I often say to people that I’m like a butterfly – “Oh look, what a pretty flower”. “But look at that even prettier flower over there”. “And I must visit that one”..
This is actually unfair to butterflies, who are feeding and doing what butterflies do. But it says a lot about my lack of focus and how easily I’m distracted. This has driven me crazy for years. I’ve veered between list-making and routines for everything and “chill out, let it be, it’ll happen in its own time” -only it doesn’t.
I lay awake last night thinking about all the decluttering still to do, the distinctly grubby house, the friends waiting to hear from me, the pile of unfinished quilts, the bucket list that gets longer with nothing being crossed off it, the weight that is lost and goes back on again, my growing sense of mortality and limited time to actually LIVE life rather than just fret about it. And the perpetual nagging sense of guilt at all that’s waiting to be done and the days that drift away from me with not much more achieved than more pictures of owls and quilts on Pinterest.
Some people would say that some of the things that bother me – the decluttering, the state of the house – are things not worth worrying about, that they can be ignored in favour of the fun stuff. True to some extent – I’d never refuse an invitation because today’s the day I clean the oven – but I’ve learned in the past few years that I need reasonably orderly surroundings if I’m to function well. Which is unfortunate, because I’m very untidy.
I’ve tried regimented systems such as Flylady, which have given me some good ideas, but are too constricting. I’ve tried going with the flow – doing what I have energy for – but that’s just a disaster – not so much flow as drift.
I’ve always run away from routine, goals, targets, anything of that ilk. I have, over the past few years, built a few basic routines that ensure I eat and have clean clothes and that the house doesn’t begin to resemble the local tip, but there are always backlogs and too much fire-fighting when something becomes urgent. I’m singularly lacking in perseverance, focus and consistency, and it means that I’m not making the most of life. I’m not saying this with a judgemental self-critical tone – been there, done that – it’s a simple fact. I’m never going to be driven and task-focused, but maybe I could move a little further in that direction?
A related issue is that for a few years now I’ve been drawn to the idea of a simpler lifestyle, with less stuff and less complexity. I’ve made some progress towards this, but again, it’s hampered by failure to follow through and continue what I started
My lack of focus doesn’t only affect the basic household stuff either. I can also identify issues connected with health, relationships, creativity and the achievement of my dreams that are fundamentally affected by this.
So sometime in the middle of last night, sleepless because I’d been eating sugary food too late at night, I told myself that there HAS to be a solution. There has to be a way of living my life that suits me, enables me to stay on top of all the routine stuff and have time and energy to focus on getting as much fun, intellectual stimulus, creative expression and general good stuff into my life as possible. That is my personal balance between the organised and the free flow. Maybe it’s time to revisit my allergy to routine, planning, goals and targets. Maybe there’s a middle way that won’t tie me down and restrict me (and bore me to death) but will ensure that life runs fairly smoothly and I actually get on with all the good stuff too.
So the first thing I’ve done is decide to start a blog, rather than spend the morning on the tasks that need doing…I did spot the irony! But writing things out always gives me clarity, and having it online is clutter-free. This is going to be a difficult challenge for me because of the very nature of the problem – when the novelty fades, I’m likely to drift away from whatever changes I make and fall back into the old patterns. Maybe writing about and reflecting on the journey will help me stay focused.
Here we go…