Sure I have the distractions of iPad games and a mag or two to keep my occupied, but these things struggle to keep my attention for too long, so a great deal of the time I’ve sat still and thought.
It’s been a blessing... and has given me quite a few insights. One of which I’ll share now.
For quite some time I searched desperately for my ‘purpose’. I felt some kind of sense of entitlement... that this life was mine and I had been put here to do something huge. It plagued me daily. So I headed off on a soul search.
I believed I was destined for greatness... and I guess I perceived that as fame and fortune. I mean, it had to be something kind of Oprah big... so much pressure I’d placed on myself. Hard to live up to an expectation of that level of success. Own. Worst. Enemy.
Somehow, I knew inside that my purpose came from doing things that made me happy. I felt the two were intrinsically linked. So I looked externally for the answers. I also looked internally... but it was difficult when I felt so disconnected from myself. I didn’t know what made me happy - hell, at times I couldn’t even recognise what happiness was. Without recognising happiness, it was really difficult to figure out what made me feel it.
In my garage, packed in one of the many boxes, I found an old school journal from around age 10. Here, in this totally 80‘s contact covered exercise book, I would find the answers I had searched so far and wide for.
And, there, I did find it... only, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. ‘I love dancing, singing and writing, but I don’t think anyone else thinks I’m good, so I don’t do them in front of anyone’. It was like being hit in the face with a 4x4.
My entire life I’ve been basing my success on what other people thought of me. I’ve held their opinion in much higher esteem than my own. And I’ve held myself back, time and time again, for fear of being judged... for fear of not being the best.
Wow! What would happen if I wasn’t the best at everything? What would happen if I were wrong about something? What would happen if I opened myself up to others scrutiny?
Then I realised, I do these things... when I write. My life is practically an open book. I’m honest and I write from the heart. Whilst I might hold back on the dance floor until I’m shitfaced... or sing full pelt only when I’m by myself in the car (or with Micko) but when I write I put it all out there for public scrutiny. Now, I’m probably not the best writer in the world, but in this circumstance it doesn’t matter. I don’t write for everyone else, I write for me. I write because it’s an outlet... and it’s the one thing I did, even through the very depths of depression... I write because I love to write. I write because it makes me happy.
Ah-ha moment (Oprah pun intended).
Success is subjective. These days, for me, it’s living a life aligned with my values. It’s being true to myself. It’s pushing through the boundaries and beliefs that hold me back. It’s being vulnerable, kind and considerate and it’s living a life filled with integrity, love and joy. It’s having the courage to do the things you love... being who you are... and being happy with that. It’s living in the moment, content with what you have and knowing, even if nothing else was to change, that it’s enough.
And right now, in this moment, it is.