At the beginning of 2015, Jeff Goins wrote up a post I really liked.
It was “Looking Back (Honestly) at the Past Year.
He talked about how we often portray ourselves in an unrealistic way on social media.
I only make happy, humorous, or successful tweets. I only blog on positive things.
But do we portray ourselves realistically?
I think we portray parts of ourselves realistically.
“We are curating memories and moments as if they were pieces of art to be hung on the walls while the rest gets stuffed in the basement.
Why do we do this?”
- Jeff Goins
Good question. But we do it. We all know it, too.
Goins went on to give his explanation. That we’re afraid people wouldn’t like us if they see all of us.
I tend to agree.
It’s all a messy balance of “what do I want people to see of me that is honest, true, and three-dimensional – without over-sharing, complaining, or being self centered, negative or depressing”.
But that’s life.
And it’s what I’ve recently discovered about myself. I like how messy life is.
It leaves room for change, for difference, for improvement, mistakes, lessons to learn, room to grow, etc. Too much to explain or surmise in a pretty package of sentences and paragraphs. Life is unexplainable. It is moving art or death scraping along inside a sack of flesh and bone. It’s your choice.
It’s a mess. But it’s gorgeous.
At least, it has the potential to be.
So – looking at all of me, at the real me, what is there to look back at for the year of 2014?
In Goins’ post, he asks if we measured the wrong things.
I think I did. I measured this:
How much I worked every day.
How many days I stayed awake all day long.
How many days I worked out.
How often I wrote every week and how long each day. How close to finishing I was. How many times I’d failed and how many people were shaking their heads at me.
Basically: How often I was on the ball. With everything. No room for breathing, no room for a break, no room for mistakes.
I didn’t pay attention to me.
Was I having fun?
Did I enjoy what I was doing?
Did I care about what I was doing?
Was I overworking myself and consequently, making my “work” suffer?
Did I know what I felt, thought, wanted, needed?
I could go on and on. The answer would still be “no”.
That’s not a good thing to say no to.
I mean – I do realize the definition of “living” is to “live” right?
It’s hard to care about what I do on a daily basis if all I’m doing is forcing myself to get stuff done.
Check this off, finish that, be perfect with that.
Kind of pointless, don’t ya think?
PERFECTION VS. MISTAKES
I allowed no mistakes.
This is – ironically – a failure.
If you don’t make mistakes, then you’re treading water. You aren’t moving forward. You are NOT improving.
Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t hate yourselves over them.
Learn from them. Work on being better. A better you. The ‘you’ you want to be.
Mistakes are how you reach success.
GET THINGS DONE VS. ENJOYING THE THINGS YOU DO
Did I really accomplish all that much?
Okay, yeah I did a pretty good job in the year of 2014.
But did I enjoy it? Did I really care?
I just pushed myself to get stuff done. While not even paying attention to what I was doing. I didn’t have fun, I didn’t enjoy it. Every day was a checklist – NOT a day to have a life and live it.
I’m a writer. Writing is my passion. It’s who I am. I’ve said this before, yet it doesn’t seem to sink into my brain.
I haven’t enjoyed writing in a long time. Why? Because I’m a brain-dead moron stuck on autopilot. STILL.
I love Kristen Lamb. She continually gives us reasons on why we need to have fun. How it isn’t wrong and we shouldn’t feel guilty for having fun doing our craft.
Notice something? I just said ‘craft’, not ‘work’.
Yeah, I’m a writer. It’s my job. It’s work.
But not really. Not to me. Because when I pay attention, writing is the joy of life. It’s a release, an escape, a way to create, to change, to grow. To have fun.
I need to stop holding myself back from having fun, just “because”.
EXISTING VS. LIVING – a.k.a. THE POINT
Enjoy what you do.
Stop working and breathe.
Take time each day for yourself. End of story. No excuses, no “reasons”.
You are not a bad person for taking time for yourself.
It’s a popular issue people face with society’s definitions and whatnot sticking in their psyches.
This fable that we should feel bad for caring about our wants and needs.
If you don’t care about yourself, eventually, you’re going to stop caring about everyone else and everything else as well. I don’t care how good you are at hiding it or lying to yourself.
You’ll be miserable.
Everyone has a life. Don’t waste yours by ignoring your hopes and dreams to take care of someone else – who, *ahem* should be taking care of themselves. Everyone’s first responsibility is to take care of themselves, then to help others. Not to ignore themselves.
You don’t have to be a mindless robot who gets things done and helps everyone all the time with all their problems and responsibilities.
YOU. HAVE. YOUR. OWN. LIFE.
You are a person.
You have the option to live. To really enjoy your life.
That doesn’t mean become self-centered and care only for yourself. But stop being the opposite; caring only for others.
ENJOY YOUR FREAKING DAYS. They will run out.
Will you have wasted them?
How do you measure your years? Your days? Your successes?
Take a look at how you portray yourself on social media, to your friends, in public, to your family, to yourself. Are you happy with it? Have you struck that balance?
Regardless, take a look at your past year – and really look at it. Don’t hold the mask up for yourself. Denial will get you nowhere. Are you happy with your 2014?