Trying Something New

The first day of 2011 found me home with a sick child while the rest of the family gathered at my in-laws for black-eyed peas and board games.  I’m trying to not dwell on the possible ramifications of having missed out on the “good luck” black-eyed peas and instead focus on something that came to me during the many quiet hours of January 1st.  This year, I’m going to try something new.  I am going to try to experience life unlike my true nature dictates.

I am a “jump in and get it over,” “whole enchilada,” “all or nothing,” kind of gal.  I have always assumed that is just who I am.  But what if for a year I try to intentionally “dip my toes in,” “take just a little taste,” or “partially accomplish” things?  Will it be so bad?  I don’t know, but I’m going to give it a shot for a year.  A whole year of my life, I’m going to try to be someone I’m not.  Will I merely be a poser?  Or will I become a new me?

I am an over-achiever by nature.  I tend to focus on events in my life and develop plans on how to make those events as successful as possible.  But when you set the bar very high, there are going to be times when you can’t get over it.  There are going to be times when you are just too tired to get a running start, too busy to do the right prep work, too distracted to focus.  And then, you will fail.

And every time FAILURE because a reality, it leaves a mark.  And after time, those marks require some attention.

Remember how Dory got through the chaos of her world?  But just swimming.  I interpret this famous line to mean the process of swimming rather than a swimming event.  Events are things we gear up for, we jump in with both feet and get through.  An event may take all your strength or skills, but it is something we do and then are done with.  But a process is the little, day-to-day bits that add up to a successful completion.

So how did all this big thinking happen on Saturday?  I cleaned my kitchen.  And then I kept it clean.  The cleaning of the kitchen was an event.  The keeping it clean was a process.  Here’s an example of kitchen events versus kitchen processes:  do you clean as you go through the process of making a meal or do you skootch things to the side and then have another big project awaiting you?  I’ve always been a skootcher.  The problem is that the pile of dirty dishes can become so scary that I just don’t want to deal with it, so I flit through my world looking for another event that seems less daunting.  An event that I can successfully accomplish as a whole.  Get all the dishes done.  Wash all the laundry.  Clean the whole house.  There is always a long list of events needing to be done.  At which point I become paralyzed like a deer in the headlights.

I realized that my approach has just been stressing me out and making me resent the people I live with.  More importantly, I am training my husband and kids to participate in events rather than processes. Obviously, such an approach is not without some major emotional upheaval.

My whole life has been a chain of events strung together to make me.  But what if I could take a year and just do little bits and pieces?  Would I end up in the same place but feel less taxed and out-of-breath?  I’m going to see.

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9 thoughts on “Trying Something New

  1. Your distinction between processes and events really makes sense to me. I have that same impulsiveness–the desire to jump in and do something all at once. And yet the most important things in my life can’t be accomplished in one big jump–or even two or three. Life is made up all the many things I come back to each day and in the routine I find happiness and comfort.

    • Thanks for finding me and letting me know that you feel the same impulsivity. I always crave “balance” and am hoping this approach will help me find it.

  2. How about diving right into the idea of just carefully dipping your toes in? IOW, commit fully (as seems to be your nature) to trying this new way of doing things? That might satisfy your inner diver enough to allow room for some judicious dipping. 🙂

  3. Dear Kristina,

    This is an important post. To you, obviously, and also to those of us who follow you at one cyber-remove, wishing you well, celebrating your accomplishments, commiserating your hardships. We’re all alone in our own heads, but together in our friendships and our journeys.

    I have rarely been the diver, more often the wader. However, I’ve been associated with, related to, married to a Diver or so in my life. I’m familiar with the mindset. It is, as you say, a question of Balance, process over event, journey over destination.

    For you it becomes “Just keep swimming” for me it’s “Onward through the fog”.

    Thanks for sharing that journey with us.

  4. Excellent post! I’m similar to you with the jump “all in!” or why do it… I’ve pared my activities down to ONE Bible study that split into two groups and am choosing to go to Wed night and Thursday morning to see everyone (only do one Bible lesson for both. That’s it. Quit the others… And am resigning from decorating for Easter and Mother’s Day at church. Did it for 9 years. Christian is down to two activities swimming and Upward Basketball. That’s it. Paring it all back… This is my year to declutter all of the stuff out of my home and “seems obligatory” activity out of my life. Back to basics. Then I can heal from my Mom’s passing, heal my self, and move on with LESS baggage… And finally start getting funny ON STAGE! Thanks for an awesome post… Can’t wait to see ya on on Friday at Curious Comedy! Whoo! Hoo! ~ Dana 😉

  5. I’ve always been the kind of person to jump into things and take large bites only to fail… miserably. In fact, I’ve accumulated so many of those marks that I was becoming a bit gun-shy. So, I’m happy to say that I, too, have resolved to take baby steps this year. I open my eyes every morning and focus on the little tasks and goals that I’ve pre-determined S.T.D.T. (shit to do today). We’re only 3 days into the year but so far so good!

    Good luck to you on your bits and pieces!

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