A few years ago we needed to replace our garage door. I suddenly noticed every garage door in the neighborhood and beyond. As I ran my errands, whether it was in the car, on my bike, or on foot, I couldn’t help but spot every garage door I passed. I’d never noticed before how many different styles there are, with a variety of windows, or none at all. Some have several panels, while others have just a few and many are manufactured to look like wood doors. The choices are remarkable, which I’d never observed until I needed one.
I’ve had similar experiences when we had to replace the roof on our house and when our neighborhood was getting a block wall. Spontaneously, my sights focused on every roof or block fence I went passed. I may have been by them a hundred times, but previously paid no attention. It’s apparent to me we notice what is concerning to us and at different times and situations we will be focused on different things. Just as my attention to housetops, garage doors and fences changed once the decision was made and the project was completed, my concentration moved onto another area in my life that needed improvement.
In Jamie Sorensen’s article, Survivor—Nich’s Story Update, she told of the concerns with Nich’s seizures and how emotionally and physically exhausting it is for her and for Nich. They research for a neurologist and their options on how to control the seizures, looking for the best solution for controlling and improving this part of their life. She acknowledged the hardships and then focused on the blessings of being his caregiver. She recognized how it has helped their children grow in caring for others and accepting responsibility. I’m sure it isn’t the life she’d prefer, but she has aligned her focus on the solution and not the problem.
I enjoyed reading the tools she uses to cope with being a caregiver. “One of the ways I cope is through writing. I love to put my thoughts onto paper. I may not share them for the most part, but it seems to help. I love reading. I love listening to music. I’m that lady in the car on my way to work with the radio blasting, singing to myself. For the most part, the only time I really get to be by myself is during my shower, the drive to and from work, and of course the bathroom!”
She also acknowledged the areas we all can relate to as caregivers, “I’m still trying to find more ways to cope and get things out instead of letting them build up inside. I admit I need to do a better job of taking care of myself. I need to sleep more, work out, eat better, etc. I need to make time for myself, even if it’s just 30 minutes to read or take in a movie, taking time to rejuvenate, so that I have the energy and strength to care for those I love. I don’t know how, but I need to somehow find the time.”
Recognizing the problem and areas we need to improve on is crucial, but we need to align our focus on the solution, not the problem. It can take time along with trying different things before we find the best solution, but I have no doubt if we seek it, we’ll find it.