In writing “Detox: The Life Edition”, I can’t help but think of the show “Hoarders”. Not sure if it still airs but, essentially it’s loved ones of hoarders, turning to professionals for help. After getting rid of the garbage aka “Step 1 – Setting Boundaries”, it’s time to evaluate what is left and putting it where it belongs aka Step 2 – Be A Label Maker.
Yes, be a “Label Maker”!
I remember when I got my first label maker. Talk about bringing order and a sense of calm into my life. It was when Corey and I moved into our first place together, he had an insane work schedule. Thanks to his schedule, I was in charge of packing up two apartments and unpacking into the townhouse. (Yes that included his King Magazine collection & my VHS tapes) Any time Corey was home it seemed like I was answering where something was every minute. Since we had just got married and I didn’t want to become a widow and inmate, I got my label on. Yes, it’s exactly what you are picturing. Each shelf with a clear strip and black ink that detailed what was on said self.
As with clearing up the clutter of objects, any organizer will tell you to put things in their place and make labels for your items. The same rule applies for your life, if you have a designated place for all of your “stuff” it helps to make sure one aspect of your life doesn’t overrun into others…Balance.
We spend so much of our lives being given labels that we rarely think to label things for ourselves. Just stay with me on this one..(I’m letting the beat build). If you apply labels to things, it makes it easier to eliminate the things that don’t fit the label.
It starts first by labeling yourself. Think of it like this, during your intro/elevator speech what are the titles? Identify the 4 titles that would be the cliff notes of this chapter of your life.
Many of us are home much more these days, maybe you’ve picked up a few courses. So if one title is student, how do you define that? If it’s simply that you attend classes, it’s time to change that. Someone not studying, getting a 2.5 GPA or lower while spending their funding on everything but school isn’t a student. So think about what you want out of going to school. What is the objective long term and what do you need to get there.
If one label is a parent, define that. If you’re a mother but your child lives with your mom while “you get your life together” meanwhile you’re a jet setter who’s IG rivals top travel sites, you are not a parent. A big difference between a person that happens to have a child and a mother. (Ouch, I know but we can’t heal what we don’t acknowledge) If you label yourself as a father but only see your child during the holidays and the annual Father’s Day cookout and/or only contribute financially when it’s court-ordered, then a father you are not.
Yes, titles are great and may give you a sense of belonging but take a deep look at the meaning of each you hold dear. If you don’t fit your description of each label, figure out which no longer serves you and which you need to dedicate more time to. Sounds painful and it is however the payoff is beyond worth it.
When I started putting labels on myself I saw and still see that I set the standard for those that are around me. Here’s an example, your definition of what a partner is will set the tone for those that approach you. You will save yourself the frustration of dealing with someone that isn’t aligned with your needs or wants.
Can I just say I wish I had gotten this memo years before? It would have saved me from flaky friends, draining relationships, cheating partners, low paying jobs without any growth potential, and most importantly TIME! It does however, make for great wine night conversations.
Did I ever tell you about the boyfriend that had gotten a tattoo of another girl’s name but said it was his for his aunt who lost her battle to cancer? Ok I digress, I can save that trainwreck for another day.
Take as long as you need to really work on this step. You absolutely deserve to take the time to define yourself in a world that is quick to size you up. Dig deep, be honest but also give yourself grace during this process. This isn’t a one time fix and will be something you will need to revisit anytime you feel off balance. Please keep me posted on your progress .