Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sometimes You Just Need to Reboot, Remove Some Stuff, and Empty the Trash

This morning my computer is telling me that it has no space on my hard drive. This means I have to stop everything and do a few things I won't be able to use the computer or download the software I need to keep it running. While I am waiting for the computer to do some things which I have asked it to do, I thought I'd blog about how this is really a metaphor for what we need from time to time.

My computer goes non-stop. I put to sleep when I'm not using it, but I hardly ever restart it. I just go from day to day, making it work without a break, not having enough time to reboot. And it gets sluggish and slow and performs at low capacity. Finally it seems to get to the point where it has had enough and won't keep going until I do something.

Aren't we like that? We move at a frenetic pace, with so much to do, that we forget to charge our own batteries. We neglect to put our own oxygen mask on first. And after a while we just get tired, and sluggish, and slow and perform at low capacity. As mature responsible adults who have some self-knowledge, you probably know what you need to do. Some of you garden (Weirdos. ;-) Some of you take baths (again, don't get that -- sitting around in dirty water, but whatever). Others might watch a mindless TV show (can't wait for Biggest Loser to start again so I can have a bowl of chips and watch fat people cry. OK, so maybe that was a bit insensitive, but I'm serious. I'm hooked on watching that show. But anyway, I digress). For me it is getting up early and working out and having a shower before my kids are even up. Others might get lost in a book (Hey, I know one that just got published -- Out of Many One Family -- (see, you knew I'd work that in here somewhere). Or maybe, if you're like me, it's taking time to write a very long blog post. Whatever it is, though, you need recharge and do it often.

The other thing we need I had to do after I restarted my computer this morning was to free up some disk space. This morning I did a search and realized that I had every language you can think of installed in my computer when it came and that was glogging up a ton of hard drive space. I downloaded a free program (Monolingual, if you're curious about this and a mac user), and suddenly I have languages like Dzongkha and Amharic deleted from my computer. And since until this very moment I never knew those two languages (and several others) existed, I doubt I really needed them taking up my space. Using this program just saved me 2.9G of hard space.

Other times I have to archive things. This means moving them to another hard drive to store there. This is a tedious process, but it is so freeing when it is done. And sometimes there is stuff that I really don't need at all, and that goes into the trash.

So how does that apply to what we need to do as people? I believe we all have things that we need to get rid of that are clouding our minds and hearts. I could write a book about all this -- hey, I just might some day, but today I'm only going to talk about one.

Resentment. Lately I admit it, I have been resentful. Pure and simple. I have been angry with an undercurrent of deep resentment because I am now being forced to deal with repercussions of the actions of my children which I spent years trying to prevent. We started talking to Salinda about not having sex when she was six years old. And now she is 16, having a difficult pregnancy, and bringing a child into the world without seeing any need to find a job. Her boyfriend is currently unemployed as well. And, other than Bart and I, nobody is visibly concerned about paying for this child's expenses I guess she knows we'll just do it, but I'm sure you can imagine why this creates resentment.

Secondly, John was begged not to give up the services he was being provided. I literally shed tears, begging him not to give up his CADI waiver -- which, if you know about MN services, is a huge thing to get. We had spent years trying to get him on it. But to no avail he walked away. And therefore he lost his SMRT. He also asked to be taken off his IEP when he turned 18. This post is already paragraphs too long so I won't explain each of those things, but basically what it means is 1) He gave up free room and board for years;, 2) he gave up all medical insurance and he is no longer on ours, and 3) he gave up the right to go back to public school to finish and will now be going to alternative school with a whole bunch of people he should be avoiding. So, homeless, jobless and without insurance, he is back in our house. He really wants to work and is a very hard worker, but the recent jail stay has prevented it. Anybody have a job for John? I can't say enough about his work ethic and he's trying very hard.

So yes, I have been resentful. I am working hard to support people who would not be in dire straights had they listened to me. So not only am I having to work more now, I'm resentful about all of the work I did trying to prevent something that happened anyway. Why did I bother?

Now I have two choices today. I can throw my resentment in the trash and then empty the trash and be done. Or I can put it on another hard drive where I will only look at it once and a while. I wish that I could say that I have the ability to get rid of it completely, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. However, I can move it out of the center of my mind, stick it on another hard drive, and only visit it once and a while. But if it is on the "external hard drive", so to speak, instead of right in the middle of my computer screen, i won't be forced to live with at the center of who I am.

So this morning, I am taking time to reboot myself. I'm taking my resentment and sticking it on an external hard drive, where I will only visit it occasionally. And I think I'll move the anger that goes with it into the trash. I can live without that.

Need a fresh start? Pick something that will charge your battery and do it today. Have something that needs to be filed or thrown away? Do it now. Mentally move out some of the garbage that is troubling your head and heart and throw it away if you can't. If not, at least archive it. ;-)

And if you would like to share what it is you need to get rid of, maybe you'd like to blog about that or comment. I am always motivated by reading what others are doing to improve their lives.

Well, my computer just finished installing it's updates, and it's asking me to restart. I have emptied my trash, and freed up lots of space. Now my computer is ready to perform better.

And thanks to this blog post, so I am.


debbiem said...

if my first post went through, please delete this. i have a new email address.

my resentments are.
1)i resent that kids with "just" autism(no disrespect at all for that) get wonderful wrap around services from the school because they have someone with them and autism is very predominant right now. my kids, who function a lot lower than many of them, are getting 90 minutes a day, which by the schools admission won't be enough because there is just not the money.
2) i resent that i can't get out of the house for 10 minutes through the summer as there is no one in my life who can care for them. i love them dearly, but i am old and tired. (53 and menapausal).
i feel very guilty that i just wrote that. but i am very burnt out right now. and no, our area never heard of pca's.
3)i resent that oldest daughter dumped on me yesterday in a very upsetting phone call about things that i cannot go back and change. she is 35 and i am so tired of hearing i am not perfect.

sooo, don't know if that is what you meant, but i am feeling very emotional today. again, 53 and menapausal. so i will hit send and then go mow the lawn!

Cindy said...

Claudia, that's my point about enabling. Are we enabling them to keep on making poor choices at OUR expense?

Debbie, Us menopausal women have nice lawns now as we pour out our resentment into mowing...

Tiruba said...

I discovered something similar as I have been letting things go only I wrote about differently: I have to stop hyperfocusing on the future or I will forget to live for today.

I am learning to let go of some of my resentments but there are still a few that I cannot. Just yesterday, my husband and I were talking about the county that had guardianship of my daughter and how they refused to give us most of her history and any of her mom's health information. We are going to request it all again. Doesn't hurt to try. But we discovered that we were both still very angry at all the players involved in her adoption except for her foster parents. That was almost four years ago and I am still carrying it around. Not good.

I bottle things up really well. My external hard drive appears to have limitless capacity but someday it will just explode.

vicsens said...

Thanks Claudia for this post today. I too struggle w/resentment for the things my "neuor-typical", bio children have done. They have made their lives so much more difficult just because they wouldn't listen to good 'ole Mom & Dad when we tried to help them avoid the pitfalls.They're both doing pretty well at this time, but still have more difficult lives because of past decisions. Oh well, time to archive, trash, re-boot & stop worrying about things I can't change!

Claudia said...

Sorry Anna, I rejected the comment by accident, so I want to repost it. And, no I am not annoyed at all. I think you're right. I'd rather be resentful than regretful.

But I'd rather have them listen to me even more. :-)

Anna commented:

Granted this is from someone who has no children as yet, so take it with a grain of salt. But I would think that it would be better to have resentment for your wasted time, words, and actions, then regret, for not trying everything, for not putting in all you had. You know you did all you could. It may have been wasted, but you did everything in your power to change the outcome. I hope this doesn't annoy you (totally not my intention, and I apologize if it does), since I really can't see it through your eyes, and can't possibly have the same perspective. But I would think that would/could bring at least a small measure of peace with the situation.


nancy said...

I do a lot of things wrong. My kids can attest to that. Our older three bios, wonderful women, still remind me from time to time in various ways of my mistakes. I heard my inlaws talking about things my mother-in-law did when they were kids. MIL defended herself, but I realized then that moms will forever go down in history as the ones who made the mistakes. I'm sure some dads might be blamed, but from what I see, everyone craves the love of a daddy but blames mom for their troubles. I'm not even talking about anything major or life altering, just dorky haircuts and making a kid pee in a jar on a road trip! (I'm guilty of the haircuts, MIL for the jar incident). For some reason, it's moms who get the brunt of things, it seems to me. Maybe, it's because deep down, everyone knows a mom is expected to love you. A dad? We crave it. But it somehow seems more of a blessing when we get it, something we feel we should be thankful for, because not everyone gets attention from a dad. Moms will forgive anything, they keep on loving us, no matter what. At least I think deep down every child is born knowing that in their soul....until a mom doesn't do these things. Then when a mom rejects a child, it is so against everything that was in our hearts from birth, that knowing how wrong it is for a mom not to love us or take care of us, to abandon us. Does that explain some of this stuff we see? I don't know, but it makes sense to me in my situation. Because even though my dear hubby is so much more wonderful and layed back and fun with our kids, that doesn't explain to me why I forever get the brunt and he doesn't. They just so much more don't want to disappoint their dad than me. They know he will also be quick to forgive and forget, but they don't want to go there. Should I feel good that they are so comfortable with me and trust me so much not to "abandon" them or quit doing mom things for them?

Does this have anything to do with your post? Probably not, but some musings for moms who might be taking way more of the heat than anyone else.

Lots of "housecleaning" needed to be done, computer wise and because my folks are coming for my dad's 85th bday tomorrow.

Nancy in Iowa