Moving The Needle

There are a lot of clichés surrounding change, especially changing yourself but things will change with or without you. Life goes on either way so you better be ready for it.

I’ve been feeling lately like my life is just on a treadmill. As if I am just watching everything go by but I don’t seem to have any bone deep motivations that would help me step off that treadmill either. Last year I had some shaky motivations and desires that seem to have faded away. I have to admit that I’d been half-doing a bunch of things that I eventually completely stopped doing shortly after my birthday in October. I can put up the excuse that I was sick for two and a half weeks with a stomach flu in October and it threw off my groove but at the end of the day, I should have just started again in November when I was feeling better. I’m not sure if just starting where I left off is the correct course of action because there are reasons that certain routines don’t stick.

On top of that I basically had a very classic winter where I lost track of progress, ate miserably, failed to make or attempt progress toward any goals, and just kind of wallowed in the darkness that is cold, snowy winter blues.

I want this year to be different but not in the goal checklist way. I know that I often fail right out of the gate because I expect to be perfect. Instead I want to live a life where I can celebrate just pushing my progress a little even if it’s inconsistent and not berate myself for incomplete tasks. I also especially want to make time and space for more people in my life because I think that connecting with people always keeps me on a better, more innovative path. I’m too good at being alone (but never lonely) and I think I just haven’t mastered the skill of inviting people in to my life as much and its to the detriment of my own growth as a person.

So instead of a dozen constant and demanding goals, which are sure to fail the second some illness comes on me or I got waylaid by emotions or exhaustion, I want to just commit to forgiving myself when I don’t give 100% or if I give 100% and it’s not enough. I want to have a year where I am not tied to a checklist and budget as if they were gospel. One where I can be more open to adventure and uncertainty and the messiness that comes with allowing other people to dictate plans.

As a second part of that, I’ve never felt compelled to live by other peoples standards but I still find myself judging myself as if I were. This is never more present than in the idea of traveling, especially now that I find myself in a position where I can travel. There aren’t that many places I actually want to travel to and I don’t want to frequently travel either as I find it stressful and difficult and expensive and yet I judge myself for not traveling as much as is expected of me. Part of this is people often ask me when my next trip is (as if everyone is just constantly planning to escape their lives of misery?) and part of it is that I know I didn’t have the opportunity to travel until now and I shouldn’t waste it.

At the end of the day though, the opportunity exists for me to do so many things I have no interest in doing but I never spend any time feeling guilty that I am not doing those things.

That’s what I want this year to be about. To let go of the guilt I’m holding inside by not being able to live a life that other people can live through so that I can push forward as my own self. I already know what I want and what I like to do and while I do want to try new things and spread my wings, I have always loathed being a jack of all trades. I never feel like I have the confidence or the knowledge to be an expert in any topic so I’d rather drill down and get good at the things I know than skim the surface.

I want to work steadily and surely on my personal goals despite what other people think of them instead of constantly doubling back to try to fill in the gaps that other people think need to be filled. It’s no way to live your life worried what someone else thinks, it’s even more useless to live your life in the vein the nonsense societal pressures that you’ve internalized.

Life is not a to do list and its certainly not a “to do before you’re old” BuzzFeed listicle so I have to stop treating it like one so that I can move forward again.

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