Thursday, October 11, 2018

You're All Right

Zestful Blog Post #285

I knew a woman who made it her life’s work to become unblocked. To realize her potential. When I met her she was middle-aged, divorced, with two grown kids and a rucksack full of dreams waiting to come true.

But somewhere along the line she’d decided—or agreed with some shrink or shaman or dead parent—that the way she was wasn’t right enough. She ought not to act on those dreams until she’d gotten herself right.

She occupied herself with all sorts of things to self-actualize, to ‘awaken her inner artist’ or something, to figure out what she really should be doing, to free up, to become worthy. To become who she was. Perhaps she should sign on as an animal research assistant and observe beautiful creatures in far-flung habitats. Perhaps she should take flying lessons and try to get a job as a cargo pilot. Or perhaps she should write a novel. Fine. 

She died at age 52 of ovarian cancer before the process was complete. I sadly suspect she could have lived until 102 and still never completed her process of ‘becoming.’

I say, screw becoming. Screw preparing. Be and do. The being and the doing will make all processing moot. Screaming at an effigy of your mother in the woods, taking ice baths or firewalks? You could. But only living freely—with openness to mistakes and crappy results—will make us live well. And only writing freely—with openness to mistakes and crappy results—will make us write well.

It is so very simple.

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  1. Short and sweet: You’re absolutely right. As a famous athletic brand has said, “Just do it!

  2. REALLY needed to hear this. As always, thanks!!

  3. I'm 53. There are days I'm not sure I know who I am yet, but it's not because I haven't "found myself." If anything, I've found too many "me"s. After a brain surgery saved my life, I decided that another chance didn't mean a wasted chance. I continued the things I did before the aneurysm, I write, I teach, I mentor. But I added new things. I paint. I study Spanish. I help high school girls apply to colleges and scholarships. I'm living life "rich and full," as my family would say, and sometimes that leaves me more "me"s than I know what to do with. But you know what? An aneurysm killed my mother young. I don't plan on being next. But if some how I am, I've already lived (and continue to live on a daily basis) a life as rich as I can imagine. Thanks for making me think about this and put it into words. You are so good at that, Elizabeth. You should be a writer, coach, teacher, ya' know.

    1. All blessings upon you, Ona Marae. It's ideal to be able to say, at a certain point, "If a meteor vaporized me a minute from now, I've given everything I could."

  4. Active voice. Present tense. More verbs than adverbs. Quotes more often than descriptions. It's part of the same lesson, isn't it?

  5. I always tell myself, "Life is what happens when you are busy making plans." Looking back, I've lived an amazing life, sometimes I had control, much of the time I was flying blind.


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