Today, as I was listening to ‘The Brutal Telling’, I was struck by what one of her characters, Armand Gamache, said about school:
‘The mix of sadness at the end of summer, and excitement to see his chums again. The new clothes, bought after a summer’s growth. The new pencils, sharpened over and over, and the smell of the shavings. And the new notebooks. Always strangely thrilling. Unmarred. No mistakes yet. All they held was promise and potential’.
Unmarred. No mistakes yet. All they held was promise and potential……Oh man – those sentences struck such a cord in me that I turned off the lights in my craft room and turned on my computer to write this post. I haven’t been to school in many years, but I still remember the notebooks. The dividers. The #2 pencils. My new madras plaid purse. The new shiny shoes with no scuffs. The new clothes. But most of all, the anticipation that I would do better that year. I would have a study program. I would do all of my homework. I would be organized. I would succeed. I would have great friends. And then October would come around….and I was back into my old routines, habits and behaviors. Why is that? Was there something wrong with me? Was I just a loser? A quitter?
As I am sitting here thinking about all of this I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head. The ‘promise and potential’ of new beginnings in those sentences make me think about other areas of life. Areas where there is so much promise and potential:
We buy all the exercise gear, exercise for a month or even a year and then quit. Our diets last for a time and then the ice cream, candy, bread, or carbs just calls our name over and over. They say, ‘Jane, here I am – pick me, pick me.’
We organize our kitchen drawers and they look awesome and then next thing we know we start throwing things in and just stop caring. Or we decide that we need to get control of our money and we start a budget. But then we see a new pair of shorts or a new kitchen gadget….and we end up buying it even though it wasn’t in the budget.
Now, I am not a psychologist. I don’t know all the mind things that go hand-in-hand with all of this. What I do know is this – we can NOT sweep all the old under the carpet and expect it to stay there. We can’t just SAY – ‘I am going to change – turn over a new leaf’. Because eventually something happens to blow back the corners of that carpet….and we find ourselves looking back at what was easier. What felt more comfortable. Have you heard the saying about the baby in her dirty diaper? It goes something like this – ‘I know it stinks but it’s mine and I like it.’ The same goes for us.
I think it comes down to a few questions –
At this point, you might be thinking to yourself: I am fine with where I am at and don’t need to make any changes. Before your click away, here are a few questions/sentences to think about –
NOT – ‘I will go on a diet so I can fit in that dress.’
NOT – ‘I will go to the gym so I can get a abs and look fabulous in a bikini (or 1 piece when you get to be my age).’
NOT – ‘My husband told me I had to quit spending money so I will buy stuff and sneak it into the house.’
NOT – ‘I have no idea why people are so mean and don’t like me.’
Don’t let the statement: it wasn’t my fault he found his secretary more attractive than me be the reason you get divorced.
NOT – ‘I am just not smart and I like my activities more than studying.’
Now, one thing I do know – if we let life get too busy, we will NOT do anything to help ourselves. Busyness will be our excuse. Busyness is our enemy.
We are in charge of our own work calendars.
We are in charge of our kids’ schedules.
We are in charge of our social calendars.
We are in charge of our exercise programs.
We are in charge of the meals that that we make and what we put in our mouths (do we pack a health lunch or go thru the drive thru)?
We are in charge of our spending.
When busyness sets in, we are not organized, disciplined or take the time to care for ourselves, our families, our friends or our spouses. I am guilty of this all the time. I need to stop and figure out what is consuming my time and then make adjustments.
So, I will end with this?
If the answer is NO to any (or all) of those questions I would like to suggest you take a good hard look at yourself – physically, mentally, and emotionally. And then figure out what needs to be done to create EVER LASTING CHANGE.
I am right with you here – I think I am talking to myself. I will add this….change comes in baby steps – NOT all at once.