This week, I found myself wondering about what being a grown up really means…
I had a bit of an episode, when I got really nervous about something and I think this is what triggered my thinking. You see, I get really nervous around motorways or whenever I’m driving and get lost somehow. I won’t dwell on it on this post (I’ll probably write about this another time), but I just wanted to say that the simple fact of a road diversion can get me all jittery.
This week wasn’t a very stressful one overall, but little things managed to get to me and throw me slightly off balance. When that happens, I usually think “what would the grown ups of my family do?”. These can be my mother, my grandmother, my dad, my stepmother or my stepfather. I have these 5 people on a bit of a pedestal, as they usually have all the answers for me.
I am 33 years old and I still see myself as a teenager most of the time. And then when I do something really grown up, like braving myself through a different route to work, I don’t even remember that no, I don’t really need praise for it. This is what I should be doing all the time at this stage in my life.
The bottom line is that I don’t consider myself a very brave person. You know, like those people that just don’t hesitate to take a risk and just go for things. I need to always have a bit of a plan in place, and when that plan is in place, I always organise a plan B too, just in case. I fear that my very specific approach on taking risks in life means that I’m probably not enjoying it as much as I could. After all, we only live once, don’t we?
When I feel really useless and like a little girl afraid of everything, I try to go through my life and remember some occasions where I did show some sort of bravery. Like, for example, when I moved to a country on the other side of the ocean, miles and miles away from home, all on my own. I should take the credit for that, shouldn’t I? I know that millions and millions of people have done this before, but for a relatively scared person like me, this should count as a bit of a life achievement.
I was also brave when I decided to stay in this country and start a life here for myself. I have had jobs (and now have one I love after one more little act of bravery!), I have new friends, I have a new doctor, I even have a new mechanic for my car. And I found the way to get all of these all on my own. However, there are still areas where I go into panic mode. When I’m driving, for example. Or when I have to make a big decision.
I hate making a decision. I always analyze far to much and then end up confusing myself with all the pros and cons, ifs and maybes… it’s stressful, but I tend to make it even more stressful than it should be, really. My partner Lee, on the other hand, is a very straightforward person. He is quite quick to grasp if something is a good or a bad idea and things are usually quite clear and simple for him. On my side, I sleep on it, I dwell on it, I stress over it and I always end up making a decision that I’m never entirely sure is the best one. I lack on confidence.
To be a grown up, though, you need to be confident, don’t you? You need to be able to deal with so many things at the same time and also try and keep that peace of mind that is so important. For me, getting paranoid over things means that my energy gets drained and I feel powerless. I have to change that.
Although change is necessary, I’m still not quite sure about how to do this. Do I just start being braver in my decisions and going for it, not thinking too much? But then if I do that and things don’t go well, won’t I regret it all and then blame myself for not having taken a more cautious route? It’s hard to change yourself. You know what people say… start as you mean to go on? Well, I believe in that. I’m a great believer that we do things for the sake of it, because we have done it the same way for years and it has become a habit so intrinsict that it becomes almost impossible to change. But I also believe that we have to recognise when something needs changing. We need to recognise when the way we go about things is holding us back instead of taking us forward.
It is a big challenge to make a big change, especially when some of the things we do and the way we do them is connected so closely with our personality. I want to be braver. I want to have the courage to see an opportunity and believe that I can do something about it. I want my belief in myself to drive me forward and I want to stop wasting time making plans and trying to schedule life so much that opportunities just pass me by, waving at me whilst I sit there with my cofffee and my ‘to do’ list .
To make big changes, we have to start somewhere and I know that most people usually get overwhelmed by how big a task it is to change some of our habits. Perhaps if we take it slowly we can achieve more. We have to keep going, slowly but surely. Things won’t change overnight, but we have to start. I have always loved a sentence from that movie “Vanilla Sky” and I think that I’ll use that as my startying point for my change of being braver in life. If we think about change as putting one foot after the other, maybe the whole process will look less scary. The sentence from the movie is: “every passing minute is a another chance to turn it all around”. Let’s grab all those minutes and make them count just as we want them to.