am I ready to make a long-term commitment?

I have had a huge decision to make over the past couple of months. I have agonized over it. My thoughts have swung from one extreme to the other, and I have been completely unable to make up my mind.

In David’s world of board gaming, that is called AP – analysis paralysis. I’ve got a bad case of it. This is nothing new; I have had trouble with decision making all my life. My dad, as I think I have mentioned before, says I am good at aiming but I rarely shoot.

This time, though, I have to make a choice, and I have to make it NOW.

It’s time to get the house painted, the painter is ready to pull the trigger, and I have to choose a color.

I know, I know – this doesn’t seem like a life-or-death decision. It’s not. I do know that. But it is a decision I will have to live with for the next 8-to-10 years… and it’s a decision that is going to cost me thousands of dollars, so I won’t be able to change my mind and go with something else.

Part of my problem is that I don’t believe that the color samples I see will actually look the same on our behemoth of a house in broad daylight, nor do I believe that the computer simulations I’ve done – using photos of our actual house – are anywhere near accurate representations, either. What if I choose a green and it turns out to look like the home of a leprechaun? What if the lovely bluish-grey turns out to be robin’s egg blue? Will mine be the house that others point to and wonder what the owners were thinking, taking that torch from the green-and-orange house down the street?

To add to the madness, every time David and I look at paint chips, we are so enamored with the names that the colors hardly seem to matter. We could paint our house Midnight Oil? Done! Or Gargoyle with Dragon’s Breath trim? Think of how much the board gamers would like that! Honestly, though, most of the names seem pretty useless. One of the front-runners on the sample chips is Camas with Skagway trim and Moclips as an accent. Those names really paint a picture in your mind, but a picture of what? Seriously… what?

People have told me to just find a house we like and ask what color it is. This is not as easy as it sounds. The three of us have driven around looking at paint combinations, and not only do we not agree on what we like, at times we can’t even agree on what color a house is. I’ll think it’s green, David will think it is brown, and Quinland will think we can’t choose it anyway because it “looks like poop.”

Oh, well. The painters want to get started this week, and they need to order the paint. I guess I might as well just set one of the sample brochures down, close my eyes, and point. What will it be? Ravalli with Entiat? Nampa with Ochoco? Izee with Targhee? I think as long as I miss the one that has combined Hanford with Potholes, we should be safe. That’s a color scheme with some potential bad karma, right there.

Have you ever had to choose a house color? Or any paint, for that matter? How did you decide? (And who makes up these names? I must know.)

Where the heck am I?

Signpost

I am really struggling with finding my place back here in the real world.

On the road, things were simpler. We ate, slept, explored the world, and hung out with each other. We did schoolwork and paperwork and trip-planning work, but we did it on our own schedule and at our own pace. We had little space, few belongings, and no commitments. We kept ourselves pretty isolated: we didn’t watch the news or read the paper, and we rarely Skyped or emailed anyone at home.

Life here at home is different. We still eat and sleep and do schoolwork and paperwork, but now we have much space, many belongings, and tons of commitments. We are no longer isolated, either; we are, happily, in touch again with our friends and family.

The toughest part is that we are no longer on our own schedule or at our own pace. Everything here is scheduled, everyone has an agenda, and everything goes a million miles per hour compared to life on the road. Once again, I am running: running from place to place, running late, running on empty. It is hard. I spent six months calming down, relaxing, simplifying my life, and in one month it has been ratcheted up again.

I’m trying to breathe deeply. I’m telling myself that going away may have changed me, but it did not cause anything here to change. Life is still as hectic as it was when I left. I need to figure out how to get back into balance. Yoga would help, but I haven’t been to yoga since Quinland broke her leg. Routines would help, but I haven’t got them figured out yet in this new-again life. Cutting back on stuff and on space and on commitments would help, but each of those requires a life change that I have yet to adopt.

I need to accept that the transition is going to be gradual. I will figure out what I can and can’t add back into my life, and do it gradually… on my own schedule and at my own pace.

xo – Lori

Daily Check-In:

I’m grateful for the support of my family and friends today when life ganged up on me and made me cry. I’m still teary, but I’m feeling better.

I’m also grateful, of course, for the photo by Andrea_44.

Mission check-In: Lighten Up!

When I originally started this blog last summer, I had just come off treatment for – and received a definitive diagnosis of – primary progressive multiple sclerosis. It opened my eyes and made me take a closer look at the way I was living. I knew that I was being held back by habits and behaviors that were not working for me, and I began to take steps to release them from my life.

As the weeks went by, I realized that my desire was not just to release things from my life, but also to bring certain new habits and behaviors into it. I decided I wanted to “lighten up” in five areas of my life: my attitude, my relationships, my surroundings, my health, and my time.

I’m going to revisit each of these areas this week. First up: my attitude, otherwise known as the category “Lighten Up!”

Changing my behavior in this aspect of my life is of prime importance to me. I have been a life-long worrier. I come from a long line of worriers, though whether that is nature or nurture, I can’t really say. Genetic predisposition to anxiety? Modeling of worrying behaviors? Either way, I have sadly passed that trait along to my son. Luckily for both of us, we worry about different things, and so we are able to talk each other through our worries rationally.

I’ve felt guilty for years that Quinland takes on this role with me. On the one hand, I tell myself that I have taught him a skill that helps him handle his worries, and taught it to him so effectively that he is comfortable turning it right back on me. That’s healthy. On the other hand, I worry (ha!) that it is putting him in an adult role at too young an age. He should not be comforting me and helping me cope; I should be doing that for him. So learning to “bust” my own worries when they strike is a high priority for me.

I also realize how worry sucks away my time.  It steals away hours that I could be accomplishing things. I know that worry is nothing more than fear, fear that something will go wrong, or – at the very least – that nothing will go right. This fear causes me to avoid things I need to tackle, which causes me, of course, to worry even more. I want this vicious cycle to come to an end.

When I started the blog, I wanted to use it to a) help me keep my goals at the forefront of my mind, b) give me a place to record my successes, and c) hold myself accountable. Over time, however, I realized a couple of things. At the beginning of the blog, I concentrated pretty heavily on lightening my load by getting rid of the excess things in my life. It was an admirable goal, and one that was much-needed, as I had to empty a large part of my house for our friend Greg to move in. Later, the blog tended to be more a chronicle of my life; while interesting, it was not really helping me reach my goals.

I want to make a conscious effort to concentrate on each area of my mission weekly. I’m not going to assign a specific category to a specific day, but I will try to post once a week on how I have worked on that particular area. (That way, I’ll be posting five times a week, giving myself a little leeway to do some writing.) My hope is that this will give me focus and direction, two things I definitely need to develop!

Next week, I’m going to look at how (or if) I have been working toward the goals I’ve stated above – to relax, reduce stress, stop worrying, and think positive thoughts – and whether my efforts so far have been successful.

I’m still going to check in on each post with things I am grateful for. No matter what the blog topic of the day, being aware of my blessings will bless my life in many ways.

Daily Check-In:

  • I’m grateful! for having  a strong marriage. David and I have our ups and downs as all couples do; we are very different, and while our individual strengths complement the other’s weaknesses, our differences can also lead to frustration and misunderstanding. Still, we have always made a conscious effort to work things out. (We have a “rule” that neither of us can ever stomp out on a fight-in-progress. We can ask to wait to talk about it later, when we are more calm, but no door slamming!)