Sunday, May 15, 2011

Yardwork Leads to Moment of Clarity

I was in the yard yesterday afternoon helping my husband rake the last of the leaves - yes, we're still working on that - when it occurred to me that I have intentionally filled my life with distractions. Every time I look at my yard, I see it's potential. I even spent some time, drawing up a plan for how to turn our 1.5 acres into a beautifully landscaped oasis. Those plans were drawn up around 2005. I have yet to act on them. It dawned on me that I need to spend more time working on things that will make me happy and lead to accomplishing my goals.

I was listening to an audio recording by Elizabeth Jeffries and she said that many of us get into trouble when we start acting on "should" instead of "want". I do spend a lot of time doing things I think I should instead of what I want. Thinking of life solely in terms of what you want and what will make you happy is an entitled and selfish way to approach life. But, I realize now that there needs to be a balance between what I should do and what I want to do.

I came up with a list of what will and/or what does make me happy:

  1. Getting the outside of my home as beautiful as the inside.
  2. Having time for a social life.
  3. Embracing the people who have tried to befriend me and stop treating them with unexpressed suspicion.
  4. Having time for a social life and spending more time with people that aren't related to me.
  5. Truly forgiving my mother for being such a bad mom. I've stopped blaming myself but I still have so much resentment.
  6. Accepting that my family will always be dysfunctional.
  7. Ensuring that the family I've created is as un-dysfunctional as possible.
  8. Accepting that I will not change my husband's family and I have to learn how to deal with them in a way that won't harm my relationship with my husband.
  9. Actively working on  and accomplishing our financial goals.
  10. Finding a career I like that offers me the flexibility and autonomy I need - preferably with my current employer.
  11. Purging the clutter from my house and my mind.
Here are the things I think keep me from staying focused on what will me make me happy.

  1. I really am not a people person and I just feel safer at home and when I keep to myself. Putting myself out there is hard and uncomfortable. To compound things, I tend to attract the crazies which make me even more reticent.
  2. I get discouraged too easily. The distractions that I have picked up over the years reliably occur when things are not going well in certain areas of my life. I'm not comfortable with failing. I guess nobody is, but I need to come up with a better way of dealing with it.
  3. I waste a lot of time at work surfing the net. As much as I hate my job, I'll never get anywhere if I don't focus my energy on productive things that will help me achieve my career goals.
  4. I take on too much. I intended to tackle landscaping the yard myself. We have a large yard and it's a big task but in my mind, it's doable.
  5. I tend to avoid things when I feel overwhelmed. The thought of tackling the entire yard, overwhelmed me. It was easier just to ignore it and grit my teeth every time I pulled into the driveway because I hate the way the front of our house looks.
Looking over the list, I think 2, 3, 4, and 5 are related. I didn't think I was but I am an avoider. Although I'm throwing myself into something else, I'm doing it to avoid other more important issues. How can one be an avoider and a doer at the same time? Hmmm.

 Anyway, I am now resolved to focus on tackling the issues I've been avoiding. We've made the difficult decision to move back to our house in Covington since we can't seem to unload either house. We'll rent the house in Columbus. Although, I don't like the idea of the long commute, I know that being back in our true home will make us happier. Despite the drawbacks, we're pushing forward. My employer is willing to work with me so I don't have to drive to work every day. I'll also be able to tackle my yard once we're back in Covington full time. I'm going to start by hiring a landscaper to carve out the beds in the front yard. Now, I just need to stop avoiding the things that need to be done to make the move happen.

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