such sweet sorrow

Dear Twenties,

We need to talk.

This just isn’t working anymore. It’s not you. It’s me.

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I think we are going in different directions and as I’d like to travel as lightly as possible, I thought I’d leave a few things from our decade together with you:

1. Bingeing on junk
Whether it’s junk food, trashy television or the nth article about who wore what/broke up with who/started a twitter feud, I simply won’t have space to take my episodes of indulgence in things that fail to nourish along.

2. Letting the sun set on anger
I wish I could count the times I fell asleep angry on one or even two hands, but sadly I have allowed this fiery emotion to burn the midnight oil on far too many occasions over the last ten years. The mornings after were inevitably stripped of their merciful newness and I’d find it ever-harder to trace the roots of the bitter fruit that follow. In short: I’m also leaving the nights I fell into bed with a head and heart still raging with you.

3. Analysis paralysis
We both know that I’m a first-class neurotic and that at times I take self-reflection a bit too far. Thus the minutes, hours and days spent turning molehills into mountains are staying in your care.

4. Caring more about what people think than about them

5. Rushing through life stressed
One of the most important things I learnt during our time together was that stress is more often than not a choice or, to put it differently, a product of the choices I make about how to structure my everyday life. I’m leaving the habit of defaulting to stress and rush with you. New habits will have to be fostered to take its place – wish me focus & perseverance!

6. Waiting on my life to start
I have spent a lot of time waiting for things (many of them unspecified) to fall into place so that I could really start living: a serious relationship, that dream job/house/neighbourhood or even just the sense that I’d arrived at the point where some prior version of myself thought I would be by now. It’s time for me to switch gears. This – right here, right now, the past ten years, the next however many years – is my life and no one else is going to live it, so I’d best get to it.

7. Always the reader, never the writer
I’m leaving this lie with you, not because it’s yours but rather because it’s the one I’ve been telling myself as a excuse every time I don’t follow through or develop the idea or pursue the dream. I may never be the writer I have imagined or revered but I’d rather put some words down, than live a life filled with promising thoughts and ideas that disappear into inaccessible corners of my mind.

8. Placing blame
More often than not life doesn’t go according to plan or expectation. When my world is shaken I immediately look for someone to blame because it makes it so much easier to wrap my head around it and feel sorry for myself. Would you hang onto this straight jacket for me? No, wait. On second thoughts: Feel free to burn it.

9. Wasting thoughts and ideas by not writing them down
See number 7. There is no thinking (and very little remembering) without writing.

10. Selling myself short
The problem with being your own worse critic is that you cut so many beautiful almosts off at the earliest spark. I may not always (or ever) get it perfectly right but I have a head on my shoulders, a heart not all too weary of this world and a body in mercifully good health. No one else can live the life I’ve been given as well as I can.

11. Letting the terrible two run the show
Guilt and shame are two of the most powerful emotions and yet they tend to slip through our fingers when we try and get a handle on them. I’ve let them call the shots too many times. So they’re staying with you. They’re probably going to try and sneak in through the back any chance they get, but this is me going on the record with a clear, resounding: not welcome!

12. Buying things I could make myself
Whether it’s dinner, decorations or a birthday gift if I can make it instead of buying a version made by a stranger or a machine, then that’s what I want to do. Somewhere during our whirlwind infatuation I forgot the joy of creating things. It’s time to rediscover it.

13. Losing touch with loved ones
Family and friends are precious. The way I spend my days needs to reflect this. Instead of yet another class at the gym or overtime that could have been avoided by better managing the work day, staying in touch with them – whether they are near or far – has to be a priority.

14. Being a lone ranger
I am a perfectionist melancholic (pardon the tautology) who tends to bite off more than I can chew and then analyse my exhausted jaw to Timbuktu and back. Over the years I’ve structured my life to allow for self-sufficiency and control. As I’ve taken on more responsibility in every area of my life this approach has become less and less sustainable. Although, I must make room for solitude I also have to learn to open my life to others so I can learn, grow and ultimately achieve more.

15. Talking about people instead of to them

16. The end of the line (colour & form)
Ever since I can remember I loved drawing and painting but somewhere after leaving school I gave up on this form of expression and started believing that I was no longer able to do it. It’s time to revive the passion.

17. Being a perpetual chameleon
You’ve taught me to be considerate and adaptable, but the underbelly of this is being all things to all people and feeling like a bit of a fraud. In future I will be weighing in with more unfiltered me to make sure who I am – beliefs, convictions, preferences, quirks and all – shines through.

18. Lie-ins
I’m a morning person. I owe myself the discipline of early nights, balanced caffeine/sugar intake and peaceful evenings at home that allow for crisp, early mornings filled with prayer, reading, writing and yoga. Sleep and I will hopefully be seeing more of each other this next decade as well.

19. Fear, uncertainty and doubt
In one of his latest posts Michael Hyatt outlined four derailing emotions. I’ve already mentioned shame, but the three others also need to go: fear, uncertainty and doubt.

20. Cluttering my life with things I wouldn’t want to grow old with (or in)
It’s time to streamline and the question I’m going to ask myself before I buy art or furniture or clothes or pretty much anything non-perishable, is: Do I want this to last forever? Of course it won’t always apply but it will hopefully make for a lighter more authentic journey.

Will I succeed in leaving all of these things behind? To be honest: probably not. There will be hits and misses but I’m resolved to give it my best one day at a time.

Thank you for the sound, the fury and the beauty. I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

with love and fond memories, m.

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