You know finding your way is often the rockiest road we can ever travel! And trust me, age does NOT mean you’ll have your shit all figured out. I’ve been in transition mode for a while now. The past few years have not been easy for me and I keep making moves thinking I’m heading in the right direction, but still not sure and feel like I’m being redirected, but to what I don’t know. At this point, it seems like the one thing that is really being asked of me is “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!” Seems like a simple question sure, but have you ever been to dinner with a group of people and watched them struggle over making a decision on what they will have for just one meal? One fucking meal! Oh the anguish, the difficulty. WHAT TO EAT. Now a good friend of mine who was the classic over-orderer would order tons and just sample a bit of everything and leave a lot left behind.
For some, it seems to be an agonizing decision, as if they were being asked to decide on their last meal or pick something to eat for the rest of their lives! But it’s not. They just need to decide what will satisfy their hunger, nutritional needs, and their culinary desires in that moment and tomorrow when they wake up they will get to choose something different.
So if we as humans can create that much drama over a simple dinner, no wonder we can paralyze ourselves with decisions of much greater importance. Earlier today I saw a post in my Face Book feed that said “approach every moment in life as if it were a blank canvas.” In other words, design each part of your life. No fucking wonder I have writers block! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sat in front of a blank page and been fearful to even write one word. WHY?! Now sometimes I’ll just start writing any kind of shit just to get something on the page. I’ve found that the same philosophy worked well in corporate life as well. I’d get a skeleton presentation put together so that others could then have something to work with which seemed to work better for them than sitting down and creating something from scratch.
Now I get why they say to look at your life in that manner. They are trying to spark people in being the architect of your own life. If money was no object and you had all the courage in the world what would you do? Just write that shit down. Seriously, write that shit down. What you might discover is that your current life looks nothing like you wished it did; but I’ll tell you the best thing my father ever said to me “you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which fills up faster.” And many of us spend a lot of time saying “I wish I could…..”.
Most of us hate asking those questions because we don’t want our worst fears confirmed, that we aren’t living the life we truly want. I think that’s what a “mid-life crisis” is that horrifying realization that we are half way through our lives and we’ve not done what we wanted to do, loved who we wanted to and been who WE wanted to be. Being an architect of your own life means that you have to go back to your days of childish wonderment and just dream and why not? Dreams don’t just end because you wake up and find yourself as an adult. Nope they die day by day that we allow our obligations and expectations to kill them.
One thing I have learned in my older age is that what makes me happy doesn’t necessarily make others happy and that whatever I do, the person’s whose approval I should really seek is my own. Now I don’t live in a cave on a mountaintop all by myself (yet!) so I do consider other people in my equation and how my decisions affect them. I don’t think the request of being an architect of your own life means that you run off and join the circus and leave everyone and everything behind. Because to turn a dream into your reality does take effort and some measure of responsibility and it certainly requires ACTION, and that’s the part that gets most of us.
We get stuck on doing it exactly right and being perfect and usually those concepts are fixed in our heads only. What many people don’t understand is that what you might consider your 85% looks an awful lot like most people’s 100%. We have an idea and we have that only idea so if it doesn’t look like it did in our head then we think the whole idea is crap and scrap it all.
What if there was another picture a different look to that vision? Something that your mind couldn’t conceive because it was so attached to only one vision? If you are the type of person who can come up with a million reasons why something won’t work instead of what might, well you have now found your blockage and IT’S YOU! You’re probably saying to yourself, “Wellsie how do you know so much?” Because I’ve been my own motherfucking blockage. After several months of soul searching and learning and new experiences with some wonderful people (they know who they are) I’ve come to realize that I’ve been the main person standing in my way. I couldn’t see what could be because I spent too much time torturing myself for who I had been in the past. This is how that conversation would often go “you know you’ll eventually fuck it up, why bother. They will eventually leave you because you aren’t that great. Don’t go for that job you really want because they will discover you are a fraud.” Blah blah blah! UGH how exhausting!
At the moment, I’m trying to manage the negative internal conversation because I need to find a new job to support my addiction to food and housing which is well established; but what! Last year I had a job I loved but not the company culture, money, or support from management to grow; so I started looking around. Didn’t take long before a recruiter spotted me and got me on the hook for a new job. Now this job was sold to me as something completely different than what it turned out to be and although it paid better, it DID NOT make me any happier. I wasted a lot of energy managing my disappointment at what the reality of this new role was. After several months of internal and external battling, I’ve left and now am faced with the same question that has haunted me. However, the company is still trying to sell the job as something more than what it is and what they don’t see is that the person they need for the job won’t apply to the type of title they are advertising.
Now what I’ve learned about situations like these is that when someone tries to pretty up something it is either to make you or themselves feel better about the reality that you will all live with. Reality is something that all of us at times need to dress up and cover up to make it easier for us to deal with, but no matter what window dressing we put up the real deal is still behind the curtain. You could put a real fancy frame around a crap car engine and you still won’t have much power to move that car forward. So now I’ve got to sit down and be honest with myself and others about what I want.
Clearly I’m not just motivated by money or this last role would have done the trick, so what now? I’ve learned that I need authenticity and transparency and respect and challenge to grow and love in my life to move forward; and that goes for my professional and personal life. It’s getting easier for me but I’ve still not perfected it.
All I know is that it is all in front of me and I am now the architect.