I had plans for today. They’ve changed. I’m okay with that, if only because it’s given me additional opportunity to read and write. I’ve been struggling lately to find purpose, motivation, and direction. That lack of focus has kept me from reading and writing as much as I’d like to. That really sucks. I’m also struggling because so many people I care about are dealing with major issues. It can feel overwhelming. How can we help everyone who needs it? If you say, “We can’t possibly do that.”, I ask you, “Why can’t we? At least a little bit?”
What is this life for? What brings you joy? Or, simply, what brings you peace? This article by Jonathan Rauch in The Atlantic was timely and informative.
“I would wake up feeling disappointed, my head buzzing with obsessive thoughts about my failures. I had accomplished too little professionally, had let life pass me by, needed some nameless kind of change or escape.”
— The Real Roots of a Midlife Crisis
It’s not perfect, but it does bring to light familiar feelings and some reassurance that we’re not alone in our struggles. We are all under a lot of pressure, and we all know more about what others are doing than we ever have before. It’s easy to say “it’s not a competition,” but in truth everything is a competition. Every aspect of our lives is competing for time and attention. We are competing with ourselves all the time. Do I choose work or play? Do I feel guilty about not working or not playing?
We are pounded daily with an onslaught of news, status updates, email, bills, physical and mental aches and pains, not to mention the needs of our kids, parents, and friends. Some of this is positive, some negative, but it all competes for our attention.
The essentialist in me will tell you to cut the crap. Get rid of the things that keep you too “busy” to do the things you truly love. But the pragmatist in me will tell you, “Hey, it’s okay. We’re not perfect and we won’t ever get it 100% right.” Just don’t let guilt get in the way. It’s not worth it. And do your best not to make someone else feel guilty, because they probably do a fine job of that to themselves.
So, give yourself a break. You’re doing okay, and you’re not alone.