If you’re like me, you see the amount of books and articles about how to change your life for the better and you wonder if the ‘three easy steps’ outlined therein actually work.
I mean, we all know that we are striving for a more peaceful, less busy, more organised lives. We all know that we should cut down on what we’re doing. We all know that we should rest more, simplify, find jobs that work with our personalities, remember to make time for ourselves, watch less TV, pay less attention to social media, read more, exercise more, etc.
But sometimes I wonder, does it actually work?
I mean, I wrote a whole book on saying, ‘no’. I wrote about setting priorities and about not letting the need define your response. I wrote about all sorts of good ways of getting more energy back in your life.
Some days I feel like I really need to go back and read my book again.
Others look at my life and tell me I need to go back and read my book again.
Yes, my life now is full. I have plenty to do. I have exciting projects coming out my ears. And from the outside it may look like I haven’t made any progress at all.
But I have.
And I’ll tell you how I know that.
Last weekend was one of those weekends where everything happens at the same time and you can’t spread the commitments out.
On Friday I had my parents 50th wedding anniversary. And the best way to celebrate that was to have a dinner party at our house. So we did. Eleven of us over for a candle-light dinner in my lounge room.
On Saturday there was a book fair. Me, in a room full of people, selling my wares, giving a reading and a talk about my publishing journey, from 9 am until 5 pm.
On Saturday evening our church had a women’s ministry evening and I offered a writing workshop as part of that. In my house.
Now, last year, any one of those events would have been enough to tire me out. And I admit that having all three of them in a row sent me into a bit of a spin. But this year it was different.
This year I could spend the time leading up to the weekend getting organised and ready. I could put some normal commitments on the back-burner and take them up again after the busy weekend was over. I arranged to have the party catered so that I didn’t have to cook, and I arranged my son and his girlfriend to clean up for me on Saturday so I came home to a clean house. I could think this all through. I had the time to think.
This year I had the time to rest afterwards.
On Sunday I chose not to go to church. I sat in bed and read a book (Katherine Scholes, The Perfect Wife, great, if you like literary fiction) and then in the afternoon Moz and I went for a drive.
This year I was fine. I could cope. I felt tired but I didn’t feel completely empty.
And today I’m ready to get back into it. To write this blog. To do my editing job. To potter around and do the banking and make dinner and do all the things I didn’t get done on the weekend, as well as the things that my work-from-home life entails.
I think that last year, or the year before, a weekend like the one just gone would have wiped me out for a week. I would have got sick. I would have used up every last bit of my resources and I wouldn’t have had time to recover.
But now, now that I’ve changed my life, I’ve made choices that work well with who I am and how I do things, now I can cope with the occasional full-on weekend. And I can cope with the rest of life as well.
I’m not perfect. My life is full. Maybe I’m still saying ‘yes’ too much and need to keep saying ‘no’ more. I know I need to keep an eye on it. I’ll need to keep an eye on it for the rest of my life. But I am improving. And my life is improving as a result.
It does work.
I’m so grateful.
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