It’s shocking what life can do … tomorrow is my high school reunion and I don’t even remember the kid that was class president so many decades ago… so many crashes … so many burns. How did I survive life for this long?
Like a lot of people, I get to feel inadequate several times a week. A sense of not quite being up to par. Disappointing, even. You hear about people who have performed better, earned more, got more friends, seen more of the world, slept better, slept with better lovers, argued less, looked more appealing…and the list goes on. Superhuman beings, who seem to attract success. Or, the ones that get on quietly with life and put temperamental, irritating people like me to shame. They are just better. Of course it’s possible to learn stuff from everyone we meet, even if it is how not to do things.
I’m not a particularly driven or focused person. I just like to run with stuff, but I would like to plan better. I have never been one of those that work a seven-day week and gets a kick out of it. Writing is my thing and constantly seeking useless information. The more I learn… the less I know. The main element that makes me feel inadequate in the face of people who are ‘better’ is something I have come to recognize as fear. I used to label it anxiety, shyness, stress, tiredness, lots of things, frustration, resentment, bitterness – depending on my mood – but in the end it comes down to fear. Fear of not being able to pay the bills. Fear of getting ill. Fear of losing people. Fear of being judged, or of not getting approval. Always on the scary roller coaster. I used to drink or get stoned to push back the fear, but now it is here in all its sober glory. Just like a 3-D movie.
Someone mentioned to me a while ago the concept of giving myself permission to feel fear. Why wasn’t I giving myself permission not to be afraid? What was the worst that could happen if I stopped being fearful? Why did I have to control everything on the planet? Who made me so important? Those are valid questions … once I thought about it, I realized … I’m not that important and neither are the things I fear. In fact, at this point in time I am trying really hard to believe in a new sober way forward, using the ‘give yourself permission’ criteria. It’s OK for me to change my mind about something I once believed in, because I have learned a better way. It’s OK to feel fear and do it anyway. It’s OK not to live like “everyone” (it’s never everyone) else is because it isn’t right for me. Above all, I don’t have to change the world. God made it and he can handle it.
Like many people, I would guess, I try to be ‘good’; grateful and kind. I don’t always manage it because I am human. It’s OK not to be perfect, however. No one else is, after all. Not everyone will approve of my life choices. It’s OK not to be liked by every single person in the world. No one else is, after all. Sometimes it is hard to recognize that someone I really want to like me is never going to, but actually that is OK too. There will always be people who argue and people who agree. That is life.
I’m sober … I’m happy and I am so grateful to still be here! Bring on that high school reunion …