Sunday, September 05, 2010

Today's Horoscope

It's not enough to want to do something -- the trick is getting yourself to take some action toward actually realizing that dream. In other words, stop talking about what you could do and figure out ways that you could actually do it. If you keep telling yourself that you have to have X and Y done by Z date, you'll just scare yourself out of it. Instead, start small and then break it down even further into microsteps. Then take the first one.

This applies to just about anything in life, doesn't it? It's so easy to get overwhelmed and pre-stressed-out, and talk yourself out of pursuing a dream. (At least it is for those of us who had "But you can't do that - something bad will happen!" drilled into our heads since childhood.) I'm aware of where this behavior comes from, but awareness doesn't just magically eliminate it - I'm still the queen of fretting about worst case scenarios. I'll examine the worst case scenario until it has grown to loom so big and menacing, I'm scared to go forward. I have to remind myself every day that I have inherited the family tendency to gloom, fear and inertia, and recognize it, and get past it. It's a daily battle with those voices in my head.

Take the living room wall - here we have a shining example of my doomsday thinking. When I saw that leak last winter - and believe me, at one point, when the rain was right, I had a lovely little waterfall trickling down the stone fireplace - my mind went straight to "OMG, massive interior damage and thouands of dollars of remediation ahead!"

I could very easily visualize (because I have quite a bit of professional experience with water intrusion claims) the worst path the water might be taking behind the mirror and inside the wall. I jumped on getting the roof fixed, of course, but then let the interior work slide for months, rationalizing all the while that I needed to make sure the leak was fixed (it is). Mostly, I just didn't want to face this, scared of how much it would cost to fix it, and just put off dealing with it until this summer, when it HAD to get done, before I move out. I steeled myself to face the worst.

I was tense as the contractor removed the mirror - a slow, painstaking process that involved scoring and cracking and pulling down pieces of glass. In my mind's eye I could just see many feet of water damaged drywall streaked with mold behind it. What if we need to bring in professional mold remediation? (Logically, I knew this was unlikely, but the voices in my head just had to bring it up.)

I just knew this would be a Big Deal, because I had been raised by and well trained in the Art of the Worst Case Scenario, and this particular scenario is one I'd seen many times in my working life, that this was going to be ugly and expensive. I was going to be standing in a room sheeted with visqueen as half the living room had to be dismantled.

The last of the mirror came down - and, nothing. In addition to the 1x1 foot area of stained ceiling, there was a 1x1 foot area of stained drywall behind the mirror, all in the same corner. The rest of the wall looked like new. So much for my Doomsday Scenario.

I need to keep this incident in mind as I move forward - often problems turn out to be much smaller than we think, and those voices in my head are usually full of crap.


Garilynn said...

As a dweller in the land of fear, I will now use my new mantra "Those voices in my head are usually full of crap" to banish the negative thoughts. Thanks!

Linda said...

Garilyn "The voices are full of crap!" LOL! Too funny and very true. My mortra; Plan for the worst but hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

Can we make bad jokes about Murphy being named after Murphy's Law?

I have settled on a green---it is called "Ryegrass" and has allot of yellow in it. It is a quiet color, but it gives off a subtle "pop" when I hold it next to the *faux* wood storage furniture I ordered from Amazon. Going through the 20+ years of stash and abandoned craft supplies I have piled in this sewing room is not for the feint of heart, but I really want to turn this room into a pleasant, easy-to-use workspace where I'll be able to hibernate this winter. I must admit that I'm starting to think that getting this room pulled together may be my big winter project---at the rate I'm going, I may not be actually ready to paint before this spring.

Brenda in Iowa.