What are you too busy to notice – and what is it costing you?

I was seven months pregnant. My husband and I had just moved into our new home. The house needed minor renovations. Painting. Floors. Cupboards. Curtains. The usual stuff. And although life was busy, the renos took place. Cupboards got built. Floors got polished. Walls got painted.

But the new curtains eluded us. Choosing between pole pocket, pencil pleat, back tab, double box and single pinch just became too much. So I did what every overwhelmed pregnant woman does when confronted with cognitive dissonance – I did nothing. But as our bedroom still had no curtains I put up a big, blue bedsheet on the window to protect us from the prying eyes of passers-by. And so life continued.

And then my mum arrived from interstate to say hello to her new grandson. Now don’t get me wrong. I love my mum, a lot. But she is very different to me. She folds clothes. I scrunch them. She’s on time. I’m rushed. She thinks before she speaks. I just speak. Then, after a week of mother-daughter bonding – late night chats, games of scrabble, she pounces and like a smiling assassin, lobs this hand grenade.

‘So, when are you going to get rid of that blue bedsheet hanging in the front window?’

And this is hand-on-my-heart-true, I said, ‘What blue bedsheet?’

She continued. ‘You know, the massive blue sheet that spans the bay window from one wall of your bedroom to the other; the blue sheet with frayed ends that from the outside looks like a cross between a student rental and a hydroponic hash-growing drug den. That blue sheet.’

‘Ohhhhh’ I said, wide eyed, putting two and two together. ‘You mean the blue curtain?’ I said, correcting her.

‘Curtain?’ she spluttered. ‘Curtain! That shabby sheet hanging on your window is not a curtain! It’s a bedsheet! And a dilapidated one at that.’

She was right. It was a bedsheet. And from the street, it did look a bit like a drug den (and how she knew what a hydroponic hash-growing drug den looked like was beyond me), but alas, she was right.

You see, what had seemed perfectly appropriate to me was, I sadly realised, completely inappropriate to the wider world. I had to accept that yes, she was right. In the craziness of first-time-motherhood my standards for acceptability had plummeted.

Sure, the bedsheets weren’t hurting anyone, aside from the fact that my home is my office so clients visiting weren’t exactly getting a great first impression. But what struck me as interesting was how quickly standards can fall, especially if you’re busy and you’re not taking the time to notice. First, it’s the bedsheet as a curtain. Next, I’ll be drinking red wine for breakfast. (Is that bad? It does contain fruit.)

Here’s the thing. The blue ‘curtain’ had been up for so long I had completely failed to notice that it was indeed a big, blue dilapidated bedsheet. I had gotten used to it. To me, the bedsheet had become the curtain.

What are you not seeing any more? What’s your blind spot? What’s been ignored, overlooked, unnoticed, unheeded in your life for so long that you fail to even notice that it’s doing you a disservice?

Maybe your shop signage is faded, dusty, worn?

Perhaps your website is inaccurate, out of date or tired?

Is the back seat of your car littered with Coke cans and dried Twisties? Or is that just mine?

Maybe you don’t have a drill-sergeant of a mother like mine to help you realise what’s obvious; but it really helps if you can find someone who does love you, or who even just respects you sufficiently, to tell you as it is and to lift the curtain (or bedsheet) and reveal what your blind spot might be.

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