Finding joy and balance

I was thinking about this last night as I took a walk (3.3 miles, not too shabby). And somewhat yesterday "morning" as C and I were at the range. And during the week, while I was laid out on the couch, sick.

Suffice to say that it's been on my mind in various forms a lot lately. :)

I feel like I'm finally learning how to do life well. Probably due in part to The Gifts of Imperfection and A Deeper Story, my mindset is changing. Imperfection doesn't send quick bolts of fear to my heart like it used to. (Um, okay, as much as it used to.)  My vocabulary is changing. I no longer seek the right choice, as though there were only one right way to do things out of the myriad of choices we are presented every day, but a right choice. I have come to believe that there is more than one right way to do things, more than one right choice. Maybe they vary in degrees of rightness-- I haven't gotten that far in refining my personal philosophy yet. But I'm breaking free of my black and white prison.

Probably part of it is due to my wonderful mate. (I almost typed husband! Almost... just 6 more months.) His no-frills way of approaching the world has helped me to be realistic, to take the machete of common sense to many of the briars that had grown up to choke my mind. It's not all briars, to be sure. I come across many valuable little plantings that I want to keep and nurture. And sometimes he disagrees, and that's okay. We have fun little clashings, interesting philosophical conversations that leave both of us shaking our heads because it's like trying to talk to a rock. (We're both a little stubborn, and too smart for our own good.)

Maybe it's because I have stability and safety, I can focus on the smaller aspects of life now. I can take the time to be good to myself, to speak my own love language, to be kind to myself. I don't have to be "on" twenty-four hours a day. And that is a huge relief and blessing.

Another thing I'm learning is to just let the day happen. Don't try to force it into a mold of what you think it ought to be like. Just let it go. Experience it as it comes. This is what I was thinking of yesterday at the range. I have a habit of looking forward to something being over even when it's hardly begun. Maybe so I can remember it and think about it, I don't know. It's like my chewing habits, but with experiences. I bolt down one forkful because I'm already looking forward to the next.

I think this "chewing thoroughly" thing is teaching me more than I'd bargained for.

Anyway, yesterday we went out and C taught me how to shoot his pistol. (I'm not good, but I'm not bad, either. If someone were coming at me, I'd say I have a 70% chance of hitting them, but odds are it wouldn't be where I was aiming!) (C is telling me that if someone is coming at me, I ought to treat it like the Renaissance one-shot pistols they used to use in sword fights-- fighting, fighting, take your pistol out and plant it directly against their chest. Did it go off? No? Then keep fighting with your sword! lol Apparently pirates used to do it that way, because it takes your chances of missing down to zero, and they already had to worry about whether or not the gun would actually go off, because the powder might be wet, etc.)

While we were out there, I found myself wanting it to be over, not because I wasn't having a good time (I rather enjoyed myself), but just because that's what I do. Fortunately, I caught myself, and I was able to focus and be more or less present for the rest of the few hours we were out there.

And as far as "planning my days"... I've more or less given that up. I mean, there are certain things I need to accomplish on certain days, to be sure, and I work on getting them done. What I mean is that detailed scheduling that I'm so fond of. "Okay, I'll do homework from one to three-thirty, at which point I should be done, then I'll clean the house from three-thirty to five, and then C and I will watch a movie, and then we'll do this, and then while he's playing SWOTR, I'll do this certain craft, and then..." Yeah, that's kind of boring. Plus it leads to frustrated expectations. What if C doesn't want to watch a movie, or cuddle with me when he gets home like I thought in my mind, or what if he wants to play SWOTR first and then do something with me, or what I if I don't feel like doing that craft? I think that dissective mindset was one of the things that led me to "soldier through" the day and activities, even if I wasn't feeling it. Like, I said I was gonna do it, so by gum I'll do it!

Allowing myself to take naps really shattered that. I can't exactly schedule a nap into my day, because who knows if I'll even need one, or how long I'll nap for, or... anything?

It's so much more pleasant to know what I need to get done and just let the day evolve as it will. There are times (especially this last week!) when I have to tell myself, Look, I know you want to quit this and do something fun. I understand, and I'm sorry. But this needs to be done, and you need to do it. Yes, you will be rewarded for your hard work, just not right now. Capice? So it's not like I just goof off and let my days fly to the wind. It's more of an "I'm not dead set on when this must occur, and if I don't get everything accomplished today that I'd like to, it's not the end of the world and I can get it done tomorrow."

I like this new way of living.

I like the little things that I'm free to do now. I like feeling free to buy myself a bouquet of flowers and decorate the jar that I put them it. I like being able to go to Michael's in the evening and window shop. I like being able to take long walks. I like being able to cook myself good food. I like being able to watch a movie, with or without C. I like being able to take a nap, should I so desire. I like being able to spend an hour or two Stumbling neuroscience articles, craft sites, and cartoons. I like my plans to decorate the house for fall, just because. I like being able to take time to just freak out if I'm dealing with stuff, if I need to.

I like my life.

I'm happy with it.

I never thought I'd be able to say that with such conviction and satisfaction.

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