I’m starting a med shift today, so I may be more introspective than normal
I’ve made a lot of progress on myself over the last year. I’ve gone from thinking that nothing I do will ever be good enough to believing that I am enough just as I am. I’ve gone from thinking my past will hold me back to thinking that my future is wide open. I’ve gone from thinking God was just present in general terms to beginning a personal relationship with Him.
I’ve had a lot of little realizations too, and they’ve been occuring more and more frequently lately. The exes I resented so much are (presumably) not the same people they were when we dated, nor am I the same person I was then; and we each played a role in the other’s growth, even if it hurt. Refraining from constantly saying “I’m sorry” is hard, but removing that conversational crutch makes both my sympathies and my apologies more thoughtful and genuine.
For the past year, I’ve struggled with a shitty attitude. I’ve blamed it on sleep, meds, work, a plateauing career, home life, COVID fatigue, politics on and on. Since I’ve started actively trying to take pleasure in the little things though, my whole life has started looking brighter and feeling more level. It’s really exciting, but also scary. Why though? I think my identity may be about to change. I feel like I’m hanging onto what’s familiar because change is scary. It’s like quitting smoking–the benefits are immediate and immense, but when you’re comfortable being a smoker, it’s hard to let that go and easier to stay with it.
So what am I specifically clinging so hard to? I had a frying-pan-to-the-head moment today while I was talking about that with a friend. For the last 10 years, I have formed an identity around working hard and fighting to overcome my failures. I’ve worked and fought and gotten further ahead than I ever imagined. Now, I think I’ve gotten to the point I fought so hard to reach, and I’m at an existential crossroads because there’s nothing left to fight against. Have I made it through to the other side? What’s here? Everything feels so floaty. There’s no direction, no friction.
In 2008, I lost everything I believed to be true about myself. Who was I without effortless success? When the pieces landed, I believed I was a failure and a waste of potential. I was someone who squandered his entitlements, and so surrendered the privilege of deserving anything and vowed to work hard for everything. Now, who am I if I’m not fighting to overcome my failures? I don’t know. Whoever I am, it’s more positive than the last new identity I took on; but not knowing is scary, and I’m trying to cling to the last of my friction when it’s just not there anymore.
I think I have some more shifting to do. Instead of not doing things I think I may fail at, maybe it’s time to try new things I can get better at. Instead of pushing to get ahead, maybe I can walk forward, and maybe even stop and enjoy where I am. Instead of working hard for my stability, maybe I deserve a little grace from time to time. Instead of trying to make sure my future is fully assured, maybe I can try having a little hope. I’m uncomfortable typing these up, they’re counterintuitive at this point, but isn’t that part of growth? I’ve been uncomfortable for over 10 years now. I don’t know. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself. I want to take it a day at a time, manage my expectations, and see who I can become instead of what I can piece together.