Early Morning

by Kathy Larson

The more things
change. . .
The
more
they
stay
the
same.

Doing dishes at 5:30
on a Saturday morning
is not one of them.

I left
the kitchen
in a mess
last night
after eating
takeout pasta
and watching
a movie
we’d seen
before.

Too tired.
Too lazy.
Too bored.
To clean up.
Like I should have.

Ah, well.
Something to do
this morning
when all the thoughts
crowding my head
refused to let me
sleep.

There’s something
that hasn’t changed.

Day 76 — It seems I’m falling behind

It seems I’m falling behind in my goals. But perception isn’t always accurate.

Despite the longer gaps in my blog posts I have been quite busy working on my goals. Purging is continuing in all its forms and I am feeling lighter, clearer and more in control every day. My daily walks continue and my body and mind are definitely the better for that.

I spent the first two weeks of March back in my home near Edmonton. The first week, I watched my grandchildren while their parents went on a holiday. I had a great time and it was the perfect way to start off a new month. I love great beginnings!

The second week involved taking care of business at home. Vehicle check-up, personal check-up — the joy of having to find a new doctor — sigh. Then there was chores at home — the house needed a good cleaning prior to company arriving. Window frames needed painting, a shower head needed fixing, and electrical switches needed replacing — thank you Landon!

During that second week I was struggling. Struggling with the enormity of repairs and maintenance our house needs, struggling with feelings of self-doubt, struggling with anxiety over all the things I cannot control. When I get like that it can be very difficult to remain positive and to see that there is a way out from all the dark thoughts, the overwhelming need to BE IN CONTROL. Lucky for me I had my grandpuppy Hades to walk every day and, later in the week, we were expecting company.

Walking Hades got me out into the fresh air and allowed me to escape my internal drama for an hour or so. And because I could turn it off for that little while it made returning to it easier to cope with. Slowly, I was able to tell myself that I was doing fine, that everything would be fine, that my house was fine — you get the idea.

By the time our company arrived — Tim’s brother and his wife — relatives we consider good friends, I was, not to be facetious, in control. My house was spotless. The dangerous electrical switches had been replaced, my vehicle was given the thumbs-up, the shower worked properly and my window frames were painted. I could relax. Kind of.

Because, of course, you want everything to be perfect when you have guests. Not that I needed to worry — our guests are incredibly easy to get along with and so much fun to be around that we always have a great time. Spending a few days with them got me to let go and just enjoy our time together.

Something that was said to me a long time ago when I was a girl of about 13 or 14 by a friend of my mother’s came back to me during that second week. I had been complaining  to her about how messy our house was and about how I hated always having to be cleaning up. Why, I remember asking this person, couldn’t my mother keep a clean house (sorry Mom) and how embarrassing it was to me when people came to visit. My Mom’s friend, whom I had been babysitting for, said: Kathy, people don’t come to visit your mother’s house; they come to visit your mother.

Since then, I have, of course, heard that same adage repeated in many different ways and forms. And I’ve always thought how true it was, while in the back of my mind a little voice whispered: yes, but not your house. Your house will be neat and tidy and people will come and visit and be SO IMPRESSED. 

Well, guess what. I finally realized the actual truth of those words. No one cared that I had spent two days dusting, washing and scrubbing — they cared that they were there. With us. Laughing, visiting and living.

When I think back to those days when I was that snotty, opinionated girl I see that our house was not dirty — it was messy — how could it not be with ten people, a dog and two cats living in it? But it was always (almost) filled with laughter and fun. Just about any day after school we could come home and find my Mom sitting at the kitchen table having coffee or, occasionally, a golden Cadillac or a grasshopper with one of her friends while they played crib or double solitaire. My brother’s and sister’s friends came and went like our house was their own. My parents made them all feel welcome and comfortable.

We didn’t have a lot, but what we had they weren’t ashamed of.

Why, oh, why does it take so long to learn these simple lessons?

Day 17 – 18 — I’m not gonna be able to purge no more

Yesterday and today have been taken up with getting ourselves to Miami where we will embark on Friday for our two week Panama cruise. I can’t wait to leave.

Being able to purge is really not feasible, considering that we had to be very particular about what we packed.  If I toss anything out it could lead to catastrophe.

But if I had to say I’ve purged anything over the  last two days it would be: Stress and anxiety. Stress because getting ready for a trip is always an ordeal – did I pay the all bills that need paying; did I remember to pack everything; did I get all the documents in order that we need for the trip? Anxiety because, well, even though I’m getting better at letting shit go I still have to keep working on it.

Yesterday though I was quite pleased with myself. After making sure the suitcases were finally organized and packed once and for all, I laid down for a nap, and then I went for a walk. It was such a beautiful Alberta chinook-y day that I couldn’t resist.

Dad and I talked and walked and enjoyed the sunshine.  I saw a friend at the post office who I hadn’t seen in ages and we had a wonderful conversation. It was so nice to see her and get caught up on her life.

Then, before I knew it, it was time to head to the airport. After nearly  7 hours of flights and a two hour stop in Toronto, we landed in Miami. We’re only here for one night and then we embark on the Norwegian Star tomorrow at 2 pm. It’s been a good day of getting to know our cruise mates a little better over food and drink (and a little synchro swimming by my husband and one of the other guys at the hotel pool).

To the lady who yelled at her kids to grab their towels and then barked “we’re leaving” all I can say is: lighten up, life’s to short to not enjoy every moment of it whenever you can.

Bon voyage!

Day 13 and Day 14 — Purging along

I didn′t get around to blogging yesterday about my purging efforts. Not that there was much to write about, though.

We were supposed to leave yesterday morning to get home early so that we could do some packing and errands prior to us leaving on our cruise. (I am sooo excited for this cruise!) However, there was a power outage in our building and we wound up having to stick around much longer than we planned. Tim even got stuck in the elevator once!

When we did finally get on the road it was 4:30 which put us in BA around 8:30. We went straight to the hotel where my DIL had planned a surprise birthday party for our son. We stayed til about 11 o`clock and when we got home I was so tired the last thing on my mind was to sit down and try to write.

This is what I purged yesterday: some face care product samples that I`d got at The Body Shop a while ago. I didn′t care for them, but I was forcing myself to use them because they were free and well, I felt obligated. Which is a little crazy, I know. So, yesterday when I was packing to come home I saw them and I thought throw these out! For a millisecond I considered not doing it, but then I walked over to the garbage can and let ′em go.

I also tossed my poinsettia. Every year I buy one and every year I say this year this thing is going to live. And every year it dies. I try to nurse them along, but it never works. I keep them around usually until Spring and then I plant them out in the garden and hope like hell that they`ll make a miraculous recovery. It′s never worked. So, I spared myself all that watering and agony and just dropped the poor thing in the trash. At least it will turn into compost.

Today, which is day 14 was a busy day. A birthday dinner for my son and his family. Shopping, dealing with a shattered patio window and problems with my brand new front door.

We spent a good chunk of our day getting things ready to go on our cruise. The purging involved in that has been weeding out what not to pack. I tend to pack light, but I′ve never cruised before and I`m a bit nervous about exactly what I need to take.

I began with just about every item of summer clothing I own, plus a few new things that I′ve bought in anticipation of our adventure. I plan well, and know that I`ll be doing some hand washing, but, holy crap does it ever seem like a lot! My stomach is in knots and will be until we are on our way.

cruise-ship-cruiser-cruise-ship-144237.jpeg

 

Day 11

pexels-photo-774531.jpeg
Photo courtesy Google free gallery

Once again, today was basically a non-purge day. There’s just nothing physical here I can throw out. We haven’t lived here long enough to accumulate enough crap that I have to get rid of it.

On an emotional level I’m doing pretty good, though. My daily walks are certainly helping with that.

One thing I have noticed about my personal well-being since starting my purging goal is that I’m feeling more secure about how I feel and how I react to situations that tend to cause me anxiety. I hope that makes sense.

What I’m trying to say, I guess, is that I’m not worrying so much about what other people might think about what I say or do, or, not do.

All my life I’ve been a worrier. I like to joke and say “if I don’t have something to worry about I’m not happy.” On the one hand I am great at saying how much I don’t care what people think of me, or the things I do, but secretly I worry about it all the time.

By performing small, easily managed tasks like tossing out magazines and old hair care products, and letting go of anger and guilt for things from my past, both distant and recent, I’ve made myself feel like I’m in control.

The very idea of being in control is such an illusory ideal, but it’s something we all long to achieve.

By focusing every day on one thing that is important to me for that day, regardless of how trivial it might seem, I am letting go of so much unnecessary worry and the self-recrimination that comes along with it.