The Little Things

I was just sitting here looking at my to do list and thinking, what do I do that really matters. What in this to do list really makes a difference. Having just started my blog back up this morning, I was thinking about how I could sum up the last two years and where have I really gone, what have I done, and how have I changed.

There were job changes – I went from working as a writer from home, to working at Gabe’s, to finding a job that I really love working with troubled kids. There was the move – we moved from a house that we shared with my daughter to an apartment. It’s a great apartment and room enough for us at a rent we can afford. My husband got a good paying job that is making it possible to get ahead. We have started making headway in the way of getting our life “on track” to where we want to be. All big things.

But day to day, it seems the same – laundry, dishes, cleaning, making beds. It seems like all I do, every day, is the same things that don’t make a difference in the world. Even the job I love, that I went into thinking I was making a difference, seems to be not making a huge difference.

Now, I realize that not everything I do has to make a radical difference to the world. I don’t have to save the world EVERY day. But looking back over the last two years, do I see a difference? Did I make changes that really changed things? Did I lose weight? Did I quit smoking? Did I reach ANY of the goals I had set? Well, maybe a little. But I was prepared to be disappointed by the fact that many of these goals are not reached after two years. Many things have not changed. Much of it is still the same grind of going to work. cooking meals, and sleeping.

Then, I read an amazing article. It reminded me that it’s not always the big things that matter. Sometimes it’s the little things, the things that we don’t think make a difference. It’s A Mom That Shows Up that is important. It’s the time spent doing homework with my son. It’s the video chats with my other son. It’s the daily texts with my daughter about nothing important. It’s the singing of our nightly song. It’s the hugs before school. It’s taking the time to fold and sort laundry so they have clean clothes. It’s all the little things that make a difference.

When someone walks into my apartment and says “something smells good” or tells me they love my knick knacks that I’ve collected over the years. Nothing big. Nothing world changing. But it’s the important things. When you see a brightly colored quilt, you often see the pretty pattern on it, but never notice the warm, plain fabric it’s sewn onto. You don’t see the filler that makes it so strong and comfortable. It’s not pretty, it’s not noticed, you never see it. But without it, it wouldn’t be a quilt. Without the nitty gritty of day to day life, what would your life really be? Just a series of events with nothing to hold them together.

So, instead of looking at my to do list today and sighing that there is so much to do, I’m going to try and look at each item and see how important it is to my family and my life. Because honestly, mopping the floor doesn’t thrill me all that much and will probably go without notice. But I’ll know that my family will have a clean, happy home. And that’s what’s important.

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Ch – Ch- Ch – Changes

For those of you who have followed my blog at all – you know that my life can be chaotic and insane. For those of you who are seeing my blog for the first time – my life is chaotic and insane. Ha ha. I started this blog months ago knowing that I wanted to make changes in my life. I wanted to take control. I wanted to accomplish so many things in the past year. My goal page was an ambitious one. There were a lot of big and little changes. And I have blogged about everything here from my failures, my successes, and my challenges, to my thoughts and feelings. It’s been an up and down roller coaster ride this year. I have faced such things as sleep deprivation, illness, unexpected large bills, insane schedules, and failure. But also this year so far I have seen new friendships form, unexpected gifts, great insight, opportunities open up, and growth.

Sometimes I look at all the things on my plate and think “I can do this” and other times I look at everything and simply want to go curl up in bed in the fetal position and wake up in my next life. I have shared with friends what my days are like and many of them shake their heads and tell me I am amazing. But then all I have to do is talk to my mother and she tells me to just suck it up and get on with it – that is life. I think it falls somewhere in the middle. There are those who don’t face the challenges I am facing, but there are also those out there having a much rougher time than I am. Which I guess is the way it always is in life.

Right now, I am at the turning point, ending point, beginning point of many things. Some major things are coming to an end, some big things are starting, and some changes are happening. The wheel is turning and I am trying to turn with it. Some of the things I am facing right now is the possibility that the apartments we live in may be condemned, we are trying to find a new place to live, I will be changing from night shift to day shift which may or may not involve changing jobs, I am bringing to a close a court case where I was being sued for a large amount of money. I am helping my two sons adjust to the school year with one in his first year of high school, and the other adjusting to second grade. Which may not seem like a big deal, but when dealing with a special needs child – it is. We are fighting an epic battle of the fleas at our apartment which is consuming a lot of time and money. When it all falls on me to deal with all the money, all the banking, all the budgeting, all the appointments, all the shopping, all the driving, all the scheduling, all the organization, all the homework, and a variety of other things I can’t remember right now – it all sounds a little insane. But that being said – part of me looks at it like my mom does and thinks – this is just life so suck it up and do it.

Change is hard – change can be scary. I am one who likes to stay in their comfort zone. The thought of moving, changing jobs, changing my schedule – all that is scary to me. I spend a lot of time playing the “what if” game. What if we can’t get into the new apartment? What if I can’t find a new job? What if I don’t like my new job? What if I can’t deal with all the people after spending 6 years working alone? What if purple dinosaurs in pink tutus fall from the sky? I’m good at that game. I have a real talent for coming up with what ifs. And soooo much of it is beyond my control. I think that’s the scariest part of it – the things that are beyond my control. So I combat that with calendars, and spreadsheets, and planners, and timelines, and a variety of other controlling mechanisms. But when it all comes down to it – what is going to happen will happen and I just have to happen with it. I have found that over the year so far, I have gotten much better at laughing at it. I have gotten much better at accepting things. I am learning (finally) that everything isn’t the end of the world. I am learning to recognize when I am edging towards that maniacal stress level and back off. Now, I doubt I will ever be that serene ship sailing gently through raging storms. But maybe I won’t be that little cork being thrown around in a hurricane either. Maybe not quite Martha Stewart, but hopefully better than Rosanne. I may not have all the answers, I may not always get it right, but I will sometimes. And sometimes, you just have to accept that.

Goal Progress – Ignore it – It will go away

I always loved little kids when they cover their eyes and believe that since they can’t see you, that you can’t see them. Cover your eyes and you become invisible. I built an entire philosophy of life on this belief. Close my eyes and ignore it and it will go away. It works wonders for all kinds of things. Bills, medical problems, people, stress, all go away if you ignore them long enough. Right? See, here is my standard of operation when confronted with something that I don’t have an answer to – go to bed. If it’s still there when I wake up – ignore it. If it calls my phone – don’t answer. If it sends me a letter in the mail, put it in a pile and ignore it. If it hurts, ignore it. If it doesn’t kill me – it will go away. Easy peasey. Okay, so maybe it isn’t the best solution to life, but I have done it so long, avoided so much, that it is hard to turn around and face the music. There have been various times in my life where I have put my foot down. I have determined that it was time to get my duckies in a row. I have gotten myself back on track. I have dealt with all that needs dealt with. But somehow, I keep returning to this policy of ignore it and it will go away. Now, granted, it’s not always things that I can do something about. But even the thought of opening all the cans of worms can be terrifying. Now, maybe I’m the only one who is afraid to deal with things. Maybe everyone else doesn’t quake at the thought of dealing with bill collectors, or doctors, or bosses. But me, I just cover my eyes and turn invisible. Let me give you some examples. My health. There have been very few time in my life when I actually had health insurance. I’ve not had jobs that offered it, or I couldn’t afford it, or whatever. But, my idea is – if you are not dead, it will go away. There have been a few times when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, and ended up in the ER. But, everything else just got better. Or fell apart and I learned to live with it. I only consider it serious enough to be dealt with if it is bad enough to go to the hospital for. Bills are another biggie that I have a hard time dealing with. I know there isn’t enough money to pay them all, so don’t look at the bank account, don’t answer the phone when they call, don’t open the bills they mail me. Why? So I can know just how broke I am? So I can tell them I have no money to give them? Now, granted, some of them do things like cut off our power, our gas, or try to repossess our car. So, yeah, those you put off to the very last minute and then scramble desperately to stop that from happening. Now, don’t get me wrong – we do pay our bills monthly. It’s not like I completely ignore reality. But, when you fall behind and there is no money to catch up, you start robbing Peter to pay Paul and determine who you are going to ignore this month. I know, I know, I know, it is better if you call them and tell them that you can’t pay them this month and make arrangements to make up what you owe next month or whatever. But that would seriously break my rule of ignoring them. Right now I am struggling to get all my student loans into deferment. My husband’s old loans, which we ignored, finally garnished his wages. But, I am trying to keep that from happening to mine. But it’s a nightmare So, I’m trying hard not to crawl into my safe, little shell and ignore it. It’s not going to go away. I know it’s not going to go away. None of it is. I know that in order to get my duckies in a row, I’m going to have to deal with all of them. All of it – life, health, bills, everything. Sigh, I miss my shell. It’s so much easier to ignore it. All I can do is deal with things one at a time. I am not the first person to ever struggle. I am not the only person to ever fall behind. But just as I have taken steps to stand up for myself and learn to say no – I also have to learn how to stand up and be proactive in life – not just ignore it until it goes away.