Sunday, June 19, 2011
Happy Father's Day to all the Spark Dads out there!
A life with dignity has to include days of rest and relaxation. That's why this effort to "clean up my act" has to avoid becoming marathon / binge cleaning. A life of dignity includes good night's sleep, nutritious meals, healthy levels of activity... and a home that is a refuge, supporting the ability to welcome in people I care about. I'm going to get that home the same way I got to goal weight... one day at a time, with small improvements in daily behavior.
So, all that said, day 7 (yesterday) began with staying up all night. It was my turn to monitor some computer work overnight for work. It went very smoothly... all finished by 7 a.m. Saturday.
This is relevant because sleep is vital to health. I caught a short nap before the phone started ringing. First, my brother. YES! He's coming. In about 3 weeks. And YES, I will be the sleep-over house this trip. So this effort that I started before finding out about this visit is charmingly well-timed.
Second, my niece... she and her mom are returning something to me, will I be home? I have something to give them, too. So, as I was sweeping my front steps (my morning "one thing" for yesterday), they dropped over and we visited for a few minutes, then they went on their errand run, and I finished the steps and went back in for another nap.
I walked to the mailbox to mail in my commitment to join the National Weight Control Registry. Yes, I finally decided that I would take this step. After that, I managed to get yet another nap, and went to bed early. I slept a full nine hours, people... I felt *wonderful* this morning.
This led to today's one thing: I cleared out and vacuumed the guest room. I know, that sounds menacingly like a the start of a marathon, but it really wasn't. The guest room was already relatively clear. But all rooms left unused do tend to gather dust. I bagged up some old video tapes for the trash. So, today's "one thing" has been handled. At least the before church one.
Here's to those small, every day changes, made with consistency, and appreciated, daily. We can do this, and we're worth it.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Initial goal reminder: handle each day's mail today.
So far, so fair, I've done it each day. In the process, while thinking just about "today's mail", somehow the piles on my kitchen counter and dining room table have kind of melted away. Decisions I had "put off" became clear in thinking about handling today's mail today. So I can call this week a good one on that front.
I'm adding a couple of small goals to go with "handle each day's mail today." One is "do one thing before work that contributes to living with dignity", the other is "do one thing after work and before bed that contributes to living with dignity".
Cautionary note: Not allowed to have that "one thing" turn into a marathon! No more than 15 minutes to half an hour for these "one thing" activities! And as with the weight management and activity goals, there is a need for rewards to go with achieving these small goals.
As with the weight loss / activity plans, this motivation will take daily pep talks and reminders that "yes! I LIKE my home", and "I'm worth it!"
Here's to a great weekend, folks! Oh, my one thing this morning? I swept my front porch and steps and filled one bag with weeds / cuttings. "Yes, I DO like my home."
Friday, June 17, 2011
Yesterday I mentioned the "down" side of cleaning up my act, home organization version. I am far from done with this effort, but as with the losing weight and taking better care of my physical health, it's going to take time to get to the balance I desire in terms of shall I call it "environmental health".
It occurs to me that I have in some ways used my "messy" home in the same way I used to use the layers of fat on my body: to push people away! As well as to procrastinate making decisions or admitting to myself how I felt about certain things (can't toss a charity flyer... that would make me a "bad" person, don't you know?)
Here's something that my current efforts are making possible that before would have had me cringing: hosting my brother should he come to town next month! With a few little efforts over the course of even five days, it starts to look do-able, possible, and I hope it works out.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
So, the viewpoint of living with dignity (not new, long desired, just prioritized recently) is still a bit like "wet paint", not yet established habit. I have to be learning something, right?
On the good front: the work I've been doing with cleaning and de-cluttering has brought me up short against something we all face when trying to change habits. "What's that?" you might well ask. It is, says the sage, finding out that the previous "bad" behavior had some positive use to you!
What possible use could there be in having a messy home? In being ashamed of it? Here's your punch line: it made it easier to brush people off AT THE DOOR, say "No" more firmly, and not waste my time being more polite.
Last night as I was finishing my workout, the doorbell rang. Had it been the telephone, I would have read the caller ID, and if it was someone I didn't recognize, let the machine pick up. I suppose one could do the same with the doorbell... peek out the window or peephole, and if it's not someone you want to see...
But, I was vulnerable, the house was in better shape than it's been for a while, and I was breathlessly full of endorphins and pride (26 sit-ups, people, count 'em!). I opened the door to a fresh faced young man with a very persistent and pushy sales pitch. But he made several errors in his people reading. I must look like a total patsy or something!
I told him 1) I'd never heard of his company (don't panic, I looked it up on the internet, it's a reputable and legitimate one, I just wasn't in the market for this kind of product), 2) I had not seen his signs in the neighborhood, and 3) I was not considering the product for purchase. This should have been a good sign to him that I was not a "real" prospect.
Still he wanted to show me what he'd install "for free" if I'd be his show home... and then spent nearly an hour of my time pulling out slick brochures and describing technology that I have no intention of purchasing! I was curious enough and I like techno-toys as well as the next guy, so I listened to the sales pitch, but when he got around to the attached subscription price I said "It's not in my budget, sorry." Yeah, the initial installation would be "free", the equipment "free", but it would cost $$$ every month for the support services (which are NOT optional).
TANSTAAFL: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. I had been waiting to hear how much this free lunch would cost. But when I said "no" after he finally disclosed the cost to me, he comes up with "Then why were we sitting here talking about this?" OMG. The young man practically put his foot in my door and forced his way in! I was being polite. I listened to what he had to say. He clearly was ignoring my earlier messages that I wasn't interested. After he came out with that statement, I changed my mind.
His attitude at that point was clearly that I had wasted his time. Well, no. I was a wimp. I allowed him to waste MY time! Why did I do that?
The kicker is, his sales pitch included a lot of scare stories of bad things that can happen, and I ended up with a touch of insomnia afterward. Grrrr! So he wasted more of my time than that single hour.
To pull the balance back the other way... in the face of tossing and turning, I got up early enough to do a treadmill jog before breakfast.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Having a new "purpose/project", one that has "come" to me by a soak in solitude and rest and evaluation is very energizing, I find. I have to give myself the grace of time, and work through the "should" and the "wish-I-was-normal" to acceptance and a goal. As with weight loss, changing any life-long habit is a "lather - rinse - repeat" process that is a failure only if one gives up!
So... on Tuesday morning, I vacuumed my bedroom. Before work. And gazed on the result and felt good. I know, there are Sparkers out there who do NOT struggle with this aspect of their lives, but I do. So I'm feeling good about this small act of self-nurturing and more important than the act: VIEWING it as self-nurturing!
My rebellion against chores around the house and yard is centered over other people saying I SHOULD or HAVE to do X, Y, or Z. So, the key to this, as it is to weight / activity management, is in changing the way I think about it: turning it from a should into a want to and further into an "I'm worth it."
This inner mental / emotional work is vital to success in changing long-entrenched habits.
On the exercise front: I'm back in training, having committed to a 5K on July 22nd. I went outside after work (and after handling the mail ) to assess my starting point. I walked a brisk 5 minutes, then jogged two, did a recovery walk for 3, then started jogging 3, walking 3 for the rest of my 2.6 mile dog-walk route. What I discovered is that I'm in better shape than I was last Fall when I started training for a November 5K. We'll see how this goes!
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