Tuesday, November 13, 2012
My Journey to Me-Dom
Pressure. Life is so full of pressures. Pressure to be a great wife, a great mother, the perfect employee, a self-made chef, an athlete, an intellectual, attractive, homemaker, life coach. The list goes on and on and on. The pressure comes from everywhere and no matter how good you are at each thing it is never good enough. If you want to be a great employee then you can’t leave at 3:00 to pick your child up from school, but if you want to be a great mother you have to put your work second, but to be a great wife you have to put your relationship first and have plenty of energy to focus on your spouse. The house must be clean and decorated like a pro. Meals must be homemade and healthy and balanced. You should have spent two hours working out and have every hair in place and an impeccable wardrobe. You have to have read every book ever included on a classroom reading list along with every new book before the movie is made and every pop culture rag to be on top of current events. After all of this you still have to have time left over to give your best advice to the people around you that need it mentoring others into the same greatness you are expected to maintain.
Are you tired just reading about it all because I am tired just writing about it? The question is how much of the pressure we experience each day is self-imposed? How much responsibility do we have in the expectations that are set upon us? How much do we decide we have to be perfect when others around us really don’t even really care about which parts we are failing at because they are too busy putting their own set of pressures on themselves to even notice what we are or aren’t doing?
In my journey through life towards my most authentic experience which I refer to as “Me-Dom” (the combination of the authentic version of me and freedom) how much unnecessary pressure am I sentencing myself to? What can I stop doing to myself in order to meet my own personal needs? How many of these self-imposed pressures don’t even matter?
I am lucky to have the opportunity to make my own schedule and most people if given the same opportunity would work an hour or two tops during the week and spend the rest of the time with friends, at the mall, watching soap operas, or at the pool. Not me. I work six days per week minimum whether I need to or not (and let’s be clear that I do not need to), and will create work for myself and will research my industry non-stop if there is nothing else to do just because. I know for sure that I put more time and energy into it than anyone else on the planet doing the same things even though I’m not really sure why. Is it because I want to be taken seriously? Is it because I’ve always put way too much time into every career I’ve ever had whether I wanted to or not and don’t know any different? Do I have something to prove? What drives me to put unnecessary pressure on myself when my time would be better used elsewhere in some cases? I’ve never been one to give a rat’s batootie about what other people think about me, so what drives me to push myself in ways that I really don’t need to?
Another great question is what should I be doing instead? What should I be doing instead of burning the candle at both ends eating, sleeping, and breathing my work? What should I turn my attention to in order to improve my quality of life? There are probably so many things but a great one would be allowing myself the time and a schedule that optimizes my awake time and allows me as much sleep time as my body really needs to rest and heal itself. I have always been a night owl having the most energy late at night and have talked about my poor sleeping habits in the past. I can’t remember the last time I slept more than 2 hours total in a night, but back when I lived more innocently and with fewer societal pressures I can remember that a good night’s sleep was always 9 and a half hours like clockwork. I can remember wishing I didn’t need that much sleep and that I was a morning person rather than a night person and that I could feel refreshed and energized after 5 or 6 hours rising in the early morning and feeling great. That may have been the start of the self-pressure trying to conform to societal standards of getting up early for school and hating it. So why do I still do it? Why do I still force myself to get up before the sun even though I will work past the normal 8 hour day and well into the night anyhow? Why do I feel a sense of guilt even just at the thought that I could just stay up as late as I want and then sleep as late as I should when I would still do as much if not more work than anyone else I know during my waking hours? Why has extreme exhaustion become my normal when I could just tell anyone that might ask or scoff if they heard that I sleep in a bit later and don’t start work until noon to suck it because I will still be working well past midnight anyhow? I don’t care what they think, so that doesn’t motivate me to choose the wrong way for me, but maybe I care too much about what I might think? This is where the irony kicks in because anyone else who might ask me for advice about this situation would hear me say “who cares if you set a different schedule than everyone else? Just do it. It is right for you.” Now why wouldn’t I take my own advice? So I am going to take my own advice and not worry about things that don’t matter. I will still get up on days that I have an early commitment (which is 6 days per week regardless), but on days that I don’t it doesn’t matter when I get up or even what I do with my time. This is just one little example of course. We are complex creatures and there are many examples I could come up with that express the same thing, so my question to you is what can you let go of that doesn’t really matter? How are you pressuring yourself when no one around you really even cares? Do you cook even though your spouse is better at it and enjoys it while you hate it just because you think you should? Are you getting up early on Saturday morning to put on a full face of makeup just in case when you could actually sleep in for once instead? Do you hate golf but play it anyway just because everyone else in the office does? What can you let go of on your journey to Me-Dom?