Choose Your Own Adventure
This week I have found myself trying to defend my choices. So I'm blogging about it as a way to think through my problem out loud.
I am overwhelmed with the responsibilities that I have in my little corner of the world. Some of them are seriously self-inflicted wounds, my own desire to do more and be more, but some are just the chips falling in a way that makes my days a bit more challenging. Some things keep me so busy that it makes me question my own priorities. And I now have a personal conflict that seems to have roots in the fact that I stay too busy doing things that they do not fully understand or they are not supportive of. I believe they would say that "I am wasting my time on - fill in the blank". And I get a tad bit defensive. I think I use my time really well. Nobody wants to be accused of wasting their time. I think I'm defensive because I don't like someone else questioning my choices, or my decisions. I don't like the expectation that somehow I would even want their assistance when it comes to making decisions about what I do, and how I spend my time.
There are definitely times when seeking the counsel of others is valuable, even helpful. Shopping, you look to your trendy friend and see if she believes you would be justified spending a tad bit more money on those gorgeous suede boots. (I mean, just in case she thinks you are nuts because they are horrid, you can always play it off as if you were only thinking of buying them for a Halloween costume....) Driving across the city, contemplating where to find an easy enough parking space, we ask for help - where should I turn? At dinner, I mean, who can really decide between the calamari and the artichoke dip? So you pose the question, what should I get? I think all of those are perfectly acceptable reasons to ask someone else what we should be doing. And there are millions more - reasons to ask for someone to tell me what to do. Just tell me. So I can then go do it. Just tell me.
I have friends and clients asking me - what am I supposed to do? And it is not about boots, or parking spaces or menu selections. It's about life. Important things, like how to speak to a family member they have a conflict with, or how to approach a major problem at work, or whether to choose this or that activity to do first for the most success. Just tell me what to do so I can go do it. Easy.
There are so many problems with that question, the first being - WHY do you think I am the right person to ask? But, also, why are you asking ANYONE other than yourself what you should be doing? Do you not trust yourself so much that you would leave decisions up to someone else?
I am truly flattered to be sought for advice. I love talking and problem-solving, whether it be boot selections or work issues. But I really don't want to be in the business of telling people what they should be doing. Its too much responsibility!! I really don't know what you want - how am I supposed to tell you what to do?
Ask my husband.
He'll ask me "should I come home tomorrow right after the meeting or stay late for the work party?"
And I flip out on him. "How in the hell should I know? I don't want to do either, but I don't work at your job tomorrow, nor do I care about whatever the party is. But you do....so YOU decide. The choice is yours, not mine."
I don't want to tell other people what they should be doing, as much as I don't want other people questioning what I should be doing. We can do what we want. I do what I want based on what I care about, based on what matters most to me, based on my mood at the time, based on my own life experiences that led me to today. Just like everyone else out there. And none of that is up for debate or destruction, because it belongs to me. And this week, I have spent a lot of time questioning my own choices because I have forgotten to embrace them. I have forgotten to value them as mine alone. I have allowed an issue with another person, who I think will question my choices, to invade my sense of purpose and peace, making me question my choices and priorities. And its a terrible feeling. Being questioned, from inside or out.
Well now I guess I am going to offer my advice. To myself and anyone who is reading this journey through my conflicted brain. I think we need to ask ourselves good questions about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what does it mean. I think we need to revisit those questions when the weeks get difficult. What we do, how we spend our time, how we define our priorities, really represents who we are. And no one else can define that for us. And I've learned this week that no one else is obligated to understand what those choices mean for each of us. And that needs to be ok.
I will solve my conflict soon. I think I even know what I want to say to best express my feelings and needs moving forward. But, honestly, will someone please just tell me what I'm supposed to do?....I think it would be so much easier.