I’m beginning to see I had the wrong idea about my life. I thought it was going to be like constructing a house out of brick. Each piece is a known quantity, cemented in place. I thought I was building myself a solid structure using a set of plans drawn up in my youth when I imagined the adult I would be. I thought I’d celebrate each stage of the build, congratulate myself on my hard labour, feel the kind of satisfaction that comes from completing a challenging task. I thought I’d reach the deadline I’d set for myself and look upon my finished house, knowing with certainty it was done. That I’d recognise myself, finally, in the walls, windows, roof, doors.
Now I’m starting to understand I may never recognise myself. I may never reach a point of completion. My life is not a thing to be built brick by brick but instead an act of becoming.
Living without any clear goal posts to prove you are on the road you want to be on may seem like a loser’s philosophy, a way to easily shrug off any failures because you can say “the point was to try”. To me though, it’s an acceptance that nothing is fixed, including ourselves. Who we are today may be different tomorrow. Why not live in fluid motion then, gently rounding the bends like a river becoming the ocean.
When I think like this, my focus shifts from everything I want to pack into my life to everything I want to let go of so I can float more freely downstream:
- My high expectations of others and myself – too often I let my perfectionism rule and neglect to cut people slack and appreciate that everyone is doing the best they can.
- My need to control what others do – I can be arrogant enough to think my way is best so if someone takes a different approach, I won’t given them the credit they deserve regardless of the outcome. This means I can’t receive what someone is trying to give me; I miss out on their gift.
- My impulse to react immediately with drama – when things go wrong I rarely pause to understand the situation. Instead I make up a script to act out to and generally make the situation worse because everyone ends up having to deal with my projections as well as the actual issue at hand.
Who wants to help me tip this unneeded baggage overboard?