I stopped caring… a lesson in satisfaction…

There’s so much shit going on these days. There’s so much I feel like I should be doing: work stuff, exercise stuff, personal project stuff, reading stuff. There’s. Just. So. Much.

I’m a very goal-oriented person (or tend to see myself that way, anyway), yet I generally “set” goals somewhere and fail to meet them. There’s a lot to be said about that whole “put it where you can see it” crap because if I don’t see it, I either forget or decide I don’t care in that moment. (That’s partially true – I don’t care – but it’s only true for a short period of time and then I kick myself for being lazy.)

Things I’ve Left Undone

Take, for instance, how I said (many times over) I was going to keep up with this little blog. Look how that turned out. Not too great, but things could be worse, right?

Take how I said I was going to exercise every day for 100 days. Has that happened? No. Turns out it’s way hard (which I knew) and I’m ridiculously busy (which I also knew) and I’m lazy (which I definitely knew). After everything is said and done, I don’t feel like going for a run or killing myself in my apartment to do a single round of Insanity or just turning off the lights and dancing like the awkward white girl I am.

Take all the projects I’ve said I was going to start every weekend for the last 6-12 months. All the writing projects I was going to start. All the articles I was going to write to submit to other outlets. Other projects I wanted to start for friends to get some experience under my belt for when I finally take my final bow in Korea and call it quits with teaching. Have I started these things? Maybe. Finished? That’s a no.

I’m Calling It Quits

My whole life, I’ve beat myself up about things I didn’t finish or things I didn’t even start, but wanted to. I was (and often still am) my own worst critic and my most unforgiving boss.

And what’s stopped me? Fear. Fear of doing a shitty job. Fear of being successful. Fear of not being successful. Laziness. Telling myself, “I worked so hard this week. I deserve a break today where I do nothing productive or don’t leave my apartment.”

This is where it ends.

Because you know what? Yes, I’ve fallen short on a lot of goals. I’ve made pathetic choices on what to do with my free time. I’ve foregone sitting in front of my computer because I don’t want to put in the emotion and the thought and the work that’s required to finish the projects that are hanging around on my dusty, weeks-old to-do list. But I’m not a failure. I’m not dying. I haven’t actually lost anything.

I’ve learned recently that I don’t actually gain anything by beating myself up for not getting things done. There’s responsibility and then there’s the “if I have time” stuff. And when I don’t do the “if I have time” stuff, I’m only letting myself down. I’m to blame, yes, but I don’t get anything beneficial out of blaming myself.

So, what’s the alternative? Doing that stuff.

The Elephant in the Room

It seems obvious, doesn’t it? I know – it does. It is.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what I’m going to do in the next phase of my life and even though it feels like it’s still so far off (about 8 months for those of you who are counting), it’s coming like a freight train. It’ll be here before I know it.

To light a fire under my own ass, I bought a ticket to an entrepreneurial event in Bali next month called Startup Weekend Bali. (Oh yeah, I’m going to Bali for 3 weeks in November to get my head on straight and to start paving the way for that next life chapter, BTW.) I’m not totally sure that it’s the right place for me to be (the event, not Bali, because of course Bali is the right place for everyone at any time. Because it’s awesome), but I’m going anyway. All in, baby.

I’m taking steps to hold myself more accountable for all the things I said I wanted to do. I’m not beating myself up – I’m finding a solution. I’m not hating myself; I’m learning to be satisfied in what I’m doing.

More is More

Can I do more? Yes.

Will I do more? Yes. (Notice I didn’t say, “I hope so.”)

Learning to be satisfied is hard when you’re a self-hater, but it’s worthwhile. I love my work – that’s not what I mean. But I’m learning to not kick myself so hard when I decide for my own sanity that I need to sleep in on a Saturday, read a book, take a nap, and stay in my pajamas all day.

We are all capable of so many things. You’re awesome, you know that? And you have the ability to do so much. But only you can decide if you’re going to do it or not. And if you don’t do something one day, don’t kill yourself over it. Be satisfied with the work you’ve done and get back to it another day – minus the beat-up.

 

Have you been meaning to do things and have been putting them off? Are you a chronic goal-setter-and-forgetter like me? What’s your plan of action to get through it?

Let’s help each other!

5 Comments

  1. Dan Antion says:

    Maybe it would help to step back and look at your life without remembering your goals and some of the plans you made. You know, the way we see you. Lots of people never leave the state they were born in. Lot’s of people leave for college and return and never leave again. Most people never leave the country they were born in. Lots of people drift, relatively aimlessly from one job to another without really thinking about a career. Look at you! You’re amazing! Not by comparison to most people, just flat out amazing! That you aren’t as amazing as you think you could be is something we would never know if you hadn’t shared it with us. We’d just look at you and say “wow, she’s amazing!”

    So, yeah, cut yourself some slack. We’re grateful that you share plans and goals with us, but we’re not keeping score. We just want you to be happy.

    • As always, Dan, you speak such words of encouragement!

      It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others… and yet so dangerous. But you’re right: I’ve done quite a lot when I look at all that I’ve accomplished. And I’m certainly not done!

      I want others to be happy, too, in the same way that I’ve found happiness. That’s my biggest goal in life. Here’s to the journey to achieve it!

      Thanks for reading. :)

      • Dan Antion says:

        I still remember the picture of your classroom decorated for the holidays. That shows what an amazing person you are. Your journey is really just beginning :)

  2. bridgettnh says:

    Hey there, Daegu friend! So I can totally relate. I’m probably the most inconsistent person in the history of the world. I’m a go-getter for a week at a time, busting out blog posts and ticking things off my to-do list. But I go through days, weeks, even months at a time when the only thing I can “go-get” is my laptop and a delivery menu.

    We all have “seasons,” so give yourself a guilt-free break and get back on with life the next day (I know, I know. It’s easier said than done). Don’t beat yourself up. You’re right: You don’t have anything to gain by beating yourself up.

    I don’t understand why, but my brain’s default mode is negativity. I spend a lot of energy trying to think positively — it does not come naturally for me and I’m both envious and suspicious of those it comes easy for! I find that affirmations help. These days, mine has been “Stop saying someday.” Recently I realized that there are a lot of things I’ve been meaning to get around to for… well, years (like learning to speak Spanish). I think occasionally we need to sit down and evaluate these goals and make some hard choices about whether we need to drop them completely or get serious about them because guilt about not accomplishing things is heavy, you know?

    Anyway, best of luck to you Krissi! That event in Bali sounds awesome. I look forward to reading about it. :)

    • Hi Bridgett!

      Thanks for your encouraging words! You speak so much truth: I too want to “go out and get” things and “chase dreams,” and yet I’m glued to my own shitty sofa! I feel like my “creative” and “productive” seasons are so short and I’m on a mission over the next several weeks to find out why. I’ll be spending a whole 3 weeks in Bali next month to get my head on straight and I’m so excited about the prospect of having fewer distractions from my creativity!

      I wish you the best of luck as well! Perhaps sometime we can meet up and chat about the ups and downs of living a creative life! :)

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