I HAD my own “This Is Water”* moment recently (a talk on how our only real freedom is how we choose to see the rat race surrounding us).
Suffice it to say, I didn’t look around me and see everyday people with empathy. I didn’t feel empowered to be part of this slow-moving community. I found myself wishing they weren’t in the way of all that I had planned for myself.
I thought – regularly and with venom – “I don’t have time for this shit.”
It came on the tail end of a couple of day’s worth of worrying about Big Stuff. Stuff like why am I a mother (full time job), a subeditor (a part time job), a writer (a full time job) when I am not three people? Stuff like, would I be happier if I worked less or would I still be me, but poorer? Stuff like, how my kids are going to grow up having a mother busy working just as I had when I was little. And will they end up internalising this off-kilter work-life balance as normal? Stuff like… what if this is it? What if this is as good as my life gets?
And then I think, with more tired frustration, about the energy I’m putting out to the universe thinking these negative thoughts. I never used to worry about that… thanks Rhonda Byrne.
Now I not only have periods of just feeling bad… but I feel bad for feeling bad. I feel like my tiny existence will not reach great heights because I deigned to indulge in a pity party once in a while.
But is it so bad to admit I’m just human? To say I’m frustrated, not because I’m self-involved and generally want the world to revolve around me, but because I’m quite literally time-poor and everything I do is grabbed in minutes between Other Things That Need Doing?
And sometimes that our busy lives can make us feel like shit?
I made myself a ‘vision board’ recently (I know, I threw up a little in my mouth too) and it’s nice to look at in a travel brochure kind of way. The way my life might look if I didn’t self-medicate on muffins all the time, if I didn’t cling to my kids like a person off of Hoarders.
But chances are, in that life, I’m still overworked and tired. I might be happier – who wouldn’t be if you actually got your income tripled for doing exactly what you’ve always done? – not driving around on empty and getting my split ends cut off.
But I’d probably still be tired and thus, prone to the same, nullifying thoughts that everyone is standing between me and my mattress.
* If you’ve not heard this speech, please take a moment to enjoy it. It’s some interesting food for thought.