Staying in My Lane
If I was a car, I would have had a head-long collision by now. Created a massive pile up I am sure. Because I occasionally spend too much time checking out the other lane and watching what other cars are doing. Which as you will agree is dangerous in an actual car. But it has just as damaging an effect in this imaginary scenario too.
This post has been swirling around in my head for a few days, fragments of this and that with nothing quite coming together. This morning I am writing it as therapy for myself, because I really need to get back into my zone. The "this is why I do what I do" zone. It's so easy to get distracted by everybody else's highlight reel, as the shiny surface of social media and internet facade are so often called. Especially when real life is a little drab or stressful, it's not too hard to flick on the screen and have all that lovely possibility and inspiration at my fingertips. And then comes the part when I start feeling a little left behind or frustrated that it's not working out that way for me.
And that's the thought I really need to catch and throw into the mental trash bin pretty quickly. The reality is, no not everything is perfect and it never will be. I will always have goals and dreams and places I'd like to go, but I am not always in control of my situation to get there as quickly or easily as I would like. It is easy to blame it on circumstances or even finances but deep down, I know that the fact I am just *me* has a lot to do with it. I'm an individual, with my own family, own challenges and the big one: what makes someone else happy doesn't necessarily make me happy.
I would honestly love to be able to stock the shelves of my fabric shop with a lot more, and I will keep that dream in view. Sometimes, it seems like I am running so far behind everyone else. And then I remember: I'm not in a race, or a competition. I'm in my lane, going my direction and if I look sideways too much, I am going to crash. Being grateful and in the moment is something I need to learn. I am not *ungrateful* in the real sense of the word, but there is a place of calm that I reach, when I draw back to "what I have got is what I need right now", and when the time is right, things will happen. And comparison is the thief of joy.
I would have *loved* to continue my clothing business, absolutely would have loved it. But, I could no longer sustain the hours myself and I was unable to outsource the making. Partly because it wasn't possible financially, and partly, because I have these niggling ethics. I felt like I already had to buy so much 'made overseas' clothing and that there were already enough people somewhere-over-yonder not being paid much to make people, like me if I had gone this route, have an easier lifestyle. Having done the long, hard yards myself and suffering the health effects of too much time on a sewing machine, I couldn't justify doing this to someone else. I don't put my own choices on anyone else at all, I am a zero judgement person and also realistic. But I know what I can and can't do...and when something doesn't sit in my gut right, I can't do it. These things I have to remind myself of when I see other people who have gone that route and basically (on the surface at least) are doing what I only dreamed of.
And call me lazy or whatever, but I no longer wish to work those long-hours to get myself anywhere faster. I did that and it didn't make me happy. I now subscribe to the work smarter, not harder theory. And am getting better and better at quitting stuff if I feel like it's too much. Because outside goals, plans, hopes for this and that - there is actually life, and other people in it. And life is pretty empty without the happiness and contentment of having people around you, and enjoying just being me. I saw somewhere that society wears busy like a badge of honour these days. Busy doesn't always equate to happy or even productive. So I'm bucking the busy trend, I'm going to be the shameful person who isn't just too busy. I'm going to quit what isn't working, what I can't fit in and be cool with it. (I will have to remind myself I said this!) Ps. Quitting stuff is hard!
I half suffered an identity crisis (sort of, but not, I don't have another word for it!) when I first finished up my clothing business last year and I am still finding my way out of that. I am still a bit of a bumble bee, buzzing busily here and there, sometimes having no clue as to what I really would like to do. Is that how you feel when you leave work for some reason, such as having children or different plans? You might be excited about the future and know the possibilities/joy it holds, but at the same time, so much of the old you was tied to that job/work/business? Food for thought anyway.
In short, being happy and content in where life holds one, is a bit more complicated than it sounds. That's what I have discovered. I am continually having to remind myself WHY I chose to do what I am doing and not become blinded by the headlights of other cars. To stay in my lane and realize my direction is specific and important to me. Everyone is different and for me, work will only get a person so far and I just don't want to throw off what is actually more important to me for it - and that is my family. And having fun. And my dog.
It's probably a good thing the business is named after him. Somedays, when I have been too busy, I look down and see that little face and it's big dark eyes saying "hey, slow down and spend some time with me." Henry is a constant reminder that there are others who need me outside work, and that life has much more in it than whether or not my business is working out the way I want or need it to.