When I was a toddler I rode my three wheel push-trike directly into a wall and split my head open. The realisation this week that I’d never pictured myself beyond the age of about 45, hit me just about as hard as that.
I’m currently two months shy of my 40th birthday (I’m still not sure how that is even actually possible, but I digress). That’d give me just five more years. So, as the cool kids say, “Am I living my best life?!”
The answer, sadly, is no.
These last twelve months have been the kind of blur you experience when trying to recall events the morning after a big night out. I KNOW I’ve been doing heaps of “stuff”…but ask me what that “stuff” was and I’m sketchy as hell. My life feels almost all consumed by tasks that get me from A to B. That keep the lights on. And if I’m honest, tasks that benefit a whole lot of other people, moreso than they do me.
I’m not one to '“give up”…ever. So if I’m set a task, I get it done. If I take something on, I finish it. If I commit - I’m all in. To me, failure is not an option….and to break that down further…to me, admitting that something is “too much for me” equates to said failure. So if I need to use the entire 24 hours in a day in order to keep my promises and fulfill my commitments - then damn it, I will do it.
And that my friends, is how I ended up where I am today. Reflecting on a year or more spent literally chasing from one thing to the next, just to keep the wheels in motion.
If I had to choose the most important thing in the world to me, it would be seeing my boys happy. Everything I do is driven by that core wish. EVERYTHING. And there’s nothing in the world that recharges me more than the sunshine that comes from hearing their laughter, seeing their confidence shine through, or feeling the tightness of their hugs.
This last year, the space for sunshine has been reduced to such tiny windows, and I think this is where the emptiness starts to creep in. The balance between the “doing” and the “being” has been so far thrown out, and it needs to change. It is so important to me that I am there…fully there…breathing in all these moments with my boys. It is never a chore to me to go to their events, to put together their costumes, to take them to see their friends, to watch their sports. It’s actually one of the greatest sources of my own joy and happiness. That is why I find ways to make sure I fit them all in (regardless of how crazy my work is - I’m like the tetris master of making shit fit). BUT, and here’s the big BUT….the other stuff has me so exhausted, so physically and mentally drained (it’s honestly a circus, but that’s a whole other story for another time) that I am not able to be fully present when these windows present themselves. And that sux.
And all of this is why I need to put the brakes on. The most important thing to me is clearly NOT completely burning myself out just so that I can say I didn’t “fail”. Living my “best life” is making sure that I open up the windows ALL the way to let as much sunshine in as possible. If that means asking for a little more help, then I’m going to ask for it. If that means saying no more, then I’m going to do it. If it means swallowing my Scottish pride at times, then so be it.
If I really did only have five years left to live (which as a side note I don’t. I’m now actively working on an imagination that sees me live well beyond 45 years!)…I know the changes I would make. Do you?