It seemed fitting to start my blog’s second year with a closer look at the word I chose as my theme for 2015: shed.
Since we’re nearing the end of first quarter 2015, I decided to check in quarterly about this word, this goal, of mine. Every three months seems like a decent interval to assess and recalibrate my efforts.
So far, I’m learning that the more I try to shed, the more needs shedding. Or at least, the more I realize needs shedding. On some level, like a pile of mail, or like exploratory surgery, you don’t fully realize all that there is, until you jump full in.
Here are the areas I identified three months ago.
- Shed weight. Miniscule improvement. Much more needed.
- Shed expenses and debt. Some areas improved, here. Some still need urgent attention.
- Shed unnecessary responsibilities & involvements. I’m nearing the end of my term for my most major non-family commitment, and I am working hard to make sure the transition is a smooth one, which alone has taken far more effort than I expected. But I’ve promised myself (and asked others to hold me accountable) that when my term is over that I would not merely fill the “found time” back up with another slew of committees and projects. If you see me doing that, please tell me and STOP me!
- Shed stuff — so, so much stuff. This one seems worse than when 2015 started, only because I admit I haven’t given enough time to it. This is the area that just needs constant vigilance and unsympathetic purging – but that takes time. And this season is the busiest of the year for me and my involvements in the kids’ activities, the community and so forth. Plus we did have a significant loss in the family in the last three months. But tomorrow’s always a new day, and I did just finally go through two rooms of stuff AND more than a month of mail – so there’s hope for me yet.
- Shed complaining & negativity. This I have worked hard to shed. The challenge that has replaced it is averting the complaining and negativity of others, which takes just as much of a toll, sometimes.
- Shed friends/acquaintances that don’t bring out the best in me. I think this is happening incrementally as well – because my busy schedule is forcing me to be more selective in whom I invest time, and as a result, those who haven’t brought out the best in me – I just don’t have time for.
Which leads me to another realization I’ve had so far:
Taking on the right things is tantamount to shedding more of the wrong things. Meaning, to shed something, it helps to take on its opposite.
So in Area 1, getting rid of weight can also mean getting on with more exercise, which I’ve started doing and feel good about. (Just Dance 2015, anyone??) I’m even considering become gluten-free for a month and see where that leads.
Area 2, shedding expenses has looked like not buying certain things I usually do.
Area 3, shedding excessive responsibilities has looked like saying NO more often to involvements I get offered.
Area 4, shedding stuff means choosing not to accumulate more, even when there are local giveaways or auctions where it’s seemingly a good idea, good cause or good deal.
Area 5, shedding negativity can equal choosing to praise — and to be surrounded by the praise-worthy.
Area 6, as I shared above, shedding burdensome relationships can be done by more deeply embracing the joy-giving ones and thus crowding out the lesser ones from the schedule and mindset.
Even though it feels at times like I’m going off the deep end when I start to shed certain things, afterwards it feels remarkably freeing and peace-giving. But we’re often not used to that feeling — that feeling and habit of choosing for what’s best for us. So part of this year of shedding means strengthening the weak muscles: the muscle that insists on excellence and respect for myself; the muscle that stands up for truth and does not stay quiet; the muscle that says no more than yes; the muscle that lets go of a friendship that is no longer worth investing in; the muscle that lets go of possessions or unhealthy habits that are getting in the way of true happiness; the muscle that lets go of pride, jealousy and competition among grown adults. I guess I have a lot of weak muscles — and it’s time to toughen ’em up.
What muscle do you need to strengthen? What do you want to shed this year?