So this is what it feels like to be ‘done.’
I don’t even remember the last time that I could say that. It has to be months.
While it is a good feeling to have everything that I need to do accomplished, it also leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. I am as you may have noticed a ‘goal-driven’ person. I have learned to make good use of my time, but only when there are clear goals in front of me. I love a challenge – and nothing kicks me into a higher gear than when someone doubts me or implies that I can accomplish something.
Vague goals don’t count for much. While it is good to have long term and short term goals, I often find that if I push my deadlines too far into the future, I disregard them. I need to set hard and fast dates to achieve certain things, or I wind up looking at them as frivolous. And then nothing gets accomplished.
What I find as I get older is just how much control we have over our lives and what we accomplish. Many of us complain that there isn’t enough time to do the things we would like, but in really looking at and analyzing things, more often than not things don’t get done due to our own choices. That’s not saying it is bad, as we are the only ones who can prioritize our objectives. If you ever noticed, the really important things are the things that we put at the top of the list. Those are the things that are attended first.
Most of this prioritizing is done sub-consciously, as we go through our daily lives. We tend to make mental lists of what we would like to accomplish for any particular day, week, month or even year. These lists are liquid in nature though and every day events affect the order continually, and we are revising it over and over again. Some things are more stable in their position than others – like going to our jobs or making enough money to pay our mortgage, etc. But many are very flexible and tend to float up and down the list of priorities depending on what else the day or days have served us. These include things like cleaning out the closet or painting a room or any of our leisure time activities. Usually these things aren’t pressing as much as the life-sustaining things and are the first things we bump to the bottom – many times rightfully so.
So when I say that I am “done”, I suppose that really isn’t the case. There are things here that I want and need to do that have been neglected as I have accomplished my recent objectives. There is some general organizing and straightening that has to be done, as well as posting some receipts for the business. (Paperwork such as that frequently slides to the bottom of my list very easily!)
I know I need to design more things for myself and the web site. These past two months or so have filled my time completely with projects for the magazine and my wholesalers. While that will pay off more in the future, and is very necessary to keep my business going, it will feel good to be able to design something for my own site and customers that I will be able to release immediately. There is so much that I am thinking of that I can’t wait to begin.
And finally there is my new ‘hobby’ of expanding my education in painting. My set of new paints arrived the other day and I am anxious to use them and get to know them. While I realize that I can’t just drop off work and play all the time, I need to establish a pattern of allowing myself some down time on a regular basis in order to pursue some things that are important to me. We all need that and we tend to cheat ourselves out of our own pleasure and happiness by putting that priority on the bottom of the list.
But life is short. And I truly believe the key to contentment is to find a good balance in our lives. The other day – after I took the day for painting for myself – Keith mentioned to me that he “liked relaxed Sheila” and he saw a difference in my demeanor. I DID feel better, too. Not only did I feel good because I got to have some fun, but I also came back to work on Monday with a wonderfully positive attitude about my job. As a result, I finished off some nagging loose ends that I wasn’t looking forward to doing very much. And I finished them off feeling good about them and I believe that I did a better job because of my positive attitude. I no longer felt as if I was depriving myself from my free time and the things I wanted to do for fun. No matter how much I love my work, I still need those moments to not be ‘working’ or ‘available’ as it can be exhausting and draining at times.
So today will be a general organizational day. I plan to do a little tidying up, post some receipts and think about some new goals to challenge myself. While I have some ideas of what I want to accomplish, they are vague and not really sharply defined, and I need to bring them into better focus so I can begin working on them.
While looking in it may seem that I am doing little today, in reality I am building a foundation for the next round of accomplishment. As with many foundations, they aren’t always seen in the finished project. But they are definitely there and without them, the project wouldn’t exist.
I wish you all a good day today. I hope you all remember to take time to look into yourselves and do not only what is important to others, but also to yourself. Build your own foundation strong so that you can take on the world!
It is not the beauty of a building you should look at; its the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time. – David Allan Coe
My cat ‘Pancakes’ – my eyeglass holder! Just because I needed a picture!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"