Thursday, January 29, 2015

January is Almost Gone

Once upon a long time ago, I tried to keep a few simple New Year's Resolutions and I wrote them down. Then when I found my lists a decade later I realized the goals were always the same, and never successful.  Then I found an interesting article in one of my Mom's Good Housekeeping magazines while I was visiting back home in Wyoming.  The article said we were not unhappy because of the big issues in our life but because we ignored the little issues, and that ignoring those things took more energy than dealing with them.  It challenged us to find 100 annoyances that we just tolerated and list them.  It was easy that year, I went through my home, mentally and listed things like the pile where the mail accumulated, the broken light switch, the way the coffee pot timer didn't work, and then mentally moved to the cat, the stuck latch on my old red van, the cracked windshield, tun to the yard, and to my relationships.  Listing the 100 tiny details made me see that the cumulative effect was huge.
Angel and I just before she moved away
So over the year, we dealt with a lot of the issues, tore out old carpet, broke up and hauled away a dysfunctional hot tub, moved and cleaned in small steps and come net New Years, it was fun to put a star by each issue, some a decade old, that was no longer an issue.  That year I couldn't even think of 100 things but the new list had 60, and some were carry overs but that was OK.
The wood shed gets emptier 
Now, I still have the same goals I had then, be healthier, be less in debt, spend more time with family.  But I am so much happier and healthier mentally and even though I'm still overweight, I'm less so, and more active and have more friends.
old split rail fence along the Oregon Pioneer trail here
This month, I looked at those old lists and realized I've gotten out of the habit, as it became less necessary, but I tried again.  I realized I have learned, it does take a ton of energy to avoid the small jobs and the relief I feel when I have handled it is great, so I don't tolerate a 100 things anymore.  I'm still bad about putting off uncomfortable phone calls.  I still don't force myself to write my own books on days the words don't come easy, but I am happy.  When it doesn't snow I make artificial snow with my students and paint scenes of penguins.
We have no snow so I made fake snow with my class

posing some figurines in the artificial snow

No Snow, but the April flowers are blooming

hanging our penguin paintings

Sunrise happens just as I have to leave for work

My granddaughter and I

again, no snow but we improvise

The road home
When I am feeling low energy, I get up and tackle one of the things I've been procrastinating on.  It gives me enough energy to smile and say, I can work on something for ten minutes and stop whining about it for the rest of the year.  My house is still old, but we are comfortable here, and I am inviting friends and family in, even a book club of women with beautiful homes.  I might have to wipe down the folding chairs, but I can put some January Daffodils on the table and good food out to share.

1 comment:

  1. I love that. I am going to make a list of the little things that are sapping my energy (sounds like many are the same as yours--the piles of clutter, the unfinished yard, the house maintenance tasks I've put off) and see if that helps me deal with them. Some will take more energy than others.

    And any that require picking up the phone or talking to strangers will be hard :)