What a month. And not just for me, but for a variety of friends of mine, near and far. It’s been a month of …what do I call it? Realisations? Taking a good look at ourselves? The hard, cold light of day?
This month has been about being very grown up for me and several of my loved ones. Maybe it was something about moon cycles, or tides, or some such. Maybe it’s because we are all, well, technically, grown-ups, and just now are learning what that means.
An example. I had to realise that I just was not cut out for freelance consulting, not without some sort of back-up plan. I haven’t been so stressed out for at least six months (since we bought a house and got married in the space of three months. Why did I not think that was going to be stressful?!) Basically, the realisation involved me accepting that I was just not the ideal version of myself that I had hoped: the version that is OK with uncertainty, who can rationally and emotionally cope with risk, the one who sleeps well at night, not knowing how we were going to pay the mortgage next month, but simply trusting it would all work out.
It’s the sin of my generation to not go with the flow.
I do not go with the flow.
Figuring this out involved taking a good, clear eyed look at myself, accepting my weaknesses, and working with them rather than against them. Accepting I am not the version of myself I would like to be, but am instead a cut-down, bleary eyed, farting version. A version with limits; a version without the built-in, raft-like quality of so many pretender-hippies of my generation. I just can’t be as easygoing as Jesus and his sparrows, or Buddha and his alms. I might reach enlightenment…but until then, it’s like this: I’m human.
And that’s OK. I can keep trying to be the hero of my own life; just not the superhero.
My husband also had to take some tough love from his mentor this month, about managing his creative work and balancing it with paid work. And my best friend had to accept that the ideal version of herself, the version who is so blithely relaxed about moving in with her boyfriend and the tensions at work at the moment that she might as well quit smoking too, just does not exist. Another good friend had to accept his limits as a boyfriend – the type of limits which are involved in being a breathing human being and not a punching bag.
Hard realisations. Hard to accept that one is not the person one believed in, cherished and nourished in the overly commodious apartment in one’s head for fantasies. There is a difference between dream and fantasy; between hope and manic ambition.
I have had to accept that I am not the girl I thought I was. But I may just be the kind of woman I would like to be friends with.