I’m really afraid of doing this. I think I have this irrational fear that if I completely accept where I am and who I am at any given moment that I will stop trying to better myself and my situation, as though I’m some weird robot that can only move in one direction once programed.
But I’m not a robot. If I were, I’d be able to say, “No disassemble!” in a much cooler voice.
Yesterday I was feeling run down. I slept late and after a dentist appointment set myself to working on my book in the afternoon. I decided to read a little first and picked up “The Happiness Project”. Not a good choice as I’m only a little ways in and am already feeling guilty that my dresser drawers are a mess and that I need to clean out my makeup bag. So I put the book down and started working. But after a few false starts, I couldn’t get my heart into it. I resolved to get at least one chapter’s worth of edits input and then I would go to the store. I got through two but was still guilting myself because I had originally planned to do way more. On the way to the store I was feeling sluggish and frumpy. The last month has been a whirlwind of activity for me, with going in and out of town as well as attending many events where drinks and platters of food were being served. In short my spare tire has gotten some air. Nothing to be too concerned about but enough to make me feel like I’m carrying around a few bags of lumpy cheese in my belly. I began the guilt trip about not working out this morning the closer I got to the groceries.
When I got to the store I was hit with the normal myriad of magazines displaying the oh so tan, oh so thin, oh so airbrushed stars. Not a good boost for an insecure girl. Then it hit me: Your being a hard ass. Right here, right now, you’re fine.
I spend a large majority of my life living with guilt. The former Catholic in me can’t help herself. It’s as though the religion still wants to maintain a hold on me even though I renounced it years ago. That Catholic guilt is a fickle prick and won’t release me. I also have a tendency to be looking ahead all the time. When presented with a task, I see every little detail of it, a quality that is really good for other people and really shitty for me. I can usually see potential problems before they arise, but I also get overwhelmed by the sheer number of possible outcomes or work that will need to be accomplished and I shut down.
But in that moment, staring a stunning picture of Kate Middleton, I realized that I was not living fully in that moment. And I can accept where I currently am today and still wake up tomorrow and progress forward.
Even though I still feared the robot in me (“Number 5 is alive!”) I felt happier as I approached the afternoon. I took my time and stopped into stores I wanted to check out on the way home. I didn’t rush through making dinner or eating with my husband. I felt a lot more relaxed and even slept better last night.
I think it’s important to look to where we can be better, but I think I’ve been going about it the wrong way. Living with guilt over every move I make and not taking any time to see where I currently am means that I may accomplish great things, but I’ll have a really shitty time doing it. And what kind of life is that?
I don’t know if I’ll be able to give up the guilt completely just yet. But at least for one day I experienced the bliss that comes with not having it hanging on my shoulder every moment of every day. If I can find a few more days like that, then this life is going to turn out pretty good.