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What have you done NOW?

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goals

Little Miss Invisible

Sometimes our routine works. Like clockwork, we get things done on time and to our satisfaction. Life goes on.

Other times, it’s like you’ve woken up from hibernation and think “Oh man, I haven’t done (fill in the blank ______) in ages. Inevitably, you feel guilty. Why? Because you’re not living up to your own expectations. And furthermore, because your own expectations reflect what you assume to be the expectations of others.

We always seem to be putting on a show. For ourselves. For friends and loved ones. For perfect strangers. But that’s the nature of humanity, and being social creatures we place value on what others think. Because if they don’t think highly of us, they won’t like us… right?

Image: http://www.bite.ca

I digress. I’m still trying to break myself of this habit – of doing things for anyone but myself. And making sure that “doing things for the approval of myself” doesn’t so heavily reflect what I think others will approve of as well. That’s a difficult mental tie to break šŸ˜‰

Where am I going with all this disjointed mumbo-jumbo? I’ve been Little Miss Invisible lately. I’ve missed blog posts. I’ve neglected my new camera. I haven’t lifted my pen to paper to draw. I’ve been lazy. I’ve been watching too much TV. I’d like this post to serve as a reminder to myself to wake up!

Spring goals:

  1. Use the techniques I learned in photography and get out there and take photos
  2. Learn more about taking HDR photos, and DO IT
  3. Draw one thing a day, worst case scenario: just before bed
  4. Write one thing a day – a funny anecdote, a meaningful quote, a story I heard, my thoughts
  5. Get out more. Do anything outside. Walk, bike, rollerblade, take photos, sit and enjoy!
  6. Streamline my possessions (I own too much “stuff”)

That’s all I can think of for now in this attempt to motivate myself. Sometimes, I find that writing things down makes them ‘real,’ Ā and I feel more of a responsibility to complete the tasks set out before me.

Some people just don’t get to grow old

We think of our lives as a bank account, with somewhere between 80 and 105 years in it. Every day we get up with the notion that we’re on Day 11,894 of our 32,000 day life. We have goals, we have dreams. We put things off because we can do them next week – or next year. We put them off because we assume that we are given this full bank account when we are born. I’ve just realized it’s not true.

When we lose someone before ā€œtheir timeā€ it feels as if something has been taken away from themā€¦ from us. But what we donā€™t realize is that no one has an account full of banked years of life. We will all never know what our account balance is, or when it’s going to be cancelled. Our account might only have 30 years in it, or 42. But our account might have 94 years in it. We will never know.

Every bank account, regardless of it’s balance, has fees and interest. Sometimes we get sick and life has to be put on hold. Sometimes we simply stop living life… and waste our banked time. So I’m torn between hoping that the balance is somewhere around 95 (with low fees and very little interest), and not expecting to have such a generous balance. It brings a whole new meaning to ‘living each day as if it were your last.’ Ā This is a very difficult thing to do, because it’s so hard to get past the notion that we have all this banked time. I certainly don’t envy those who know they are on limited or borrowed time. I can’t even fathom how I would wrap my mind around that concept.

Some peopleā€™s bank accounts of life are just different than others. At least they had an account at all. What counts is the good things left behind: fond memories, photos, experiences shared, and the positive effects that person had on others. What counts is what we experience in OUR lifetimes, what we learn, how we grow. Some people don’t get to grow old, but each of us gets a chance to grow – no matter how much is in their bank account: 1 day, or a hundred years.

Another thing I realized is that you don’t need to know everything about people to know them, to relate to them, to love them… But that’s a post for another day.

The search for happiness

My apologies, again for missing Monday. I took a much needed mini-vacation for 5 days – and now I am feeling refreshed! I managed to post content on Wednesday, Thursday, AND Friday… so I didn’t miss too much šŸ™‚

Recently I have been hot on the quest for happiness. I have realised I am missing some things in my life, and am in need of some self-repair. I have been asking myself questions like How can I be happy? How can I find spirituality? What are my goals? What do I want from life?

As you can see, these are pretty weighty questions. But on this quest, I have been finding some answers.

It’s difficult to see when you are inside the cloud of unhappiness, stress, feeling unloved, emotional distress, loneliness, or negativity. When friends and family are encouraging you and telling you things will get better, to look on the bright side, to forget the past and move to the future – the best practice is to simply listen to them and chug forward, rather than dwelling. Even if you can’t see out of that cloud, even if you don’t see happiness in your future, even if you are feeling hopeless and don’t know what to do – just listen to those positive encouragements, and just keep moving. Even if you are going through the motions and laughing because it is appropriate, smiling because it’s your cue to smile, and getting things done for the sake of being busy – eventually it won’t be going through the motions any more. You’ll be laughing because you genuinely found that joke funny, smiling because you are really experiencing a moment of happiness, of accomplishing things because it makes you feel amazing.

And this is just the first step. Not wallowing, and not being sucked up by negativity.Ā A wise person once said – if it’s difficult to do, and seems like you should just give up – that’s when you should try your hardest!

I now find myself outside of that black cloud – unhindered (almost completely) by negativity and sadness and anger. I have come to the realisation that this is just one step in the right direction. The journey has just begun! It’s like feeling something wonderful for a few brief moments, and committing to pursuing feeling this wonderful all the time.

As you might think, realising that I have only come a fraction of the way might seemĀ discouragingĀ – but the prospect of how amazing, how fulfilled, how happy I could be if I got even a little further than I am now is incredibly motivating! Plus, another thing I have learned is to look at the glass half full – so in this case I don’t see the thousands of steps ahead of me, I see the step Ā I have taken and feel good about it.

The middle ground on relaxing is not really a middle ground

I’m finally learning that tasks andĀ obligationsĀ and deadlines never end. Whether it’s with work, at home, a favour you’re doing for friends… I still find myself saying “After Saturday, I can relax.” Why is that? Is it because I need to or want to relax? Who doesn’t?! The point is that I continue to have a designated relax time. Why can’t I just always be relaxed?

I don’t think the solution is to not have stuff to do or have projects to complete. I think there is always going to be something I need to get done or something to prepare for, study for, clean for. Because if I didn’t have stuff to do, goals, deadlines, etc., I’d be bored! So what is the middle ground? Is there one?

IĀ have decided that there has to be a point at which I am truly relaxed in every moment in every day of life. Where the fact that I need to get this project done by 4:30 doesn’t stress me out. Where thinking about all the things I still have to do before next week doesn’t make me run around in circles inside my mind… I don’t want to go over the list in my head seven times before bed to remember all the stuff I have to do. I don’t want to stress about timing, that I have to get this and then go there, and be back all within an hour, just so that I am on time for something else.

I will get to that point, or that frame of mind where I realize that everything is going to get done to the best of my ability. Only if I am doing something that I consider to be sub-par (which is completely different than doing something that others judge to be sub-par) am I allowed to stress – a little. I will balance my standards with a healthy expectation of myself.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all do that – and it was easy?! But who ever said life was easy šŸ˜‰ That’s the fun part!

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