Life is for Living
I have to say the truth– the holidays make me anxious! There is so much I love about them, but they also signify the end of yet another year. It’s a time spent with family and so there is a lot of catching up to do. This offers another opportunity for me to look at the year and wonder what I have done and if any of it was actually worth it!
As the anxiety starts to rise I run a tape in my mind of all the things I have done and how I might present my year long resume to my friends and family when they asked to dreaded question, ” So — what have you been doing?”
This year I needed to sit with this and try to figure out why this simple question bothers me so. Its a valid question, its nice that people are interested. So what is the issue?!
I began to understand that I was evaluating myself by how much I did in any given year. If I had a long list of things I had completed I was ” successful” if it was short I felt lazy and totally bad about myself. I wanted to find a way to rethink this. I started to wonder what actually mattered to me. In reality I am often daunted by too many things to do in a day, month, year. If the list is too long there is less quality in my interactions, I’m less present and I get resentful. I completely hate that feeling!! How deeply I can sit with anyone or thing is really when I feel the most fulfilled and grateful.
So, if I knew this what was I doing all these years? I suddenly realized I was adopting the belief system and also the anxiety of other people, and in reality, perhaps an unexamined definition of success. I sat down and started to slash my calendar. I looked at each day and each appointment and decided if it felt like I could be fully present and happy doing what was listed. If “no” came up as the answer I reduced the list. I needed to own the idea that I have never been an over achiever and perhaps a bit of a slacker in the best possible way! Time spent was really a joy for me. A long lunch with a friend, a day of reading a good book, a project that took time, love and effort were the things that made me feel like a richer person.
I decided I didn’t want my life to be a list of things I have done but instead, experiences I have had.
This is certainly new to me. When I share my life this holiday I hope to tell about how I have lived my life over this year and not offer an endless list of empty occurrences. I hope to give thanks and celebrate my ability to be and not judge myself for what I have or haven’t done. Life is for living, isn’t it?