Running a marathon, fancy purses, six-pack abs. Aspirations of many. The problem is not that I don’t run, carry a daggy bag, nor is it the fact that the only time a six-pack and my stomach are in the same vicinity is on a Saturday night. As lauded as they may be, these are not my desires.
Since many of my secrets are no longer secrets, I may as well reveal just one more. I am a freak for those surveys that swept email for a decade and then suddenly disappeared. You know the ones to which I am referring:
I used to create my own and send them to family and friends just because.
Recently, I was reflecting on what made those surveys so tantalizing, so irresistible. While I do think they are a way to Toot One’s Own Flute, I think the temptation to participate is so great because people like reflecting on past experiences and dreaming about the future.
What I found a tad disconcerting after completing these surveys and reading others’ responses is that my brain was binging a mile a minute with oughts, musts, and shoulds.
I should travel to Hawaii before I die.
Hmmm…Francine is like Bugs Bunny? How can I be more like Bugs Bunny?
Candice read War and Peace three times?! I’m a slacker slob!
The number of items on my to-do list multiplied. The energy with which I typed my responses now enervated, drained from me like a tub once the bubbly bath has ended.
Keep It Simple
The past several years look markedly different from our Work-Eat-Couch days of yore. Instead of bringing home lamps, we’re trying to give them away. Our burritos grandes have been replaced with hummus and apples. Now that our butts are on a five mile walk, the His and Hers hiney prints are barely visible, and we have obviated the need for new couches.
Well, aren’t we just the Mr. and Mrs. Perfect of the world!? No, far from it.
What we are doing “right” and well is simplifying. It is far from easy, but once we took that first sip from the Cup of Living, we couldn’t help but want to quaff it down and order up another.
Not Quite Getting It
But Tammy, what about what I have to do?
What do you have to do? I ask you.
Well, I have to take out the garbage!
Really? Do you have to take out the garbage. Perhaps you simply want to because, if you don’t, your house will smell like a pigpen and roaches will creep upon you in the night.
Fine, then! you respond. I should attend my uncle’s stepson’s best friend’s wedding this weekend.
This is the point at which I hear my Old Self in their words and politely excuse myself to bash my head against a brick wall.
Extremely Important Priorities
We all have those activities which bring us the greatest joy. Those activities which, when we are doing them, fill our hearts with love.
How do we find them, and what if they don’t look like everyone else’s list? What if I don’t want to spend every Saturday night at Bingo with Cousin Gretty? What if I don’t want to run a 5K or have luscious lashes?
It has taken me a long, long time and many, many tears and fears and irrational rantings and wrestlings in my mind, but I have come to the crazy conclusion that I am in control of my own life. I have lifted a giant weight from my chest. It hovers a bit, threatening to crush me if I let it, so I have found a nice place for it to live in Alaska. I am still working on a way to get it there cheaply.
I hope you find it too. I hope you listen to yourself more than you listen to others. I started to feel bad after reading blogs and magazines that told me I had to do things a certain way, act a certain way, look a certain way.
Perhaps I’ll double-check my priorities today by making one of those silly surveys just for me.
I won’t share or forward my responses. I will keep this one to myself and smile knowing it is the best survey I ever completed.
And you, Jolly one? What are your priorities? How did you figure it out, or are you still working on it?
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