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Swamp Life

“You got yourself a trophy sized rat.”


There were signs something was amiss a couple of weeks back.


Dead flies in the laundry room.


An unfamiliar scent.


And then more flies and an undeniable smell that told us something was wrong.


We concluded there must be an unwanted “friend” in the attic who died.


Within 24 hours, the exterminator showed up and took care of the problem.


My husband stood and had a conversation with him while he held the garbage bag with our “trophy”.


We all didn’t bat an eye.


Problem solved.  Until the next time.  Because there is always a next time when you live in an old house that was built in what was once a swamp.


If you had asked me 14 years ago if I would find this acceptable, I would have said NO WAY.


Not one tiny bit.  I would have NEVER entertained living in a place that I would be dealing with rodents living in my attic or my walls.


It just goes to show you how perspective can change.


When I first moved to the Gulf Coast, I would freak out if I saw a roach.  I would have dreams of an infestation.  I would look for signs they had infiltrated.  If I found signs, I would manically search until I found the culprit.  I was so stressed out that this was my reality and wished it wasn’t.


And that was just a roach.


When I learned about rats, well, you can just picture my head EXPLODING.


I remember the first time I heard something scratching in the walls.  I thought I was hearing things.  I would ask other people if they heard it, and if they said no, I would decide that I must be paranoid.  That was, until my dog sat and barked at a wall for a few days.  Then I knew.


Are you squirming in your chair?  Feeling a bit anxious? (grossed out too?)


The point is that I believed all of these unwanted “friends” in my house gave me anxiety.


They were the problem that was triggering my freak outs.


I just needed to eradicate them from my life and the anxiety would go away.


But here’s the thing.


These critters don’t give me anxiety, I create it by how I think (thoughts like WTF, this shouldn’t be, etc.)


Do I want to feel anxiety?  Hell, no.  What I really want is to feel calm.  I chose to live here and I get to choose how I handle the parts of homeownership that aren’t so fun.


I ask myself what would a calm person say and do?


“I can totally handle these critters.  No problem.  I got this.

I happily pay exterminators.  I’ve sealed every hole in my old house that I can.  I take care of the critter business without a bunch of drama.”


And then I work on becoming that person.


It hasn’t happened overnight.  Becoming this person takes time and intention.


It takes figuring out how you feel in different situations, seeing what you do with those feelings and asking yourself, does that work for me?


The reality is that we are all facing a bunch of rat and roach situations in our lives.


When we fight with reality, with how it should be instead of how it is, we will always be on the losing side.


We must first accept what is.  Not because we’ve thrown in the towel and given up, but because we know life has it’s good parts and bad parts.


Only then, can you begin to ask yourself how do I want to deal with this?


Big shout out to the exterminators.  I’m sure they’re glad I’ve calmed down.


Not completely, but I’m working on it.


Want to know more about how to manage your emotions?  This is the work I teach my clients in our 1:1 sessions. Visit me here to connect today!




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