Friday, November 19, 2010

Lightening Up

Fridays with Susan...

I take myself way-y-y-y too seriously.  If you don't believe me, just refer to my Friday posts of the last few months.  Granted, there have been some stressors which have been pretty intense this past year.  But after being away on vacation, and then a marriage renewal weekend with Ron, I've found something has changed .  It's not the circumstances themselves so much, but my attitude to them.  (I know this is a no-brainer for most of you, but please bear with this slo-o-ow learner.)

None of the following was adopted in a very intentional way.  It's just kind of happened.  But there are a bunch of things I've been doing lately which have allowed me to lighten up and to enjoy life a LOT more.  (Some of you will be most happy to hear that!)

1.  Look for the humour in EVERYTHING (especially in myself). 
I was deeply involved in a software program this week which I could not "get" and for which the deadline for submission of data was all too rapidly approaching - and I was already working a few hours past when I should have gone home.  My concentration was so intense that when I was interrupted with the fact that there was no hot water in the house, it actually took a few minutes for me to switch gears enough to care!  Even though it was a problem seriously and directly affecting a large number of people.  When I finally got my head around the fact that I needed to make this my immediate priority and pulled myself away from the computer, I had listened to the words, "Susan, you're not listening to me!" at least five times.  We solved the problem as best we could by figuring out together how to adapt to the situation at hand and by resigning to the fact that there was nothing to do but wait for the plumber to come the next morning.  Then we spent a long time laughing about the whole situation - especially zeroing in on the fact that the world can be coming to an end around me, but God help anyone who tries to get my attention when I'm hyper-focused on something else!  Suddenly what had been a serious problem a few minutes earlier turned into an adventure - with a great deal of hilarity along the way!

2.  Stop working so hard to figure out who is to blame and start solving the problem, or overcoming the obstacle.
Oh this is a good one for me...  There is a natural bent in me that wants to make everything someone else's fault before I can even begin to think about what to do about it.  My poor husband.  If I can't find my car keys or my cell phone, it has to be because HE moved them!  He's such a conspirator to ruin my day!  I'm trying not to do that anymore.

3.  Make a mental list of everything I DON'T have to do! 
It's much longer than the list of things I have to do, and makes me feel a lot better!  And it's such a ludicrous idea that it makes me laugh, which takes me back to # 1.

4.  Be grateful.  That attitude of gratitude thing is so powerful.  There is so much to be thankful for if we just stop for a minute and DO it!

5.  Celebrate the little things.  The really little things.  One day this week I walked in the back door - really late- and there was no-one around to greet me.  I stood just inside the door with my arms outstretched and my palms turned up and yelled, "I'm HO-O-O-O-OME!!"  No response.  "YooHOOOO!!!"  I tried again.  From the furthest corner of the living room I heard a small "I'm in here."  (He must have got tired of waiting for me.)  As soon as I had his attention I "demanded" a standing ovation.  "I'm here!  I'm home! I could have gone anywhere, but I chose to come here!  Could I have a little enthusiasm???"  Ron cracked up and began to hoot and holler and clap his hands on his way into the kitchen.  I took a step toward him as he came across the room, we collapsed into a big hug, and forgot about how late I was - again.

6.  Let go of some stuff.  I realized this week that I can worship from the back pew just as well as standing at the front with a microphone in my hand.  It was a decision I could make that would not essentially change anything, but would give me a few more options on Sunday mornings (like the option to actually ride to church in the same car as my husband!  Novel!) It would also serve to take away the stress of missing too many practices and feeling badly about that.  So I stepped down from singing on the worship team at church.  It didn't turn out to be as hard as I thought it was going to be and I'm really looking forward to experiencing some new pockets of time.

There are so many more things I could add to this list.  But how about you?  What are some of the ways you keep from letting life overwhelm you and drag you down?  We're all in this together, and I can still use use a lot of help...


Marilyn Yocum said...

I enjoyed and agree with your whole list, Susan! Especially liked #2. Whenever I see blame-seeking in operation I picture a bunch of young siblings all pointing at each other....and nobody cleaning up the mess or getting the dog back or going for help where it can really be found.

And #3 is a great idea! Never thought of that one.

As for adding to it..hmmmm...get reacquainted with an activity that made you happy, but you have stopped doing it for some reason. Make time for it, even if it's in a small way. This sounds unrelated, I know, but it's a way of reconnecting with yourself and making room for it will shove some of the overwhelming responsibility one feels OFF the shoulders. (I should be writing all of this suggestion in first-person, meaning I have found this helpful.)

Brenda said...

I choose to ignore the dust bunnies and the dirty bathroom and take more time to read and write in my journal....the things that make me a happier wife at the end of the day. My cowboy doesn't notice when I clean anyway!

Karebear said...

At the moment I'm overcoming the obstacle of a lost or stolen passport.... but I am refusing to let it get me down. I'm just starting the process over, since the report is filed at the police station.

And another thing I'd add to the list is:
Dont' worry, it doesn't help... I could worry about missing planes, or being stuck in traffic, or not raising enough money for the mission field, or have a bad day at the hospital... but in the end it's never that bad, or something interesting and unexpected comes from the trials.

Karebear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dave Hingsburger said...

Brenda, i celebrate that dust bunnies are a) cute b) don't need food and c) don't poop on the floor. I don't have to walk dust bunnies. I don't have to take them to the dust bunny vet. In fact, if I let them multipy like dust bunnies do ... in a couple of months, I'll have slippers.

the other things I do are ... shop ... and read this blog

Belinda said...

Okay, here's my list
1) Listen carefully! A lot of things I get all tied up in knots about are because I didn't listen well enough to begin with.
2)REALLY give people the benefit of the doubt before jumping to conclusions. (I do this in theory, but still find myself coming to converstions with too much prejudgment. It's hard not to, but I WANT to!!)
3) Hug our Big Golden Teddy Bear of a dog. He is the best therapy.
4) Bend a friend's ear. Friends are such a gift from God. I am grateful for each and every one of mine.
5) Write it all out of my heart and off my shoulders in my journal.
6) Watch a good movie. Such a relaxing break and treat.

Brave Raven said...

Force yourself to end negative self-talk with the words, "but it's OK." (ie, "I didn't get all of this done...; That didn't turn out the way I'd hoped...; I forgot something terribly important...: BUT IT'S OKAY!!! Aaaaaand.........exhale. Why do we demand perfection from ourselves?

Anonymous said...

May I post this to my blog? What good common sense wisdom!! Taking it to heart!
That's why it belongs on my blog
My devotional's secondary title is
366 devotions for common sense living!! :)
Brenda J Wood

Susan said...

Yes, dear Brenda! Feel free to use any words I have written - anytime. They're yours...

Susan said...

And thank you everyone for your AMAZING comments! I'm listening hard to every one! They really fleshed out what I barely started - and reflected each writer's personality. Love it!