Challenge the voices you hear

I read a few articles lately about people leaving their 9-to-5 jobs in order to live the life of their dreams. And it sounds like a good story. It makes me question for a minute: would I be happy if we were financially independent and self-employed in some creative task?

I think the answer is no. I enjoy having my husband’s predictable income, sending him to work five days a week, and having the safety of good benefits.

Some people like to take risks, but I don’t enjoy it much. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not limiting myself through my fear; I just prefer stability.┬áIt’s like when I go to a theme park and I feel pressured to ride the intense ride. Sometimes I do. And it’s okay, but I don’t enjoy it enough to actually pay money to go get motion sick.

I always wanted to be a writer, but in my adult life, I realized that I despise promoting myself. Which means that I would also hate being a successful writer.

I get caught up in what other people think is successful. It might be nice to go to nice schools and get high-paying jobs. It might be nice to travel all over the world. It might be nice to get a homestead and work from home. But just because someone else loves their life doesn’t mean I would love their life.

I have to be careful: I asked myself the other day if I wanted to pursue graduate school because I actually wanted to be in that environment or because I felt it would be prestigious. Did I want to tell other people I had a specific degree, or did I really want to actually get that degree?

I really enjoyed working as a legal secretary, even though it was a low-paying job that didn’t require many qualifications. I have to look at myself and what I want to do instead of just copying someone else’s success.

Being true to yourself sometimes that means abandoning dreams. Sometimes that means being completely normal and boring and eating vanilla ice cream because you like vanilla.

There are things that I know about myself: Money does not motivate me. I never want to be famous. I don’t enjoy taking huge risks. I like working on computers. I like spreadsheets and math and paperwork. I like being told what to do. I like teaching and I like creating as well.

Ultimately, I want to live in a way that helps other people in small and simple ways.

If that means my life is boring, then I’ll live a boring life.

Thoughts on Pacing Myself

  • It can be better to do a little bit regularly than a lot all at once.
  • Just because I can fit it all on my list doesn’t mean that I should fit it all on my list.
  • It’s okay to have quiet moments.
  • Transitions take time. Plan for them.
  • I always underestimate the amount of time something will take me. I usually have to double it.
  • I often need to lower expectations for myself in order for me to do more. Freeing myself of my own high expectations allows me to be a lot happier.
  • I do a lot more than I think I do.
  • I can’t sustain a really high level of doing everything I possibly can and I often crash after trying. To avoid crashes, it can be better not to do quite as much.
  • Keeping up my mental and physical health takes time, and sometimes much more time than I expect, but it’s really important.
  • Sometimes what I want to do when I’m exhausted will simply make me more tired.
  • Being present with myself and my life is a much better way to deal with exhaustion.
  • I can’t perfect myself and my life all at once. I have to work a little bit at a time.
  • I can keep going in a good direction, even if it is slow.

Recognize your struggles

It’s okay to fall down.

It’s okay to have a hard time. The hard time exists whether you admit or not. It’s easier to admit it.

It’s okay to realize that lemons are really sour and not make lemonade. Sometimes you don’t want to hide the sour; you want it to use it.

It’s okay to cry when bad things happen. You don’t have to be happy all the time.

It’s okay to make mistakes and struggle and admit that you aren’t doing great. The mistakes are there whether you admit them or not.

It’s okay to forget about the silver linings for a moment and just admit that things are difficult. Silver linings don’t take away all the pain.

It’s okay to think that life is hard. Because it is.

It is okay to realize that your dreams are never going to happen and that you have failed in certain ways. Sometimes dreams don’t work with reality.

We can accept life for what it is. And sometimes life is messy and difficult. But it’s also happy and wonderful too. It’s all of that together. It doesn’t have to be always happy and good. It doesn’t always have to be sad either. Sometimes it’s a mess of in-between.

But we wake up every morning, we decide what we’re going to do next, and that’s all we have.

I’ve spent too much of my life trying to force it into a specific template instead of just letting it be how it is. And when I accept life for what it is, I am much more able to do that next thing instead of worrying about what I wished would have happened.

I’m trying, and the trying is enough.