When I read self-help books, I feel all jazzed. They excite me, but I find them lacking in one aspect, application. I’m thinking of one type in particular, which refers the reader to visualize their perfect day, to help make it real. I picture myself waking up at 8:00 in the morning and eating a healthy breakfast. Work on my writing. Hmmm. Sure, I can do this.
I know a man who cleans floors for a living. He’s a janitor at a middle school in town and has been for many years. He’ll probably retire there. He sweeps, mops, waxes, and buffs those things until they shine perfectly. It brings him great satisfaction. He likes the solitude. And the immediate reward. His art is not the Mona Lisa, but it’s his. At one time he was a contract painter for a local business, painting walls. He enjoyed that also.
I’m missing the feels
Why do I mention this? Because I have to remind myself, there’s a reason for work. Am I working for big dollars? Or hoping for fame? (good luck for either of those) Truthfully, I long for the same feeling as that man, and the same as anyone who finishes with an end stroke, be it an ink pen or a sewing needle. Yes! I did it.
Being satisfied in life is vital. It brings joy and meaning into our life. Some jobs have no end in sight. The gratitude level is too low. You need outside support or the chaos becomes more than you can bear. How do we handle these things? If you’re a mother or caregiver, the work can overwhelm you. Where can you find purpose? A caregiver for an elderly parent is one of the most thankless responsibilities, and our society undervalues caregiving.
We can only live one life, and that’s our own. Each day is ours to choose and a new day to live.
You know that feeling you get when someone is watching over your shoulder? Or, you say you can sink a basket from the free-throw line? No pressure, right? Oh the deadline is Friday? For all of the discomfort it brings, pressure also can bring out the best in us. I’ve found the best way to motivate myself is to set a deadline. Even better is to tell someone about my deadline. If I can line up my goal with this type of pressure, I will almost always complete the task.
Here are my steps,
I have a thought or an idea.
I write it out either in Google Drive or in a personal notebook.
I decide what effort is needed, money or time.
I let it percolate inside of me for however long it’s necessary.
When the idea has built enough inside of me I usually get follow up ideas and at that moment I can plunge into the project.
I find tweeting my progress helps
It’s easy for me to get lost in researching my ideas so, I try as best as I can to write everything out from the top of my head. Ad Lib if you will. Afterwards since the idea is written out I can edit as needed and add more details.
It took me a while to get comfortable with announcing my plans. Stating aloud “I’m writing a novel,” can lead to all types of feedback. Some think you’re bragging, but you’re not. Mostly I avoided it because seemed like too much pressure. It created that mind numbing turmoil in my head. Now if I don’t finish I am shamed. No one wants to look like a braggart or a fool, but people really have short memories. And they have their own lives to live. A week from now, their troubles will make them forget about the silly thing you stated. And when you actually finish the novel, run the marathon, or lose the weight, you feel the satisfaction. Isn’t that what you wanted?
As many females of my age group will relate, when I was growing up, love was where you hang your hat. Love was the biggest item on the shopping list. How do you know whom to marry? Do you love him? There you go. My family had a second criteria. Is he a believer (of the same faith)? Yes? Well, you’re good to go. Tie a knot on that man and marry him. It was never thought, do you get along? Does he show kindness? Is he a control freak? Does he like cats? Do you both enjoy music? Like kids? Want to do adventurous vacations or quiet walks? What is your idea of wealth?
We were told in books, by preachers and teachers, and our families, that if God was in control and you loved him, all the other things would work out. I guess someone missed the memo. Or got it wrong. Truth is, God has little to do with any of it. Congeniality and kindness goes a lot further than a religious practice once a week. If one is religious and the other not, considerate people would allow the difference. Dogmatic folk require complete compliance.
I admit, I once was dogmatic. I once esteemed being right over common kindness. It makes me want to hide in shame when I think of this. I wasn’t loud or arrogant about it, only in my mind I judged. I disagreed with my paternal traditional upbringing in some things, like abortion, racism, and feminism, but in most things I thought no differently.
So we got it wrong. Many of my generation got tons wrong. Times were changing and traditions were falling down. If I had to do all over again, I’m not sure if I would change much. It was my roots, and I won’t become bitter about my choices and mistakes.
I’m happy with my life. There is no substitute for satisfaction. The things I would hang my hat on today are different:
similar taste in recreation or willingness to go it alone
know your true likes and don’t mold yourself to others. It’s not healthy
enjoy each others company whether relaxed or active
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