After reading some posts this morning, checking my emails, & one short hike I decided actions speak louder than words and I headed into my “bill room.” When my daughter and her family moved out it opened up possibilities for all those rooms that I hadn’t been using in >6 years. One small bedroom on the main floor was to be converted to my sewing room but that would entail moving large pieces of furniture from the bigger upstairs room so I postponed the transition work. Meanwhile, I moved the kitchen table that my daughter didn’t want to take with her into the tiny room and in the last year it has been my bill-paying-room; all my medical bills, transactions, and all other form of incessant paperwork/mail has been alternately spread out over and/or shredded/filed. Acutely aware that April 15th will be here before I want or am ready for it, I have been back-burner-ing my chore of getting in there and sorting. I don’t know why but I DETEST any sort of paperwork/filing…anything that requires me to keep a record/file, but DETEST it I do and I have never, in all my adult years, become accustomed to or reconciled that particular responsibility. And don’t get me started on the ‘junk mail’ that I get which, because I shred everything with my personal information -including my address on every piece of mail, ends up being piled up until the day I get to it.
So…I got in there and organized a ‘work space’ that included the six foot table, another small folding table to put my box file on, and the tall cardboard box that my shredder is perched atop plus two lamps placed so I can see (again, gray day here) and turned on Pandora to an instrumental music station so I didn’t have to hear my own breathing. Shortly after it occurred to me to set a timer and I decided one-hour was enough to make a dent in the project and then either take a break or just leave the rest for another day.
One hour later and the table was cleaned off (except two file-folders that need to be sorted), the shredder box is mostly full, and the dogs were pacing outside the door. I turned off the lights and got ready to take them for a walk.
While walking I try to enjoy the quiet but the committee in my brain never shuts up so I make the effort to list my gratitudes; sometimes I do this out loud only because it keeps my mind focused on the task but I usually, unconsciously, resort to ‘talking in my head’ again which eventually makes my mind wander and I have to redirect. Today I was thinking about expectations and (daily) life and growing older. I have realized without noting it specifically that I no longer have expectations such as:
- I don’t expect nor anticipate ever meeting someone (you know, a boyfriend, partner, special person) with whom I can enjoy my golden years. I am resigned, not sadly, to my life of independence and remaining solo.
- I don’t expect that I will ever move/have a home that I love/enjoy. I am resigned to stay where I am and make do with what I have and be grateful for it.
- I no longer worry or even expect to retire. I have no idea if I will be this side of the ground in 10-12 years but….I do put money aside and have vague plans should retirement actually happen.
- I no longer expect my life to change into something significant/special. I have spent years anticipating, with every major decision, that ‘things’ will suddenly all fall into place and I’ll have the kind of life that I image other people enjoy. I now know that we all have -even the “rich & famous”- our crosses to bear and things are not always what they seem nor what we want them to be. It’s a constant balancing act.
- Each day is one big question mark with a short list of ‘things to do’. Depending on the day, work day or day off, the list is either longer or shorter and the question mark is either significant or not. I don’t have plans/expectations for the week or season or year. I just focus on the one day that is here and now and see where my actions/inactions take me.
It’s much more satisfying not having expectations (obviously because I don’t suffer disappointments) and just living in the now. I like making out a list of things-to-do for my day and then crossing them off. All the small, banal accomplishments strung together with each day is life; that’s all it is. I don’t know where and when all the hullaballoo came about ‘reaching for the stars’ or ‘becoming a somebody’ or ‘making it big’…it’s such a delusion that so many of us have/had succumbed to only to find out we are just average, everyday people with average, everyday lives. I’m okay with that now. I have finally realized my limitations and I’m much more comfortable just being me and doing the little things that I enjoy.
It’s dusk outside now and the time of day to start turning on some lights. This is usually the time I start watching a show or movie but since I’ve sat here for about an hour now I’m going to forego the typical and go do something else that needs to be done. If you’ve read this, I hope it resonates with you or maybe helps anyone who feels like their life isn’t what they want or expected. Most of us are right here with you. Just accept each day for the open opportunities that exist and don’t be so hard on yourself.
~~ addendum: two hours later:
I tackled my basement: I piled my daughter’s family’s stuff (she said they had taken “everything” so I sent a photo and a text: come get the rest this weekend) in the center, I found her/his family’s box of heirloom china that everyone got all anxious about when they moved because it was ‘gone’, shuffled around some stuff onto the now vacant shelves available for me to use – all the while a Netflix show that I can barely tolerate watching but don’t mind listening too blabbed in the background. Ah…that feels better. I should be more motivated tomorrow to continue with one mess or the other…but only for a short time…I still want to enjoy my day.