Factions and Boring Routines

Factions are natural. I’ve fought them all of my life and now I realize it’s like fighting the need to eat. Cells divide. Children grow up and leave home and develop their own families. Students leave the school and start their business. We break off into our own small groups as natural as we breathe air every day.

It takes a village. A small one is best. To grow and be strong we need exposure to variety. But constant variety is too stressful. We need some redundancy. If some type of normal isn’t established we can’t develop patterns and patterns are our foundation for growth. If I don’t take the I-44 highway to work everyday, I don’t know how long it will take to go to work. If I don’t have some way to calculate the time I need to leave for work, how do I know what time to wake up?  My routine is the same every work day. The alarm goes off. I hit snooze. It rings again and I get up and make my coffee and grab my lunch for later that day. I shower, dry my hair, apply my make up, and get dressed. It takes the same amount of time everyday. My morning routine allows me the time to sleep in just a bit longer. Redundancy.

It’s natural, all the cycles of growth, destruction, division. Nothing is meant for permanence. How often I forget that. Life changes and grows much like the kaleidoscope we played with as kids. I remember thinking as a kid how pretty they were. I’d pick one that was my favorite then it would change and the new one would be my favorite. They were all pretty. I couldn’t pick one. And sometimes that is painful. If you couldn’t choose one job or one house or even one spouse, you’d always be darting around like a mad person. You’d never develop a lasting relationship. Life would be shallow.

As much as redundancy gives me freedom to grow, I also know that change is the nature of the game. Nothing stays the same forever, not even death, but that’s a subject for another post.

Nature doesn’t recognize good and evil, Philip. Nature only recognizes balance and imbalance.  Walternate, Fringe

Considerate Towards Myself

A dog after a swim, stops only long enough to shake off the water. For his comfort. He doesn’t worry about the water, if it made a mess on the ground or if his splashing will disrupt others. He shakes it off and runs on further. He has places to go.

Sometimes I hold on to responsibilities for too long. Obligations and commitments that no longer are helpful to anyone. But I said I would do that. They need me. I’ve always helped with that charity. It’s like the invisible chains that psychologists talk about. I don’t wish to be inconsiderate, but sometimes I delay my own needs for too long. I delay because I don’t want to inconvenience others. I’m considerate.

Only I can decide how helpful I wish to be. And even why I’m doing some of these things. I have to shake them off. Sometimes I’ve found I wasn’t as helpful as I thought I was. Left alone, that person could have done it themselves. I have to make my decisions based on my needs also.

I’m doing this for me. Those around me are going to scream and cry and throw a tantrum. They might accuse me of being selfish. Of not caring. Because I’m rocking their world. It doesn’t mean I’m selfish or inconsiderate. It’s just their words trying to hurt me. It’s done out of fear on their part and it isn’t an objective critique.

considerate (kənˈsɪdərɪt)
— adj
1. thoughtful towards other people; kind
2. rare carefully thought out; considered

Collins English Dictionary – Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition

Limitations, Boundaries, and those cute Picket Fences

mskittyshoulderSometimes when I’m in the bathroom my cat will sit on the floor and stare at me. It’s annoying. You may ask why I don’t lock her out. I feel guilty. She is home alone all day so I feel I shouldn’t limit my time with her. So I resent her stare.

Games we play

This is the game we play and you may recognize it. She stares and I feel guilty. I pet her and allow her to rub around my legs, until. There’s only so much I can take with all that attention. We both mean well.

The funny thing about it is, when I am with her overextended vacations, she still meows when she doesn’t see me in the room with her. If I step outside to take out the trash or go run an errand, it’s no different. She still wants the same amount of attention as she did when I’m only home for a few hours. So in my great reasoning, I don’t think it’s because she misses me.
I read somewhere that a cat’s memory is only a few minutes. She doesn’t know how long I’ve been gone.

This guilt I feel is just empty guilt. I am projecting how I would feel in her shoes (paws).  So why am I feeling so miserable? What do I really want? I like it when we snuggle up on the couch together. I like it when she greets me in the morning. Even when I come home. The time when I’m in the bathroom and she’s staring at me is my fault. I let it happen. If I really want to be alone at that time I need to close the door. A simple thing really.

picket fence
picket fence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How often do we do this? We yell at people unnecessarily instead of metaphorically and physically closing the door. Have you ever told someone “Yes, I’ll do that for you,” when really you feel like vomiting at the thought of doing it? We go along with things when we have other plans. We say yes to their idea even when we disagree. It’s not necessary. We think we’re being kind. All we’re really doing is building up a reason to hate someone who we would normally love. That’s what resentment does. It builds a wall of hate. Get enough resentment built up and what happens? We yell. We scream. We blame. We walk away in anger. Is this what we want? Is it inevitable?

Kids need boundaries

In the study with a group of children on a playground, the children without a fence around them did not play close to the edge but clustered towards the center. The children that were in a fenced area used the entire playground to play. So it would seem that if you place boundaries in your life and those around you, you are actually giving yourself freedom. Ironic isn’t it? I know in my life, I feel freer creatively, if no one is around to disturb me and there are no other pending appointments. When I know my creative time is short I feel pressure, which goes against every creative bone in my body.

Right here and now

I have the right to close my bathroom door so that I’m not stared at by my cat. I have the right to not answer my phone if I’m needing to work. I feel so much freer knowing that I can put a fence around my time and declare that this is my time. I can put up a fence and stick my flag in the ground. This is my time! Right here and now. Kings do it, presidents do it, astronauts do it in the name of their country, and so can you. If it helps, you can make yourself a flag and put it in the middle of your room or outside your closed door. Name your kingdom. Just remember, you are the enforcer. Even if your best friend calls or your mother, you have to let them know that you will have to call them later.

If this has not been a part of your life before, people may not honor your boundary. But if you continually tell them, eventually they will learn to respect your fence. With cats, children, spouses, or parents, it’s no different. They learn what we teach them. If we teach them that it’s okay to call us names and hurt our feelings (by allowing it), then that is what we will get. Some people in your life will need retraining. But that’s okay. Think of it as an experiment. Who is the easiest to teach? How long did it take? How did they react in comparison to a different person? Be firm, but not rude. repeat the same line 30 or 40 times if necessary. “I can’t talk now. I’ll call you at 5:00.”  Don’t explain. Don’t vary. I’ve used this technique several times and it’s like magic, but you have to state it firmly and without emotion.

What works for you? Leave a comment.