I had a rough childhood while growing up. Anything that you can think of, I have probably been through. I knew when I was 12 years old that I already had a lot on my plate for someone my age to deal with and I knew I had to make a choice. I could either keep getting stressed out with life and add more on my plate and channel my energy and stress into anger, or I could channel my feelings into doing good for other people instead. I chose the positive route.
I started joining clubs, participated in sports, volunteered, took honors classes, joined a local church, and started working when I was legally allowed to work. All the while I still had major life events happening around me so bad to a point that any other person my age at the time would most likely have traveled a bad route. Looking back I am proud to say that I made it through the rough times and I was fortunate and blessed enough to have stayed on the positive path.
What’s the problem you might ask? Well two years ago I got married to a wonderful guy who treats me how I deserve to be treated. I have never been happier and I love him very much. The problem is I am still in the mode that I have to belong to various “distractions” because I have been doing it for so long that I don’t know how to stop. My husband wants to spend time with me, and I am always “too busy” with all of the extra-curricular activities I am involved in. I want to spend time with him and I am starting to realize that I don’t need the distractions anymore, but at the same time I am afraid to tell my commitments that I cannot be involved anymore.
How do I fix this?
— Wanting to Move On
Dear Wanting to Move On,
I admire your strength to have been through all that you have been through and for channeling all of your feelings into positive activities. You could have made a choice to go down a negative path, and instead you chose a positive one. That is very courageous of you.
It is also wonderful that you are married to a great guy and the fact that he wants to spend time with you is even better.
Habits are hard to break, and in your particular situation, you developed a good habit or “distraction” that prevented you from developing bad habits. And because you have been “distracting” yourself for so long, surely it is a little difficult to stop, and understandably so.
You distracted yourself because you knew you needed something to keep your mind off of whatever was going on in your life. From what it sounds like, it must have been some pretty heavy stuff. But now you are in a position where you are realizing you don’t have to distract yourself anymore. Now, you can finally move forward.
You have to ask yourself, what are you doing that is taking time away from your husband that is one of your old distractions? Now is the time to re-evaluate your life and prioritize what’s really important to you. Better yet, out of everything you’re doing, what is really worth prioritizing at all? Maybe there is something on your list that you know you need to stop participating in, because you know for a fact you were only involved in it because it was a distraction.
You have to do what is best for you and if the people you are doing extra-curricular activities for are understanding and genuine people, they will respect your decision to not participate in that activity anymore. You have to figure out what’s most important to you in your present life. You cannot compare anything to your previous life. You have to live in the now and learn to let go.
I suggest you make a list of all of the time spent on the activities that do not allow you to spend time with your husband. Then make a column to answer the question as to whether this activity was used for a distraction or not. Then make a column to determine whether or not this activity is more important than spending time with your husband. This way you can see all of your activities out on paper in front of you and then allow yourself to see the big picture.
No one is saying that you should get rid of all of your activities, but if your activities are preventing you from spending quality time with your husband, and these activities are ones that you have only been participating in as distractions for the last few years, perhaps it is time to re-evaluate your life, prioritize, and figure out which activities are not worth prioritizing into your life anymore.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.myaskmikey.com.