One of the lessons I’ve been learning this year has been about how much control I have over my life. In the past few months I have been making my choices differently, more consciously making them to help me have the life I want. I feel that I have been thinking more clearly about my motivation, and about the consequences of my actions, large and small.
For example, if our kitchen (at the center of the house, next to my office) is relatively clean and the counters are clear, I feel calmer and have more energy, and I eat better. My quality of life is significantly increased if I clean the kitchen every day, instead of leaving it for several days at a time (I know, my housekeeping habits are not exemplary) or waiting for my husband or roommate to do it (though sometimes one of them will still get to it before I do). That’s a fairly mundane example.
Another thing that’s happened this year is that a close friendship, one which has been very important to me, has gone awry. I don’t know if it’s ended or is just on hiatus. My friend stopped seeing me or talking to me (unless we see each other socially) a few months ago.
I still don’t know why this happened. It took me a while to realize that something was going on beyond the normal ebb and flow of friendship resulting from schedule disparity, emotional cycles and life events.
I realized today (while cleaning the kitchen, in fact) that I went through the stages of grief mourning this relationship, spending a lot of time at the ‘anger’ and ‘depression’ stages. I’m happy to feel like I am finally at the point where I will be okay no matter what happens, whether our friendship resumes or not. It took a lot of work to get there.
And this brings me back to control. One thing I realized while I was grieving was that I had been relying too much on a few friends to meet my friendship needs. I have always been the sort of person to have a few close friends and a number of casual ones… but this is something I have control over, too. I know a lot of really excellent and interesting people, and I keep meeting more all the time. I don’t spend nearly enough energy on many of those relationships, and most of them would benefit greatly from even just a little more time and thought.
So I’ve been putting more effort into seeing people I don’t see very often. Some are new friends I want to know better, some are closer friends I just don’t see often enough, others are people I barely know but with whom I sense an affinity. This doesn’t really come naturally to me; I’m doing it gradually, so that it will be a life change I can sustain, instead of just an atypical spasm of energy.
But I have learned that if I change my actions I can change my habits, and from there I can change the way I think and the way I live. I just have to remember that I have the power to do this.