It’s that time of year again- another trip around the sun is almost complete, another number is ready to be added to my age resume, and the opportunity for reflection is here. Did I learn anything over the last year? Did I fight to hold on to the things not meant for me? Have I done enough to be better and to do better for myself and for others? Did I waste time worried about how other people perceive my choices or did I not make choices based on that same premise? What did I actually do with the week, days, and hours given to me?
It’s always easier to focus on what we didn’t do because negative head space seems to draw us in like a bug to a bright light. I didn’t work out like I should have and I think I spent 1/3rd of the year not properly hydrated. I didn’t take my make up every night and I said the work fuck 1,057 times at a minimum. I didn’t always reach out to people when they crossed my mind and I missed out on opportunities to meet new people through dating or casual interactions because I was afraid. I gave up meat and caffeine and then I found both of them again and I threw at least two epic pity parties. The best part about not doing any of those things is that none of them mattered. Some of those things are what I call the details. They don’t define me in any way but they still hold a little power in how I feel about myself or life in general. I may have chosen poorly at times but that doesn’t take away from the value of who I am and where I am. I own every shitty mascara smear on my pillow case and despite my fears I met some pretty great people…..and some not so great ones but I’ll save those adventures for another time.
So, despite myself and all the little insecurities that ebb and flow around my head, I accomplished some pretty fucking (1,058) amazing things this past year. Here is one of many……
Sacrifice vs Compromise
Over the course of my lifetime I’ve sacrificed a lot of time and energy pushing on doors that pulled to open. I thought the more I gave and the harder I pushed surely someone on the other side of that door was going to open it. I made choices that lead me down paths and I’m not certain I even knew where it was going to lead but I took off anyway. Along the way I collected memories and experiences. I avoided roadblocks and directional signs because I wanted things to be how I thought they should be. I rerouted and rerouted until I got there-until I stood on the doorstep of jobs, friends, lovers, and places waiting for the door to magically open. I’d done all the “right” things and by the time I got there my tanks were on empty and no matter how hard I knocked, no-one came to open the door. One of the harshest realties in life is that some doors were never meant for us. Even if the door opens momentarily and what you see inside is a beautiful space it’s not our space. All the sacrifices and all the loss of self along the way will never change that. In those moments, a change you didn’t choose happens and it feels awful. The brilliant side of that is that you get to choose how you heal.
Getting your shit together requires a level of honesty you can’t even imagine. To face some missteps and not so stellar choices is tough. When you’re dredging through to the other side of situations it’s human nature to say “I wish I didn’t do that” or “if I had only done this or that instead”. Well, you didn’t, and this is where you’re at. I think it’s incredibly healthy to own the decisions you make based on whatever was going on in those moments but, that’s it. If someone on the other side of a closed door treated you poorly or had a negative affect on your life that behavior is theirs to own, not yours. You can’t change what they did but you can unfuck the way you’ve accepted it as part of your reality.
There is no gold star or blue ribbon for continuing to sacrifice yourself because you made a choice that didn’t end the way you had hoped it would. It’s your life , your book, and those are your chapters. We ALL have chapters in our books we don’t want people to read but we’re not here to rewrite history we’re here to make it and for the parts we don’t like we don’t have to repeat them. When it feels like you keep having the same result over and over how do stop the rinse and repeat cycle? Compromise.
You don’t have to sacrifice yourself for every situation. It takes a lot of self awareness and the ability to communicate with others and yourself to find a compromise to most everything. I work hard and I love my job. That being said, I know that I absolutely have to unplugged for a few hours every night or else I’ll keep going and going until I don’t love it anymore. My compromise is for three hours every week night I stay away from work related things. I close the door to my office and I do Rachel stuff. In my personal relationships I know what I need to be happy and to be a good person for someone else. I think a lot of us live with a little bit of fear in the back of our minds that if we do or say certain things we’ll be too much or portrayed as selfish and they’ll leave. So back off we head into sacrificing what we want for the better of someone else. The compromise is to let a situation be exactly what it’s going to be without manipulating it with sacrifices that leave your buckets empty and don’t allow you to be you or allow for someone else to really know who you are. Your needs are valid. Being able to articulate those needs to another person is scary and leaves us vulnerable but to be in an environment that you feel like you can, is a gift.
This last year I found the courage learn the art of compromise with other people but most importantly with myself. Maybe it’s because I was left by another person in the most violent and permanent way that I’ve had to stop sacrificing my future for a past I’m powerless to change. I had to make the choice to stop sacrificing opportunities to find out if I’m capable of feeling deep and wonderful things for another person because I’m afraid, afraid that I will. My daily compromise for all of that is to be able to face exactly where I’m at and say this is it- no running, no hiding, there is something great for me here and I intend to find it no matter what….I won’t sacrifice that for anything.