When I started my MAG (Mood and Anxiety Group) at the hospital, one of the things we had to do was set three SMART goals that we felt we could complete in the eight week time span of the course. They could be broad or specific---they could be steps in a larger goal or an entire project itself.was complete a 'goal' sheet.
Tomorrow begins week four in the course and Wednesday will mark the half way point. The intention on Wednesday will be to review our goals to see how we are doing. It may mean revision time if the goal seems to no longer be appropriate or perhaps, substitution time if the goal is complete and you feel you can accomplish something else in the time remaining.
It was difficult for me to find three things I felt I could actually tackle in eight weeks. I know it sounds like a long time, but the reality is, November of 2012 feels like it was just yesterday for me and if I was at work, I would already be thinking into 2014. When you are working, a two week holiday seems like a good length of time. But rest assured, when you are off work for 10 months, you start to talk about time in weeks and months and not days. With no weekend and weekday to mark the relentless trudge of Father Time it all slips into a more fluid state. You think of time in holidays and seasons.
I think the summer was a tough time for me with my little one at home as I felt like everything about me was on hold. Those eight weeks passed in a flurry of baseball and gardening and I feel like I got nothing accomplished. So how could I accomplish three meaningful goals in another 8 week period?
I truly felt stuck in my progress, avoiding the big questions about getting back to work, moving, quitting, finding new work.....why don't I know what to do???? My family doctor was encouraging me to "find my passion"---and I am sure I was looking at her as if she was speaking another language. I just didn't get it. II kept hoping if I kept myself 'open' the answers would come to me ---you know, that lighting bolt approach. But the universe doesn't work that way.
Through all the reading I have done I have learned that sometimes, if you are stuck and you can't make a decision that you need to get more information. Ok, THAT I understand (having a degree in Information Science I figured this should be right up my alley).
So one of my goals was to sit down with the Spouse and review the finances. What do we have coming in now? What are our commitments? What can we do with, and do without? What sort of future commitments do we have? How would we like to live? What would it look like to drop to one income? Completing this step would help me better understand the impact of each option that was available. Also, doing this with the Spouse makes it a team effort. There will be no more secrets and whatever things happen in the future we can always say that our decisions were based on the information we had at the time.
So 3 weeks in---the Spouse and I sat down and looked over the money situation. Having both been married before, we have income from my ex-husband and he has payments to his ex-wife. Having both been "left", we are cautious with our finances and have maintained separate bank accounts, each of us having agreed to pay certain bills. We have now decided to merge our account and I have set up an appointment with someone at the bank in early November to do just that. We looked at what our income would be with just him working, we me getting disability, with us moving to somewhere cheaper and paying down our debt. It was a huge relief to see that while neither of us had been willing to really look into this, we could make almost any option work--with sacrifices of course--but it was helpful to do this together. (Saturday night we celebrated with a date night at a coffee house where we did his expenses for the last four months since he is behind. I promised him we will work on this together, each week, so it is not such an overwhelming task and we can better keep track of what money is going where. Hot date night eh?)
My second goal was to increase my intimacy with the Spouse--(And before you hear bow-ba-ba-bow-bow--porn riff in your head)...back up a hundred miles. With him out of town so much and working late, we need to sit close, go for walks and have Hot Dates doing expenses out of the house away from the kids (and yes I got all dressed up to go!) So three weeks in and I think we are headed in the right direction!
My third goal is to read four books. It might sound silly but, since the hospital, I have lost the ability to take in anything I am reading. The last time I went through this, reading was my salvation. If I got down to fewer than 3 books on my bedside table. During good times, reading was my guilty pleasure for years and recently, on a dare to myself, I discovered why romance books are the highest growing genre at bookstores and at library check outs. So far, after three weeks I have finished two books! One of them was a Young Adult title and the other was The Gifts of Imperfection---yes---I have finally conquered the 137 page book that has been my guide throughout this process of recovery. I have two more guideposts to blog about ---for now I am just basking in the glory of finishing the book!
Work in progress......