Have you ever had a conversation with someone about aspects of your life that you KNOW you need to change, and you kind of brush it off like, yeah yeah whatever. You hear them, but you’re not truly listening to what they’re saying. We all like to think we’re completely right, and for the most part, you should listen to your own instincts and not let others give too much input into your life and the direction it should take. But those same things you’ve brushed off, you suddenly see or hear somewhere else? Literally days, or even hours after the conversation? This just happened to me, as I debated on whether or not to write a blog post about the same themes that continue to play a significant role in my life. A friend of mine (I say friend even though we’ve never met in real life but appreciate each other’s posts consistently) on Instagram posted five things that needed to be gone from her life, and dammit if three of those things didn’t pop right out at me and poke me in the eye.
First up? Living in the past. How many times have I rode the shoulda coulda woulda train. If train of yesteryear has annual passes, I must be a platinum member. This evening, I was discussing all of the reasons why I don’t feel like I’ve done enough in my life, and I focused on all of the things I wanted to do but didn’t get to do. Everyone has this grand plan for their lives, and while some people can get hit with a detour and regroup and move on, others move through the detour and still worry about the path they never got to see. I am notorious for being that person, unfortunately. Shoulda went to this college, coulda had that experience, woulda been that person. I never stop to think about the fact that, had I followed my desired path, I may not be where I am today. Sure, my life may have been great, but I would most definitely not be the person I am today. My detour shaped me, and although rough at times, it molded me into someone with resiliency, persistence, and maturity.
Fearing change. Okay, this is a funny one to me. For someone who has gone through so much change in the past four years, I still despise it. I love adventure and new experiences, but I somehow want everything in my life to stay intact. It’s like playing a Sims game and enjoying the new world, but coming back to the comfort of sameness when you log off. I’ve written posts about embracing change, not because I do it with excitement and eagerness, but because it’s something I have to do and realize the importance of. This past year, I literally threw caution to the wind, took a chance, and moved across the country. I had no concrete plan, but I somehow knew it would work out. I was fearless in making the decision, yet somehow I wasn’t fearless throughout the process. I hated almost every moment of it, because every day the planning yanked me out of my comfort zone. The fact that my relationship has managed to stay intact is amazing to me (I’m a lucky gal). And even though I made the biggest leap and came out virtually unscathed from it, I’m still not settled yet. I’m still adjusting to the change, but I’m not afraid of it anymore. But, should something new come up, I can’t promise that it won’t come with growing pains and a little bit (read: a lot) of resistance. I hope though, that the fear that has clouded past changes can be replaced with mild annoyance, at least.
Overthinking. Whooooo, this is me me me. I’ve gotten better through the years, but my goodness. I am guilty of re-reading a text message or email and assigning my own interpretation of it. Did you know that, “If that’s what you want” can have a thousand different meanings? And usually not the meaning the person who sent it intended for it? Being an over-thinker has caused me pain, confusion, and just plain sadness. It’s difficult for me to believe that when people say things, there is no underlying meaning, and they only mean what has been said. It’s a horrible habit, believing someone is out to con you, that they can’t be trusted. I’m finally learning to accept things at face value, and not spend all of my precious time and energy trying to discern an alternative interpolation of it. It is very easy to be in a bad mood and follow the rabbit down his hole of despair, but it’s so not worth it, trust me. You can’t control other people nor their intentions, but you can control your response to both. Accept what is and reject what’s not.
We all have things that we need to work on, things that recur to the point that we feel like we’re living out a scene in Groundhog Day. We may feel like we’re alone in our issues, that others don’t suffer from the same sort of self-criticism and self-deprecation that we so generously stow upon ourselves. Sometimes, it’s comforting to know that we’re not alone, and that we all can’t stand who we are (kidding!). But seriously, realizing that we’re only human, just like those around us, can provide a first step in moving forward from the behaviors that may be holding us back.