Start changing your priorities to make a life change

Who do you choose to surround yourself with?  Have you carefully thought through the need to have people who want to see you grow as an important part of your life or are you stagnating with friends and associates who focus on the negative aspects of their lives and yours?  Do you have a group of people who are happy, even eager, to listen to your ideas and help you to take your dreams to the next step?  Or are you sorely lacking in that department, choosing to stay stuck in the rut of same ole same ole without challenging the status quo of finding those people who will push you to be the best you can be?

One of my favorite quotes is,“Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.”  Stalin said of his enemies,”We don’t let them have ideas. Why would we let them have guns?”  Ideas and creativity are among the most important elements of life, along with the ability to grow these ideas, play with them, discard them, get messy with them.  If you don’t have that support network, and you are ready to pursue a more fulfilling life, then it is time to get off of the pot.  You are the one stuck there.  Only you can make a change.

The first change must come from within you.  There is no secret to the law of attraction.  You attract what you demonstrate, what you “put out”, what you exhibit.  If you want more positive interaction in your life, be more positive to others with your words and your actions.  If you want more creativity, be more creative.  Pick up a project you started long ago, or start a new one.  Take a class, or research instructions on the internet.  Understand that creativity is messy.  So are ideas.

If you want to focus on changing your life, start by making a list of your priorities.  Make them real.  Don’t write down what you wish was important to you.  Start with being honest with yourself.  If you want your finances to be on the top three, but you are currently bouncing checks or have less income than outgo, write that down.  Figure out how you really spend your time, and understand that these things are high on your personal priority list.  Right now this is the case.  And begin slowly to change that.  I have never been good with finances.  So I have started – with Quicken and a daily look at my bank account.  I am making myself think three times before a purchase.  I recognize that I have an “issue” with clothes shopping, which likely has a self esteem basis.  So I’m making it a priority by spending time daily on the awareness of how I use my money.  It doesn’t increase the amount, yet it does.  The psychological change is huge, and that starts the inner change.

I realize that this post is a little all over the place, but every element is important in developing your mindset to make a change.  Lasting changes don’t come quickly.  But you have to find out how long they take for you – to really make a change.  It takes me a year to to make a new habit.  So I know that this financial improvement will take a year.  And I’m willing to make the commitment.

If you want more compliments, give more.  If you need more interest from others in your life, be more interested in theirs.  If you want to be in better shape, start walking.  And keep walking.  And when you realize you have fallen off of your personal wagon of change, just get back on.  Be kind to yourself, be your own best friend, but encourage changes in yourself.  Just do it.  A year from now you will find yourself in a different spot, with new friends, perhaps encouraging old friends, and in a much happier place.  It works.

Occasional Fiction

Dumpster Treasures

I sat in my car behind the stores.  Not sure how to handle this, I didn’t know what to do, where to park. What a strange feeling, clandestine and lonely.  To my right, I noticed a man in an old van.  Faded maroon or possibly rust colored.  The paint was chipped and discolored.  An old 60’s van that probably once was filled with hippies and flower children.  I casually watched as he parked, noticing the many bumper stickers.  Easily over fifty on the right side from the rear wheel to the bumper.  Los Angeles.  Bush for President.  On the road again.  The van had a boat behind it.  An old faded black boat with a white stripe running down the side.  I let my eyes wander over it, wondering if it still worked, or if the man in the van had picked it up somewhere, another treasure that someone did not want.  On a side street somewhere with a sign that said, “Take it if you want it”.  The boat was filled with accumulated stuff. An old tarp covered the top.  I could see the end of a ladder peeking out.  Bumps in the tarp did not give away the items, yet suggested that it was overflowing with discovered items.  Whatever he was collecting was well hidden under the canvas material.  He was parked at a distance from me.  As he climbed from the driver’s seat, I felt my emotions stiffen.  Not fear exactly, but a heightening of my senses.  As if I was aware of potential danger.  Like a cat that gets a whiff of a dog close by.  I felt my eyes narrow and my back stiffen.  Too much drama.  He got out of the van and walked toward a dumpster.  Pulling something from his right side, I saw he was carrying a stick of some sort.  Perhaps a cane.  He poked it into the dumpster, apparently moving the trash around.  Junk thrown into the container.  Things tossed by us of the consumer society who like to buy and discard, buy and discard.  I guessed that he found things to sell.  Or to keep.  Nice things, things nobody wanted anymore.  At least not the people who had purchased them.  Perhaps he was one of the hoarders.  I felt the stirring of a recent memory.  Sixty minutes or 48 hours.  One of the news shows had done a feature on hoarders.  What possessed them to keep so many things?  If they could be cured.  Or not.  There was one story about two brother who died in their home, filled to the ceilings with old newspapers.  Tunnels in the papers.  One that feIl on one of them, crushing him and killing him.  The other dying of hunger because the first brother had died.  I shivered and watched him reach in and take something out.  I sat forward, curious now. I wasn’t close enough to make out the item.  It was black, which didn’t help.  He glanced in my direction, and I looked quickly away.  What is it about being caught looking at someone that makes us look away as if we have been caught doing something wrong?  When I looked back, he had started walking away from me towards the van.  Lifting the tarp on the boat, he tossed the item in, and looked around again.  This time I didn’t change my line of vision.  He didn’t seem to notice me, and climbed into the van.  I heard it roar to life.  I noticed that the van too was filled with things, possessions he had found and stored.  I could see the legs of folding chairs, and a clothes basket.  I watched and wondered.  Was this a man who had lost his world in the recession?  Did he once have a job that paid the bills, but now found scavenging a way of life?  Or was he always a person who lived on the edge and the discards of others, taking what others no longer wanted for his own?  Would his relationships also be discards?  People no longer wanted by others?  The possibility that many of us could be living his life nudged my thoughts.  His van began moving away from me, here in the back of stores where the dumpsters could be so full of treasures.  His kind of treasures.  I watched as the back of the boat bumped behind the van and followed it out of sight. I sat there and thought about this man.  Someone I would never meet nor know his true story.  I allowed the moment to rest there with me.  What would he think about me, had he glanced in my direction toward a middle aged woman who sat in a humming car, looking confused and wondering what her life really was?  Would he think I was meeting a lover?  Lost?  Crying?  Waiting to apply for a job?  Or simply waiting a moment before entering her life again.  I smiled slightly to myself.  He wouldn’t wonder anything about me.  His life was focused on today’s efforts, and the dumpsters he needed to inspect and not on the futile analysis of those around him.  I shook my head, glanced at my phone, and put my car into gear.  I had to find a spot that was somewhat remote, yet easy to find.  Safe yet apparent.  Two wooden pallets leaning together.  A shelf between the two, with a board guarding the shelf.  That would work.  I got out of my car, tied the bag on top, and deposited the treasure which I carried.  I tucked in slightly in, got in my car and pulled away.   Another man I had not seen watched me leave, and headed to the pallets.

Challenges as we age – Morton’s Neuroma

I’m 55.  An active 55.   Yet still there are so many physical challenges with which to deal.  In March of 2009, I had a bunionectomy and two hammer toe corrections on my right foot.  It sounds simply gross to even write this.  But it is the situation.  Prior to this, I had been diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma on my right foot.  For those lucky enough to be unenlightened, this is nerve damage between the 3rd and 4th toes.  High arch, high heels, long toes, who knows the many and varied reasons I was fortunate enough to become the possessor of this.

This past week, the left foot (which had been gradually getting worse) gave me a fit.  The pain began, but it isn’t exactly pain.  There is a tingling and an uncomfortable feeling.  I wouldn’t begin to confess to the numbers of shoes I have purchased over the past year.  Flats, and small arches, and wide toe boxes and sandals and fitness styles.  What I really was seeking was not new shoes but new feet.  Couldn’t find any stores selling those.

Yesterday, I went to my doctor.  I recalled (finally) that I had been diagnosed with this issue on my right foot, and likely that was happening to the left.  So I was worked in to a work-in appointment (go figure) and he listened to me – my words and my own research.  He’s good like that.  I received corti-steroid (sic)  shots in both feet along with the freezing spray to keep me from feeling the huge needle (what???) – not fun – but I do feel some relief.  And he directed me to a foot-man who evaluates and suggests hints for dealing with the problems, along with shoe styles evaluations.

The rest of my body is relatively pain free, which is incredible.  I am realizing that I am blessed in that regards, and to focus on the not-so-incredible is rather selfish.  At a local play this week, I saw a young woman with MS walking with her best limping gait to her seat.  And I wondered how I could possibly feel sorry for myself when I watched her make it to her seat and sit to enjoy the play.   I said a quick prayer to the universe for her, and hoped that I could get one in return.

Yesterday, my spouse and I attended a wedding.  The young women with healthy feet wore 4 and 5 inch heels.  With platforms under the balls of their feet.  I watched, somewhat envious, and wondered how many podiatrists we will need ten or fifteen years hence.  What we do for our fashion sense.  Our egos.  Our need to look like Hollywood.

Thank you for the healthy parts which I do have.  I will continue to TRY to focus more on those parts.