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.