When it comes to organisation, honesty and living a peaceful life, I don’t have a very good track record. In fact I don’t have a very good family history either. My family on both sides were immigrants and this upheaval, coupled with a lot of emotional complexity and layers of issues never being addressed has made for a very tumultuous and messy life. Not that I’m blaming my genealogy or family for my inability to sort out my life, far from it, but I feel that has made it hard for me to know balance and learn how to be in a harmonious way.
I tend to be pretty neurotic, and I have a very lazy side. So if there’s a problem in my life – a big bill arrives that I can’t afford, I need to handle a delicate relationship situation, or I need to motivate myself to address something practical – I wimp out. I procrastinate. I don’t just stuff about for a while and then eventually do it. No, I leave it until it’s really hard to deal with, and then I end up being screwed over. So I leave the bill until I’ve been sent a final notice and a whole lot of interest has been piled on and my credit is ruined; I don’t confront the delicate situation and end up pissing everyone off even more because they think I don’t care because I never said anything; I leave the cleaning til the last minute so it’s impossible to do it in the time I have and end up feeling overwhelmed by it all and everyone sees just how much of a lazy grot I am. And in turn, I feel slack, tired, and like life is a hard slog.
You could say it all comes down to motivation and discipline, which is true, but there’s another layer beneath that: why don’t I have the ability to motivate and discipline myself? It’s hard to work that one out, but I think it’s my basic disposition coupled with influences growing up. I often lament the fact that I have no passions, nothing gets me going. But writing is a passion, right? Yeah, but when I’m in a slump, even the prospect of writing or reading isn’t enough to pull me out of it. Nothing fuels my passion. These days I know that’s actually a form of depression, that feeling of hopelessness and lack of any meaning in life. But I think I’m moving past that, especially since having my son and being forced into routines, being given no option for slacking off. And in turn, because I’m forced into action, I feel better and I want to do more.
On the weekend I was at my friend J’s house. I hadn’t seen it in over a year and was absolutely blown away at how much work they’ve done to it and how beautiful it is. J has put so much energy into making that space beautiful and exactly what she wants in every respect. Obviously there is always more to do in any house, but clearly this house has had every detail attended to, and because of this it is the most relaxing space I’ve been in. It is light, bright, comfortable, convenient, aesthetically pleasing and a genuine pleasure to be in. I guess it helps that J and I have similar taste, although I think I found it so lovely to be there simply because she’d taken care of every detail. I just wanted to freeze time and stay there in that perfectly comfortable space with good friends and amazing food forever.
I was so inspired, and being there made me realise for the first time just how much I’m longing for my own space. In 2005, when I bought my house in Canberra, I finally did have a space with which do whatever I wanted but the depression didn’t let me do everything. I couldn’t see my way clear to making it amazing and a lot of time was wasted eating icecream and watching crap tv. I did things to improve the house, but they were mainly superficial and a little slap dash. Maybe it was a lack of maturity as well but there was a lot left undone in that house, and I’ll soon be paying for it and my general neglect of it since I rented it out nearly six years ago now. It’s another element of my life that has suffered as a result of my neurotic laziness and bouts of depression. Interestingly enough, when looking for a post to link as an example of my low moments, I read through this one and realised I’ve come so far since then and my life is no longer like that. Working at home a few hours most days helps, but somehow, something has really shifted.
This year, for the first time in my life, I feel as if things are really changing. There are a few factors affecting this, but getting out of debt is one of them, as is my new-found ability to motivate myself to actually do things instead of just think or talk about them. I’ve wanted to do this for many years but I think this time there are extrinsic motivators where there were previously none. My son, my family, my husband, my maturity, my increasingly positive outlook, these are all things that are moving me towards a new phase of life. And what better age than 35, which is what I’ll be this year in October. I love it when things sync with the seven year cycle!