Lately I’ve been considering the concept of doing whatever one wants.
The Soul Knows
A kind friend (and potentially spiritual mentor) advised me to be gentle with myself. She said that whatever thing I felt like doing at any particular moment, I should do. Her reasoning was that my higher self knows what I want and what I need, and if I listen to that higher self with compassion and grace, I will find my true path. In essence, my true nature knows what is best for me and will lead me to it by giving me desires that achieve those goals.
Be All That You Can Be
My parents always told me that I could do or be whatever I wanted. They did not have the same meaning in mind as my friend did, however. Their meaning was quite different: According to them, I have the capacity, talent, perseverance, and opportunity to follow any career path and become successful at it. (I’m not entirely convinced that this is true. For instance, I very much doubt there’s any hint of a career as a chef in my future, given my “successes” in the kitchen to date! (None. There have been no successes in the kitchen to date … Unless you count NOT accidentally poisoning my family with their dinner each night!)).
That’s okay. I am okay with not being a success at everything, and I no longer feel the heavy burden of striving for excellence at absolutely everything. I can be mediocre at some things. I can be bad at some things. I can be whatever I want, and while I might not *want* to be bad at cooking, I don’t particularly *want* to be good at it. I nothing it.
Let It Go
Then you get the other kind of “doing whatever you want”. This is the bit that trips me up, and it makes me question the true meaning of the lessons my kind friend and my well-intentioned parents tried to impart.
This kind of “doing whatever you want to do”, in my case, looks something like this: I would spend all day on the most comfortable couch or bed I can find, alternately drinking wine and coffee (extra strong, with too much honey), and eating as much chocolate and as many bags of crisps as I can lay my hands on. I’d switch between watching movies, TV series, and YouTube videos, and reading books (both paper and Kindle).
I can assure you, that is NOT the future my parents had in mind for me. And I doubt my friend meant that life of dissipation, either. While there can be a lot of good in reading, and relaxing with a movie is not, of itself, bad, the rest of it is really not good at all – at least, not for my body.
And definitely not for my goals. My family. My career. My life.
Trading Good for BEST
As I juggled these disparate perspectives of “doing whatever I please”, I finally figured it out. I CAN do whatever I please with my life – BIG Picture stuff. I CAN do work I love. And I CAN be good at it – just as good as I want to be.
But to do what I want to do, I have to do a whole lot of what I DON’T want to do along the way.
Allow me to illustrate. I love to write. I want to write. I want to be a writer – and a good one, at that. What I don’t love is getting up early. But if I want to practise my writing, I must get up early and write. I enjoy watching and reading educational material that makes me better at what I do. I believe it is key to my growth and success. But I enjoy watching Jimmy Fallon more (don’t judge ;)) – and often that wins out over the good stuff.
It’s not that the little distractions and small indulgences are bad. In many cases, they’re actually good! But they’re not the best. They’re not the grand, long-term awesomeness that I really – REALLY – want. So this year, I will not sacrifice the BEST on the altar of the GOOD … or even the not-so-bad.
That stuff will have to wait.