One of the sources of my anxiety is the lack of completion in my life. Everything is half-started or half-finished or however you want to look at it. The yard, the house, my hobbies, obligations, wishes, desires. It’s everywhere I look and everywhere I go.
I made a decision that I would start finishing things. It didn’t matter what it was or how small a project. The idea was that finishing things would be satisfying. Satisfaction would ease my anxiety. And so I began my quest.
There was a bag of baby yarn that had been bothering me for a couple years. There was a couple of untouched skeins in there and many scraps and partial skeins wound into balls. Uneven amounts of each colors. Some with sparkle and some were plain. But I looked in the bag and determined there was enough yarn to make one baby blanket. If I made the blanket now, then when someone has a baby, I already have a gift. If no baby is born in my circle for a couple of decades, then I have a gift for my first great-grandchild. I finished the blanket a couple weeks ago and it did feel so very satisfying.
Next project was going to be a cross stitch throw. I pulled out the bag it was in expecting to organize myself for a few minutes and begin. Ha! Inside that project were six more tucked away. Damn! For some reason, I put away the throw and selected a bell pull instead. It was farther along, so perhaps that is why I picked it for completion.
That project is fairly aggravating but I’m working on it every day anyway and interspersing it with tinier projects so I don’t lose hope.
One of those tinier projects is a pillow I set aside about twenty years ago. Yep, it has been sitting in a drawer for twenty years. I pulled it out with fresh eyes and thought to myself, are you kidding??? It was almost finished! Why in the world did you put it away??? It took me all of 15 minutes to sew the edges, stuff it, and close up the opening. Yes, this is what I’m dealing with.
It turns out I was right about this being a way to heal my anxiety. I feel satisfied and accomplished. I feel encouraged and motivated. My mind is feeling a bit like its old self. There are times during each day that I actually look forward to some aspect of my life.
If I weren’t as healed as I am, this would probably not be possible yet, this tying-up of loose ends. Basic self-care is crucial when it comes to mental illness. A certain amount of healing is necessary to be able to move forward even a little bit. Permitting myself to live this way is an important component. Not judging myself is very important as well.
So there was ground-work that had to be laid in order for me to take this next step. And this step, this finishing of things, is also part of the healing package. It brings me back to myself, who I used to be and what I used to do.
I lost myself over the years. I became completely externally focused. I didn’t know how to do my life any other way and I did that until I had nothing left to give.
How glad I am that I am no longer living like that. I will never again live my life that way. Before, disappointing others was the worst thing I could do. Now, disappointing myself would be the worst thing I could do.
Today’s project to finish was a very tiny one indeed. We have a cupboard with a very stiff door on it. The knob was hard to grip so opening the door was a pain all these years we have lived in this house. I went to the hardware store, bought a new ceramic knob with a good edge on it, came home, and installed it in one minute. Voila! The cupboard door is no longer hard to open. Since it’s where I keep some of my half-finished projects, I can be proud of myself and satisfied every time I open that door from now on.
I think I came up with a good plan for myself.