At long last the end of the road. This is it for the Ultimate Blog Challenge in October. I’ve done a good job. I did what I said I was going to do – my best. I had a beginning, middle and an end. I had goals. They gave me directions each day. They led me to the finish line.
There were days when I faltered, when I didn’t feel like it, when I was tired, when I was…blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I am just full of excuses, but I pushed through them this month. I have many unfinished projects. I have this bad habit of incompleteness, unable to follow through even on simple things. That’s why I am such a clutter bug. I don’t put things away. I don’t throw things away. I don’t…You get the drift. This writing challenge has helped me to see this part of myself. I can now move on to do some corrections.
A fellow challenger had a post on the benefits of making lists. It resonated with me. I kept the post up on my tab for many a days. I would read it again and again. It appealed to me. I saw the value of what was said. Though I never did make lists literally, I made them in my head. I would decide a few things that I would do for that particular day. I was not religious about it. I didn’t do it every day but I did it enough that it came back again and again.
That’s the thing. If we do healthy actions regularly, they would become habits. When they do, we wouldn’t have to struggle so much in doing the right thing. Life would be easier. We would be healthier and happier. That’s the end products I’m aiming for. These days of writing regularly made me more aware of my thoughts and feelings. I pay more attention to what I say and do. I ask myself more questions. Do I want to say/do this? Do I need to say/do that? What difference would it make? I think questioning has made me wiser and choose better ways of being. It made me see that I had been doing the same thing over and over. Yet I was expecting a different outcome. Dummkopf!
I am in the honeymoon phase of enlightenment. It’s like being in the throes of first love. I hope I won’t crash. I know it is possible. I have had that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even if I do, I know the landing will be softer this time. For now, I will enjoy my euphoria. I saw the big fat moon last night. I saw it again this morning. I even saw the stars. We are stardust. We are golden. Song of Joni Mitchell.
I’ve never given much thought to the meaning of the dog days of summer. Given to the context of how I hear it used and how it sounded, they meant summer time when you can see the heat sizzling from the pavement. The phrase always summon up images and memories of that summer in New York City. I can still see the steaming sidewalks, hear the rat-tat-tat of jackhammers, sirens, the crowded streets of Canal and Mott Streets. I can still feel the loneliness of summer in the city.
I still struggle with the dog days of summer. I still struggle with life. There’s no easy way about it. Everything takes effort. I like to think that effort makes it worthwhile. But I’m simply justifying, explaining and maybe apologizing for my lack of skills and successess. I do feel like such a failure sometimes. What do I really have to show for these years of hard effort? Ok, I have:
- A nursing career. Nothing spectular but 30 years of rotating shift work. No nurse of the year award but have caused no harm.
- No husband. No children. A companion of 10 years.
- No wealth. A good pension. Nice house with garage and yard. No debts.
- Not the most popular gal in town. Have a few good friends. I can count them all on one hand. One bad neighbour.
- Experienced unconditional love for almost 14 years. I’m talking about my fur baby, Sheba. She’s in heaven now.
- Ignited a couple of old passions – my paints and sewing machine.
Perhaps I am not doing as bad as I thought. I have a few good things. When those dog days come, all I can see and feel are my dark side and failures. It helps to make a list of : successes and failures, pros and cons, places I’ve been, things done, etc. Then tally up the score to see the results. I had meant to show up every day for the Ultimate Blog Challenge but the dog days got the better of me. Total counting today, I’ve shown up for 17 days. It’s a little more than 50%. But I did complete the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. I painted 62 index cards for June and July – one extra.
Did I reach the goal I set for this challenge? I think I have. Right in the moment I’m not exactly jumping up and down with glee and excitement. I feel somewhat sedate and at ease. I’m satisfied in the now. I have no wants. I am at peace – even with my badassed neighbour. Perhaps she is getting help with her mental health. Perhaps there is hope. I’m not all about struggles. I’m not all about depression. I have those treasured moments of seeing dust motes in sunbeams. I have the ability to see beauty and feel joy.
So ends another Ultimate Blog Challenge. Hope to show up more next time around.
I’m listening to the pitter patter of raindrops on the deck roof. It’s rhythmic and soothing. Just what I need. Today, I feel rattled and aggitated, waiting for something bad to happen, more drama from next door. The sight of her ‘across the street friend’ crossing over with tools can do that to me. I feel a bit of a coward. But I’ve heard about men with tools. They can be mean.
Maybe it is just the clouds that brought on the nerves though it was sunny this morning. Despite and maybe inspite of my nerves, I went for a bike ride to our community garden. You know what they say about sunshine and fresh air. And it did help some. I got out and moving. Sometimes my anxiety holds me housebound and helpless, my mind like white noise or snow on TV screen. It’s in these times that having a plan and making a list would help me.
There’s no time like the present to put that in action. So I entered the numbers in for the police, police liason officer and my other neighbour’s on my phone. It’s easier and quicker to get help in a hurray when I’m alone. I don’t want to hit 911 too many times if I can help it. I’ve been caught off guard, like a deer in headlights too often lately. Doing this single thing helps clear the snow. My mind is quieter. I must give lists and plans more thought. A wing and a prayer are not enough.
There’s no denying myself. I am what I am though I would like to be a little different. I would like to be more organized, tidier, more timely, more mellow, more energetic, more of many things. I said I would like to be. I did not say I aspire. If I did, I would be more successful than just wishing for. One does not get by yearning. One must do.
I must learn to aspire to do whatever I wish for. Or else I must accept my repeated echoes of my daily failures – wishing for a different outcome by doing the same thing. It is what Dr. Phil and other head doctors call insanity. It seems simple enough. Change what I do. But is it that simple? So easy to fall back into the default mode, doing the same old, same old. What to do next?
It would help to make a list of changes I want to see. Make one change at a time and work on it for a week. Then add another change and work on it for a week. And so on and on. I must get on it tomorrow and make my list. Then proceed from there, building one thing at a time and adding on. I can do it. The alternative is living in daily disarray, wasting time and energy looking and searching for things, trying to get on top of the game, feeling guilty, feeling incompetitent, feeling lousy, feeling d-r-a-g-g-e-d out. You get the picture.
I aspire to be organized, tidy, focused and on top of things so I can relax and have some nothing times. I aspire to have some empty times when I’m not thinking of ‘doing’ constantly. The only time I’m not doing is 20 minutes in the morning when I’m meditating. I want MORE. There! The end of day 19 of UBC and another video featuring Sheba.