Today's prompt for REVERB14 is:
What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins?
And what will you do anyway'in 2015?
(end of story)
I don't know if anyone else's 'gremlins' go this far, but mine like to tell me that I am responsible for the fate of all mankind.
OK, that's a slight exaggeration...BUT they do like to make me think that I'm responsible for the people I know personally.
I'm really proud that this year I figured out that's not true. I'm not responsible for fixing everything, making everything better, or shielding anyone from the harsh reality of life.
I am responsible for one person in this world: me. And while I can show kindness and concern for others, it is not my place to step in and do everything for everyone or to make the world all sunshine and roses.
I've always tried to live my life in a way that didn't disappoint the people I care about. And then there have been times that I have done what I wanted and tried to shield them from the truth of the things I've done, but for the same reason of not wanting to be a disappointment.
The easiest way to shield people from the truth is to lie. I got really, really good at lying. For a long time, I looked at my lying as a sort of virtue. It saves people from the truth of hard situations and it saves me from disappointing people...as long as they never find out the truth.
But I don't like lying and I don't want to be a liar and I don't want to shield people from ME anymore.
Instead, I am choosing a different way.
I am choosing to live my life as I see fit. I also choose to stop trying to take responsibility for other people's choices...meaning that if someone doesn't like the choices I make, then they have the choice to not be in my life anymore...that's THEIR choice. I don't want to lose people, but it is their choice and I won't interfere with that. In a similar way, others might have the right to state their opinion or to give advise, but I have the SOLE right to decide whether or not I listen. And I am not responsible for their feelings if I don't...that's their deal, not mine. That's a hard thing for me to accept, but it's a true thing.
I've heard it said in multiple places: No is a complete sentence. In other words, whatever choices you might make, you don't have to explain yourself to anyone. Living that sentence has proven to be an entirely new experience for me.
Every choice we make has consequences. In my eyes, in any given situation, the scariest thing that could happen was for me to disappoint someone I loved and for them to choose to not be a part of my life anymore because of it. I don't know what it is exactly...maybe learning to accept myself or maybe the fear of living someone else's life for the rest of mine or maybe something else...but, for whatever reason, losing people because of making my own choices, while it's not my ideal, is becoming a consequence I can live with.
To me, that feels like a mature line of thinking, and I'm proud of the fact that I've grown up a little this past year...it took me thirty-one years to get there, but better late than never, right?
For 2015, I want to continue working on this. There are bigger choices in store for me in 2015...or, really, the choices are made, it's a matter of acting on them.
Frankly, certain things have to be done, no matter how difficult it might be to do them...no matter that I'm afraid of what might happen...no matter that I don't know what the exact consequences might be.
Ten or fifteen years from now, I don't want to be thinking and feeling the exact same things I have thought and felt these past ten or fifteen. It is the very definition of crazy to do the same thing repeatedly and expect different results.
I don't want to be a crazy old woman full of regret. I don't want to wait to live my choices anymore.
In 2015, I will act on the choices I have made.
I will be afraid of the potential consequences. I will fear hurting or disappointing people I care about. I will be afraid of being wrong. I will be afraid of the risks involved. But despite all these things, it's my choice, and I will do it anyway.