Monday, March 11, 2013

in which I get all navel-gazerly...

It's no secret that I've been having trouble, oh for the past decade or so, achieving balance in my life. Goodness knows I've whined about it enough here. I eventually came to the conclusion that balance was an illusion, that it was unattainable. And I tried to just accept that. To a certain extent I have--after all, there is always going to be the unpredictable, or at least the unpredicted, monkey wrench thrown in to temporarily throw off any balance I do achieve. So after taking many, many months of soul searching and experimentation to reach this point, I found that lack of balance wasn't really the root of my problem anyway. More of a symptom, maybe.

So what the bloody heck is my problem?!!

Overall, I'm actually a fairly happy person most of the time. Hell, I ought to be--I have a roof over my head, our table always has food on it when mealtime rolls around, I could ask for no better partner in all the world to be sharing this life journey with, and the list goes on. So why do I so often feel like something needs fixed? More soul-searching led to the fact that it's definitely an internal problem, not an external one. Which seems sort of obvious, I suppose, but it took me some time to put that into words. And having done so has helped me move forward.

Realizing that it was something in my thinking, in my choices, in my actions, well--that finally led me to just sit down and assess what it is I want out of life. I imagine everyone's shaking their heads and thinking, "What kind of an idiot is she?!!" Because yeah, it seems pretty damn basic when you get down to it. But honestly, I think I've been going on autopilot for so damn long that it didn't occur to me that maybe my life goals need a reassessment.

Okay, so where did that lead me? At first nowhere. I kept trying to come up with some single major goal for my life, you know like a career path or something. Like I said, nowhere. It felt like an exercise in frustration. So I gave up, feeling like a pathetic loser--knowing that my life is well past its halfway point and I've yet to figure out what the I hell I want from it these days. But I let it go. And as soon as I did, as soon as I stopped trying to force myself into some specific mold with clear-cut boundaries, the answers just started appearing.

What do I want to do with my life? Well...

*I want to live a loving life.

*I want to live a sustainable life.

*I want to live an informed life.

*I want to live a creative life.

*I want to live an appreciative life.

When I was able to put these things into words, I was able to see how much of my life was spent on things that didn't work towards those goals. Oh sure, I often enjoyed those "extra" things, but I've been thinking that maybe those are the things that I need to let go in order for me to focus on the things that I believe will leave me feeling most fulfilled. I figure it's worth a try anyway, right?

I know that there is no achieving perfection in any one of those areas, but perfection is overrated anyway. I love having this focus when it comes to choices I make now--"will such-and-such help me live a loving, sustainable, informed, creative, and/or appreciative life?" If the answer is "yes!" then it sounds like a worthwhile way to spend my time. This means I'll be saying "Goodbye" to some things, but I hope I'll be saying "Hello" and "It's nice to have you here" and "It's nice to be spending more time with you, old friend" to others.

We'll see how it goes...

3 comments:

irisonbooks.com said...

-hugs- I completely understand the feeling. WHenever I see someone else going through it though, the first thing I want to tell them is that the fact that they feel they shouldn't be feeling those feelings does not take away from the legitimity of them. They're real, they're there, and even though society is bound to make us feel ashamed, I don't actually feel that we should be.
Anyway, I rather like your approach of searching for what you want in life, and noticing that so much does not work towards those goals. Perhaps I should do that sometime, though I'm honestly a little scared to see where that'd lead.
Great post today, really.

Ali said...

I think that's a great way to set priorities. And maybe life will never feel balanced exactly, but it will feel....fulfilling. And that's so very important.

Eva said...

What a wonderful post Debi! And not once did I think you were an idiot. :p

I had to figure out how to define a life w/o society's conventional labels too (i.e.: career, salary, etc.), and I'm still in the process, but I'm coming to similar conclusions as you. Which is probably why we're such good friends. :D I actually love the format of your sentences & am now mulling over how I'd fill that in. Can one of mine be 'I want to live a snowy life'? ;) Hopefully, that'll come true within the next year or so!