I have spent the better part of my life trying to ‘improve’ myself because I was always so sure my purpose in life was to accomplish something great. After years of trying to find my groove I’ve come to realize that maybe I never lost it.
I set very high targets for myself, expectations that put a lot of pressure on me (and often those around me) and in the end I am either unsatisfied with the final result or too tired and frustrated to appreciate it. I’ve always had that sense I needed to ‘do’ something but never quite sure exactly what it is.
I’m painfully disciplined in my routines, taking a walk every day, but not just a walk, an aggressive one, because I’ve always believed there should be a purpose to the walk; fitness, weight loss, something. Then I came to realize that taking a walk didn’t have to be a chore. Maybe occasionally a shorter walk, with a friend, and no motive would be of more value to my psyche. (Why did I feel the need to break speed records?) Was I out of balance?
I could never just dust or vacuum, no not me. I had to move furniture, wash curtains, repaint walls, because simple cleaning wasn’t enough – it had to be a major project. Several years ago what started as a simple paint touch up of my staircase bannister resulted in my taking out the entire floor of carpeting (it no longer looked fresh next to my newly painted bannister) and of course I can’t lay nice new carpeting into rooms with tired old paint on the walls so yet another major project evolved. Finally after 3 years I ran out of rooms to redo (which is a good thing cause I’m pooped!) I was so driven to tackle monumental projects that usually overwhelmed me not long after launch because I felt I had to accomplish something big. Then it hit me,,, it was my ‘ahha’ moment.
Who was I impressing with this aggressive to-do list? (ok, I was impressed with myself) My loved ones appreciate me for everything I do, big or small, and they don’t seem any more impressed when I super-do something, so why do I kill myself? (ok, some of this can be blamed on personality – I’m probably just one of those people who can’t sit still) The realization hit me hard, partially from the wisdom of age and experience, and partially from a lack of steam. I think I lost my stamina but in the process found a new groove, and that included finding balance. (Or maybe I’m just getting old).
I am learning the art of letting go, setting reasonable expectations for myself. Now instead of rushing to dust the furniture, I write my name in it, or draw a happy face, then make a mental note to tackle that,,,one of these days. I am finding satisfaction with what I can accomplish even if it isn’t substantial. Enjoying simply what I have instead of aspiring for more. Wow, with age really does come wisdom. Wisdom that helps us to set priorities and accept things as they are without the need for improvement.
I finally found my ‘ahha’ moment, my realization that I am where I was meant to be, and what I do or do not accomplish is also, meant to be (so I can stop stressing about what I haven’t done)
And it only took me 60 years.