Sunday, May 14, 2006

Five Years of Trying Hard

There is a commitment you make when you are fighting for your life, like a backroom deal, “If I get a second chance, I promise, promise, promise, that I will get everything I can out of every tiniest part of my life. I will squeeze the life out of each minute, even each second, please, please, please, let me have my life back.” Some of us get lucky, and then we pay the price.

Now as I am approaching 5 years clean, it is safe to say that I have been granted that wish, given that second chance. I have been given a new life and the opportunity to live better. But, I haven’t kept my part of the bargain. For better or for worse the way that I define “living better” is to make a difference, to have an impact. And what I promised was to do it always, always, always. To keep my eye on that ball and constantly look from that lens. Well? Do I do that? Do I constantly make a difference, and have an impact, forsaking all others? The answer is Noooo. Why? Because it is not possible. It is not possible to work 24/7, it is not possible to only give and never replenish myself, it is not possible to only live for the cause. The way I have set it up is impossible. I can’t be making a difference every hour of every day. I have to sleep. I have to have down time. I have to do self-care and make room for my feelings (which I don’t hold as being mutually exclusive to getting things done, but rather the space maker and the catalyst that eventually allows me to get on with getting things done) and life and a whole myriad of other things.

Knowing this logically doesn’t mean I don’t haunt myself with that deal (sometimes wonder if it was with the devil for how hard I drive myself about it). I keep telling myself I could have done more. I could have written the book. I could have started a foundation. I could have created a huge fundraiser. I could have lobbied for more government funding. I could have done a cross North American tour extolling the virtues of prevention. All noble causes. All good things to do. All something I planned to do. And because I want to do them all, I don’t seem to be able to pick which one to start with.

Perhaps, now with the 5-year mark coming up, I get a second second chance. Maybe this time I can offer up a reasonable part of my heart and my soul, instead of all of it. I can enjoy the life I was given as well as do something useful with it. I can play with kittens and kids. I can go for long walks in the twilight sun. I can enjoy long conversations or deep silences with a friend. I can laugh uncontrollably and not feel guilty that I should be saving the world instead. And lets get real, I am not able to stop wanting to make a difference, but maybe I can let go of how I thought I was going to do that. Maybe I can let go of plans that have created expectations that hurt me. Maybe I can say goodbye to writing the book. Or to writing it the way I thought I was suppose to. Maybe it is time to let go of outdated commitments and start fresh. Start creating new visions and new wishes and new dreams. Perhaps that is the gift I can give myself on my upcoming 5th birthday, my re-birth day. It is time to see what is in my heart today, and stop trying so hard to live yesterday’s vision.


At 12:20 PM PDT, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

It's time to do that re-definition thing. No one said you needed to do those other things that of course, are all good things to do. But you might be doing them for the wrong reasons perhaps if you were to take them on anyway. There is nothing wrong with simply living and doing ordinary type things that make you happy - even for small moments at a time - like playing with kids and kittens,one of my personal all-time favourites! Making a few kids and kittens happy? Sure! Just as special and important and valuable!
One hundred years from now, those other GRAND aspirations may not make any difference to you or anyone else.

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