What do you value, and how does your lifestyle reflect those values?
(first of all, let me disclaim: I have edited and re-edited this post so much, I hope it makes sense to you, and meets you where you are. Please contact me for clarification of any ambuguities.)
That is an idea that I’ve been pondering lately.
It’s especially hard in this fast-paced new world that we live in, to live your values. With everything coming at you at what feels like warp speed, it can sometimes be hard to pause, think about the long run and make a slow and deliberate decision.
Boy, what a long and crazy year it has been in my life.
Just over a year ago, my father and brother both moved in to my home within a month of each other, making what was already tight, even tighter. (A mercifully short-lived, arrangement)
I took a job, which now, with my 20/20 hindsight vision makes me go ‘WTF was I thinking?’ (It is aready such a distant memory. Just 2 short weeks after leaving it I cannot, for the life of me, remember the name of the software I used every. single. day. to do my job.)
In the last 12-13 months of my life:
My house has been broken into, with the most important and irreplaceable item being stolen.
My beloved aunt took a very swift decline in her battle with Cancer and passed away.
My Husband lost his job.
Numerous (and costly) vehicle/transportation problems that caught us completely off-guard.
‘Friends,’(not so much) revealed their true colors, exiting my life.
After allowing myself to be completely honest with myself, I came to realize that I have arrived at this point because I would not give myself permission to live my life as I wanted to live.
All my life I was a good girl.
never make waves,
always be ‘nice’
don’t make noise
don’t laugh out too loud
always be agreeable,
Study something practical that will get you a good job, yadda yadda, yadda
etc etc etc etc
As a teenager, it never occurred to me to rebel…because nice girls don’t do that.
I didn’t even date until I went to college…then I went buck wild.
I Joined the Navy…oh boy, what a time that was!
Even through my early 20’s rebellion years, I still never embraced following my heart.
Toot my own horn? fuggeddaboutit! Nice girls don’t do that!
If you only knew how much I agonize over each and every single post, each and every single picture
…am I being crass?
…am I revealing too much?
…is my project dumb?
…am I biting off someone else’s idea?
and on and on till the break of dawn…
You see, throughout all the times when I was busy pleasing everyone, I was not pleasing myself. I really believed all the cock-and-bull about working the stable sensible job until you till you retire, then, and only then may you enjoy your life…that is, if you’re alive and healthy, and wealthy enough to do so.
While ‘believing’ that cock-and-bull, I was so ashamed of the feeling that that life was not for me.
It felt grandiose and pompous for me to feel like I was above the 9-5 + 6-10 grind. Why am I so special? Don’t millions of people go to jobs they hate, day in, day out?
When I had kids, it got even worse. I started to feel like my ship had sailed, like my time was up, finito.
I felt like it was time to put away my childish things…because after all, being an adult means putting on your big-girl-panties and dealing with it.
For some reason, it is still so hard for me to accept that the conventional way is not the only way. So much so that I’ve sabotaged myself…A LOT.
In this day and age of high unemployment, it feels so frivolous to turn your nose up at any job.
SO I kept squashing my values, and I kept running head first into situations that I knew I would end up hating… as if to do anything else would prove me an unfit parent and a bad adult.
I did this OVER.AND.OVER.AGAIN.AND.AGAIN. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Insanity is repeatedly doing something you hate, expecting a different result from the last time.
It’s not that I didn’t see anyone else going for it.
On the contrary, I can’t stop reading about people living their living their (my) dreams. It’s just that I somehow felt that that life was for other people. Living your dreams is only reserved for a select few.
I told myself that as long as I could do what I enjoy in my own spare time, it didn’t matter what I did for a cash.
So I did my little home projects, maintained my little blog (well, most of the time) and kept doing things I hate for money.
After all, money IS important. Of course I will still have a job. I’m not financially suicidal, duh. I am just better aligning my choice of work with my values, until I can get to where I want to be.
I am so thankful for those who showed me that it’s ok to want what I want. They have given me the courage and strength to go for it, no matter what is going on.
Because you see, it takes great courage to to stick to your guns, even when the road is rough… (Think Will Smith as Chris Gardner in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’)
Now, I’m not here to say that it’s sooo easy, and just go for it and life will just be a dream!
I’m scared shitless.
I wake up at night in a panic, wondering what am I doing? Should I just go back to the safe, comfortable and MISERABLE? My resounding answer is ‘HELL NO’.
There are good days, bad days, half-way days. But So far, it’s working out.
(read more on this thought here)
I thank Bloggers like Lynne Knowleton, a designer and blogger who I admire greatly. She has really been such an inspiration, in addition to being open and so, so approachable and responsive, despite being a very busy lady. I so enjoy her blog for her wit, guts and determination to design the life she wants to live. Check out her fabulous treehouse and out-house…yes, I said out-house!
Sooo…My challenge to myself (and for you, yes, you!) is to make sure that every decision I make aligns with my values.
Now, who’s coming with me on this journey?
I want to know what are your values, and how do you make sure your choices reflect those values?