Alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m. . . . again
As per the daily, self-inflicted habit, I woke up with the usual dread that hits me every single morning: The dread of that crazy list in my head of everything I think I need to do. The list that feels like lead on my brain. The list that shouts, “There’s no room for fun in this day! Get up and get moving! Now!” in the same loud voice that tells me if I don’t accomplish everything on the list that I am unproductive, undeserving, and unworthy. I’m not exactly sure when or how I became the keeper of this list, but it’s been hanging around for as long as I can remember.
But this morning was different. A new thought entered my mind. Not only is it absolutely impossible to complete everything on the list, but I don’t really give a shit about half the things on it anyway. As I lay in bed ignoring the clock, I mentally scratched half the things off my list. I looked around the bedroom, cautiously darting my eyes back and forth, afraid someone might be there to see my rebellious thoughts and order me to get back in line, to stop having such crazy ideas. (That someone, of course, is me.) I took a slow, deep inhale, followed by a long, quiet exhale, then with a feeling of refreshed lightness, I jumped up and hopped into my day with a whole new perspective.
Good morning, New Perspective
While I brushed my teeth then made the bed, I thought about all of the things that make up a woman’s life—the obligations, gifts, heartaches, and frustrations. And how over the years we have unknowingly assumed burdens that aren’t even ours to begin with. We take on the pain of those we love, we pick up the slack of those that choose not to do, we nurture and care for our families, lovers, friends, and communities. We become stellar errand runners, efficient cooks, and are usually the last ones into bed at night. No wonder we are so prone to binge drinking. I then reflected back on last weekend and the amount of (really fabulous) wine I consumed, I thought, oh, crap . . . did that qualify as a binge? Eeek! Whatever it was, it was fun!
Crossing the forty-something midline
As I inch closer to fifty than forty, I’m realizing that one of the freedoms that comes with age is the gift of letting go. I thought a little deeper about what that means to let go, to say fuck it with a happy heart and a genuine smile. I thought about the burdens that I no longer need to carry. I realize that so much of what I do carry is habit and unrealistic self-expectation. That the only person expecting me to perform is me.
This thought process prompted me to make a new list this morning:
Girl Reworked’s list of 25 things to let go of
- Being dependent on other people’s moods. Totally pointless.
- Judging myself because I don’t like making dinner! Dinner befuddles me and I’m done guilting myself about it.
Feeling like I “should” be able to wear a bikini. I’m forty-six and that’s just way too much pressure for me. I officially welcome the tankini.
- Over thinking sex. Yeah, I’m done trying to figure that one out. Way too complicated. It is what it is, when it is.
- Worrying about birth control. Why is the notion of a healthy birth control option nonexistent? Or have I just missed the boat on this one?
- Caring about what other people may think of me. As long as my intentions and actions come from love, other people’s interpretations are not my problem.
- Fear of failure in myself and those I love. I’ve come to realize that the cliché is true: Failure is an opportunity for something new and wonderful to come along. I’ve seen this. I now know this.
- The idea that age is the enemy. So what if I’ll be running my first marathon at forty-six. As long as my knees don’t mind, why should I care what my age is?
- And finally, (and this is a big one!), I’m letting go of my self-imposed idea that my value as a person is somehow equated with my rate of productivity. WTH?Not sure how I picked that one up, but I did and it’s time to say goodbye to that twisted perception.
- Hmmm . . . that’s only nine . . .
Won’t you please help me finish this list? What other baggage do we need check to increase our happiness factor?