Quick-tempered, then withdrawn, reactive, close to the chest, stumbling over the sound of her own voice, like a toddler and a teenager all in one, so powerfully entwined like a garden untended, choking out the adult that gets only rare opportunities to poke through. How have I survived? Apparent success in life has been due to two things :
1. Those brief visits by adulthood
2. The relative immaturity of much of the human race
That’s not disparaging, but it is a comment on how we’ve been raised through the generations: emotions dismissed, cursed, quashed; intellects bolstered to swollen, spirit left to atrophy. Grow up! We’re told later, as if we had a magical formula to bridge childhood and adulthood. Instruction and support on learning to read or drive a car we had, but on embracing and using one’s emotional power? Nada.
Is it too late? I’ve decided it isn’t, if I:
1. Own my immaturity
2. Work with it
Not everybody has to, nor should they. We’d be just plain boring if we were all the same. But I’ve decided my inner child is denying me entry into the life I want. So, then, it is time to evolve. Here’s where to start.
1. Strengthen your body. Something has to channel all that energy.
Muscles. Nourishment. Make sure you have enough.
2. Own your life. All of it. Memories, actions, choices, those horrid checkered pants you wore in fourth grade, the time you slipped on the ice and missed a goal in the peewee playoffs (and got shunned in the locker room), the time the teacher sneered you’d never make it through high school, the time you punched him in return. We’ve done stupid things. We’ve hurt people. We’ve hurt ourselves. That can’t be changed. Our futures can.
3. Do something every day that’s uncomfortable. Make a cold call. Run 500 meters. Post a blog with your photos in it. (Done!) Offer to meet with someone who bugs you at work. Don’t deny your instincts or common sense and play chicken with a train, but tackle something your anxiety is telling you is dangerous, when in fact, it will help you grow. You do know the difference.
4. Do something every day that is pleasurable. A glass of wine after work. A glass of wine with work (if you’re writing safely at home.) Chocolate. A walk. Good music. A reward that won’t undermine you, hence the giant bag of Doritos is out if physical training is on the list, but something that gets the happy hormones flowing and tells you – Hey! Great job today!
5. Build a team. Not yes folks, but those who emulate the qualities you’re trying to achieve and who are solid enough to challenge you, remain detached from your crap and love you for who you are now, and who you will become.
6. Hang in there. This will take years. The rest of your life, perhaps. But guaranteed, you will end in a better place than you started.
Today, I’m seizing the moment. Tonight, I’ll no doubt slack off but I’ll be honest about it, and keep at it again in the morning.
How about you?
Jennifer Hatt is author of the Finding Maria series and a partner in Marechal Media Inc.
See more at www.FindingMaria.com.
Photos by Tanya Petraglia.
Used here with much love and gratitude.