The computer which I use at work is an older model and has been having trouble of late. It’s slow. Slow as molasses in January as the saying goes. It is cluttered and doesn’t have enough RAM to run the programs we need it to run at the speed which we need it to run them. There has been a lot of frustration at work with this computer and it’s not unusual for us to clear history and cookies, and then do a reboot. But, rebooting only does so much good. Sometimes Life begins to feel like a sluggish computer and we need to hit “Reset”.
In the last two years I’ve been studying my Life, from habits to heartaches. From fun to foibles. I’m definitely not immune to stupid decisions nor situations that turned out quite bad. But, thankfully, those events number far fewer than smart decisions and good situations. If nothing else, I’ve learned a good deal in my 43 years. Thankfully, I’ve also learned that sometimes I need to reset things to move in a direction in which I want to go. Sometimes a person has to sit down with themselves and have a heart-to-heart like they would with a close friend and tell them all the things they don’t want, but need, to hear.
Perhaps it’s because I was raised to be polite and, to borrow an oft-said phrase from my Mom, “wouldn’t say shit if it was in [my] mouth”*, but for whatever reason, I had a difficult time saying “No” to people. I connected with people I shouldn’t have, ended up in situations I didn’t want to be in, and said a lot of things I didn’t really mean all for the sake of being polite and not saying, “No.”
I didn’t stop situations where I was uncomfortable or felt unsafe. I didn’t follow my gut when it said to beware of someone. I, like everyone, has thought people were friends who were not. Because of these things, I’ve gotten much more vocal about telling parents to stop telling their little girls to be “nice”. Teach them to be vocal when their boundaries are being tested or violated.
I’ve gotten much better at saying “No”. Nosy, gossipy, bigoted neighbor wants to connect on Facebook? Nope! Event full of loud, obnoxious people I don’t know and will never see again which will drain me of all energy and ultimately piss me off? Not interested. Yoga class with an instructor whose style I don’t like? No thank you.
While I don’t have anyone asking to borrow my car or a smoke (I don’t smoke anyway), I have learned to set more boundaries, enforce the ones I have, and say, “Bye, Felicia!”**
Clear Out The Closets!
Much like the computer at work, I, like most people, have some clutter issues. I’ve put things away in closets, in the storage loft of the barn, under the bed, and down in the basement. Things that I haven’t thought about in years. Things I don’t miss. Things that I don’t need. Things I will never use again, have no attachment to, or are rather pointless to keep around.
For example: my wedding dress. Mr. Muse and I were together when I purchased my dress off of a clearance rack for a deeply discounted rate. Sure, I thought it was pretty. It was! But, I wasn’t one of those girls to starts talking about my wedding day when I’m 8 years old with visions of 20-tier wedding cakes, crystal chandeliers, and hundreds of guests. Honestly, I didn’t think much of weddings at all, mine or anyone else’s, until I had to. It was torture.
Other than the dress being the dress I wore on the day I got married, I had no emotional attachment to it. Yet, I hauled it around in a box for over 20 years with the thought in mind of, “Well… I can’t get rid of it. What if it comes in handy one day?”
Let’s think about this. How would this dress, already out of style, be handy one day? In another 20 years wearing old wedding dresses might come into fashion for parties? Doubtful. I looked up what the dress was worth to sell, which was a big, fat nothing, and then decided that you know who would want this dress? Someone making a costume. Zombie brides or whatever… someone was going to find this dress at the Goodwill and they were going to turn it into something they would enjoy. Me? I didn’t care about the dress, I cared what people might say if I said I got rid of it because society thinks we should hang onto that stuff.
Thankfully, I got over that thinking. I donated the dress. The world didn’t implode.
And now, after finishing the book “The Hoarder in You” by Dr. Robin Zasio, I realize that my cluttering is a result of a family history of cluttering, even hoarding in a few cases. My tendency towards perfectionism, anxiety, and worrying that others will think I’m horrible if I get rid of this or that item is also a contributor. Clutter literally makes me anxious and stressed out, but yet… I clutter. Oh, it’s contained clutter. This area or that area is the receiving dock for all the things for which I can’t think of a home.
Time to reset! Time to clear out the stuff I have no attachment to, don’t like, don’t want, don’t need… You get the idea.
Deciding What’s Important
We’re all messed up in our own special ways, and while it’s not a terrible issue, I try to do ALL THE THINGS! The problem with doing all the things is that when that is combined with an aptitude for picking up new skills with ease and the love of learning new things, I can get caught up trying to master things that, ultimately, I don’t want to do. (CAN do vs WANT to do are two very different things.)
I started to realize that I felt spread too thin, by my own doing, and I was the only person who could rein in that enthusiasm for all the things to focus on some of the things which I found most important. This didn’t mean I couldn’t go back to other things later, but in the moment, I needed to figure out what was important.
Reading, writing, school. Those are my big ones. Not that I don’t get any stress with focusing on those big three. Anxiety paired with perfectionism means I’m always agonizing over my grades. I do not recall this way of thinking when I was younger – and granted, my grades reflected that (WOO! C-average!).
Now? I’m on the Dean’s List. I’m a “Greek” in an Honor Society. I react to academic achievement with the same physical responses I did when competing nationally in horticulture: shaking, sweaty palms, racing pulse. Logically, I realize this is messed up, but… I’m working on it.
Then, reading and writing are important, too. I’ve been ripping through books, physical or audio, this year and I’ve been writing most days in a journal. The latter has helped me analyze my Life and realize more-and-more that resetting things is most beneficial. Looking into the past has allowed me to see what it is that I want to keep doing, what I don’t want to do anymore, what I would be fine letting go, and what I will try to do in the future.
Right now, as I’m well-and-good into my schoolwork for the semester, the garden is thankfully winding down, the pigs are in the freezer, and the honeybees are wrapping up for the season, I find I’m at a place to make a few more changes. A few more resets.
Resetting my consumption of alcohol to significantly less than I have been overindulging in. More working out. More crafting time or writing time where I end up in a “flow state”. Working on my list of things I want to do or resume doing when school is done, like going back to Spanish language classes and perhaps piano or guitar lessons.
Or perhaps something that terrifies me to my very depths, like voice or acting lessons. Because, even if things scare you, they are often worth the fright.
*Not true. I swear ALL THE TIME! But, like most things, there is a time and a place for it. There is also a finesse to it.
**I have heard this for years and kind of knew what it meant but JUST NOW looked up what it was from.
Have you ever done a reset in your Life?
Have you reset your entire Life?
What would you reset now?