It surprises me time and time again how much our own thoughts are actually limiting us. I know this, I know how our thoughts are creating the reality we live in, and yet I make up weird stories about myself all the time.
I tell myself: Girl, you are the kind of person who does this, you are the kind of gal who has done that. And then I let my self-made (and often very limiting) definition of myself set in, form a tight box around me until I get so uncomfortable that I cannot move anymore. Only when squeezed and pressed from all sides do I start to think that perhaps I should relocate. I start to look around for a bigger place, a bigger box or a shell, and realize that the walls around me are my own. Nobody is telling me what kind of person I am, or should be (well, actually a lot people are, directly and indirectly, but at the end of the day I decide to play along or not).
Recently I have been living with the idea of being the kind of person who quits her corporate job to do something more meaningful, simple and closer to the heart. Pretty general type, wouldn’t you say? But as I was living my reality as the kind of person who quits and downshifts, I started to see less and less options for the future. Did this mean I would never be able to go back to the Corporate world if I wanted to (without looking like a sell-out)? Did this mean I had to beat the drum of quitting and travelling for the rest of my life? Did this mean I had to love the idea of a “simple life” on the beach forever? Because, I realized, I didn’t.
Ideas of ideal existence
One day I got tired of that lady in the tight box. I got tired of her convictions and her arrogance. What did she know, really! After all, she was soooooo last year!
Sure I quit my job and did some unusual things after that (then again, very much according to the ongoing trend of downshifting), but this is just one thing I have done. Was I going to have this one thing define me as the person who I was? And if so, why this particular thing? Just like being married for 5 years in my twenties is not a reason enough for me to identify myself as a divorced person for the remaining 50+ years of my life, one job-hop is not enough to identify myself as downshifter or a beach bum.
I want to focus on being, not the doing. I will do and do in my life, but in fact none of these things are really truly who I am. If my thoughts are not really mine and not the reality, if my feelings are not the truth but just feelings, surely the actions in my life are also not representing who I really am.
My growth game is strong
Slowly the world would open up again. I would crawl out of my shell of assurance and face the open oceans again. Someone once said that maybe it’s not so much about finding ourselves, we are never hiding or lost. Maybe it’s simply about creating ourselves, and the fun of it is that we get to do this over and over again (kind of like Madonna). I suppose it would be useful and more convenient to create yourself once, decide what kind of person you are and then set camp. Do your thing, go to work and live your life from the shelter of your limits. Never having to question yourself, never having to recreate everything you already once thought to be the truth about the world. But I guess I’m not having any of that.
I saw a funny poster on Facebook the other day that made me laugh out loud. It said:
If you think you know me based on who I was a year ago,
you don’t know me at all.
My growth game is strong. Allow me to reintroduce myself.
Who knows what I will want?
There is a 60+ year old man living close to me who leads a life of adventure and travel already for more than a decade. I adore his outlook on life, and his unconventional lifestyle. He is currently building a house on a newly bought piece of land, a beautiful property overlooking the rice terraces, the ocean and the mountains. Over breakfast on his terrace the other morning he was thinking out loud about his plans for the future, whether he would ever want to sell the land or the yet-to-be-built house on it. He figured maybe he was going to keep it for good.
“Then again, who knows what I want to do when I am 75 or 80 years old!”
The statement was not acknowledging limits, it was not about age, not about slowing down or settling down. It was about dreams, open roads, future and the fact that things will always naturally change and shift, as long as we let them.