out to Ft. Lewis this winter, and be back by next summer… So far, it was our favorite place! Hope you enjoy it there, too:)

            • Janae Wise
              on September 5, 2012 at 9:26 am said:

              He’ll be gone till just before Christmas. Air Force JAG. Where’s Ft. Lewis?

  4. Sabrina
    on August 31, 2012 at 10:33 pm said:

    Haha, I was just on Pinterest before I came here. I initially resisted Pinterest because I am not very crafty and I rarely finish projects, so I thought it would be such a waste of time. However, I do like to cook and gather recipes, and I decided it was a good place to store all the recipes I find online that I want to keep bookmarked. When I first joined a spent a lot more time pinning things and trying things I had pinned. Now, I do it on occasion and only for a few minutes here and there. I think it’s a great way to keep all those good ideas floating around the Internet organized, but I kind of have an unofficial rule for myself that if I am pinning far more things than I am ever going to ever try to make or implement in my life then it’s time to be done. So far so good.

    Anyway, as far as using it as a way to control something in your uncertain world, that makes perfect sense. There is no harm done in dreaming every once in a while, especially when the current state of life isn’t the ideal. Dream and pin away. Just don’t let it consume your life. I doubt you will. You strike me as a person who strives for balance whenever you can. Best of luck!

    • Janae Wise
      on September 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm said:

      but I kind of have an unofficial rule for myself that if I am pinning far more things than I am ever going to ever try to make or implement in my life then it’s time to be done.
      What a great rule of thumb, I think this would be a great principle that would work for many people. Thanks for sharing Sabrina!

  5. Jess
    on August 31, 2012 at 7:14 pm said:

    I *loved* Pinterest. But it became an addiction. Like Facebook used to be for me, it was so involving that instead of being something fun to do at naptime or after kids were in bed, I was pinning all day long! Last December I “took a break” from Facebook, and I never looked back. I felt so good cutting that cord. Then I slowly fell in love with Pinterest, going through the same thoughts as you did, at first not getting it, never using it, then using it as an idea board, which I love, but it started to get to my head. I would waste hours, literally, they would go down the drain without a blink of an eye, and I knew I needed to control myself. I could try setting timers or something, but for me, it was easier to just delete my account and be done with it.

    Maybe it was a control thing… maybe it made me feel good. I don’t really know why I was using it so much, but I feel better now that I’m off. I am trying to get myself to live authentically, and live REAL life, and if I can’t strike a balance in using Pinterest, then I’m better off without it.

    I’m glad that you seem to be finding a source of healing, almost, from it!

  6. Dana
    on August 31, 2012 at 7:03 pm said:

    Too busy with the little wild men to write much (and I only have 2!!), but know that your #1 fan in WV is thinking of you and sending up prayers for you during this challenging time of transition. One hour at a time. : )

    • Janae Wise
      on August 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm said:

      Dana, thank you. I so appreciate your friendship, even though we’ve never actually met, your kind words mean so much. ox

  7. Marsha
    on August 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm said:

    Hi Janae,

    I wanted to share with you what I do when I feel at odds with myself and my current status. When I have felt out of control over my life (and there have been a few times over the years) I make lists. I need the visual and I need to organize things. The first list I make is to order from the most on down all the successful things in my life. In my case it was my marriage, children, house, career, etc… This lists helps me to realize all the things I have to be thankful for. It also is like instant gratification for me, so I can see that I have come a long way since becoming an adult. The next list I make is the most outrageous things I want to have/accomplish over the rest of my life. Then I order that from most on down. The next series of lists I make is what I feel I can realistically accomplish in the next 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years…up to 10 years. These lists help me to gain control over my life. It gives me little goals to shoot for. (Like when you were a kid and saved your allowance for little things like candy, or a new toy, or later on an outfit, vacation…etc…). All these lists put my life in perspective and I feel less overwhelmed. When I able to unload all my innermost frustrations/dreams, I am able to sleep like a baby. Remember Janae, keep your thoughts positive….although a good cry helps too!

    Prayers for you….Marsha

    • Janae Wise
      on August 31, 2012 at 5:03 pm said:

      Marsha, wow, you are so sweet. I think you really gave some sage advice. It’s about gratitude, isn’t it? I know I can do better in this arena, & I love your suggestion to make lists & goals, which will help me not feel so overwhelmed. Thank you for making my day. ox

  8. jes
    on August 31, 2012 at 2:41 pm said:

    i saw an awful lot of janae pins popping up the last couple of days. i was going to email and ask if you were okay. just didn’t seem like you. i’m not sure what to say except that i pretty much sorta know what you’re going through so call anytime. except for the middle of the night. because i’ve dropped dead of exhaustion. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on August 31, 2012 at 3:30 pm said:

      Jes, thank you. I guess there are worse ways to cope with the situation. It’s going to take some getting used to, this new life that we are embarking on.

  9. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
    on August 31, 2012 at 1:57 pm said:

    i love pinterest. i definitely can spend waaay too much time on there! i’m sorry you’re having trouble sleeping:( will it be long before he returns?

    • Janae Wise
      on August 31, 2012 at 3:33 pm said:

      I know, pinterest can suck you in, can’t it? Joseph will be gone until just before Christmas.

  10. Lindsay
    on August 31, 2012 at 1:13 pm said:

    I agree with everything you said here Janae. I’ve only pinned about three things but I understand the appeal to daydream and share good ideas. My husband goes out of town a lot, and I stay up way too late in my own world of surfing the internet, reading blogs, watching a little tv, sometimes organizing something. But mostly just escaping the day and what I should be doing (cleaning or sleeping!).

    We, too have been paying off student loans as fast as we can, and it doesn’t leave enough for too many extras. But your house was beautiful before, and you’ll get there again!

    • Janae Wise
      on August 31, 2012 at 3:36 pm said:

      Thank you Lindsay. As moms we do need to have things to do to unwind at the end of the day. When Joseph is around I unwind by being with him, but that’s no longer an option so I guess it’s pinterest, movies, books 🙂 Or if I was smart, sleep!