Saturday, August 31, 2013

Getting Focussed

I am on the cusp of a big breakthrough.  Do you ever feel like that?  Like you are cresting the hill and you feel at odds, or anxious or jumpy and you don't know why?

That's me.  Today.  This has been one really incredible week.  Really good work week, really good family week.  I even took a day off to celebrate the wonderfulness of the week.  Then this morning... I woke up and was just a little off.  No reason, nothing really going on...  Just a little off my game.

As the day has worn on, I feel at times agitated and anxious.  I'm having a hard time sitting still.  I even tried to watch one of my favorite movies, but no go.

It's easy to think this is worry or stress and focus on something not great and convince myself that is what is going on.  But, I know it isn't.  Don't ask me how I know, because I won't be able to explain it, just the voice inside my heart that says "All is Well".

Since I trust that voice above all others, I know that what is up is something good and wonderful and life changing. I don't want to resist the momentum that is flowing within me and so trying to squelch these feelings is out of the question.  What I will do, is focus my energy. Hence, this blog entry. Writing is a wonderful focusing tool.

Now that we are becoming empty nesters, it's time to re-evaluate my goals, I think.  There is a big change that happens when your kids transition to adult hood, that not one single person ever mentioned to me, ever. Really, no one, ever. Oh sure, I've heard the term empty nester and some comical stories of things people tried or what they turned their spare bedrooms into.  But, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the fact that for 18 or 20 years you've always made decisions holding your children and their needs on a separate plain from you. From the moment they were born, they've taken priority and occupied a large portion of your thoughts 24/7.

For lots of lots of years, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary on bleachers because May is prime baseball time. In the entire 25 years we've been married we only went on one vacation by ourselves. I was so traumatized by the end of the week I couldn't do it again. Even during the teenage years, when those rotten stinkers drove me to the edge of madness.

So, this is a big, hairy deal. I really am not equipped to be a SMother.  I've never been a smother-er and I'm not about to start now.

Here is what is hard... Not considering the kids in every single decision. I've been a mom for nearly 24 years. That's a lot of habit to break.

I have a lot of extra time. Time I used to spend cooking or cleaning or picking up or watching an event or driving to said event. It's disconcerting a little.

What I will say, is this: I enjoy my husband and I enjoy the extra time we have together. There were times when our kids were young that I felt lonely for him, with all the activities, responsibilities, exhaustion... So this is a welcome change.

I'm having a hard time not buying extra groceries. What is that? Anyone?

Anyone else with kids... Let me say this to you, when you feel frustrated or overwrought or stretched thin, the part of your life that feels like that is gone in a twinkling. There will come a time when you have peace and quiet and five minutes to yourself and you will want to remember those stretched thin days with humor and with love.

Thank you dear blog. Thank you. I feel relaxed for the first time today.

I'm big into lists. I think lists are another way to help you focus. We make goal lists in our house. Well, we also make to do lists and shopping lists, but the kind of lists I'm talking about here, are what I call the Big Three. They provide a way of prioritizing and more importantly, they give you a visual cue to what is really and truly important to you. The Big Three are things we want to accomplish - short term or long term.  And the number is less important than the list, though I do think one is too few and 7 is too many.  If a thing hits your list, but never gets done, chances are it isn't all that important to you. Sometimes a thing hits your list and it just takes a while to come to life, but it might also not be a thing you really, really want.

I spent some time today thinking about ways to focus, which led me to thinking about the list. Mine is pretty old and there are some things on there that I don't think I really, really want. So this week, I'm going to make a new Big Three.

Would you like to join me? Here is my suggestion: Give yourself some time to think about it. Don't rush and don't feel pressured. This is your list and whatever you put on it is fine. It's not a Miss America list - there's no need to put world peace on it. Only put things on the list that make you feel good. If the item makes you feel guilty or sad, DON'T include it. Only things that make you smile or feel happy anticipation. It genuinely doesn't matter what you choose.

It might even be helpful to make a long list the first time out. Write down everything that pops into your head. Once you've exhausted all the ideas, start crossing some things off. Whittle down the list until you get somewhere between 3 and 7 items that you really, really want and that you feel good thinking about. Write a new list and make at least one copy of it. Put the first copy somewhere that you look every morning - the inside of the medicine cabinet, next to the coffee, in your unnie drawer.  Put the 2nd copy in your car.

The idea is to look at the list every day, as a reminder of the things that you are working toward.  I keep my car one in the visor and I can pull it out and look at while waiting for a red light. Again, it's important that you feel good or excited or happy or hopeful about the items on the list. If you find yourself not feeling good about an item, it's time for a new list.  Get that downer off of there!

If you decide to make a list this week, I'd be excited to hear what's on yours.

Dang, this is a long post. Thanks for hanging in!

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Thank you for sharing your kind thoughts!