And Now What?

As I write this on Thursday, November 5th, the election is both over and not over. However, I, for one, am pleased that so many of us did turn out to vote – the most, both in numbers and percentage, in history. That’s an accomplishment regardless of motivation.

That brings me back to a common theme for those of us who are struggling, regardless of what it is with. How do we stay motivated, especially in these uncertain times – though realistically, and individually, all times are pretty uncertain.

And that is a key consideration.

It’s easy to procrastinate because of Covid, the election, the holidays, the economy, the…

Whether it’s my knee, your drinking, someone else’s smoking or weight or finances or any other problems. And because we are smart people – and I don’t have any dumb readers – we find it especially easy to defer action and justify it.

But we’re also quite capable of reversing that proclivity.

Let’s process through a common rational. “I can’t quit before the holidays and all of those parties and family get-togethers that all involve alcohol!”

The change? “I guess with Covid around and spreading, with no end in sight for months to come, this would be a great time to modify/end my drinking since I won’t be going to parties and gatherings anyway.”

Of course, you can also decide to drink your way through until the vaccine appears, or to expose yourself deliberately to get it over with (anyone else old enough to remember mothers in the 1950s hosting “exposure parties” to get their children through measles, mumps and chicken pox – though not polio and whooping cough?).

Somehow, change always comes down to the same thing. Deciding to. Stripping away all of the “ifs, ands, buts,” and just deciding and then following through by taking ACTION.

Which actions? I don’t yet know most of you, but Mary Ellen and I are pretty good at helping people sort that question. Also pretty good at helping with motivation and accountability and commiseration with a bit of absolution thrown in.

You’ve got several months ahead with a lot of time on your hands. Why not invest some of it in yourself so that when life opens up again – and it will – you’re ready to take full advantage of the opportunities you used to take for granted?

And when next year’s holidays roll around, alcohol will no longer be a problem.

No, You Don’t Have to be Good at Everything You Do

A lot of us are a little overly perfectionistic. “Do it right or don’t do it at all!” That attitude cheats us out of a lot of opportunities to enjoy things we aren’t necessarily great at, to sort out the detritus in our lives into things that need our best effort and those where okay, even half-assed, is good enough.

It also means we’re free from justifying how we do things. “Because,” is often enough of an adequate reason.

Example? Since I got out of college I have kept track of my finances in paper ledgers. I have a couple of file drawers of them. I still do them. Monthly, quarterly, annually. I can dig out May of 1974 and see exactly what I spend on food, rent, new salmon nets, an outboard motor repair, gasoline for the coming year (one or two deliveries a year by barge on the Yukon) and so on. It’s kinda fun to look back when I start to forget just what my life was like a half century ago.

My friend Judy occasionally chides me for not up-dating to spread sheets and computer assisted analysis.

Mostly she’s right. But I don’t want to learn to do it her way. My accounting needs are modest and adequate and comfortable. Why would I change them at this late stage in my life?

Answer? I won’t – especially as my need to keep track has also diminished.

Covid may well have helped you sort out what’s important (TP?) and what isn’t. Some of those revelations may have been surprising (Damn, I do like reading, movies at home and sex more than going out). Some may have allowed you to sort friends and relatives and escape negative relationships.

Again. Is what you are going through a curse or an opportunity? Yes, I know, it’s some of both, but you do get to pick the balance. And it’s a great time to clean out the garage, closets, and old habits that no longer service you.

Time to declutter your life? We’re pretty good at helping with that too.