I spent so much of my life doing what I thought I should do instead of what I wanted to do, that I lost my sense of touch. I wasn’t listening to my heart, and spent my days fulfilling my many obligations. It was an ok life, and I wasn’t suffering by any means, but I sure wasn’t thriving.
A few months ago, when I got my freedom through a corporate layoff, I made a commitment to myself: seek out what makes me happy, and let the warm feeling that washes over me when doing something that I’m truly excited about be my guide to making decisions. Essentially, I am regaining my sense of being in touch with myself.
Every morning I wake up and have an idea of what I hope to do for that day. I’m a planner, and that hasn’t changed in my quest of listening to my inner barometer. But now, I ask myself in the morning what I want to do. Sometimes my day ends up as planned, but often it doesn’t. I may feel like not hiking, and that’s ok—I can hike tomorrow. I may want to take the morning off to walk around a park with my dog, and will get my work done in the afternoon. That’s ok too.
I’m learning that being happy, and actively seeking out my happiness, is the best motivator for me. Showing my suffering as my dedication to a commitment is no longer my method for proving my worth. It sounds silly, but looking back now, I realize that’s exactly what I did. I worked the longest hours to prove that I was a good employee; I sacrificed my personal life to show that I was a hard worker. All these years later, I see that the person I hurt most was me, and that all I gained from my years of self-sacrifice is the learning that it’s not right for me and the ability to recognize that I’m doing it. Balance.
I’m learning to live with less judgment, as doing what feels right makes me happy, and being happy is an end goal now for me. Not that I don’t like seeing that list of checked off items that I’ve completed and feel proud of how productive I’ve been that day, but sometimes, that’s not the day I need. And I now accept that without judgement.
There’s always tomorrow. Today I’m going to have fun.