I wanted to talk about something off the style topic this week because I had a big realization and I’m betting I’m not the only one who has been through this.
Sometimes I feel/think nobody cares. I start to feel sorry for myself and before I know it I’m on the self pity train to gettin’nothingdone-ville. That mindset also made it REALLY difficult to notice supportive friends and family when they were right in front of me!
I was recently feeling this way and feeling stuck in every aspect of life. Then I realized something. “Sarah, all your friends are busy eating their own elephants.”
Today I learned that you HAVE TO take responsibility for yourself for everything and sometimes that really sucks. It feels lonely and it feels like no one cares sometimes. But really everyone’s so busy eating their elephants that they don’t have time to look up and see what’s on your plate.
A little background on me and how I came to this realization.
Right now I’m in a season of change. Not major car crash change, more like being boiled slowly change. I sold my business of about 10 years and I went through a lot of emotions when I did that. Some emotions were “thank God, I’m free!!!!!!!!!” “ Others were “what the hell are you doing? Have you lost your damn mind? You are throwing away a good income and for what?”
Well, I finally sold and got over all that. It was over and sold and you can’t undo it. I had to go forward.
Questions started coming up in my mind and heart after I adjusted to my new retired life. Who am I? What do I care about?
I was asking all these questions and didn’t have answers. It took me another 18 MONTHS to finally figure out how I wanted to move forward. Down side was that I was eating into my pile I was living off of. Will I make it? Will I have to learn how to survive all over again? Why me?
I also had regular life happening, because as we all know time cares for no one and slows down for no one! I was making decisions for my family, homeschooling my son, maintaining my home, building new businesses and being a wife.
Did you know relationships take work? Yeah, LOTS!
Homeschooling takes work and time. LOTS!
The house falls apart, sometimes all at once. In one month I replaced the oven, washer, dryer and microwave. Then the next month the pipes started rattling. Then, my dear Father In Law became ill and we were going to the hospital daily.
It started really piling up.
I was already worried about money and then day by day something new would need tending to. I was dropping plates and feeling like my friends didn’t care. Oh sure, they would ask me how I was. I would tell them I’m OK because, what am I going to say? “Yeah, I could really use help cleaning my house for the next, oh, week or so. Could you drop everything you’re doing and help me with that? Thanks.” Um no, I wouldn’t ask a friend that. If you have a friend like that DON’T let them go for all the tea in China! I’m sure I have a friend that would help for a day or run an errand for me but really they are busy too.
I was driving to the hospital to visit my Father in law. I was feeling pretty lonely. My husband is dealing with trying to start his business and worried about his dad, my friends are all busy and I’m busy too. I started to think “Why me? Why Now? I don’t want to go through this.”
Then it hit me.
When I have all that weighing down on me and I am told to “take it a day at a time” it doesn’t really make me feel better. Why? Because everyday is like the last in that position. Then they say well, it’s like eating an elephant, take one bite at a time.
Somehow that didn’t fit either because I felt WAY more overwhelmed that just one big problem. Then I realized.
I’m not eating 1 elephant. I’m eating at least 3!
When you are starting a business or have a big project at work that is 1 elephant.
If you are dealing with issues with your kids, maybe one needs medical help or they extra help after school. That’s another elephant.
Then you need to work on your relationship with your husband because you love him and he loves you and you guys should find time to appreciate each other before too much time passes and before you know it a year has passed and you’ve grown apart. That’s another elephant.
Sometimes all those elephants need to be consumed around the same time. When you are told to just calm down and do your best you feel like you are going to lose it. How can I survive this?
Well I think of two things. I think of splitting them into their appropriate groups. That helps to actually be able to step back and assess the reality of things without being caught off guard. Second, when you realize the gravity of things as they are in the moment you are able to get really clear on your priorities.
This is sometimes painful, but also great because you suddenly stop doing the things that just don’t matter. You need money to pay for rent? Suddenly that new blouse you want can wait. Grandpa is in the hospital? Suddenly you find time every day to see him that you didn’t before. Humans tend to learn things “the hard way.”
Instead of hating that I have come to terms with it.
Life can get messy and I’ve come to learn that beating myself up over not handling it perfectly is more destructive and makes the stressful season last longer. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Knowing that others are probably going through their own thing helped me to be more compassionate and to be there for friends who were showing the symptoms I had. I think it helps me to be a better friend and family member which is the best outcome I can think of.
I snapped out of that pity party quicker than ever too! Go easy on yourself. Stop feeling guilty and take inventory of your elephants. You’re OK, and I’m rooting for you!
I hope you enjoyed this detour from style and I hope it helped. If style is an elephant you are struggling with than drop me a comment right now and I’d love to help you take it down one bite at a time!