Stuck at home with an injured foot; I’ve been in this scenario more times than any one person should be – but, every time it happens, there seems to be a gift with it since it makes me stop and take a step back to look at my life. I have been feeling overwhelmed in a few areas of life, uncertain about the directions I wanted to go. Now that I can’t really go anywhere, I’m making the time to sit and reflect on my priorities again, to think about where I want to be and the kind of people I want to be with.
Being injured means I can’t go to places and see people with ease. I have to think about how important it is for me to go where I was planning to go. Is it worth it the extra hassle to commute on crutches? Should I save my energy and stay in? It was clear that my time this week was better spent at home rather than at improv shows, Diwali celebrations, or Halloween events. I’ve recently been spending a lot of time on school-related tasks, and I’ve also been quite social; I haven’t been giving myself quality alone time. The time I have had to myself I was restless; always between tasks, puttering away time on anything and everything that wasn’t actually useful.
I haven’t been writing, reading, or meditating, and those things really feed my soul. I also found my long to-do list that had been tucked away out of sight for many weeks. Now I can get those things done and make space for new projects. I’ve been hesitant to start anything, even if it’s something I’d find enjoyable because it would just be another item added to the list.
Self-care time was certainly overdue, and part of my self-care is knowing how and where to allocate my time. It’s been great to have the time to reflect on what I need and what parts of my life are not contributing to the life I envision for myself. I noticed how loose my boundaries were with others and it wasn’t helping me send a clear message of what I need in my life.
Having integrity in the world is important to me, but I noticed I was out of integrity in a few areas of my life, the most significant one being a friendship I’ve had with someone over the last five months. It was more than a friendship, but that part was always very vague and confusing. I knew he was in a weird place, so I didn’t want to push anything he wasn’t ready for. But as the months went on it started to wear on me, I was treading too cautiously, adapting to his level of comfort when it came to expression and communication. It didn’t feel right. I’ve been trying more and more to be my authentic self in the world and stifling back certain things wasn’t lining up with my desire to be more open and vulnerable. I didn’t feel safe to unfold because it was clear I would not be held.
If someone can’t be present for more than just fun, everything stays on the surface and the greater depths of what is possible remain a mystery. I’m not against having a good time, in fact, I have immense gratitude that he could offer me that. He got me out exploring and adventuring again, something that I wasn’t able to do for a number of years, and he was also a welcome distraction to the heaviness that came into my life when my sister passed. Things just got to a point where it felt like I hit a wall; there clearly wasn’t interest to move into a relationship that was more well-rounded.
I want people in my life who want to see all of me and who also want to show me who they are. I do well on my own, but know my growth is limited when I’m not relating to people in a wholehearted way. It was a lonesome few years for me when I went through my most difficult period with cancer. Some of that time was helpful for me to develop in certain ways, but I shut myself out way more than I should have, and it certainly limited my development. I need people in my life, but not just for the sake of having someone there. If I’m going to spend a lot of time with any particular person, my time with them has to reflect how I want to be in the world in general.
Compromising is contagious, and if I do it in one area of my life, it spreads to others. It’s hard to pass up on something which can be so enjoyable. Fun times are delicious and satisfying for a while, but I crave interactions that provide longer lasting nourishment. Although it’s difficult to lose someone I care about and I certainly feel a gap there now, I trust that this gap is less hurtful than the void I’ve been feeling due to not expressing my heart’s needs and desires.
The message of my need to be more authentic was trying to come in for at least a few weeks now, I was just too busy to listen to it. It seems like I can only put things off for so long before life trips me up and makes me look more closely at the path I’m currently walking.