Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’ve said this 150 times if I have said it once, but I’m hoping I mean it this time.
I am done not taking care of myself. I’m done feeling sorry for myself. Over the last ten months, there is no denying that what I’ve been through could stop a full-grown rhino in its tracks. But somehow, by some divine intervention, I have managed to survive.
I’m scared. I’m exhausted. I’m lost. I’m 33 in a career that isn’t what I had hoped, a few months out of a failed marriage, making less than I ever have during more hours, here I am. I weigh more than I ever have. They say that “Not all who wander, are lost,” but I am the first to admit I am up the proverbial creek without a paddle, a map, a compass or a clue. I’ve been wandering for far too long.
But I’d like to proclaim that this stops today. Worry and projection and pity are a supreme waste of time. One may argue the finite specifics that constitute a “sufficient amount of time” to mourn and admittedly, I have milked that teat of self-pity to it’s barren, fruitless end.
As I lay in bed (with an insatiable urge to have someone next to me, maybe kissing on my neck a little, and fixing my coffee just the way I like it), it came to me.
Not the coffee or the kisses. Bummer.
I realized that through trial and tribulation, hardship and heartache, self-medication and self- pity I have completely forgotten about every last ounce of my credibility, confidence, creativity and frankly, my cojones. Struggle had come like a storm through my life and today, not tomorrow, not Monday, I needed to start rummaging through the rubble, collecting bricks and rebuilding the proverbial house that protects my soul.
I decided my strategy would be this: the bricks I collect will be each success; if it’s a weekly goal of working out, building up my freelance work or getting the dogs to the dog park. I will rebuild my confidence with tangible attainable goals as bricks with happiness, satisfaction and most importantly PEACE filling in the cracks as my mortar.
Now about these goals. I’d have to write down these goals to make them “real”. I’d have to write them down the check them off and to be accountable to myself. If I wrote them down, certainly the universe would see them and keep me on track, right?
Then comes the ultimate question – what does one make in the way of GOALS when perceived failure has been lurking around the corner for as long as one can remember; When finishing your laundry seems like too harrowing a task, much less folding it and putting it away? What goal can one set that one can feel good about when it’s all one can do to do the minimum life requires because you at LEAST have to keep your electricity on? What can one possibly “accomplish” if even these tasks, at times, feel so futile and exhausting?
I tried to make a list of criteria that my goals need to accomplish. Before I even got down to what my goals were, I had to set forth what I was most disappointed or frustrated with. My weight, my job and my relationship with myself are my biggest obstacles. These are the questions I asked myself.
- Will it make me happier/less stressed?
- Will it make me healthier, more well-rounded, make me feel good or help me blow off steam?
- Will it get me back in touch with my authentic self?
- Will it get me closer to another task/goal that will take me further into my self-discovery and love?
I tried to look objectively at my daily life and ask these questions of each activity I do. Plain and simple: Is this good for my body? Good for my soul? If any of these answers were NO, then I had to stop it and do something else…or make a plan to do something else if it didn’t make sense to hastily cut bait. I had to consciously decided to not make goals or act because this way was easier than the hard way, because I wanted to impress anyone, because Iwas forced to against my gut or because someone was rushing me. My mother, the genius she is, always told me, if you don’t know what decision to make, don’t make one….yet. And she has always been right. Doing the right things for your reasons isn’t always easy or agreeable by all parties. But RIGHT is RIGHT when you can be objective, positive and confident….and when you have the time to get all the facts straight.
Now, the right reasons may change as the world keeps turning (can’t it just flippin’ STOP for a minute!). Things happen that aren’t in our control. People, jobs, rain clouds and possessions pass away or move on all the time. Certainly, what was right for me at 13 or 23 is MUCH different than what I need right now at 33. Goals and paths can and will change because we do…and the world does. However, this is not an opportunity to fall back into old, unproductive thought processes and habits.
If anything, its another opportunity to prove to yourself that you ARE capable of exponentially more….whatever it was before that was holding you back was just that, an anchor, when you were meant to sail to open seas. Ask yourself the hard questions again….scratch some obsolete stuff off your list and add new action items. Dance on the grave of what has passed and back up to see the joys, blessings and rebirth you’ve been awarded. It takes time, but the failure you feel can be broken down time and tine again, into a new you. Its not fun but it’s inevitable and necessary over and over again, for everyone.
This is what I know to be true, and what I have to repeat to myself about 57 times a day.
Now the next step is redefining my authentic self……and making those goals….
That’s for another blog.