The Waiting Room

This could take a while...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let It "Be"

Posted by Seeking Solace |

A couple of you out there are talking about "becoming" or "tired of becoming" etc.. Not to hijack the original poster or commentators, but I do want to put my own spin on the topic.

I think being in your 30's is all about "becoming". What do I want to be as a woman (or man, for my male readers out there), spouse/significant other, friend, adult child, professional, human being...whatever. I saw my 30's as "OK, I have all this stuff, call it knowledge, education or what do I do with it? Who am I to the rest of the world? How do I become all of those things that I think or should be? How do I know if it is good enough for everyone, or me? I spent a good portion of that time thinking about those questions and others. The quest for answers was sometimes frustrating, sometimes unexpected and sometimes very profound and meaningful. But, those answers led to more questions. And more questions led to more confusion. And, more confusion led to frustration.

In my own quest, I've seen where I have "become" something I never expected. I never expected that I would develop a serious illness. I never expected that I would give up my career as a lawyer for academia. I never expected to leave my second "home" for a new home. I wondered..."Who am I?" "What have I become?" "Where do I go from here?" Lately, I feel those questions surfacing again as I try to settle into a new life in a new home, a new role and a new life after two years of what can be best described as total chaos.

One of things that I have learned now that I am the somewhat wise age of 42, is the maybe it's not so much about "becoming" but is more about "just be". When you focus on what "is" rather than what "will be", things seem to make more sense. I know that "Live in the moment" stuff can sound cliche, but there is some truth to it.

I think about how the Boy is the prime example. He and his canine brothers and sisters live in the present. They don't worry about what happens later. They enjoy their food, belly rubs and walks becuase that's what is pleasing to them right now. They live without regret. You never hear a dog say "Wow, I shouldn't have eaten that" or "Gee, I really should have written that conference paper on effective tactics in critter chasing." Dogs live in the moment. They just "be".

What if we just "be"? It goes against all conventional wisdom. Many of us are taught or it's part of our own programming (yeah, I'm talking about you, my fellow control-freaks). After all, we are programed to think about all the things we should do. We "should" do everything possible to move up in our career. We push to lost that extra 20 pounds. We control and manage every aspect of our lives to "become" something.

That is not to say that one just do a total 180 and go the lazy route. But, what if it was OK to just live in the moment and embrace what we have right now. If something comes along that would make us become more, we weigh the option carefully and decide one way or another if it truly makes us happy now. It's not all or nothing, it just "is".

I can honestly say that I am working on this in my own development. I am trying to focus on how to just "be". It takes work to change the default setting. I don't think I am there yet. There are parts of my life where I can just "be" and there are others where I still live in that "becoming" stage. But, I am confident that all the other phases of my life will fall into place.

If I just let them "be".


rented life said...

Million things I want to say.
1) Shit. I thought my 20's was figuring out who I wanted to become, are you seriously telling me I have to do this again? Insert whine. (Though it does explain my husband...)
2) When I accepted my looks and everything surrounding it I was pretty happy. When I recently decided to try and lose some weight (that 20lbs you mentioned), I started to pick myself apart. I went from being happy to tearing myself down again. I don't know how to balance it still but it was a pretty amazing shift.
3) I think this is a large part of our society. A number of my students graduated within the last year and have contacted me saying "Now what? How do I know what I'm supposed to be for the rest of my life? I want it all." I remember that pressure. We tell each other that we're supposed to become something and go all the way without acknowledging that life doesn't work that way. I never thought I'd be who I am now (hell, I was never going to get's been 8 years!)

I love this post, it's so spot on. Let's write a book for 20 somethings about it and sell it to my students. :)

Anonymous said...

As someone who's changed jobs a bazillion times in the past 30 years, I can honestly say that I never quit looking ahead. If I get a wild hair and decide that THIS is what I want to do, then I spend whatever time is required to prepare and then I make the leap.

Thinking about the future is okay. I do it all the time. When I make choices about careers, health, purchases, whatever - I always ask how this will affect me/us in the near and long term future.

BEing in the moment is okay too. But as intelligent creatures, what we are now determines what we'll be later.

Acceptance isn't all it's cracked up to be. With acceptance comes complacence and then the desire to be better (in whatever way) is lost.

I can accept the way I look and feel in the moment but that is not how I want to look and feel tomorrow. With chronic pain, one has to plan for a future that will most likely involve looking and feeling worse, not better.

So I look at options for making my life easier as my joints and muscles continue to degenerate more and more each year.

Am I going to give up hope of getting better? Shit I already have! LOL

The best I can hope for is to slow down the progression of degeneration and strive to find new ways to keep my mind engaged and my daily life easier to deal with.

I have no idea if any of that made any sense at all :-) I enjoyed reading your post -- yours made sense.

MissDazey said...

Lovely! You are a wise young woman. I particularly like the part of to "just be".

Living It, Loving It said...

Aside from my health being a factor, I am content with my life. I love being a wife, a mother, and a career woman. The older I get the happier I am with where I am at. Like you, I expected those things, but what I did not expect (as you), was to be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I also never expected my experiences with my health to make a difference in the life of others and they did. Change makes us question where we are, who we have become and whether we are still able. Once we transition, we become confident. Control is part of being human and illness forces to control what we can since we cannot control our health. I absolutely agree with you about embracing who we are and as a fellow control freak, I would like to add that we should embrace who we are and to focus on the things we can control rather than the one we cannot.

Brigindo said...

I loved my thirties. I finally felt enough confidence and competence to try and 'become.' It felt powerful. It wasn't a matter of finding myself (and rigidly sticking to that found self) that I experienced in my 20s, but rather a chance to own who I really was and become the woman I wanted to be.

However, my 40s? Tons better. I don't have to become, I am....and I can just be who I am. I am so looking forward to my 50s and what that brings.

Seeking Solace said...

Thanks everyone for the comments. :)

Having RA has put so many things into perspective for me. I embrace the days when I feel great, can walk, open jars or just do things that most consider normal. I try not to focus on those things that I can't do anymore, because I will just get depressed. I have to stay focused on where I am and celebrate it.

RL: Yep. You go through it in your 30's, although I don't think it's as bad for guys!!! We can definitely write a students need it too!!!