“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
As I age, I learn. I’ve learned that even though people think I’m a people person, I’m really not. I’ve always been an introvert. There was a time, I was so introverted, I couldn’t even lift my eyes and say hello to people. I was terrified!
As I age, I have learned that not everyone will like me, no matter what I do. This is big! It used to give me panic attacks if I knew someone didn’t like me. I needed to understand why.
I’ve learned that music impacts me deeply. I can be happy and instantly become depressed if I listen to the wrong song. I can be low and brought up in mood just by listening to the right song. It’s not always the same music, so I don’t always know what will hit me (though there are some I know exactly what they will do to me).
I’ve learned that I can’t be everything to everyone. This was a hard one emotionally. I was once a very active person, in every sense of the word. I volunteered, I worked overtime, I had my kids in everything reasonable, I stayed up late, I did it all. I hit the wall hard and everything came down in a landslide. Being diagnosed with a chronic illness will do that (MS in my case, along with others). I haven’t volunteered in so long, I work my hours (gratefully), but no more. I wish I could do more with my kids. I’m in bed by 7:30 pm or I don’t function the next day at all. It’s been over a decade and that was on of the hardest things to realize.
You always hear the tune of ‘just follow your dreams and life will be great’. I offer up the alternative – do what makes you smile, but remember, you are human. Not everyone can climb Mount Everest. Not everyone can travel the world. Not everyone can reach the outer reaches of our oceans. Not everyone can board a ship to outer space. It’s OK if your life is what it is. I struggle with this one. A lot. I dreamed of being an archaeologist. I did two BAs to accomplish that end, but then I got married. He was not kind and my dreams were dashed on the rocks. I created new life (literally), and began seeing my life differently. I have children I love, I have a yard I love puttering in. My second husband is my best friend and if we were stuck in the house together, just us, I’d be content. It’s not the life I dreamed I’d have, but it’s the life that makes me smile.
Sometimes I hyper focus on my depression and anxiety; on what I lack instead of what I have. At 48, I’m working hard on focusing on what I do have, what makes me smile, what I care about. I colour my hair crazy colours as a mood booster. I stopped caring what people think of my hair and skin – heck, I’ve even gotten many tattoos (for me, that was huge!). Letting go of what others think of me has been one of the hardest things to let go of. Yes, I still have times when I go into a panic attack because I worry about how I’m perceived (I’ve often been misread in my life).
Right now, in this present moment, I’m content. Would like I my dreams to come true? Of course! We’ve all been hooked on those feelings; but I’ve learned to be ok with my life, with how I’ve lived it. That to me is the best feeling of all.
Blue Swede – Hooked on a Feeling