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I promised you a more upbeat post last week, and here it is. Admittedly it’s about loading the dishwasher, but bear with me. The dishwasher is just a metaphor for life!

I’m a house-husband, that means I spend some (not as much as needed!) time doing the housework. And thinking. Because, let’s face it, housework is often not that mentally demanding.

I also like reading self-help, change your life types of books. At the moment my life is running on a strange mixture of FLY Lady, Getting Things Done and I Can Make You Rich with an added dash of Life Changing Magic of Tidying. (Although I did seriously fall out with the tidying book over books and paperwork!)

Bearing all this in mind, I had an epiphany while loading the dishwasher. I tend to just drop things into the cutlery basket, especially if I’m in a playful mood. Or try to knock them off so they fall straight in. I was trying to get a teaspoon in and it bounced and skittered and went right to the bottom, underneath the arm. And I tutted, and frowned. I didn’t have a meltdown or anything but I was annoyed.

And then I realised. It’s all about focus. Whatever you put your attention on, you get more of. And what I was doing was putting emotional energy into my failures. Every time something missed or stuck in sideways, I’d complain. I’d bemoan the design and wonder why it wasn’t made to be easier.

So I switched. Now, if I launch a teaspoon and it slots straight in I have a little internal cheer. I drop a spoon straight through to top deck and it lands in the basket perfectly. Yay! I haven’t changed the way I load the dishwasher, and I haven’t improved my accuracy. But I ignore the misses and celebrate the hits.

And of course, this isn’t just about dishwashers. It’s about life. Today I got everyone to school on time, with all the right kit, and fully aware of all the after-school activities. That is a major achievement. (Self high-five!) I’m going to give this moment of self-celebration at least as much emotional energy as the days where it doesn’t quite hang together.

On a similar vein, yesterday I took time out to drive to Cardiff to get five new pound coins. I agonised over the decision. I wasn’t feeling great – lack of sleep and minor stomach bug – it was about 40 mins drive each way, plus parking, walking to the bank etc. And I wasn’t even certain they’d have them. Then I realised another great truth.

To be happy, do more of what makes you happy.

Damn that sounds simple. But I like collecting coins. I like being the first to have a new one. I knew the boys would enjoy it too. (They did spend a long time looking at them and checking out the new features!) So I did it. And it made me happy. I actually smiled as I came out of the bank with five shiny new coins in my hand!

And isn’t that kind of the point of life? To be happy and make those around you happy?

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