Free time is not usually a luxury I allow myself. I don't do well when I have no schedule, when I'm not in back to back activities. Yet, this past week I've had quite a bit of time to slow down, sit, read, write, run, yoga, chill. Although many of these activities are great for clearing your mind, taking a step back, slowing down, they are also things that bring up a lot. A lot of thoughts, emotions, feelings, questions. For the hour or so spent on the yoga mat I'm focused on the task at hand: breathing in, breathing out. Afterwards though, for better or worse, the mind goes back to the constant rush of thinking - planning, stressing, organizing, running through never ending to do lists. This is normal. And it's ok.
This week has, above all, been a lesson in humility, but it's also led me to do some much needed and often bypassed self and societal reflection. I found myself asking myself 'why?' a lot. For the past few weeks I have been a bit unsure about my future at the company I was working for (for many reasons). I, frankly, hated my job. I didn't know if I wanted to stay there, to stay in the same role, the same industry. I didn't know if it was the job itself, or rather my desire to just be doing something different, something I chose for myself rather than fell into and happened to be decent at. Yet, when I found myself unemployed last Friday evening, I was more upset than I expected to be. Why? Because I'm afraid to fail? Because I have a tendency to take things personally, regardless of the actual situation? Because I've never been let go before so I truly was entering into uncharted territories? Because I wanted the satisfaction of quitting? Because, even though I saw it coming, and honestly, needed it to happen, it's still unbelievably uncomfortable? When I started telling people, explaining what happened, more often than not I was met with a patronizing "aw, you'll be ok". Why? Of course I'll be ok. I've never been happier. I now have the time to figure out what it is I actually want to do with my life. To spend time focusing on myself, instead of a job that, at one point, contributed to a lovely stint in the ER (see previous post). Those that know me really well have said they can see it in my face, that this was one of the best things that could have happened. And it is.
But. And there's always a but. As a (soon to be) 30 year old woman with two degrees, I can't help but question life's ways. As much as it truly kills my feminist soul to admit this, something I've been pondering this past week is how vastly different my life looks now compared to what I thought it would look like while growing up. 30, to my younger self, is old AF. Had you asked me as a kid, I'd be married with children by now. Working, for sure (I didn't spend years in school for nothing), but definitely not single with two roommates in what essentially could be considered a frat house of an apartment building (love you guys). What I thought I wanted, or rather, was told (by society, family, peers, history) I wanted, is not what my life looks like right now. And I fucking love it. I'm beyond happy for friends that have followed that path, that are happily married with three kids in suburbia, and for all those that fall somewhere between here and there. Beyond happy. But each day I'm trying to figure out what I want and what will make me happy, I come back to a place of expectation. Of what people might think. Of what life's nicely laid out "ideal" plan looks like. And how the reality looks nothing like it.
This disconnect between expectation and reality takes many forms. In big, sweeping, massive life things (as above), and in small day to day activities (like a yoga practice). We all have a vision of what we can do, be, accomplish. We all have a reality of where we are on that path. Sometimes they will cross, sometimes they will not. Sometimes, it's this grand disconnect that can change our vision completely, to show us who we really are and who we want to be.
We all face change in our lives, constantly. What's that saying? Something about the only constant in life is change? Change is good. Change pushes us to explore our boundaries, to learn what makes us uncomfortable, where we draw the line. It tells us who we are, shows our true colors, teaches us what we really want. It's also terrifying and crazy and, on occasion, unexpected.
So, where do we draw the line when it comes to change? When do we go with what's comfortable, and when do we embrace the unknown? When is it time to say no, and to push back against those telling you what your life should look like? When do we persevere and progress and fight, and when we do sit back and let things happen and go with the flow? At what point do we take a stand for what we want, even if it's not the easy route? When do we give up and let life happen? When do we let go of the things that aren't serving us, so we can have the energy to focus on those that are?