I have been told before that I am a good “idea person” but not such a good “action person”. It’s not my favorite assessment of all time, but it’s a fair and true statement. As much as I hate to admit it, I do have a tendency to kind of lose myself at times. I have the best ideas but if I don’t put action behind it immediately, the next flashy idea is not far behind and it will completely distract me from the most exciting of plans.
This past weekend several family members and in-laws were in town. These are people I don’t get to interact with often because they all live out of state – a few I’ve never met at all before – so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
One evening we all wound up the day at my mother’s house and spent the evening together chatting and snacking on leftovers. It was truly, in my opinion, a lovely time that I am so glad I got to be a part of.
My favorite kind of conversations are those deep discussions on topics like life, current events, religion, and opinions on random subjects. I love hearing people’s thoughts and sharing my own, as long as it’s authentic and everyone knows how to act like an adult when opinions differ. (To clairify, I’m talking about civilized conversations where each person is able to share their thoughts without being interrupted or talked over, and where each opinion or view is considered and valued for what it is.) From these talks, I almost always walk away with a new perspective on something. I love pretty much anything that opens my mind to something new. Something about it makes me feel more alive somehow.
I don’t get to have these type conversations often, but over the weekend I so appreciated being able to share this with my family. I am normally the quiet one of the group – in most groups – which is honestly not who I am at the heart of me. On this day though, for whatever reason, I was able to be more myself and participate. I was a contributor instead of the quiet one, which made me very happy.
There were several conversations throughout the course of the day I enjoyed. One particular conversation I shared with one of my distant in-laws got me talking about my current situation. It started as a conversation about books that evolved into me sharing my favorite book, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, which started me talking about the direction I’m working towards now in my life. Or was, until….distraction.
I started talking about some of the plans I’d been mulling over in my mind recently. Ones I’ve shared on here about renovating my house and getting a camper as well as some I haven’t mentioned to many people yet.
Leaving my mom’s house later that night I replayed some of that conversation in my mind. Sharing these things with my relative brought all the excitement back to the forefront and made me realize how far I’d drifted off the track I’d been so determined about just a few months ago.
I’ve done a lot of thinking since that evening. At first I was frustrated with myself, but we all know that does absolutely nothing to solve anything. I finally started doing something more productive, which is to figure out how in the world I keep losing focus.
Here are the things I noticed and want to change.
First of all, I have to start trusting myself and my decisions. But bigger than that, I have to start trusting God.
Moving into a camper in order to travel more often is something I’ve rolled around in my head for several years now. Several years. It was created as a way to “turn my frown upside down” essentially, instead of being sad or angry that I was single I would find a way to celebrate the freedom it allows me.
While I’m not the most frugal person on the planet by a long shot, I am careful and try to make halfway decent financial decisions. So I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make this camper life work. It wasn’t until the past year or so I’d finally decided on a way to make this happen that I felt really good about. A way that allowed me to pay my mortgage while still leaving money for travel. It is a genius plan, if I do say so myself!
So one might, naturally, wonder why I haven’t already made this happen. Two reasons. Fear and procrastination. Those ‘what ifs’ got into my head and the brakes came on. What if I don’t like living in a camper? What if I can’t find someone to rent my house? What if I do find someone but they trash the house?
That’s a lot of doubt and not a lot of trust. I felt so confident in my plan at first. Why did I let fear creep in and take that away?
Secondly, I can’t allow myself to be sidelined by even the best of intentions.
My mother…bless her. We’ve had a lot of difficult years in our relationship, a lot of conflict, but she’s my mom and I love her dearly. I may not always show it but I care an awful lot about what she thinks of me and the decisions I make in my life. My father can go kick rocks, but my mom….I want her to be proud of me.
So when my mom makes a suggestion, it carries a lot of weight with me. Even if that means it sometimes throws me off my own path.
My mother generously offered for me to stay in my grandmother’s house. While I believe it’s ok to use something like that as a stepping stone, I allowed it to throw me completely off my original plan.
Another day she sat down and spent about 30 minutes listing every negative thing she could possibly think of as it pertained to anything camper related. The only reason it ended after 30 minutes is because I got up and left. Trust me, she wasn’t finished. Unfortunately the damage was already done by the time I checked out. I stopped searching campers online and stopped thinking about traveling like I was.
That was a tough conversation for me because I want so badly to make good decisions, and because I want my mother to approve of my decisions as well. I know my mom is trying to help me, but a large portion of her life and decisions are operated based on fears she picked up a long time ago and hasn’t let go of yet. Her fears, not mine. That day I picked them up too, and I’ve carried them with me since, allowing them to alter my plans.
Third, I must. stop. over-thinking.
When it comes to getting anything done, I am my own worst enemy.
I have a horrible memory. I mean, someone can tell me something and 19 seconds later I couldn’t repeat 40% of what they said most of the time. However, throw any situation I halfway care about at me and I will create 581 different scenarios, organize them from best to rocking-in-a-corner-pulling-my-hair-out-strand-by-strand worst, and then place them gently in order of importance high on a mantle for everyone to see.
The ‘what ifs’ I mentioned earlier? All day, every day.
What I’d really like is for someone to simply give me the answer. Except that’s exactly what I don’t want because I am just belligerent enough to turn around and do the dead opposite of what I was told.
I am a chronic over-thinker and skilled enough at it to deter the best laid plans. What if I get this camper and never go anywhere? I’m too shy for this! I’ll be a hermit! What am I supposed to do on rainy days?
Finally, I have to stop allowing myself to be distracted by shiny things.
My most favorite plan for my life involves a happily ever after. If that doesn’t come about, my second favorite plan for my life involves adventure, sunsets, and freedom.
I love both of these plans for different reasons, and at the heart of me I know either of those plans would be my best life.
But I have a friend….and that friend has a gorgeous new house that she designed from the ground up. It has high ceilings and shiplap and two-inch countertops and a keyhole window in the mudroom and the most beautiful kitchen. It’s the talk of the neighborhood and people have come by and introduced themselves just to be able to walk through it. It’s mah-velous!
Down to the tiniest of details, my friend envisioned and created her exact version of perfection. She did an amazing job. This house is my friend’s version of her own best life. Hers. Not mine. But it’s beautiful and I love it and it’s shiny, new, and oh-so-distracting!!!!! Before I realize it I’m daydreaming of floor plans and wall colors and new furniture, camper be damned.
What I have envisioned for myself….I really like it. Either plan. They both excite me and make me happy just picturing myself in them. They are for me. So I am going to work very hard in the future to pay attention to myself and my thoughts. If I notice any of these things happening, I’m going to try my best to shut it down. No more distraction. No more procrastination. No more brakes.
I am an “action person”.