I don’t know about you but I’m 100% guilty. Guilty of negative dwelling.
Andy and I disagree and suddenly our relationship is falling apart. We have one bad day and I equate that to weeks and weeks of dissatisfaction.
A few pending tasks that I can’t complete alone, or at least, I think I can’t, and suddenly I’m incapable.
I get a negative remark about my work or unhappy participant and I beat myself up for days. I’ll grow from it, but I can’t stand the fact that you spent time with me and your needs weren’t met.
I spend a lot of my professional career coaching others to reflect on their experiences and grow from them. To be honest, this can be a challenge for me too.
I am with Cooper for his first year (and more) of life. Yet, I continue to spend time dwelling on the what-if about my professional career.
Dwelling. It’s a time suck, it’s a rocking chair, a pendulum of useless.
Over the past several months, specifically in Amsterdam, some experiences:
- I had days where I swore one of us (Cooper or I) weren’t going to be in the flat when Andy arrived home from work.
- I woke up pissed because it was pouring rain and windy…and there was no food in the place (this meant loading Cooper up and walking or biking to the store).
- Some days I get in my zone and all writing blocks disappear that is until Cooper reminds me that he wants to be the number 1 priority.
- I’ve been puked on multiple times while traveling and spent hours smelling like it.
- My intentions have been set day after day, either get up and go to the gym or get up and write…instead I hit snooze.
The list could go on.
As you might presume, these actions lead to more unproductive dwelling.
Lazy. Unable to hold myself accountable. Distracted…and at times they did.
But more recently, I’ve noticed something different.
I’ll give you a hint, there is one common factor…
The Cooper Factor.
A little over a year ago, on March 12th, my life was changed for the better. Many experiences since then, are worthy of negatively dwelling on or getting frustrated over. However, when I stop and think about the last year and moments such as traveling with a scent of spoiled milk as opposed to my favorite Anthropology scent my mindset is different:
As I scanned through my 6,000 plus photos since Cooper’s birth, I realized how many of the images could trigger a negative memory. I’m thankful they don’t. Instead, these memories have made for good stories, were moments I grew from, or simply weren’t worthy of stressing over. Establishing a positive mindset and finding the good in each moment is something I aspire to refine.
I recently read a book that suggested you take a moment at the end of each day and write down what you are grateful for. While I haven’t started writing them down, each night as I lay Cooper down for bed I take a moment to tell him our moments throughout the day that I am grateful for and why. While I know he won’t remember these moments right now, I hope someday he is able to recall the moments we stopped and watched the trains go by, rather than the ones where I was yelling at him to be quiet so I could get my work done. Hoping to instill a positive perspective in him as well.
As our Adventures in Amsterdam turns into Returning to Reno, I can’t help but think about the moments, experiences and values I want to take back with us. The Dutch are known for putting their families first. They work to live as opposed to living to work. Rather than dwelling on the crappy weather, they get out and carry on with their days. Yesterday, I was sharing with my dad that I have yet to see an angry parent yelling at their child while biking to school, the store, etc. It’s a desirable lifestyle I want to preserve.
I’d be lying to say I eliminated negative dwelling from my vocabulary but what I can say is that our time here in Amsterdam, (a forever thank-you to Andy), has provided me the opportunity to look at my unchecked to-do’s, like this blog post that has been sitting on my list for over a month now, and take a breath. Take a breath, and instead of beating myself up over my failed attempts at being productive, be grateful for the time I have with Cooper. To get chores done when we can, even if it means hanging up the laundry over and over so Cooper can pull them off the rack. Further, to take those moments of negativity in stride and forget them, because, after all, life is what you make it; and it is pretty good right now.