The _Boyle McCauley News_’ new publishing schedule means that we are writing for a paper that will be sent out quite a bit after some of us submit our articles. As I sit huddled against the cold on this blustery day, I imagine that you will be reading this when spring has nearly arrived.
Thinking of spring, I plan to take up the old ways of doing a spring cleaning. Besides the obvious cleaning of baseboards and ceilings, I am also planning some emotional spring cleaning. Shedding people and habits that no longer serve me well. Quite often I’ve let people into my life because I liked some of their qualities, because we had patterns of thinking in common, only to find out that they also had traits that don’t suit me. I’m trying to be conscious about what influences I let into my life and why. Like the person to whom I gravitated because she fed neighbourhood stray cats, but whose life was full of conflict with people. Was her presence in my life a reminder to look at some unresolved anger issues in my own life?
Then there’s the woman who is concerned about the homeless, but who is rude to people who don’t agree with her. Was she a reminder to be respectful of those who don’t share my view of the world? When an acquaintance is dishonest and takes advantage of me, am I not reminded of times in my youth when I took things to which I had no right?
It’s a fairly well known concept that we dislike most in others what we can’t face in ourselves. So, once I’ve learned a lesson from someone whose demeanour I find unpleasant, am I free to shed them from my life? What about gathering positive influences into my life?Who do I admire, who can I learn from, and whose influence do I need? After spring cleaning a person usually gets ready for a season of growth. We get seeds and plan a garden; we get paint to freshen up our fence; we plan to improve our surroundings.
For this spring, I plan to spend more time with people whose values I admire and to look for opportunities to be of service to others. I will also strive to improve my health. While many people make health resolutions at the New Year, I find winter too challenging to make an effort at anything other than staying warm. But in the spring the promise of easier living encourages me to think of ways to improve my health. Eat less meat, walk more, drink less gin, go to bed at a regular time. I’m pretty sure most of us have a few things we could do to improve our health and our lives in general. What are the habits and people you can include in your life, and who and what are the ones you can shed?
Manon is a resident of Boyle Street and an active volunteer in the community. This column contains her own opinions, and is not affiliated with the Boyle Street Community League.