It has been a while since I have carved out some time to sit down and reflect on the subject at hand. Have you ever noticed that just because you know to do something doesn’t necessarily translate to you doing what you know to do? For instance, most of us have a general idea of what it means to eat healthy and yet…enough said right? Habits, especially old habits, provide us with such an easy and familiar path to follow. It takes quite a bit of insight and energy to break free from established patterns of life. Doing things that are new things, breaking the old mold, staying off the well-worn trails, these things are challenges for each of us and particularly for those of us who are caregivers.
The question I present today is… Where Do I Begin? Where do I go? Where do I need to get to before I can change directions? The answer is (in my opinion) you begin right where you are. So often we get our mind set on a “place” we want to get to so that we can start something new. We want to have a certain amount of money in our bank account before we begin to invest and save our money. We want to enjoy one more piece of cake and one more scoop of ice cream before we begin that new diet. We want to take care of any number of small details that are often connected to any number of other people, before we begin to take care of ourselves. Begin to make the changes in your life… Today! Start where you are, working with what you have to work with today. Before you can break a habit, you have to recognize that it is a habit that needs to be broken. Before you can make an adjustment in who you are, you must first realize who you are and right now you are a caregiver.
As I have written in these articles, the best way to be the best caregiver you can is to take time to take care of yourself. As you move forward remember; it is the little things in life that are the great things in life. In other words, don’t sweat what you don’t have or what you can’t do. Try not to worry about getting to some far off, down the road destination before you begin. Today is what you have. Today is where “someday” begins. Where you are is the best place to start. The tools you have are the best tools you have to work with.
In my office I have a beautiful picture above my desk. It is a scene of a mountain and forest and an eagle flying above the mist. Next to the picture is an old beat up 3” paint brush. I keep things in this juxtaposition on purpose. Every time I look up and see them I am reminded that that beautiful picture was not painted by that paint brush. That picture required more than a few strokes from a wide brush. It required thousands of small touches using a much smaller tool.
So often we approach complexities in life with the biggest and widest brush we can find. We want to “paint over” our problems as quickly as possible. We want to do something really big in order to achieve what we hope will be a lasting change. In the process we often overlook the importance of the really small things. And, yes, we want to “be” somewhere else before we begin to do what we know to do. May I suggest instead that you simply begin where you are? Caregiver, take care.