Sunday, March 10, 2013

Keeping the Good Habits

I have let a lot of things slide over the course of time. Life is ever-evolving and as we go with the flow of things, one must decide what is worth keeping and what is weighing you down.

I am sorry to say that housecleaning and cooking have slipped a long way down on my priority list. I developed some good habits that I wish that I would have hung onto when life got busy.

Menu-planning seemed like it took a tremendous amount of energy and it was more fun to just go with the flow of things, as my responsibilities at home lessened. But it has now gotten to the point where I have simply lost all desire to cook. Having a plan worked far better for me - cooking the meal was a snap, when I didn't have to come up with a menu.

Friday-chores became something that I squeezed into my daycare days, so that when the last child left on Friday the house was clean and not one hour of the weekend was wasted on housework. I have continued part of that habit. I don't clean on weekends. But the house doesn't get a good cleaning throughout the week either.

I used to spend hours upon hours working out my budget and calculating how I would cover the bills and pay down the mortgage and create a holiday fund and upcoming expenses. But it seemed that no matter how much I planned, the finances always managed to work out in the end. I now have a very loose budgeting system. I get paid. I pay the bills. I spend what I need to spend. And I figure out how to make it all work out in the end. I am creating the illusion of not falling behind ... but I am certainly not getting ahead either.

My evenings and weekends used to have a lot of excess time. My friends were very busy and it took a lot of energy to plan to get together. It was always special and memorable when we did plan a date to gather, but it didn't happen with great regularity. I never used to know my extended family as much as I do now. I would never have dreamt of dropping in on my aunt & uncle, nor calling a cousin on a whim. My sisters & I used to have a semi-annual-ish Sister Sleepover. Again, it was rare and took great planning. I filled a lot of that time writing letters and emails to bridge the gaps between visits.

Life has changed ...

Menu-planning has become a nightly query of "what do you want for supper?", and I throw whatever is quick and easy together and call it a meal.

The house is tidy but not clean. I have always said that. I am now saying it just a little bit louder.

My financial plan is "work". I work to pay the bills. I take on whatever job comes my way because it helps to cover off the shortfall. My retirement plan is to continue to work. I am just figuring things out as I go along.

What has filled in the void where I used to spend so much of my energy planning and cleaning and budgeting? A 'life' ...

I have become a person that calls someone on a whim and just goes with the flow of whatever that call may bring. I am also on the receiving end of many of those same calls. My after-hours life has become full and fulfilling.

Long distance phone bundles make it very easy to 'reach out and touch someone' whenever the spirit moves. I miss my weekly letters from Mom, but I can count on at least one phone visit. Maybe more.

Seeing someone in person or being able to talk with them on the phone is a gift ... but I do miss the gift of words. That card, letter or email that used to fill the gaps in between the in-person visits. I used to write so much more than I do now. Writing is one habit I do not want to give up.

Every morning, I do my best to squeeze in time to write in this spot. The words are not eloquent or well thought out or (lately) even proof-read before I hit the 'Publish' button and scurry on with my day. I read the other blogs and the way their words hit the page make me marvel at the skill that they have honed. I miss the time that I used to spend writing ...

My dream holiday would be to park myself in a quiet little house, close to my home town (as a child). I would unplug myself from the Internet and cell phone. I would take myself back to a world where my words filled up inside of me to the point where I simply had to write. I would finish the book I started working on. I would read. I would sit still and be quiet. I would have a supply of stationary and stamps and write cards and letters whenever the spirit moved me. I would write ...

The constant buzz of technology is deafening. I can't hear myself think as well as I once did. My words are getting lost before they are written down. I long for the quiet place that once felt 'lonely'. I wasn't lonely. I was alone with my own thoughts. And they kept me company as I figured out life's puzzles. It was a time of growth.

I need to continue to grow.

Right now, I do not have the luxury of that dream. But I can still write. I do not want to lose the habit of writing. So I write. It may not be deep or well thought out or humorous or anything else that I wish it was. But it is me. I am still purging my subconscious thoughts onto the page so that my brain to fingertip connection remains strong.

If ever my brain stops functioning as I now know it, could someone please put a computer keyboard in front of me? The brain-to-fingertip connection may still work. Because I have maintained one good habit in my life. Writing.

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