Something occurred to me the other night as I caught myself in a little existential tangle.
I'm still trying to make something of myself. And it's getting pretty exhausting.
And then something else occurred to me: Here I am, squat in midlife and still trying to make something of my life--as though I'm 21 years old and leaping into the jungles of New York City to ... make something of my life.
And in that moment of catching myself here--still struggling, struggling, struggling to Make It, something in me caved in, like a lousy roof under a bunch of mud. But then there was a bit of light and clarity.
I realized I was tired and full of self doubt when I held this framework of trying really hard to make the most of everything in this Second Half of life.
I mean, groooan, no wonder the roof caved in, right?
And then I started asking myself some good fruitful questions:
Let's say I already had made something of my life and myself.
Then how would I live? What would it feel like going through my days having already made something of myself, with nothing else to prove to anyone or myself but to live in a way that supports my highest values like Freedom, Creativity, Love, Physical Activity, Nature, Playfulness and a few others I'm forgetting.
Maybe I wouldn't feel so "ate up," as my brother, Michael would put it. I shouldn't have to explain that saying because it is what it sounds like. Just "ate up" -- sick and freakin' tired.
But "ate up" can lead to being bitter and resentful and nasty and chip-on-shouldery and that is not an option here. None of these makes my values list although some days I want to soak myself in a nasty-ass sulk marinade for hours on end.
So the last couple days I've been wondering how it would be to retire from trying to make something of myself and replace that with just trying to live my values and pretend I'm retired from "Making It."
Now don't get me wrong, I like hard work. But there is good hard fruitful inspired work and there is trudging hard laborious proving-to-the-world-you're-earning-your-keep work. We know the difference too, anyone can feel it in his heart, but sometimes it's hard to get off that treadmill. I have to admit to a deep down mysterious fear that if I let down my guard for five minutes and don't throw a lot of what looks like good hard work/effort/trudgery at something, the slits in my couch will suck me up for eternity. Poof! Gone just like that.
So. Don't work it so hard. Live like you've already Made It. Remember the values and make those your Life-Work goals to hit. Them's my learnings.
Oh, PS: I just got an email message from "The Biggest Loser" as I was writing this. There's a kismet-y connection here, there is.
But I'm not going to figure it out, I have some relaxin' to do.