I‘m either lost or found – depending on your perspective. I don’t have a 9-5 job, I don’t have a daily schedule, I don’t have my own income stream, I’m not really sure what my ‘end goal’ is and I have the concentration span of a gnat.
Alternatively, you could say I have lots of jobs – if we really need a label, I guess a portfolio career sounds plausible, I have a fluid schedule with lots of variables attached to it and I have no ‘end goal’ just a daily one – to get me and my kids through it in one piece.
My life used to be very different. I had a clear purpose, only myself to worry about, my own stream of income, a structure that the military would be envious of and a pretty nice lifestyle.
But then I fell in love, got p*ssed off with the corporate world, set up a new business, had babies, experienced a financial crash, got PND, put on sh*t loads of weight, watched my gorgeous brother-in-law die a slow and painful death from motor-neuron disease, witnessed the cruel stealth of terminal cancer, as it ate my dad alive and entered a civil war with my body, as I entered the menopause. Effectively, I took a crash course in relationship management, being an entrepreneur, parenting, depression, grief, and hormone therapy, all at the same time. Being an over-achiever can have its downsides, (that’s a joke by the way).
It’s a good job we don’t have a crystal ball if we saw the future, we simply would not get up in the morning.
Life is messy, it gets more complex as you get older and the constant pursuit of happiness, is just too bloody hard.
On the upside though, being too sad, depressed and overwhelmed, to actually give a sh*t about what anyone thinks about you, is incredibly liberating. And it was during this ‘liberation’, that lots of epiphany moments happened.
Firstly, I no longer cared who saw the real me. That meant I could shed the ridiculous armour I had worn for years, focus on my strengths and stop worrying about people seeing my weaknesses and indeed, having weaknesses in the first place.
Secondly, I was able to see that much of the reality we live in, is actually an optical illusion. It’s an illusion because very few people actually show up as themselves. Generally, we only get to see the shiny, acceptable parts, that people think (wrongly by the way), will make other people like and accept them. This creates a circular situation, whereby the illusion is constantly fed, thereby stopping people from showing their true selves lest they be ostracised.
Thirdly, the things that used to motivate me – money, material stuff, status, and professional achievements, no longer seemed that important. Failure, grief, and depression isn’t selective, it’s just a consequence of being human, so these experiences are actually great levellers.
Fourthly, becoming responsible for other human beings really isn’t something that can be de-prioritised, outsourced or reduced in scope. It’s pretty big and if you cock-up, the consequences pretty serious. Therefore making decisions about stuff that used to seem really important, becomes a hell of a lot easier.
Fifthly, you need far less than you actually think – this applies to your ego, your material world, your friendships, and your physical self. If you stop receiving external validation, whilst it might hurt at first, you get used to it and start looking inside yourself for true acceptance and validation. If you have less money, you buy less, simplify your life and stop comparing yourself to others who do have more, as there really isn’t any point – you also start to save the planet, bit by bit, in the process. If you have less friends, you get to focus on the ones you do have, deepen the relationships and realise who actually shares your values and has your back, when it matters. If you stop running 10 km per day, putting yourself through gruelling HIT sessions and lifting ridiculous weights because it hurts too much, you might just find that a simple walk clears the mind, kick starts your creativity and keeps your body active anyway.
As a result of this liberation, I no longer have a grand plan, nor do I really care if I’m honest. I get up each day, do the best that I am able to, given whatever circumstances I am faced with and if I’m lucky, will have a made a difference to someone, somewhere.
It’s a messy, uncoordinated approach to a messy and uncoordinated life.
But it’s real, honest and most definitely in the moment.
I maybe lost or I maybe found – I’m really not sure it matters that much.