Just a switch

Life is interesting. There are so many things to see and do. There are people to meet and stories to hear. Sometimes life is challenging. I find myself overwhelmed by the minutia. I find myself bogged down by the climate and solitude of this dreary, cold, dark place.

It is amazing how much power the sunshine holds. All it takes is a few moments in the sun for me to feel whole again. The cobwebs recede. I can think again. I can feel hope and excitement for the future.

The ability to overcome our personal dark places is not something one just learns. It is the product of hard work and self evaluation.  I still struggle at times. I have bad days. These bad days could stretch into bad weeks or months, if only I allowed them to. I learned somewhere along the way I have complete control over the way I feel about things. I have complete control over my personal response to any situation. This has allowed me to find my way through all of the change of the past year. This has given me the courage and confidence to put myself out there and try new things.

For me, happiness is not a goal. It is something I choose to feel. There are times I am at a loss for those elusive feel-good vibes. Feel-good vibes? Seriously? Is that the best phrase you could come up with? Ignoring my snarky inner-voice requires vigilance. She is somewhat difficult to manage at times.

Flipping the switch. How should I describe this? Duh. You just did. Flipping the switch… Why can’t you just say what you mean to say already? Shh. I am trying to write about something serious here. There are times I find myself dwelling on the negative. I am entertaining self-absorbed, pretentious thoughts about who I should be. I am focusing on all the things I failed to do when I was younger. I forget to give myself a little credit for accomplishing my goals.

So, I turn on the light. I look at my life dispassionately. I evaluate my actions without considering the intentions. I honestly ask myself how much more I owe the world. Hmmm. Yep. You have a lot of shit which requires some serious atonement. When I stop focusing on the mistakes of my past and look at the reality of the present, I realize I am okay. I have so many opportunities. I am smart. I work hard. I want to be of service to others. These are all great qualities. I should focus on developing this side of my personality rather than the flagellation of myself for my weaknesses.

We have all made mistakes. Many of us have slept with people we should not have. We have said cruel things to or about others who were weaker than we are. We have harbored resentments and jealousies. I dare you to find someone who has never made a mistake. You should not regret all the bad ideas you have had. Some of them turned out to be fun in the end. The others, well at least you learned something. 

I can choose to regret so many things from my past. I can choose to resent the people who let me down. I can also choose to hate myself for any number of transgressions. This is simply not amenable to forward progress. By living in the darkness of the past, I fail to use the illumination of my present. All I really have to do is flip the switch.

How did they know? 

img_9655 This is pretty much a perfect fortune for me. How did the fortune gurus know that contentment is my most elusive goal?

I have shared about waiting for my life to begin many times. I always feel like I am waiting. Contentment is my white whale. The inner peace I have been hunting my entire life. I used to think it was success, fame, or fortune I was looking for.

So, what does contentment feel like? Is it just a feeling of calm? Is it gratitude? Does the rushed, panicked fear of running out of time dissipate?

I am not sure what this is going to entail. I am no longer sure what my future holds for me. I don’t even know what I want it to look like. For now, the closest thing to contentment I can find is satisfaction in knowing I am doing the best I can do. I am learning. I am working. I am being more open-minded.

I am experiencing new things at an astonishing rate.

Will I finally find contentment when I accept myself as being exactly where I am supposed to be?

These days I find myself a little adrift. I am forced to depend on myself, and to reassure myself I am doing an adequate job. There is no one looking out for me. This is new. I tend to adopt parents, role models, and mentors every where I go.

Perhaps contentment will come from standing on my own two feet. Finally proving to myself I can actually do it. I don’t have to have someone holding my hand through all the scary parts. I can work hard, and figure it out.

The adventures keep presenting themselves. I am going to make it a point to go experience as many new things as I possibly can. I do not want to feel like I have wasted my life waiting for some magic transformation. I have to facilitate the growth. I have to allow good things into my life.

No more remembering the past with rose-colored glasses. No more wistful daydreaming of the future. No more dreading yesterday or tomorrow. I am going to spend today loving the day. Appreciating myself. Treating myself a little kinder.

I get to meet new people. I get to be called a whole slew of pet names. Today, I got a “honey pie,” “sugar pie,” “hun,” and “Sweetie.” All in one patient’s room. (Kinda wishing they would have just called me Princess… but I suppose you can’t win them all.)

No one gets to decide who I am going to be except me. It is okay to set boundaries. It is okay to reach out to other people. It is perfectly acceptable to ask for assistance. No one expects me to be perfect. I can relax a little sometimes. Life is not a race. It is a winding path. You never know who or what you will encounter. May as well enjoy the surprise.