Sometime last year, I stumbled upon that quote and it struck such a strong chord with me. It was a perfect reminder that sometimes it’s best to stay quiet about what’s going on with my life. No need to be an open book. I can choose which pages are made public.
For the longest time, I felt stuck in a rut. Better yet, I felt like a hamster on a wheel – running and running but not really heading anywhere. Career-wise, I was climbing up corporate ladders that I wasn’t even interested in, no thanks to highly toxic work environments. I got trapped in short-term band-aid solutions because I was worried about bills, but the solutions solved nothing. I was overworked, underpaid, unappreciated. Worse, I was sick so often from the stress. Eventually, I had to face my own fears to figure out a good solution. What I was doing was not sustainable. This quote haunted me.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Unknown
It’s not easy focusing that spotlight on yourself and asking the tough questions.
What the hell was I doing to myself? How can I expect others to value me as a person when I keep accepting situations that devalue me? It was wrong on so many levels. Why was I allowing fear to get the better of me? I deserve so much better.
I got tired of feeling disappointed and hopeless, so I ended up ready to look for better things. It’s really that simple.
I started making baby steps to change things around.
“I honestly think it is better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.” ~ George Burns
What’s funny (or sad, depends on how you look at it) is when I hear people who were surprised by my decisions. Like it blindsided them. But they just have no idea what’s going on in my life.
I tend to overshare my plans with other people because I value their insight. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll take their advice and run with it. But during my soul-searching, I had to admit to myself that sometimes, the more others know, the less gets accomplished. Which really isn’t good for the long-term. Too many cooks spoil the broth indeed. There are far too many opinions to weigh, plus there are usually more naysayers than supporters.
What’s even sadder is there are those who seem to think that I don’t think things through when deciding. It’s like they assume I go through life on a wing and a prayer. Or that my decisions depend on how my interest in something waxes and wanes. So whatever decision I come up with is met with resistance. “How sure are you about this?” “Are you really doing this?” If they really knew me, they’d realize how long it takes for me to do my information gathering so I can decide on the best course of action.
I get it too, you see, the fear they feel. Because it’s not a decision that they will do themselves. But questioning my decision is really undermining my own decision-making, as if at my current age, I’m still totally incapable of figuring out what’s good for me and what’s not. I’ve already made many major decisions in my life! I know that I have to do what’s right for me. It’s easy to throw platitudes and advice when you’ve never walked a mile in someone’s shoes…my shoes. At some point, it just becomes banal and inane to listen to people who’ve never even experienced what I’m going through.
Not everyone needs to know my every step, my every plan, my every decision though.
My path is my own. While it might seem similar to someone else’s, it never is because I started my journey from a different place altogether and I’m heading in a different direction as well. I don’t owe anyone an explanation of how I’m living my life. None at all. Others can talk all they want about me, but that’s just the way life is. People talk about other people.
Only I can gain mastery of my own life. If I don’t take the reins and I allow others to do so, then I never learn at all. I cannot, for the life of me, allow others to be a master of my life! At the end of the day, what really matters is what I want to do. After all, I’m the one who will live with my choices.