Taking “Do Not Disturb” to New Lengths
I have an irrational aversion to people I don’t know parking in front of my house. It could be a neighbor, one of their friends, or someone pulling over to send a text or check an address. It doesn’t matter. I see their car in front of my house and have to physically restrain myself from running outside and telling them to park elsewhere.
Perhaps it stems from the first few years I lived in this house. We had a neighbor around the corner who was dealing drugs. His customers would often park in front of my house and run around the corner to make their purchases. But he’s been gone for at least 20 years, and still, park an unfamiliar car in front of my house and my ire escalates.
I realize the street in front of my house is public property. I know I have no legal right to ask people to leave. Still, I wish they’d find somewhere else to park and not avail themselves of the shade my big, beautiful tree provides.
Releasing Irritation For More Productive Pursuits
As I try to follow the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and stay in the moment, it’s easier to let the irritation slip away, but I’ve yet to master it completely. Like a two-year-old with a prized toy, the space in front of my house is mine. In my selfish mind, I’ve lived here long enough; paid enough taxes to maintain the roadway that I feel I’ve earned the right to be a little selfish. Yet I also see myself turning into the cranky old woman everyone secretly mocks because she yells at all the kids going by and watches from her window to see what the neighbors are doing.
My saving grace is my writing. I typically have more than enough projects for myself and others to keep me busy and reasonably oblivious to the goings-on in the neighborhood. I also don’t know most of the neighbors well, if at all. In fact, I find myself taking a page out of my newest neighbors’ book and remain detached from all but my two oldest neighbors. Maybe it’s not the friendliest existence, but I never claimed to be the Welcome Wagon. Nonetheless, I did try, albeit fruitlessly to welcome the neighbors when they moved in maybe a year ago. I’d been friendly with 4 of the previous 6 residents of the house in the 30 or so years I’ve lived here.
Like me, they chose to isolate from the neighbors, and being a hermit myself, who was I to argue? I’m happy to watch out for the elderly woman across the street, and the octogenarian couple next door. They rarely ask for much, and I’m grateful I can be there for them if they do. But having a far more distant relationship with the other neighbors suits my hermit heart fine.
Isolated Doesn’t Mean Lonely
One might ask if my existence is lonely; an island in a suburban sea of souls. There was a time it was, especially the first couple of years after I left Corporate America behind. But as regular habits improved and I left the house 3 times a week to go to the gym, had a regular errand day, and saw friends for dancing, movies, lunches, and game nights, being lonely left my schedule entirely.
I may still spend a lot of time alone (and frankly, it’s difficult to write and carry on a conversation at the same time), I do so when and because it’s what I want. It’s only loneliness when you want for company and can’t find it. Heck, there are times I make it clear I want to be alone while out in public. When I’m at the gym, or in a jury room, I put earbuds in my ears, making it clear I’m there to get something done, and not to be the social butterfly my friends are for me.
We all have our functions in life. Some of us carry the conversation or bring people together. In that regard, I’m a follower. That isn’t to say I’m not a leader at times, else I’d have never been able to run away from the real world to be a writer. There’s a lot of leadership in re-creating yourself into something completely different, then actually earning money doing it. Of course, at times there’s also a lot of blind stubbornness too.
Stubborn Enough to Keep Doing What I Love
I thank goodness for the stubbornness that always drove my parents nuts. Without it, I’d have given up long before I’d used up a lot of financial resources. But that stubbornness told me I was going to make a go of being a writer, come hell or high water, and I have to say, the water has gotten pretty high at times.
Instead of allowing myself to drift with the current, I’ve continued to reinvent myself until I found something that began to work. I learned a lot of things along the way.
- What I love to do
- What I hate to do
- What I’ll tolerate doing until I can outsource it
- What I do well
- What I don’t do well
- How to write better and faster
- How to help others with my writing
Committing to Myself
I took a few courses and dropped most of them. I talked to coaches, but only hired one after several years of muddling along by myself. I learned to set myself deadlines, and to treat commitments to myself as at least as important as the ones I made for others. I set schedules for myself:
- For gym visits
- For self-care
- For posting to my blog (and later refined that even further)
- For dancing more often
- For expanding my social life
That last is more important than it sounds since I learned that outright selling isn’t my thing. I have a hard time promoting myself. What I can do, and which helps my writing immensely is to listen to other peoples’ stories. I’m still working on listening more and talking less so I get more of their story and less of my interpretation. It’s one of the skills I’m learning to hone as it makes me a better writer and ghostwriter.
More than once in even the last 24 hours, I’ve stopped myself from interjecting. I read recently we listen to respond rather than listening to understand. I’m working on shifting the practice in myself. There are so many interesting stories out there waiting to be told, and 99.9% of them aren’t mine.
Part of learning to listen to understand is tied directly into living in the moment and disallowing any petty irritants. It’s still a work in progress, but isn’t that what makes life interesting?
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Making Time for Gratitude
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful I’ve taught myself to respond to the alarm clock, no matter how early I have to set it.
- I’m grateful for earbuds and Pandora so I can create an island of serenity in a crowded place and get some work done,.
- I’m grateful for a general understanding that earbuds mean “please don’t try to engage me in conversation”. I might seem antisocial to some, but like everything else, there’s a time and a place.
- I’m grateful for inspiration which doesn’t let me down as long as I put fingers on the keys or pen to paper on a regular basis.
- I’m grateful for abundance; quiet places, solitude, friendship, commitment, collaboration, opportunities, joy, love, peace, harmony, health, comfortable clothes, beautiful days, friendly people in difficult situations, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a writer, blogger, ghostwriter, and advocate for cats. Sheri believes in the Laws , of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward