Someone sent me a picture on Facebook, one of many i get every day. The words said:
"I just woke up today and decided I didn't want to feel like this any more, or ever again. So I changed. I had lots of excuses for not being able to change, but at the end of the day they were excuses. Being able to change starts with Your decision to change. (This quote is attributed to Steven Aitchison at Facebook.com/Change Your Thoughts Today)
I stared at this for a while and suddenly it did make sense to me. I have not changed because somehow I have decided this is all too hard, why not stick with what I know. I know I have done this as a conscious decision in some cases and as an absentee decision at other times. I have become comfortable knowing that I cannot change, I am too old to change, I am too limited in my options to change, I can't change because I need a partner to make me feel that I need to do... Yes, I have a thousand of those kind of excuses.
So what brought about my decision to change some things in my life? Well isolation for one thing. Because as I resisted change I found myself more isolated. I hardly drive more than five kilometres from home at times. Yes, I am comfortable doing this but what happens to the friends who live outside of this radius? I guess they miss out on a visit. So by not driving I am limiting the people I see on a regular basis. And who is the poorer for that? Me of course. So I am tackling some of those issues.
One of the harder things to change will be the way I use my time. I have got in a rut, there are things I do Mondays, things I do Tuesdays etc. This addiction to routine developed out of my caregiver's role. Ray as a man with stroke deficits and dementia needed a strict routine and so I became a strict routine person. This allowed me to feel comfortable with doing what needed to be done. Then Ray went into the nursing home and the routine changed. Then he died and the routine had a hole the size of a small planet in the middle. So over a period of time I have filled the hole up with various organisations and committees and events. Sure it is good to have activities in my life but it is good to leave some free time to do things spontaneously too.
From time to time life gets out of balance. I have felt mine has for some time now. It is hard to know exactly how to make corrections in our life journey. Whose advice do you take? I get all sorts of well meaning advice from all sorts of people. I am a natural gatherer of people and so my Facebook friends and my friends on all the sites I belong to reflect that diversity. Which is good because the sum total of all the advice means I get to choose what advice I assimilate into my life. That does not mean it does not run like a wobbly wheel from time to time just that I feel free to make some adjustments using the co-ordinates (advice) I have been given.
I have to laugh at some of the things people expect I should do though. My sister-in-law, Ray's older brother's wife sent me a newspaper clipping from one of those Men meeting Women sites with a man seeking a companion to travel with him in his Motor home. Well meaning of course but jokey by nature is my sister-in-law. And so of course the man lives in northern Queensland, about as far as you can get from here and not be sailing to Indonesia. Yes, great idea, fly to where he is, meet for coffee, decide we have nothing in common, fly home, good one sis.
Other advice has to do with me making my own decisions. It is from my peer group, many of whom of course are still with their partners. I think it comes from their wishful thinking. It usually starts: "Now you are on your own and can do what you want to do you could..." So many suggestions, travelling overseas, going around Australia like some mad wandering Girl Friday. pitching a tent or rolling out the walls of the camper, setting up a campfire etc. Yes, sure. I am the one not driving more than the 5 kilometre radius and they are sending me 1000's of kilometres around Australia? Right on friend, and who will rescue me when I am stuck in the Outback? You?.
And so decisions to do whatever I want to do, subject to sensible consideration, still have to be made. I know many on here have made those decisions are happy with them and really have started a new life. I want to be able to do that too. I have made some small decisions and so far, so good. I just want to be that person that does wake up one day and decides that today is the day when things will start to change for the better.