With the kind of therapy that I do, it isn’t very often that I see clients for months on end, much less a year or more. But it definitely does happen occasionally. This past week I was speaking with one such client, who I’ve seen pretty regularly for about a year and half now, and something occurred to me. This client made a list for 2014 a year ago, about what she wanted to notice happening in her life one year from that date. Her list reached 50, and it had some very small and specific hopes. Things like keeping tidier around the house, writing more like she used to, socializing with friends a few times a month, prioritizing calls to her brother and seeing him more often, and taking care of her health. So now, a year later she has pretty much checked everything off on that list of 50, with a few minor exceptions. She described to me this feeling she has now of being on the edge of something very big, and not really knowing what’s next in her life. I asked her if she thought that a new list would be helpful for her, and if she thinks it would be very different from the last one. She emphatically stated that yes, a new list might be helpful, and it would definitely be different. She pointed out that the last list was full of small busy kinds of things, tasks and such, but this one would feel very different. I wondered if that was a signal of how incredibly far she’s come in the past year, and she seemed to agree that it was, and the work she did to check those things of that list contributed greatly to this better place she was in now.
I think that the small things matter most when you’re in a tough place. Think about it a minute, when life is at it’s most difficult, THAT’S when the small tasks like reaching out to friends and keeping your house clean, and going to the doctor or dentist can be the most beneficial for you. It’s in those tough times that you need to do the easier physical things to keep yourself moving in the right direction, and once you are back at your best, that’s when you can refocus some of that energy on the bigger tasks such as finding fulfillment in life.
So, where are you in life? Could a list of 50 details you hope to notice in 2015 be helpful for you?
Rebekka Ouer, LCSW