Sunday, October 23, 2011

Taking my own advice

So this week I spent more time thinking about my five priorities: spirituality, community, curiosity, purpose, and exercise. They're actually pretty good guidelines for making decisions and spending time.

Spirituality is one where I can be a slacker. I do have spiritual beliefs that make a large difference in my life, but they can conflict with my Type-A personality. A core of my spirituality is acceptance of things I can't change and trust that things will work out as they're intended to. I often think I can change just about everything, which has gotten me into trouble many, many times in the past. It can look like I'm trying to control other people - which still happens from time to time, though not nearly as often these days. Also, it's my tendency to have a do-it-myself attitude toward challenges, which I sometimes pursue until I'm backed into a corner with angry barking dogs penning me in. I'm hoping that as I progress along my spiritual path I'll achieve acceptance before the dogs show up.

Community isn't too easy, either. I have a community of bloggers, a community of writers, a community of mediators, a community of 12-step program people, and a neighborhood. My family of origin is nearly gone now except for my sister and some cousins, and we have become a community of sorts in the past couple of years. But I can't say I have a community of girlfriends - you know, good friends you have known forever, and you hang out and take trips and celebrate birthdays and such. For some reason, I think I should have that too. But the fact is, I don't enjoy hanging out like that. I'm much better one on one, and most of my friends don't even know each other. It's always been like that for me. I'm wondering, in my times of future-tripping, how I would do as a widow. My husband and I do so much together. How would I be if I lived alone? I'm thinking maybe expanding my community now would be a hedge against that time. But I'm not sure I want to make the effort! Go figure.

Curiosity is easy. I actually ought to cut back on the pursuit of new stuff. Or maybe I should look at this one as a priority I have well in hand.

And purpose. I'm lucky to have multiple opportunities to be of service. Just yesterday I attended a mediation in-service with a county commissioner talking about parenting plans - how they always need to be child-centered. I'm so looking forward to volunteering at the dispute resolution center once I'm certified.

Exercise. Well, that's always an annoying one. I like to walk, but since I hurt my back my feet aren't comfortable in walking shoes. I actually have to put exercise on my daily to-do list. I am pretty good about the strengthening exercises I do, and the gym routine. But I must admit that one of the good things about the cold I've had all week is that I could justify not going to the gym! I can rationalize with the best of them.

On a different topic, I'm putting the finishing touches on my book. I told the publisher I'd have the materials to them by a week from this Friday. Reminds me of a project at work, and just as nerve wracking. My words, my experience out there in the world, instead of just on my computer. Scary and exciting at the same time.

20 comments:

Rita said...

Funny, even my friends I have had for decades don't actually know each other. I am better one-on-one, too, I guess. Even blogging felt odd to me for a long time. ;)

I do the best with the spiritual and the worse on the exercise. Used to be more a TypeA-do-everything-myself before my body took over and forced me to back off and slow down. Now the only thing that can still move pretty fast is my mind--LOL!

I think your priorities are good ones and you are being true to yourself. Very best of luck with your book! Congrats!!

Grandmother said...

I so related to the control issue in spirituality! In my first co-dependents anon. meeting, I choked on that turn it over to a higher power thing- what? Like he's doing such a great job? I don't think so! Imagine my arrogance - I could do a better job that God! CODA helped. A lot. As for community- if you like friends one on one, then so be it. What's the problem? And projecting yourself out into widow hood? I know that was just a momentary lapse in your stay-in-the-now spirituality!

Out on the prairie said...

We are similar in groups of friends. I spend most of my time by myself and have a very small group to draw from.When I lived in a larger city I had fun entertaining and putting together groups to keep the conversations interesting.

DJan said...

Sitting here at Harvey Field hoping to get my knees in the breeze... Good post, I don't know how I missed it!

Teresa Evangeline said...

I think it's wonderful that you're getting the book about your Viet Nam experience out there. Good timing.

I have few close friends. although I do feel a sense of community around me. I am a bit of a loner, to say the least. I think about enlarging my circle, and then I don't. I guess I would if it really mattered that much to me.

I also used to be a complete control addict. Learning to let go was not easy, but it has served me well. I sometimes veer back in that direction and have to remind myself to surrender to a higher power, get my puny human agendas out of the way and make room for some real good to happen.

Sounds like you're putting your time to very good use.

Ms Sparrow said...

I wish I had your energy level and your active mind! I feel I'm lagging behind in all five priorities. Sounds like you are a long way from being a bag lady by any measure!

Terra said...

One idea for exercise is to find a warm water pool to exercise in, which I do two times a week. Quite often people with back problems are in the pool and they love it.
Your priorities are all good ones, and best wishes on your book. My second book will be published in April. It is so fun to hold the actual book!

Beth said...

I loved working out at the fitness center at home. Here it is not practical and so I find other means.
Beat of luck with your book.

Retired English Teacher said...

I can relate to what you are saying on so many levels when you right about community. It is an area where I have struggled ever since I married my husband and moved to the town where he was living.

I've never been one for a bunch of girlfriends. I was in a girlfriend group in high school, in college, even as a young married. I always get bored with being in such groups. I prefer having a few close friends, but I have even struggled with that since marrying my husband. He is my best friend, and we don't have couple friends that we interact with much.

I too have worried about what I would do if I ever found myself a widow. I would want some girlfriends to travel with and to go to dinner with. I am thinking about how I can change this. Some of my close girlfriends have moved away. That has made it hard for me to make new ones. Sometimes, I would just prefer to stay home and read or blog. Crazy.

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I think you're doing great, having identified your priorities and thinking about how you're doing. I have been thinking about a post on women friends. I used to have lots of them, and a few knew each other. I had four or five really close friends, and they have all moved away. I know that I need to reach out and find a couple of people to do things with, and to talk with in the way that women do. Thanks for a really interesting post.

Terry said...

This really hit home with me as well. I'm still working so much of my social interactions stem from that, but as much as I grouse that DH and I don't socialize as much as I'd like, when opportunity presents, I don't take advantage of it. I'm close to my sisters however, and almost 99.9% of our socializing is family events. I too wonder what I would do if I became a widow, as my husband and I do everything together and we have no real couple friends. He's truly my best friend and we do everything together. I found others comments interesting in that many if us shared similar thoughts .

Galen Pearl said...

I enjoyed getting to know you better through your priorities. Lovely post. Will you tell us more about your book? (Maybe you did in an earlier post?)

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Wonderful post, Linda! I'm so excited about your book! You will tell us when it will be available, won't you? I struggle with priorities, too: the health priority of fitness and weight loss, the priority of getting back to writing books again, the priority of nurturing friendships. I just made arrangements to go visit my dearest girlfriend Mary in California next month. We've missed each other so much since Bob and I moved to Arizona. I never ran around with a lot of girlfriends or just hung out. I was too busy working my way through school and pursuing my passions. But, along the way, I've had some truly treasured friends -- both female and male -- who mean so much to me. I'm better one to one as well. Socializing with couples is so hard. It always seems that one partner is a great potential friend and the other partner is unbearable. We've been fortunate to find a few couple friends we both like here in Arizona as well as a few couple friends back in California, a majority of those gay couples. But largely, I prefer close, one-to-one friendships.

Elizabeth McKenzie said...

I'm not good at any of it--maybe spirituality. I only have a few good friends. I expect at my funeral there will only be family present and those few good friends. I love my solitude, but I can get bored at times.

Friko said...

ou are obviously doing a lot of thinking, always a good way to pass the time. I also like that you give yourself enough space and aren't hard on yourself about the things you think might be better arranged in your life.

Good luck with your book.

Georgia said...

I also spend time wondering about the life I would lead without Alan. Not a happy thought! 38 years as best friends. I have good friends but I don't spend a huge amount of time socializing. I enjoyed this blog, it is nice to get to know you better.

Jenn Flynn-Shon said...

Oh its like you went into my head and pulled thoughts right out of it on Community! My closest friends are not only not friends with each other but most of them live scattered all over the country. I could re-write all that same stuff for what you said about exercise too, minus the injury. I hope you're feeling better and more up to it soon!

I can not wait for the day you say your book is available to purchase, I'll be one of the first in line!

Deb Shucka said...

Such wonderful news about your book - stuck sort of randomly at the end of this very reflective post. I hope you'll keep us posted. Big congrats!

wheels4me said...

I also tend strongly towards interacting with friends one friend at a time. Part of that is a hearing issue, I can't understand people when talking over a noisy background such as a loud restaurant or party.

The spiritual part of my life is going better than the exercise part. Maybe next year...

Linda Reeder said...

Your community paragraph sounds so much like me it was startling. I too wonder how I would do as a widow. I think I would be lost! So I just stop thinking about it.
Exercise is an effort, but the payoff in mobility keeps me going.