Thursday, March 22, 2012

If-Then Doldrums

I've been struggling this week with a very bad case of the if-then's... You know, when you get yourself down by allowing yourself to believe that if you had then following, then you would be the resulting.

For example:

If I had more free time everyday, then I could get more writing done.

If I had better access to a fitness center, then I could get more exercise.

If I didn't have so much to do, then I could get more sleep every night.

If we lived in a bigger space, then the kids wouldn't have such a bad case of cabin fever.

If it was warmer weather, then we could go outside more.

The list could really go on and on. I'm sure many of you readers can relate. Maybe you're thinking right now if only I stopped complaining, then I would realize how blessed I am. And you know what? You'd be right.

Life's not perfect. It probably won't ever be easy. As much as I like to imagine a lifestyle that gave me an unlimited amount of time to write and blog and pursue leisure and hobby activities, it's about as likely as winning the lottery jackpot for which I never buy a ticket.

Do you remember that Sheryl Crow song Soak up the Sun? The lyrics contain a phrase that I've heard reworded in similar ways several times, that has always stuck with me.

"It's not having what you want, it's wanting what you have."

Though I'm not currently working in the field, I'm an experienced certified teacher, and one of the assessment tools I was taught, and often used, in measuring student learning was called the "I can" statement.

The I can statement is essentially a form of student self-assessment that allows the learner to process the objectives of a lesson and turn it into a sentence (or two) that shows their understanding of a concept.

I'm finding that the real problem with the if-then doldrums is that it's interfering with my creative productivity (aka I'm not writing as much as I should be). So I'm going to try to overcome my own if-then doldrums by replacing them with some I-can's.

Here goes:

I can use the brief free moments in my day to make some progress in my writing, even if it's a small amount.

I can add more movement to my life style, by walking more, dancing with the kids, and using soup cans for some light weight lifting (hey, whatever works, right?).

I can remember that the house doesn't have to be perfectly clean, the dishes stacked back in the cupboards and every toy removed from the floor before I go to bed. Sometimes sleep and family trump an model housekeeping award.

I can survive our tiny apartment. I can, I can, I can... (trying to be the little engine that could here folks).... I can, I can, I can....

I can remember the spring is right around the corner, and with it, the warm weather.
Whew, feel better already!

I don't need life to be perfect. I'd love it to be easy, but when I step back and really think about it, even in it's most difficult moments, its still a good thing. There is still plenty for which I am grateful, and that brings me joy and fulfillment. I love my family, I have amazing supportive friends, and a hobby that brings me rewards and furthers my mind, knowledge and abilities.

So how do you get over a case of the if-then doldrums? What are your if-thens?


  1. When I get in if-then mode I always try to see how I can make my "if" a "now". For example, I'm the one weirdo on the planet who wants a smaller house (I dream of someday living in 200 square feet or less- not with kids, of course...maybe 1000 with kids). I keep thinking that if I lived in a smaller space, I wouldn't have as much junk to clean up and I'd have so much more time (and mental energy) to do more important things. Since that's not an option right now, instead I'm trying to declutter as if I were moving to a tiny house. Less stuff = less cleaning = more free time.

    I also try to be honest with myself and say, "What's REALLY keeping you from your 'then'?" A lot of times my "if" is just an easy excuse for my laziness. For example, if I didn't waste so much time on facebook, and spent it writing, then I might have finished my book right now. ;-) LOL!

    1. Don't worry - you're not weird - I'd love to live in a smaller space to, and like you, when that doesn't involve kids (sometimes its not so much the kids as the stuff that comes with them!). I think I'm just feeling claustrophobic right now because it's six kids under six in a two bedroom main floor unit with basement neighbors and two feet of snow out the front door. But it's also spring, so yay!

      I might have to take your advice on dejunking though...

  2. This is a great post! I really like your writing.

  3. If I could go see Hunger Games tonight, then I would be so lucky! But I can look forward to it longer and watch it when the stars and babysitter's and hubby's schedule aligns. Am I doing it right? :)

    1. As usual, you are spot on! Oh, it's been a long time since I've been this excited about a movie...

  4. If only those Cupcakes weren't staring at me, then I wouldn't have to run them off tomorrow.

    Great post Mandi!



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