Life is one giant process of figuring yourself out. At least, it is for me.
I feel like I learn who I am, and I feel confident, happy, ready to tackle the world and whatever comes my way.
Then a second later I've lost myself in a crowd somewhere. I've lost myself in my job. In my girlfriend. My schedule. My routine. In my habits.
I think I know myself and then I become complacent in that thought. I go about my days doing what I do, not noticing the little changes.
The shifts in belief.
The extra wrinkles around my eyes.
The new strand of grey in my hair (yes, I found a grey hair. But it's a common thing in my family to get grey hairs early in life).
The little ache in my heart crying for something. Crying for love, maybe. Attention.
Lately I hate my job. I feel like I work work work so hard all the time. I feel like I go the extra mile, and not once do I get any recognition.
I know what you're thinking. "you work at <em>Arby's</em>, what do you expect?" Perhaps that's valid. But we have employee of the month awards. We have weekly recognitions. It takes a lot to keep a business looking good and operating smoothly. Even if it is a junky fast-food place. Being a manager is hard. It means making sure everyone does their job, and making sure people are recognized for the work they do--so they don't hate it. I'm a damn good manager.
But I don't want to work in fast-food. I don't want to wear this giant, ugly, tan shirt for the rest of my life. Staining all my black pants with grease. Taking part in the perpetuation of American heart disease.
Culturally, it seems it's bad to be vain. To love yourself. To be in love with yourself. To spend time in front of the mirror. I used to do that. I used to spend half an hour everyday in front of the mirror just staring at myself, occasionally talking to myself. It sounds weird, but I miss that kind of attention.
Addie noticed something missing. Gone from my eyes she said. A sparkle or something. It's like I've disappeared into some unknown. And I think she's right.
I've wanted her words more. Her affection. Her encouragement. Her approval. Her attention. Not that any of this is bad. It's just that I've forgotten about me. I think this happens to a lot of people. I think it's the reason divorce rates are so high. People get lost in each other and then they realize something is wrong. Instead of sticking around, letting each other go through the process of self-discovery, they give up. Wondering what went wrong. Asking why? Blaming themselves, but still never quite knowing what to do.
Several years ago I had a life coach. It sounds funny, but it helped me realize that something I thought should have been important in my life really wasn't part of my value system. He helped me learn that I'm in charge of my life and I decide what I value.
I don't remember most of our conversations or what he asked me to think about. But I remember one very well. He told me to write the five things I value most in life.
I think since then I've felt like I knew me. I had myself pinned. But, I forget sometimes that I am always changing. What I valued several years ago, probably isn't exactly the same as it is now. So, here's my current list in no particular order (that might come later, or it might just not).
-Plants and Mr. Bootsy Wootsy (my adorable not-quite-a-puppy-anymore puppy)
The next step is to write down ideas about how to make these things the prevailing elements of my life. Here are some examples I came up with just for now.
-Write Grandmomma a letter
-Go for a hike through the snow with Bootsy (two in one!)
-Make that three in one :) + remember to put flaxseed oil in my smoothies
-Read bedtime stories to my plant babies
-Allow myself more inner space
RyBread Wisdom: Love yourself by getting to know who you are. Spend time listening to your heart and giving your soul what it's aching for. Your capacity to love others expands so much when you love yourself. The hard part isn't knowing that, but employing it.
Oh, and I almost forgot:
"Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart, give yourself to it." --Buddha