Life Skills

CheneyMental Health, On Life0 Comments

“Perhaps when we find ourselves wanting everything, it is because we are dangerously close to wanting nothing.”― Sylvia Plath

This week has been all about goals. Last Friday in group we filled out index cards with three goals that we wanted to complete in the coming week. Today, when it got to be my turn to talk about my goals, I felt disappointed and sorry and said ‘I only accomplished one of my goals.’ But M.A., who is my therapist and the one who was leading the group today, said: “Okay Cheney, but how should you have said that?” And I smiled and I said, ‘I accomplished ONE of my goals this week.” And then, I shit you not, everyone in the room gave me a round of applause.

I understand, how from an outsider’s point of view, I could be sounding ridiculous now. But ever since I graduated high school I have been thinking a lot about how there should have been a mandatory “Life Skills” class that we shouldn’t have been allowed to graduate without passing. In my head, the class would have lessons on changing a tire, balancing a checkbook, civil responsibility, culinary arts, basic baby care, and post-apocalyptic survivor skills, among other things. I never considered before that the class should also feature lessons on finding ways to live in the world so that you wouldn’t rather be dead. Life skills, man. You’ll never know how important some of these skills are until find yourself lost in a jungle of mystery and can’t start a fire. Metaphorically speaking.

My goals have been simple things. File for unemployment, because oh? Did I tell you? I don’t have a job anymore. That’s a story for another day. I’ve made goals to do the dishes every other day, no matter what. Take the garbage out as soon as it’s full, no matter what. I set goals for tasks that other people complete daily without even thinking about them, because doing the basic things for taking care of a house and taking care of a life are things that  are supposed to come naturally. I never wanted to admit before that things that are so easy for so many people come hard to me. Radical acceptance, a term I am coming to know well.

It’s strange to be setting goals now, after spending so much time thinking that nothing mattered, because nothing would ever change or get better anyway. There was no point to anything, no point in trying for more – of anything – just more.

Now, I write lists just to cross things off of them.

People have told me that I’m taking too much on at once, that I shouldn’t aim so high.

I’d like to tell them: I’m lucky to have a reason to want to wake up in the morning, I’m lucky to have an agenda that’s all about me now, striving to accomplish things that will benefit me and Elise and not someone else, anyone else, who would not appreciate my small efforts.

Except I’d rather show people than tell them.

Feel like sharing some thoughts?