I feel like I need to premise this whole post with an apology.
I’m writing it after a mere few hours of sleep AND I barely dipped into my first cup of coffee.
Why I feel like writing is beyond me, but, as they say, if your fingers feel like they are ready to work and your brain hasn’t given you a million reasons to not write, dive in and type.
(OK – I’m not sure anyone really says that so to speak, but they…or someone, does recommend actually writing when the worlds of fingers, brain and time collide because that might be your own opportunity to actually write…so, here we sit).
However, along the note of taking advantage of writing now is that writing now is probably a bad idea. Little sleep, less caffeine probably means more incoherent and less relevant thoughts than I would normally spout in the Candy Jar. And, as any reader knows, the standard of quality I keep here isn’t spectacularly high..today might be rough.
But, part of the reason for me not sleeping last night was a culmination of about 5 conversations I have had in the last few days with people I barely know and one with a person who I’ve come to know extremely well, but, again, in the recent past.
Culminating theme, one which I am honestly surprised by, is that I’m not holding myself to a high enough standard in terms of goals, planning and personal expectations.
The consensus among these people who haven’t spoken, and to my knowledge, would have no reason to speak, is that I need to set my goals higher, work a little bit harder, and basically pull my shit together to reach some potential of awesome that lurks in the far reaches, potentially completely out of reach, of any goals that I have shared.
More people have asked me what my plans are for the next 1,5 and 10+ years of my life in the last week with the expectation that I had a plan.
And the goals and plans I tell them were all answered with rolled eyes.
With retorts such as; “Now why would you sell yourself short like that?”
and “You can do better than that with all three of your kids balanced on your shoulder, making dinner and folding laundry”
“Why are you wasting my time here?”
When I added on my excuses of the disaster of my life, someone said, “You are waiting for a door to knock on that hides opportunity. Stop wait. Build the door you want, kick it in and make a name for yourself.”
It has been an odd time.
I’m used to people telling me what a great job I’m doing.
People tell me that they are ‘amazed’ that I have 3 kids, a nightmare divorce, and I’m still powering through a PhD program with a smile on my face.
People seem to celebrate my survival.
And, I’ve let it define me.
The game has changed.
People who don’t know me are throwing me some curve balls.
They are telling me that I am more than I think.
They are reminding me that even with the pile of shit that has built up outside of my front door, my life isn’t about surviving the fall out, it is about succeeding.
Someone told me to stop living in survival mode.
She said, “The last thing you need to worry about is surviving. You do that without thinking. What you need to worry about is creating”
Someone else said, “You are resistant, make a plan, go somewhere.”
I’ve been working in survival mode.
Emotionally, I think that I got past that place of living to survive awhile ago.
Professionally…I think I thought I was holding myself to pretty high standards.
But, upon reflection,
(and the fact a significant number of people have thrown in my face that my ‘high standards’ were actually survival instincts and not true plans)
I haven’t take the time to re-create a professional me.
I’ve been focused on the immediate.
And although that has some value, I think that my unwillingness to have foresight is restricting me.
Someone said I was the epitome of a duck swimming like hell under the water, looking calm and serene on top…saying, “nobody would have any idea of the stress you are carrying”
Someone else said, “Stop thinking you have to do it by yourself.”
My sister said, “We. WILL.GET.YOU. THOUGH. THIS.”
I need to take some time and figure out what the hell I am doing, where I am going and remind myself that I can kick down doors that I build to get to where I want to go.
Someone said, “You have the skills. You have the knowledge. You are a smart cookie. I think that you have just forgotten that. It is time to remember. It is time to move on.”
Someone else said, “You know, selling yourself short is really just putting your kids at a disadvantage. It isn’t about you anymore, it is about your kids”
All these people are right.
And it is freaky, because outside of my sister…these are all people I have known, and who have known me, for a very short period of time.
Yet, they have all done something that people who love me and surround me all the time haven’t done.
They are aren’t letting me slip through the cracks. They are holding me to a pretty high standard. And they are all patiently waiting for me to step it up and recognize that sometimes, survival isn’t the goal. And more importantly, survival won’t get me to where I need to go.
As one person told me, I need to make some important decisions that will make me advance on my chess board of life.
I probably need to do that.
And, as an admittedly closed person, my conversations have also made it clear that once I make these decisions, I need to ask for help.
I’m not good at that. I do things on my own. I figure it out myself.
But, as one astute person said, “You realize that the definition of stupid is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Not to point any fingers, but perhaps it is time you open up your circle of trust”
And that is probably correct.
My circle of 1.5 people isn’t really much of a circle.
So, the lessons I have been presented with literally kept me up most the night.
I have learned that I need to stop copping out.
I need to build some doors.
I need to accept help.
I need to accept my strengths and weaknesses.
And upon acceptance, share them.
Realizing the same potential within oneself that a truly brilliant group of people see in you is intimidating, scary and probably a very valuable lesson in self-concept.
Willingness to accept and share this potential is just as scary.
Long story made slightly shorter in my sleep deprived, coffee deprived state of mind is that today is the day I need to redefine my path.
As as I redefine, I need to let go of survival.
And understand that I can reach some pretty spectacular heights if I am willing to recognize it.
And take responsibility for it.
I’m not sure I’m quite ready
(I’m in the midst of some pretty damn smart people…I’d lie if I didn’t say I’m intimidated by their depictions of me)
for a complete redefinition…but I’m ready to start exploring.
And I’m ready to stop surviving.
I’m prepared to be resistant.
And there we go.
And like always…no way appropriate way to end.
Perhaps in my state of redefinition, exploration and resistance I’ll take a writing class.
Or maybe I’ll eat more chocolate.
(That is my new trademark conclusion, just in case you were wondering)