Effort Takes Effort

Nearly every day I hear (or read) someone talking about how they want to do this or need to do that.

They need to get out more, spend more time with the girls.

They need to start exercising and eating healthy.

They need to make more time for crafting and DIY and creative pursuits. Read more, cook more. Take more pictures, get off Facebook, call the relatives. Wear the fancy clothes, use the fine china. Stop saving that wine for a special occasion.

I used to be one of those people. A wisher. Content to bemoan my not-quite-miserable existence, unwilling to work at changing the things I was railing against. Wishing for my life to one day be different.

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I got fed up.

I annoyed myself, and I disgusted myself. So I stopped.

Oh, I didn’t stop wishing….definitely not. But I stopped letting it consume me. I started doing. I started trying to change the things I hated, adding in the things I was missing. I took responsibility for my own sorry state and vowed it wouldn’t continue.

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It started with this blog, but I wrote that first post months before publishing it. I thought it was silly, that I was just trying to get attention. That I was making a big deal out of something nobody would care about.

Then one day I realized I didn’t damn well care what anyone else cared about.

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So I post. Sometimes the posts are fluff, and even I get bored reading them. Those are the posts I write to stay connected, and to remind myself what I’m working toward. And sometimes the posts are eloquent, and say something. Those are the posts that bring it all home, that remind me that what I’m doing is working. That I’m making the changes I needed to make.

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No, I’m not there. I have a lot of changes left.

Here’s a secret….it’s f*cking hard. It’s so much easier to piss and moan and blame everything except myself and my own actions (or inaction, as is more often the case). It’s so much easier to wish time and space away than it is to get off the couch, put down the cookies, and do something. It takes effort, and sometimes it doesn’t seem worth the energy.

It’s hard to exercise. I edited that sentence….I first wrote “it’s hard to exercise when you don’t feel like it.” But the truth is, no matter what the crazy fitness junkies tell you, it’s hard. It’s even harder when you’re overweight, out of shape, and addicted to Ramen noodles. Does it get easier? No. Do you get better? Eventually. Does it make a difference? Yes, though it takes patience and an open mind. If all you’re focused on is the scale, you’ll miss the fact that you feel better, you have more confidence, and you’re sleeping better. But it’s still hard.

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It’s hard to make time for friendships. Unless you live or work together, you have to actually make an effort to see someone. If you want girlfriends, you have to work at it. Sure, you can be a one-way communicator, but eventually people get tired of never getting anything back. Everyone has a family, everyone has a job, and everyone is busy. Make time. News flash….friendships don’t run on Facebook. Most of them don’t run on once-a-year hellos, either.

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It’s hard to be creative. Better yet, it’s hard to make time for yourself. It’s hard to allow yourself that time. Do, and you’ll feel rejuvenated. Throw aside the guilt and recognize that to be a fully functioning person you need things that are your own. We don’t stop having hobbies and interests just because we have to pay our own bills.

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As for reading, cooking, and calling the relatives..well, the same principles apply. Put in a little effort.

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You want change? Do something. It doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t have to happen all at once. Take a step, any step. Stop just wishing…take it a step farther. Cut the excuses.

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What’s stopping you, but you?

4 comments

  1. This is brilliant, Casey – SO true! Also, have you read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin? I found it absolutely life changing after my mom died last year and I actually had “time” again – it really helped me re-focus my life. She sounds very whiney and spoiled in the first chapter or so, but persevere – it’s well worth it! This would be a marvelous blog to post on Sparks, because I think it would speak to so many members there!

  2. So glad you liked it! I LOVED The Happiness Project. Have you read her new one yet? (I haven’t.) I’ll post this on Sparks…I think you’re right!!

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