At times, it seems as if I have too many irons in the fire. These are not major projects, but some that have been on my mind for a year or so. Most of them regard the little house I bought from my former landlord last year just before the pandemic went into high gear.
There are outdoor projects like fixing the old siding in places that have chipped away. I did manage to repair the windows that were in terrible condition. However, the yard improvements have been put on hold as I try to figure out how to halt the burrowing of moles and/or voles that continually destroy areas of the lawn that have been undisturbed for over 30-years. I also blame much of the delay to the abnormal weather events of this past spring and summer.
The indoor projects–repainting rooms–took a back seat as I became undecided upon which repair techniques to use and which colors to apply to the century-old surfaces.
The main distraction was the ending of the relationship with my now former boyfriend and the emotional fallout that entailed. Although the parting was mature, civil, and compassionate by both of our standards, the ending still requires a healthy dose of recovery. I’ve been very careful and mindful with that process.
Now that summertime is in full swing, I’ve been inspired to restart the home repairs–this time with more focus. The bathroom ceiling and walls are the next projects. A bathroom remodeling is not in the cards yet. I only want to restore the surfaces by patching the minor holes and cracks that have appeared during the past few decades. I’ve already purchased the paint. The ceiling will be flat white. Most of the walls will be a very light tint of orange. The wall with the window will be covered with a bold shade of orange to serve as the accent wall. The end result will be a bare bones, basic bathroom that reflects warmth and “energy”.
The acts of selecting colors, then going through to purchase them, provided motivation and reward to finalize my plans. As I waited for the store clerk to customize and mix the paints, I engaged in people-watching. The other customers went going about gathering materials for their own projects. At the time, it seemed as if a subculture of house fixers were gathered together. Seeing others engaged in their projects further helped me focus on my own plans. This was fundamental in getting the project rolling and improving my focusing skills.
One of the distractions to completion of these projects is that I’m impatient and want to do everything at once. It’s important to remember this as I regain momentum that had been lost earlier this year. Timing is essential in this process. One step or room at a time is the optimal ingredient in the ongoing projects. The end results will be more satisfying than if I try to rush through and later having to cope with less than professional work. One thing at a time, not multitasking, works best for me.
A good thing to remember is that doing something–anything–is a great way to help heal emotional scars without escaping into denial. People who practice physical exercise or do creative endeavors help themselves recover from negative events. Doing something helps us feel better. Following our productive and creative spirit is health enhancing. Exercise and/or creative work help the mind concentrate.
In general, people who maintain a positive focus regardless of what goes on around them are successful. It behooves us to set aside the numerous distractions that pop up every day and every hour. Learning from past errors and retaining the lessons from past successes brings us closer to the fulfillment of our goals. Without distractions, hard work becomes less difficult and time is used more effectively.
The big picture takeaway is this: When we mindfully live our lives, we more readily recognize special, defining events. The opposite is true. If we are constantly occupied and always obsessed with being busy for busy’s sake we’re hampered. Being overly busy is a distraction that prevents us from seeing opportunities and living happier lives. Common distractions give us cheap thrills and lure us with easy escapes. They steal our attention and give little or nothing back in return. Shedding distractions enhances our willpower and also reveals the joy of living.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes co-owner of the Miami Marlins baseball team and former player for the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter. “I attribute much of my success in New York to my ability to understand and avoid unnecessary distractions.”