I’ll be honest with you all and admit that this edition of ‘Thoughts for Friday’ nearly didn’t make it to the publishing stage this week.
As some of you may know, I am in the process of moving into a new home and rather stupidly only allowed myself one day to actually move all of my stuff from one place to another. With the faffing that comes with moving one’s things in such a short space of time, my free time for writing this week has been seriously curtailed.
Perhaps this is why Natalie Goldberg’s words spoke to me so clearly this week.
Not wishing to wax lyrical about myself, but for many years I have been making choices in life that have suited others better than they have myself, and it has been through many hours of painstaking therapy that I have come to realize that my compulsion to please others before myself has seriously limited my options and provided me with a rather myopic view of life.
My childhood was not an easy one, and this neither the time or the place to explain why, except to say that I was given a rather skewed view of myself and my worth as a human being by someone who should have nurtured me and helped me grow into a well-adjusted adult. Having not received the guidance I should have, I have had to take it upon myself to learn the concept of loving and caring for myself as an adult.
There is no truer adage than the old saying ‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.’ How true this is for an adult attempting to reverse the psychological trauma of an unhappy childhood. It really isn’t that easy to forget decades of misinformed beliefs about yourself and the world around you, to do so takes time, effort, and a lot of soul searching.
Over the course of the last year I have embarked on a quest to leave the bitterness of my past behind and to move on and make some sort of life for myself. I will admit to you now that the process has often been traumatic and upsetting, one which I would compare to opening an old wound time and again. We all have an inbuilt need to protect ourselves from pain and we often choose to retreat in order to keep ourselves from harm, undertaking intensive therapy requires a lot of inner strength and the courage to face the kinds of things that one has spent much of their life running away from.
My therapist has been pushing me to stop doing what might be best for others and to do something for myself for once. This was a difficult concept for me to get my head around and finally resulted in me taking the massive step of deciding to move out on my own and cut a different path in life. The process of uprooting from one place in order to settle in another has not been without its difficulties, but I am looking forward to embarking on an adventure of a lifetime, seeing more of the world around me than I ever have before.
Goldberg’s words give me the added incentive of knowing that life doesn’t last forever and that if we don’t make the most of what we have now that we will never get that lost time back. Thirty years from now, saying that I lived my life for other people will be of little comfort to me, I am responsible for the life I lead and the choices I make. I need to live for now and for me before I let my life slip away before my own eyes.
Branching out on my own with no safety net to fall back on is a terrifying thought, but it is something I must do. Life is for living for yourself (while still being mindful of others) You have one life to live. Live it.