Mar 31, 2014

Habits & Beliefs

Some people believe that whatever you believe about your own life, the universe will give you experiences that are in line with your beliefs. It's a scary thought. I feel like I am always too busy to do what I want to do, instead I often find myself doing what I think I should be doing.

Mondays are a hopeful day for me because it represents a fresh start. Whatever was going on last week can be changed with the beginning of a new week. Like New Year's. Every week. I guess some part of me is an optimist, or a fool.

The reality is that if you do the same things in life you get the same results. We all have daily habits. Ways of doing nearly everything. Sometimes our habits are in line with our goals and sometimes they aren't. Sometimes they are, some of the time, but they also hinder us when we do them too often or at the wrong times.

There is one particular habit that I've had for awhile that is a great illustration of this point. I clean and tidy. Each day when the family leaves I start to tidy up their messes, make our bed, wipe down the counter tops and whatever miscellaneous cleaning needs to be done. My house isn't immaculate or truly clean all the time but it is tidy. I take care of e-mail and a few "family business items" and hours have passed. That's another subject though.

It wasn't always that way. When I was a child I was incredibly messy. To the point of it being nearly impossible to walk through my bedroom. I never made my bed. My mom told me she decided that she didn't want to be a nag (interesting parenting strategy don't you think, I didn't know that was an option) so I pretty much lived in this mess my entire life. Cleaning wasn't important to me. At all. And I didn't develop any good cleaning habits, as you can imagine. Most people would find that really hard to believe that I was a slob, but ask my sister, or my oldest friends and they will confirm what I say. I really was.

When I became a young adult I realized that people general prefer clean and tidy environments. I'm sure there were some boyfriends that were turned off by my housekeeping skills. That alone didn't inspire me to keep a clean home. I had a busy social life and really only cleaned and tidied when I had the time. Sometimes my apartment was clean but most of the time it wasn't.

Fast forward.....I had kids and quickly realized that you had to have some kind of a system to deal with their toys and messes or your house can quickly become overwhelmingly messy with no hope you'll ever catch up. And there is a good chance you'll seriously injure yourself stepping or tripping on stuff. Even then there were times that my house was a mess, especially if I was busy with some project or another, which I often was.

Then Ainsley was born and in entered nurses into our lives. Strangers coming into our home, using our space while we slept, to keep our daughter safe and cared for. That was when our habits shifted the most. In the same way that we all make an effort to tidy and clean before we have company, now I had "company" every day.  The reality is that most families in this position (having a medically fragile child) give up and the nurse(s) becomes like family and they don't care if their dirty underwear are on the bathroom floor. I do realize that. That is probably the way it should be.

Now my habits are so ingrained that they actually get in the way of me being able to do other things. I can't tell you how many days I've said to myself, "I'm going to do X, just after I clean up Y.", even though I told myself I was going to let it go and just do what I had planned. It is interesting to me that something that most people consider good, can in fact be a problem and get in the way of achieving other goals.

I have plenty of other habits that I'd like to change. My point is just to show how our habits really can shape our lives. How else could a slob become a neat freak? I don't necessarily have a problem with the fact that my house is pretty tidy most of the time. If aspects of my life are going to be a mess, that is one area that I'd prefer not be.  People tend to think that if you look like you've got it all together, then you do have it together. Plus visual clutter can lead to mental clutter and my mind is cluttered enough already.

The biggest area I struggle with in life is time management. When people have more to do than they have time, how DO they manage their time in a way so that the most important things happen consistently? I know I am not the only person to struggle with this. In our modern life this is still a problem for even those who are the best at managing their time. If you are one of those people please give the rest of us your tips. I really do think they should teach Time Management as a mandatory subject in school...Anyway...

The second part of the problem is that when things start to get a bit less busy then I take on more. I guess this is that universe aligning to our beliefs part. Often I'm not even aware I'm doing it, like last month when I agreed to photograph 3 events for Evie's school and then make a photo sharing site for the school. (Though it does fill my required volunteer hours.) But other times it seems to come from above. This weekend Steve and I agreed to take care of some paperwork sorting. No excuses! It was going to be finished by the weekend so I can finally get the boxes out of our TV room after so many months. We were making our way through and I was hopeful it would happen. BUT. Then IT happened. The thing from the universe to make my experiences align with my belief that I am too busy. One of our children was found to have a parasite. The kind that is instantly on the top of the list and you can't put off dealing with. Instead of finishing our project I was driving all over town on a Sunday night to get a very difficult to find medicine. Today I am disinfecting the entire house instead of organizing my stuff and creating the time management plan I intended to work on. I think I'm going to try a new belief system and start repeating the mantra "I have nothing but unlimited time to do all the things I want to do." a hundred times a day. I'll let you know if it works.

1 comment:

  1. The way you describe yourself is exactly like my Mary. It's good to know that there is hope for her after all! You are a great person Susan, all the way around. xo