I think the hardest part of Getting A Grip is figuring out how to keep that grip. It starts out like a New Year’s Resolution: Oh YEAH I’m gonna get on top of this mess, and I’ll get rid of all that stuff and I’ll cook dinner using locally sourced ingredients every night and I’ll have fresh flowers on the table and the house is going to be no more than five minutes from clean at any time. And you do it. You get a routine in place (need one? Email me. I’ll help you put one together) and for one month or three months or six months you just kill it. Everything happens as you hope it will and you have a smile on your face.
One day it stops. I have clean dishes in the dishwasher and dry clothes in the dryer, and I’d think, “eh, it can wait” because I KNOW it only takes 10 minutes to take care of either one. And instead of baking a loaf of bread on a Sunday afternoon, I’d watch five episodes of The West Wing. The house is so nice and quiet when the laundry’s not going all the time…
And I’m at square one. Again. Ugh. How do you snap out of it?
My old tricks didn’t work, either. When the house is a disaster, I could guarantee a miracle would happen if I turned on an episode or two of Hoarders and saw where five bad decisions could lead me. BOOM, I’m up and the kitchen is clean. The whole point of Get A Grip is not to be all Gwyneth Paltrow and provide ridiculous examples of how your life could be more fabulous if only you were slightly more perfect. I didn’t need a revolution. I just needed to get off my couch.
The excuse I was using for being on my couch was that my job made me sad. And it did make me sad. But that didn’t mean I suddenly got to go on a housework strike. I’m very fortunate in that I managed to marry someone who would let me wallow in self-pity take time to assess my options and he’d pick up the slack let me work my way toward a solution when I get like this.
There was a lot that I couldn’t control. What it came down to was identifying what I could control, and focusing on that. Work wasn’t going to improve on its own; I had to get off the couch (omg seriously) to make that happen too. Being a grown-up means that when life hands you lemons, you get to decide whether or not you even want the damn lemonade, and if you don’t, you can opt for something else instead. Like Diet Coke, or even a martini. And a snack. Not that you’re medicating with food (anymore…), you’re just calling your shot.
This week, I started a new job. I’m working with a colleague I’ve known and respected for years, and I will be doing what I enjoy. I took a bit of a pay cut to do it, but in the long run it’s going to be worth it. Taking control doesn’t mean you’re a control freak. It means that you have the means to decide who you are and what you will be when you grow up. It also means that there are no more excuses to let the laundry pile up, and that this family only works if everybody does his or her share (even Boo, who knows she needs to pick her stuff up at the end of the day). So when I go four months without entering a grocery store, that means somebody else has to or we become hungry, and neither of those are valid options in this house.
The catalyst for my getting up off the couch was the unfairness of it–poor freaking me, all sad because of work, because everybody else has such a perfect life.
I got over it, and by “it” I mean “myself”, because I had the power to fix it all along.
It’s good to be off the couch.