My primary task in this life is that of Carer, and this week I attended my very first Carer Support Group. I've never felt the desire to go before. As I've been caring non-stop for 33 years, firstly for my babies when they came along, and then seamlessly into the continued caring of my adult autistic child, it's not as if caring is anything new. This role has been so seamless (in a sense), I haven't had much time to 'do my own thing' and somewhere along the line, through all the years of looking out for others, I have completely forgotten what I want!
This first week at the Support Group tackled 'goal setting'. Each of us had to set 'Action Plans' for the next week. It didn't have to be much - even setting the goal to take a walk for 10 minutes twice before the next meeting was enough.
I sat on my chair and stared at the white board and nearly had a panic attack. What did I want to do? Think of something woman - quick!
It was like school. I knew the great eye would come around and be focused on me soon enough, and did I have an answer? I bit the bullet and put up my hand. "Can I say something?" I said. "Of course" was the kindly reply. "I'm afraid I have absolutely no idea what I want to do!"
It was quite a confession to make. It highlighted the lack of focus I have in life. Every day is a 'just get by' day. Do what you have to do day. Make the best of it day. If others come to me with their ideas and desires, I follow along. It's easier that way, and I don't mind. But what do I really want to do?
The moment past, and I came up with the desire to clear out my attic... Not exactly exciting or joyful, but it was the only thing I could think of. 30 minutes on one day was going to be enough. The likelihood of completing this task I put at 7 out of 10. Anything less than 7 means setting yourself up to fail - and at the Support Group, we do not use the 'F' word.
Have I carried out this task? Yes, I have. And the really crazy thing is that I actually enjoyed it!
My conclusion to this is that we all need goals. We need to make them believable and achievable for us, and they don't have to change the world. It doesn't matter how small they are, just so long as we make them. The feeling of achievement when completed is a good one, and encourages us to move on and do some more. Isn't that one of the wonders of being alive? Making the little changes that will benefit us and others? Having goals and staying on track means we don't lose ourselves in the eddies that can keep us going round and round in circles for a lifetime. None of this needs to be driven or difficult - just a gentle nudge here and there to keep us in the flow.
I have been writing a book for my grandson for nearly 5 years... If I don't set some goals to finish it, he will be too old to want to read it. Perhaps my action plan from the support group will help me get this done... :-)