It's the end of a week day. The school day is finished, which means my job as a substitute teacher for the day is done. I head home, empty my lunch box, pour myself some kind of beverage, unpack my bag, charge my laptop, change into comfier clothes and watch a little TV. A few weeks ago Oprah had a special celebrating the 10th Anniversary of O Magazine. I decided to go out and buy the issue. In the magazine various people (including Suze Orman, Dr. Oz, Nate Berkus...) created lists of 10 things having to do with their field. Dr. Phil created a 10 Step Life Renewal Plan. I really liked the questions he posed and found myself thinking about my answers. I thought I would share his plan with you with some of my own reactions mixed in:
1) Does the way you spend your time reflect who you are?
If I were to make a list of my top five priorities in my life right now (family, friends, faith, finding a job and discovering myself) do the hours I devote to these each week reflect their importance in my life? If I spend an hour a week talking to friends or getting together with them is that reflective of the value I place on friends in my life? Obviously not. So I know that I need to adjust my time so that I can live my life according to who I want to be.
2) Does your Blackberry (cell phone, laptop) get more attention than your family and friends?
While I don't have a crack-berry, I do spend an exorbitant amount of time on my laptop. And my cell phone is always at my side. Perhaps you have a Blackberry that you are always on. Dr. Phil encourages you to switch off your gadgets during private moments so you can completely focus on the personal connections you are making.
3) Are you nursing a grudge or two?
Um. Actually, yes I am. A couple big ones in fact. I may say I have let go. But I know differently. There is a still a part of my that is upset. Dr. Phil says that we should "let bygones be bygones and free yourself from the emotions that weigh you down.
For example: Recently one of my college roommates asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I don't have many friends, and I was obviously super excited. She also had asked that I be their 'Wedding Planner.' Not a problem. I was super happy to do it. The next day, she tells me she couldn't decide between me and another friend so she would like me to be an attendant but still plan her wedding. I asked for a day to think about it. I was disappointed (I think rightfully so) since I was no longer a bridesmaid, but I would have said yes and it would have been great. 20 minutes later she tells me that there is too much drama and she and her mom no longer want me to plan the wedding. I sent her a message letting her know that I was hurt, but would have been okay with some processing time. She has now ceased all communications, and I bet I will be lucky to receive and invite to the wedding. Did I mentioned she did this to me on the eve of the one-year anniversary of my Uncle's suicide? No, I don't think I did. And neither did she. Not a word about it. So, I am holding a grudge. But is the grudge hurting me more than its hurting her? I think maybe it is. So it's time to let it go.
4) Who should be in your life?
Dr. Phil said about this step, "Phase out any so-called friends who offer only criticism and negative energy. Surround yourself with people you admire, who believe in you and want you to succeed." I think this is great. And something that we all need to remember. I think everyone has that one friend who talks to us about all the bad. I look at that as me being the only person they can talk to about it. But if you have lots of negative friends, people who don't seem to believe in you. Cut the cord. Pull the plug. Life is too precious to spend time with people who shouldn't be there, or don't want to be there.
5) Have you typecast yourself?
Perhaps you are a mom and love the responsibilities that come with it. But you are more than just "mom." "Ask yourself if one role is draining away all your energy, leaving other expressions of your authentic self unfulfilled," says Dr. Phil. I am a teacher. A daughter. A sister. A friend. A youth group leader. The first college graduate in my family. Am I typecasting myself? Am I putting all my eggs in one basket so to speak? Is being a daughter and a sister taking away my energy to be a friend? Who is my authentic self? Am I letter her out?
6) What battle are you fighting?
This is a life step that really resonated with me. Am I really that mad at previously mentioned friend, or am I partially blaming her for the pain of a past friendship gone wrong? Are you really doing what's best for you child, or are you parenting with a chip on your shoulder left over from your own childhood? I LOVE this reminder from Dr. Phil, "Remember: You are not a prisoner of your legacy." So when you are fighting with someone, disagreeing over something, hurt by another's actions. What battle are you really fighting?
7) How can you live greener?
I have to admit I am not a very green person. I take long showers. I used plastic water bottles and often throw them without reusing them. So I need to pinpoint changes that I can make now. How can I live greener? Well I can reuse water bottles. I can carpool more often. These are steps I can take to live a little greener. So that I can live on the earth, not so much off of it.
8) What are your goals?
I am a list person. Making a list helps me reach my goals better than just will-power alone. If I see it written down I work harder. Making specific goals and having a timeline makes me more successful in reaching those goals.
9) Who is standing in your way?
"The answer may be you," says Dr. Phil. And, he may be right. Sometimes I am too hard on myself and hold myself back. Treat yourself with kindness and respect.
10) What one thing can you do for yourself everyday?
Maybe you are a bath person. And a 20 minute bath can change your day. For me it's often reading a fun book. Not something I need to read for teaching or job hunting. But a fun book. "Every day is a new opportunity to pay attention to your own needs and make choices you feel good about."
I am sharing this list because I felt it fit so well with the theme of this blog. It's a list that helps your renew your life. Find the happy. Enjoy the moments that you have. Because many things in life can wait, but The Sunset Won't. Take a minute to reflect on the 10 steps. Is there one you struggle with?