I read a children’s book a few years ago called ‘A squash and a squeeze’, it’s about a lady who feels her home is too small. She asks a wise old man to help her out, his advice is to take one of her animals in to her home. With every animal she takes in her house feels even smaller until she cannot take it anymore, this is when the wise old man insists she lets all the animals back out again. Afterwards her house feels gigantic with just her in it.
This story tells an important lesson and it’s one I’ve found myself remembering it many times over the years. Recently I found myself relating it to PDA. I’ve noticed how much I am able to go every day and how much other PDAers say they manage every day. In some instances other PDAers seem to manage much more than me, but overall it seems I manage more than most. Years ago when I was studying my uni course, I was really struggling to cope. I was a single parent, managing a house alone and in full-time education. When comparing my life now to back then, I manage much better because I am doing less. Like the lady in the story, I took out some of my ‘animals’ and now my ‘home’ feels much larger.
This got me thinking about other PDAers, the ones who struggle to do hardly anything compared to other PDAers. My first thought was that if they tried harder to do more, then when they stopped doing as much then what they then do will be easier to manage (and yes that is a stupid idea because the whole point of PDAers not doing as much as other non-PDA people is because it’s very hard for them to do anything), my second thought was that the PDA strategy of reducing demands is what many people are already doing in relation to the story, they just already had loads of animals in their home.
I have noticed how circumstances, often beyond our influence, affect us so that we have to take in more animals, the death of a spouse leaving someone a single parent for example. We often affect our own circumstances which cause us to take in more animals, usually before we know about PDA and why we struggle, taking a uni course is a good example.
It would be difficult to make a PDAer take in more animals, and unless there’s a purpose for it then it may cause more harm than good, but perhaps the PDAer can decide for themselves to stretch their capabilities, go a little beyond their limitations, and take on an animal or two for themselves. It’s a bit like walking, the more we do it the further we can walk every day, but if we try to walk a marathon without any practise we will exhaust and maybe injure ourselves. I guess that’s why reducing demands to a level that is manageable and then building them up over time where possible, is such a good idea, and works best for PDAers. Our lives aren’t designed to be a squash and a squeeze, rather, a home with enough room to move about but still filled with everything we will ever need.