Do you ever talk to yourself? Confession time! I do, although you wouldn’t hear it even if you were sitting next to me. All in my head, the dialogue I address to myself.
It was Saturday morning. We had no appointments, no classes, nothing to get to that I knew of, and I was letting myself go wild surfing around on the computer. First I checked and read my favorite blogs. Then I started clicking into blog links off bloglink links. I had found and bookmarked some very interesting blog and websites when suddenly I noticed it was almost noon. I’d done it again! Stayed too long on the computer at the expense of the breakfast mess in the kitchen.
Now psychology studies have shown that it’s advantageous for my well being to get lost in an activity, but another little voice in my head that has nothing to do with studies keeps reminding me that it’s all about, yep, you guessed it: balance! Clearly it was time to have a little talk with my self about doing too much of one thing at the expense of the other!
So I said to myself, “Self, I’ll bet you can’t make it through one day without getting on the computer to either check your blog or email, one or another.” I’ve heard all my life that it’s perfectly all right to talk to yourself, but it’s when you start answering yourself that you may be a little bit crazy. Naturally I was startled to hear the voice inside myself answer, “Oh yes I can too!”
Well, one line added to another and pretty soon I heard myself say, “Okay, I’ll prove I’m not a computer addict by getting out of here and not getting back on the computer, beginning tonight at midnight and going through to at least Monday morning.” There! It was out, said and sealed; the glove had hit the dirt in the metaphoric sense. And one thing I am is stubborn as Hubby would be first in line to point out.
After lunch, and after making the kitchen sparkle again, I looked around to see what else I might find to distract me for the day when I noticed the two-color paint job on the walls of the main room downstairs. I should explain that my downstairs is more or less a basement, although the slope of the hillside gives it a full openness to the street in the front, and the main entrance to the house is through a staircase to the front door and balcony upstairs. I had begun painting the room at least a year ago and it was all done except the inch or two near the ceiling and the inch or so at the baseboard. I decided to finish painting the walls downstairs and get it whipped back into a livable condition.
I’d never finished the haphazard painting for a couple of reasons. One, the arthritis setbacks that had made me too tired for tasks like painting, and two–and probably the major reason–I really wasn’t happy about the color. I was changing it from non-descript bone or off-white to yellow, and yellow is a difficult color to get right. Anyone who’s had to choose from small paint chips surely knows what I mean. I wanted it to look cheerful and bright; instead it looked cheap and garish. I’d spent quite a few dollars already and hated to see the investment go to waste. At the same time didn’t want to throw good money after bad since to finish would require another gallon of that awful yellow color.
So the “make do with whatcha got” genes in me took over. I looked around to see what we had in stock, and found a more sedate eggshell color. Great! Eggshell would be easier to apply because little mislicks with the paint roller wouldn’t show on the ceiling. So it should go much more quickly. I’d already decided I wanted my bookshelves moved into that room to make a “getaway to read away from the blare of the television” room. There’re few things better than the varied colors of bookcover and jackets to liven up a room. So I got busy, and by the end of the afternoon, the major part was done!
Sunday was also completely open for me to do whatever I wanted, since I’d sworn off computers for the day, so I went back downstairs to work after a leisurely breakfast and newspaper. Hubby helped me move the shelves from the small room off the laundry where they’ve been the past two years to the “new family room.” I spent the rest of the afternoon dusting and transferring the books to their new space. It was an inspiring afternoon of rediscovering many favorites plus a sizeable number I’d collected to read later, “when I get around to it.”
There’s a couple of psychology terms that fit my situation well. (1) Habituation, or decrease in responsiveness resulting from familiarity. I’d gotten so used to the horrible room the way it was I no longer really saw it as others probably did. That could be why everyone who visited overnight chose the guest room upstairs rather than downstairs where they’d have their private bathroom and bar. And (2) Dishabituation, or increase in responsiveness after presenting new stimulus. Now that it’s almost finished, I look forward to going downstairs again. I forgot to take a before and after photo, but here’s my new family room afterwards, even though I’m jumping the gun a bit because there’s still a little more to do to be completely finished.
Sometimes it pays to sit down and have a little conversation with yourself. Especially when you’ve been putting off things way too long because you spend way too much time online. Even though it’s lots of fun, and I learn and discover so many new things and people every day, and even though it’s sort of addictive, I won my dare with myself. Now I’ll have to discuss in more depth with myself just how to keep things more in balance: fun versus duty. I hope the answers come easy.