Knowing Yourself and Stretching Yourself
I was texting with my friend one morning a couple of weeks ago. She posted a beautiful picture on Instagram with her cute little piles of check off lists and her lovely mug of tea. I wanted to know about her Bible study and about the shiny organizational sheet on her clipboard. I was very impressed by it.
She sent me better pictures of both of those things, and then I mentioned that I have a weekly layout in my Bullet Journal and sent her pictures, along with my Educational Goals sheet for the kids.
Then, we texted each other at the same time.
She said, “Oh, I like this! It feels much less rigid.”
And I said, “You are much more disciplined about this and I’m so impressed by it.”
My friend was admiring my “go with the flow” organization with my home and kids while I was admiring her disciplined approach. We couldn’t help but laugh at each other.
Part of learning and growing is trying new things while at the same time knowing who you are. I feel like life is a constant state of trying something new and getting back to who I am. If I never tried something new, I would never have learned about meal planning, homeschooling, minimalism, different approaches to faith, blogging, or Sufjan Stevens.
However, I have also learned to recognize when things look great for others but don’t fit my profile or personality: multi-level marketing, wearing special makeup, fashion, vlogging, couponing, and working out at 5:00 in the morning.
I tried some of those things and ditched them, and I’ve known that some of these things would never interest me before even attempting. I don’t think that’s necessarily wrong.
I just entered my forties this year, and for the most part, I’ve been just fine about it. I feel like I’m at an age where I know who I am and like myself for the most part. But I also have this encroaching fear that I haven’t done enough. You might not know this about me. My dad died when he was 48 of cancer, and my mom died at 68. I know firsthand that life doesn’t last long. I’ll admit that 48 seemed a lot older when I was 16 than it does now, so I’ve put off ambitions and goals. I’ve wasted a lot of time on television and petty arguments and worry.
I get that people my age have midlife reflections and crises. I understand that I’m not unique to life reflection at my age. Some days, I feel like I’m just now getting started in life. I just now found time to breathe and explore what I truly want to do. But I might also be facing my last decade in life. Genetics are stacked against me for a long haul. I mean 68 is looking younger and younger these days. Do I want to spend my time stretching myself or knowing myself? Do I want to try new things or enjoy the things I know I enjoy?
Honestly? I think I can do both. I no longer have time for comparison. I don’t need to imitate other people or feel jealousy for what others have and I don’t. So, sticking to my lane when it counts allows my brain the space to seek out other things I’ve always wanted to try. Knowing who I am is giving me more courage to face the unknown and see adventure.