Posted on 13 Comments

Reclaiming Life By Taking A Stand

Featured image description is in the body of the post.

“Time is priceless, yet it costs us nothing. You can do anything you want with it, but you can’t own it. You can spend it, but you can’t keep it. And once you’ve lost it, there is no getting it back. It’s just gone.”

~Allison DuBois, Medium

Recently I accidentally found the above quote. Well, it wasn’t really an accident since I was binge-watching the Medium series. In my opinion, I felt like this is one of the most accurate statements I have come across about time. For me, just thinking about time is mind-bending. While I understand I only have this moment in time I sometimes get caught up in the past and future.

Time, or rather my use of time these past few months has been very challenging for me. The majority of my time is spent working on social justice issues as it relates to people with disabilities. Because it’s unrealistic to take on every cause, even so, my passion can take me down a rabbit hole of mass confusion. Thanks to stretching myself way too thin I’m now a former scheduling stickler. What this means is I reassessed where I am, tossed my content calendar and I’m starting fresh in September.

Life, Times Three

While there is some overlap, looking at my life today I can break it down into three categories:

  • Home Life
  • Work/Virtual Life
  • Real Life

Home Life

In the following two recent posts, I touch on my feelings of self-worth and work:

  1. Juggling Perfection and Efficiency
  2. Max Peterson Scholarship Gives Joy, Love, and Wholeheartedness

For way too long I’ve confused ‘who I am’ with ‘what I do.’ This formula worked for me most of my life if I felt my work was satisfactory. The problem, however, was two-fold: I had unrealistic expectations and there wasn’t a clear separation between work and worth. When things were going well it was good but inevitably when they didn’t go so well I’d beat myself up. Beating myself up was only the beginning. The guilt of feeling like I wasn’t good enough or flawed sent me spiraling out of control.

Since I was my work and my work was my worth home life was practically nonexistent. I’d gotten so good at controlling my environment, that being a single mom and working full time was a piece of cake. The downside? I spent most of my time at work and never learned the value of self-care. As a matter of fact, my first of two vacations was 14 years ago. Needless to say, even when I had downtime I felt guilty because you know, worth and work. If I wasn’t working I wasn’t worthy.

Today, my youngest son lives with me and my grandson stays here four times a week. Then there’s my 81-year-old mother who requires attention, my dog, condo, and myself. While it’s a necessity, things like grocery shopping, gym, doctors, fall by the wayside because you know, worth and work.

Work/Virtual Life

The majority of my work is done at home where my laptop is connected to a large monitor. As an introvert, I work best in a quiet solitary environment with no distractions. Setting up and managing a website isn’t the easiest thing to do if you’re only semi-skilled but I’m doing it.

Cultivating relationships, networking, conference calls/meetings, researching, writing, editing, and scheduling posts can be daunting. Communicating with people on multiple social media platforms along with speaking engagements leaves little time for anything else.

When I closely examine everything I do I really don’t know how I manage. What I do know is when I’m in the zone I get annoyed with having to take bathroom breaks, I know—pathetic. Keeping up with email and text messages can nearly push me to the brink. And let’s not forget all the latest and greatest technology designed to make our lives easier.

Real Life

One of the best things about social media is meeting meaningful virtual connections in real life. When I say this I don’t mean every connection, rather only the authentic friendships that have developed over time. Two examples of connections I’ve met in real life so far this year were:

In October Chelsea, Max and I will meet up once again at the Disability InSIGHTS event hosted by another friend Amy Bovaird.

Real Life isn’t just limited to meeting virtual connections but it involves all those activities outside of the home. Get-togethers with friends, going to the pool, movies, shopping, art festivals, casual strolling or a car ride. Since I was able to travel a little this year I’ve participated in far more activities than ever before. Right now and in the future, I hope to continue experiencing real life.

The Way Forward

After my awakening at the Daring To Own You Story retreat, I knew I had to make some changes. Since I now know I had the whole work/worth thing backward being compassionate with myself comes first. I had already taken some steps a while ago to downsize possessions and tasks.

Social media is a great tool to reach many people but it can become addictive. It also contradicts the reason why I do what I do which is to create meaningful connections. Here are a few steps I’ve taken:

  • eliminating social media apps on my cell including WordPress
  • muting all cell phone notifications
  • not answering then blocking cell calls from unrecognized phone numbers
  • turning off my cell when working on a project that requires focus
  • limiting/canceling email subscriptions
  • sending salesy emails to my spam folder
  • not accepting friend/conversation requests from everyone
  • scrutinizing and eliminating automatic tools “to help make my life easier”
  • no longer use any social media during the weekend
  • limiting the number of social media posts Monday through Friday

For me, the solution to my time quandary comes down to self-preservation. And it’s pretty simple when you think about it, if I haven’t asked for it I don’t want or need it.

To some degree, I think we’ve allowed technology to control way too much of our lives. Am I saying technology is the big evil/bad? No, not at all and I actually love it. What I am saying and it’s something I’ve spoken on before and that is we have the power of CHOICE. We get to choose what we let into our lives. I don’t want technology making my decisions I want to reclaim my life.

Featured Image Description:

A monochromatic look with shades of beige/tan. I’m sitting on a blue outdoor bench wearing a cream-colored skirt with a slightly darker tank top and suede flats. My ball cap is metallic gold and I have on a denim jacket while posing with my black slimline #WhiteCane.