I was asked by my therapist recently who my support system is. I stared blankly at her for a good 12 seconds, not because I don’t know what a support system is but because I don’t have one. I have no family and one parent whose depth of conversation usually involves my dogs and work. I know plenty of people but have no good friends ( I had several childhood and close friends but we are no longer in contact). I’ve heard the saying we can get used to anything but hadn’t truly grasped how real that was for me. I am alone. Not out of choice but out of circumstance. Truly alone. And I’m so used to this I barely noticed it. I could say support isn’t really necessary, look how far I’ve made it. Look how strong I am but that would be false. I am in fact so without support that I am paying someone to be there for me (insert laughter, because I find humor in everything). I pride myself on being able to outlast anyone and live through anything but I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. We need support, friendships, relationships to go. To learn. When all you have is yourself you become a different kind of tough and it’s not always for the best but it’s because you have no other choice.
I wanted to start the week off talking about the moment. What moment are you in? Where in space are you living? I recently made the choice to be more aware of how I’m living my life and realized most of my thoughts and therefore energy are either in the past or in the future. I am therefore creating a predictable present. Learning to control my thoughts and my emotions connected to those thoughts has been difficult, to say the least. I am someone who likes control because I often feel like I have none. Trying to become more aware of myself has made me see that I indeed do not have much control over myself only because I haven’t been training my body and mind to stop creating chaos at all times. I like to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Nothing about this process is known or sure. Instead, you’re trying to live solely as much in the unknown as possible. Create the life you want from the present moment. I am always off in a thousand places, as I’m working, driving, shopping. I’m never truly here. Becoming aware of this has been scary. No wonder I live in a state of stress and fear. A quote I often see is “The past is past, let it go” and that is true. I worry most about the past and thus let it create my future and then I wonder why the future is as I predicted. Change your thoughts and change your life has become a cliche notion in the mainstream media in the last few years but it is true. Don’t just change your thoughts, change your attachments and your feelings to those thoughts. If I want to live a different life with different outcomes I have to change how I live right now, I have to be a little uncomfortable all the time. None of this is easy or even satisfying in the moment. It’s frustrating and scary but I think it’s a necessary talk we need to start having since we live in such a fast-paced and futuristic world and thus are missing out on the moments of joy and change we can create right now.
I was talking to a friend today about a situation that I just can’t seem to completely remove myself from or have removed from me. I said I was aware that my actions often backslid myself into the position I didn’t want to be in and I had two choices: 1. do things how I usually do them, which is to make continual, slow and griding process-up the mountain 3 steps forward 4 steps back or to stop walking completely and just sit with it. Sit with it until it’s gone, until it means nothing, until it means everything. She noted that that is obviously, short-term the much harder option but long-term the less exhaustive option. Sitting with it is what we are least likely to do, we will do anything to avoid having to deal with pain, the suffering, the anguish head-on with no distractions. We live in a culture that does not value the time it takes to do this or the willpower and decisiveness. And that is why I think sitting with it is always the answer.
It is easy for us to be upset when our expectations about what we think we want are not meant. However, understanding that if you worked hard, put in 120%-no bullshit, no excuses and it still didn’t turn out in your favor then it was not meant for you. The only way to reconcile this is to continue working and realize you have to have faith that something better is coming.
Most people say that regret is a bad thing. I would disagree. Regret is an amazing motivator. If you’ve ever sat with the elderly and asked them what they would have done differently they will give you a list of things they wish they’d spent more time on. Living a regret-free life isn’t just accepting that “it was meant to be” it’s being proactive. That fear of missing out, not taking the chance, not going for what you want should motivate you to want to not look back at sixty, seventy, eighty and say I wish I’d done it differently.
We have one chance to get it right. You can’t get that time back once it’s gone and I can guarantee the fear of failure and the fear of being uncomfortable are so much less than the fear of seeing what could have been.
When people ask you, “hey so how was your day, did you have a good day?” what do you usually tell them? So and so did this, this and that happened and yeah I guess it was good or no it wasn’t that great. Have you ever stopped to think though, why was I unhappy or happy based on any of those things or people? Because you (and I) gave our happiness to them and said here, “make me feel better” and then we were probably disappointed. I am one of the worst at this!! (I say one of the worst but I ought to say, it’s something I am learning to do better-positive reframing y’all, lets get it done). I let people and situations sway my happiness, sway my peace of mind every day all day. And for what, what am I getting out of it. Nothing! Nothing at all and neither are you. This has become such an ingrained habit, so unconscious that I barely notice it most of the time. My mood swings left and right and up and down depending on my dogs, how easy it was to find the things I needed at the hardware store, whether my significant other is in a good mood. I’m sacrificing my calm and literally throwing it on a trash pile, setting it on fire and going “I wonder why I’m so unhappy all the time”. We as a culture do this as well. We are consumers of almost every category looking for that moment of joy or fulfilment before we allow ourselves to be thrown into the waves, treading water in our own self-made mediocrity and anguish. There is no magic cure, no program to getting out of this way of life. It’s literally 2 steps-notice and stop. Notice that you’re giving your happiness away to this person or that thing and stop it. Take it back, say “I’m not going to spend 2 or even 10 minutes upset by this”. Trust me, no one and nothing deserves your happiness, joy or contentment more than you do.
This has been one of the most complex topics that I have dealt with, not only from childhood but also in my adult life. I have passions that I can define and that have gone with me throughout all my endeavours but learning to trust those passions and maybe even invest in my passion has been another story. One of my favorite phrases is “transferring your passion to your job is easier than finding a job that fit’s your passion”. This is a hard truth for me to deal with. I am by nature a very black and white type person. By this I mean, if I’m not interested in it I won’t try. School proved to be learning lesson (in more ways than one) for me because if I wanted to graduate I had to invest, regardless of if it inspired me or not.
I think there is a fine line between searching for the perfect job/career, of which there is none and finding something that fits you overall, maybe not perfectly but doesn’t make you dread your work day in and day out. That is the quest that most of us are on and furthermore to find if our passion can be our jobs or if they are just in fact, passions.