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Monday, November 30, 2009

Reassessment of Life

Every once in a while something happens that makes you stop and reassess your life. It makes you ask “Am I doing everything possible to get the most out of my life?”

What caused me to pause and ask myself that question is that a good friend of mine had a stroke on November 22, 2009. She is 37 years old and is a single mom of two daughters (a 15 year old and a 21 year old). Like me, she is a paralegal and we met on-the-job at my first “real” paralegal job. She has had her ups and downs in life but she always manages to smile. The stroke has left her unable to work, unable to drive, unable to use her right leg, unable to remember events and details from the past few years, unable to be left alone because the doctos fear another stroke, and feeling very depressed and alone. My heart aches for her and her girls right now.

This has caused me to reevaluate my life and take stock of things such as:

  • My mental health which has been taxed as of late by stress (always a constant in the life of a single parent): For my mental health, I have decided to delay our move back to Massachusetts until the summer of 2011. This will allow us to save more money while still paying off debts. And most of all, it will allow me to have a job. My fear has been that I will leave this job, move 1,300 miles and not be able to find a job. Granted, that could still happen later but if I have more money saved for us to live off of while I am looking for work, it won’t be so bad.
  • My physical health which is in need of some serious attention: I have decided to join the YMCA in January and to go to the gym everyday at lunch even if I do nothing but walk on the treadmill. I would also like to take a Pilates class if possible.
  • My emotional well-being: This is the tricky part for me. Some days, it feels like nothing will help me feel better and every little effort is too much. This will be an area hardest hit by the decision to delay the move. Part of the motivation to move is to be closer to my sister (who is also my best friend). Being this far apart from her is so very hard and obviously the longer we are apart, the worse I feel. There is no real cure for being away from her except to be sure we communicate (by phone, email or mail) as much as we can. I steered away from doing this for a while but I am going to get back in the habit of sending her a snail mail package at least once a month which includes all those little things I see and think to myself “Marci would like that”.

    Another project that I am going to undertake for my emotional well-being is to work on my organization. Since I live with my mother, my room is my only private space. Currently it is not a very relaxing place. It is too cramped and unorganized and I can’t stand it. It doesn’t help that my room not only contains my bedroom but also all my yarn, my paperwork, and any thing that I don’t want in the storage shed.

    My room has the following pieces of furniture in it: One Queen size bed; one night stand; one metal two-drawer filing cabinet; one glass-door shelf which holds DVDS, photo albums, and binders of knitting patterns; a chair which holds clean clothes, yarn, etc.; an armoire for clothes and books; and a three shelf wire shelving system.

    My room also contains rubbermaid bins of yarn, boxes of cookbooks, all my paperwork, etc. My room mess has also spread into the hallway outside of my room. The hallway currently holds a bookcase with photo boxes, board games, and knitting books. There is also a box of photo albums on the floor and a box of books that need to go somewhere.

    In an effort to do something with all this mess, I am going to do the following:

  • Sort all loose paperwork into three piles (knitting, cooking and to be filed) then file it appropriately;
  • Purchase a small bookcase for the hallway which will hold remaining photo albums, loose board games, cook books, etc.;
  • Put away all clean clothes;
  • Dust, sweep and mop the floor;
  • Reevaluate all items that are not currently being used for a better storage solution (shed, under the bed, etc.);
  • Sort through closet to determine if any items can be donated;
  • Get rid of box of books to be donated; and
  • Finish sorting through magazines and get rid of them.

    I figure if I do all this, my room might become something a bit more relaxing. Of course, I can’t get rid of it all until I find a place of my own but I can at least make things a bit better.
  • My social well-being: I have the tendency to be a bit of a hermit which is never a good thing when you also suffer from anxiety and depression. Before you know it, months have gone by and you realize that other than your mother, your kid and the dog, you haven’t had a real conversation with anyone else. For the past few months, a group of women have gotten together once a month to chat and visit. The common denominator in this group is that we all work in law offices or the legal field. It is a nice way to put a face to the person you have been speaking with for years. I am going to make sure I continue to go to this outing.

    Also, I am going to go to the Stitch n’ Bitch on Sundays. I am going to commit to going every other Sunday since it is an hours drive. Before or after the meeting, Princess Ivi and I will run any errands we may need to run but we will also go somewhere fun like the Museum of Natural History, the Botanical Garden (although we will need to remember to take an allergy pill), the bookstore to browse, a movie, or something like that.

    I would also like Princess Ivi and I to go to see the sights. There are many places here in Florida that we have not seen or Princess Ivi has not seen and it seems a shame to be here and not see them especially since we won’t always be in Florida. I am going to order one of those Florida vacation guides and we are going to start going to see the sites.
    • None of us knows how long we really have and I don’t want the time to come where I realize that my time is up and there are things I haven’t done and seen and I am not satisfied with the way I have lived my life.

      Check out this beautiful picture from The Pioneer Woman.

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