I admit, me giving life advice seems a bit comical. In so many ways I blew up my life this past year or so. And not like in one field or area- the entire thing. It was the equivalent of an atomic blast permeating through every part of my life, slowly degrading what I had built.
But, within flighted conversation, I realized more recently, I really have found a better way.
It may sound obvious or even trite… Because as much I’m a believer in true love, traveling across the globe, or jumping out of an airplane (ok, maybe not that last one- but it gives you a picture so it’s staying)- I’ve realized none of that matters if I can’t sit with myself.
Being able to wake up every day without a nagging feeling that I need more, I want more… is a first.
Life has been broken down into a mad dash of checking boxes to fill a quota that never ends. As they say- work will fill the time it’s given. Much will our constant need for things if given a lifetime.
The worst part is we continually fall for it. We continue to believe that that next “great” thing will be the one to give us lasting happiness. But, it never is enough. This un-winable race with stacked odds against our happiness, promising the American Dream, or any other dreams you might have for yourself is waiting for you… IF only you just do this.
What does that even mean? It means we evolve into doing life-list worthy tasks- buying a house, settling down, getting a fancier car- all to create the image of happiness we have been promised and blinded by.
And while many of those goals might be worthy on a small scale, we become so disillusioned by it all that we can’t even see a bigger picture. We only see the next want.
I’ve been guilty of this myself. Filling my closet, and house with the latest trends and wants ticketed to show your success. And it all just sits there. The clothes I still love- because fashion is my voice. But all the other stuff could probably burn in a fire tomorrow and I would have trouble giving an inventory of almost any of it.
So back to me bombing my life. It took a lot from me. Things I probably can’t repair or get back. And while my heart still breaks over the damage, what I’ve found is a sense of self. And, what actually matters to me.
Now- some of you may be feeling this post so much, and I commend you for that. Not because I wrote it and believe in it, but because it means that you want more for your life and recognize that uneasy feeling that is gnawing inside you.
Others of you are about to click out of this page and say- I’m happy with my things, I’m happy with my house, and I’m happy with my luxury car. And if you are happy, congratulations that is a very hard thing to attain and maintain.
But, a word of caution- I was pretty convinced I was happy back then too. So, just give me a few more minutes?
Now once I blew up my life per se, the wreckage was almost unmanageable. It’s an uncomfortable development to find yourself so lost. It’s like being ripped under by the tide, there’s a brief panic, a loss of direction, and a sudden fight for air.
It was uneasy. And this feeling lasted a while. Why? Because I hadn’t quite realized what I was fighting for… Well, of course in the day to day, I had a targeted goal (after all, I’m a perfectionist and I need direction and praise). But, I’m talking about why I was put on this earth, and what I want to do with my life.
These are lofty questions to be asking yourself, and we often have a coined response of “well, I just want to find myself” or “I just want to create xyz” or “I just want to be able to do _______”.
And all of those are pieces to the puzzle. But its as if you have three pieces to a 1000 piece puzzle. The picture will not be clear yet.
But from this uneasiness, I found something. The path to being at peace with yourself, and the path to creating a sustainable life that allows you to have a purpose and pursue all those checkbox items if you so choose.
What is it? Doing things for your self. I know, you’re rolling your eyes. You read almost 800 words and it’s as simple as that?
But, I don’t mean going to get a facial or do a work out class, or even an outing with friends. I mean what would you do if you had 5 minutes left on this earth.
Of course, spend it with friends and family- we all need connection. But, let’s put that aside for a second. You’re the only person around, you have 5 minutes, or even one day left on earth. What would you choose to do without fear of approval? Without fear of judgment? What would you do if you didn’t have to care about everyone else’s feelings, or raised eyebrows? You’re doing this for you, and you would continue to do it provided you had more than a day on this earth because it fills your heart.
Now- that is a lofty question- I respect that. And maybe you don’t have an exact answer, yet. But the beauty of this experiment is you do not have 24 hours left on this earth and you can start experimenting with what fills you.
These cannot be items you do to impress others, it can’t be something you do solely for the results…. It has to something that whether people recognize your talent (or lack thereof)- you would do it because it allows you to find peace.
Despite the fact, our society has come so far and found so many luxuries along the way, and perks of a ‘full” life- we are more anxious and depressed as a culture than ever.
So where do you start? Think about what soothes you. I’ve found when I’m happy or sad- dancing around in a tee shirt and underwear around my house really does put me in a better mood. And while I’m no Misty on Pointe, I do enjoy dancing.
I’m not saying this my one thing- but it’s a start. It’s something I can learn to do better, learn to explore, and attempt to find an outlet that makes me happy whether I would dance in front of my friends or not.
The other thing I found for myself was writing and specifically writing about fashion and the power of it. Fashion has been my voice for a very long time now. I’m more adept at communicating with tact and subtly through my clothes and expressing who I am than I could ever be with words. And this is coming from someone who talks, kind of a lot…. what can I say, I have opinions.
So here are the questions/discussions I ask myself to decide if something is “right” for me to put my efforts towards it.
- What does this thing mean to me? How does it shape my day to day?
- If it went away tomorrow, would I be able to breathe? Or would it be something I could overcome with a certain amount of grace?
- If I never “succeed” with this or become amazing at it- would I still be spending time doing it? For instance- I will never be a professional dancer, I know that and I’m not trying to be… But learning different dance styles has brought me a feeling of peace and mini escape from the rest of the world. And to me, that is part of finding the things that mean something to me.
- Even when I hate it, or suck at it- I still kind of smile because I do in fact get so much joy from it. I know, not a question. But say that to yourself and mean it- it will change everything if you actually apply it.
- Recognize the difference between escaping your life and embracing it. So often our lives are spent waiting for a moment of escape only to be longing for the next escape and the next.
I’m not saying taking a break from the daily grind or a negative head space isn’t warranted. In fact, that’s what dancing in my underwear is for me… If I’m having a bad day, it’s a little bit of silliness and fun that takes my mind back to space where I am grateful. Grateful for how far I’ve come.
The problem is, so often we are unhappy and find an escape that begins to work for ourselves. That escape, whatever it may be, tends to take over our lives and become the only thing that makes us find peace. But, it’s really only depriving us of the connection we need.
We are intimate beings- we thrive on connection. But so often in our lives, we become disconnected from ourselves. We long for love, and romance, and aspirational dreams… But, if we have not connected with our ourselves and our happiness, the bandaids we place over a gaping wound will not stop the bleeding. And sure, if the original escape is good enough- well then we can ignore the wound all together… But, it’s a race you just can’t win.
So- I’ve said my peace. But, if you’ve been aching for more in your life if you’ve been riddled with sadness or anxious thoughts about what is composing your life…. I know your pain and I know that while it’s not an easy process- the only thing you can do, is to try and find yourself.
So while I love posts like this, they will be fewer and farther between. But, if you want to read more items like this- my newsletter is the place for you- sign up below!