Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Vacation Reflection

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies.

Too Much Time to Think?

"I don't like vacations. I'm not good with so little structure. There's too much time to think," said a friend the other day.

I agree with the huge expanse of thinking-time...not that I'm not always thinking, but with less compulsory activity, there is indeed probably more time than is comfortable for thinking -- and feeling, in my case.

"You only have to die. Everything else is a choice," Pat quoted to me from one of her college-friends the other day.

Typically, I don't think I'm death-obsessed -- at least not about my own -- but I guess it is part of the root of this depression I've been feeling, now, as I'm aware of being squarely in mid-life (at 44.5 years old). What will be my legacy, since I can't live on a bit through children of my own? What will I have to show for my life?

This morning, a colleague tweeted, "I wonder why I want more than I have." In response, I commented, "I wonder why I have more than I need." I wish I remembered that routinely, how lucky I am. Walking to the Broadway theater last night to see "A Little Night Music" after dinner at a luxurious restaurant -- our early New Year's Eve splurge -- Pat looked at me as the wind whipped our hair and declared, "We have a good life."

I smiled and agreed.

If only I could feel that way routinely. My therapist said to me last time, "Most people feel tense some of the time and relaxed the rest of the time. With you, it's the opposite...."

It's true that I am driven: driven to control my environment; driven to be perfect; driven to feel good enough; driven to express myself; driven to desire accomplishments I probably won't have; driven to self-flaggelate; driven to fear the worst; driven to feel ashamed; driven to compete unrealistically; driven to stand out; driven to fit in; driven to feel loved; driven to feel valued and respected; driven to feel physically-fit; driven to hope for inspiration; driven to be useful at work; driven to be kind at home; driven to enjoy beauty and humor....

Where does all that drive take me? Did I already write about feeling like a fragile, tiny, buttercup-sized flower that nonetheless seems able to break through the cement sidewalk above it? I figured that out recently, that I am my own cement, and I am also the flower. Thank God for the flower, and yes, I think I did write about this previously, as I think I also mentioned my kind, middle sister's reaction to it: "I prefer to think of that flower as simply a blossom at the top of a strong, tall tree that's breaking through the cement," or something along those lines. What a great vision.

If you've read this far, both of us might need a pick-me-up/morale booster. I put these affirmations together several weeks ago and I forget to look at them routinely, but as I read them now, they make me feel better and maybe they'll help you feel better about my prospects for happiness, too; only a few of them are more aspirational than currently true, and I'll asterisk those -- I am:

  • Creative
  • Loving
  • Remarkably resilient
  • Brave
  • Smart
  • Kind
  • A mensch
  • Earnest
  • Disciplined
  • Loved
  • Enthusiastic
  • Funny
  • A leader
  • A natural educator
  • Calm*
  • Inspirational
  • Good-looking
  • Conscientious
  • Cheerful*
  • Visionary
  • Undeterred*
  • Unfolding.

1 comment:

rucsb said...

Ask yourself every person you have met , what would they like to share about you on your 80th Birthday and work backwards. That would be your legacy. This is Habit 2 of Stephen Covey ( 7 habits of highly effective people) , Begin with end in Mind, you probably know already. You are half way up there already :-) . Be rest assured, you are creating it everyday , through your kind words, gestures,actions , feelings, emotions, thoughts, behaviors.
I would like to add one more adjective to your list,
Reflective * with an asterisk.

Stay Happy, Stay well !