WHERE DID MY TRUE SELF GO?

The end of a year is always a good place to reflect upon where one’s life is at and where it is heading. My problem is that being a thinker is an intrinsic and essential part of who I am . I think too much, too deep, too often. Can’t be helped! When you meditate on things as often and as deeply as I do, you come to realise that when certain thoughts and ideas keep creeping up is because they need to be considered and acted upon, or else they will haunt you and be forever present as painful reminders of your lack of courage and the hope deferred of what could have potentially been a much more fulfilling, purposeful life. There is something in our consciousness, in our spirit that acts like the rudder of our life. We are the ones turning the rudder but ultimately it is most definitely not us at the helm, or at least that is my own personal experience. I am under no false illusion that I direct my steps, but at the end I would like to think that I was able to at least recognise and act wisely, intuitively on those moments in life when I encountered a junction on the road or when a seemingly accidental curve ball was thrown my way to force me into jumping one way or another, to make a choice, to push forward without fear or coercion.

Perhaps what I have been experiencing in these last few months is nothing more than a mid-life crisis; a point in one’s life when you take stock and ponder on all the what-ifs, all the alternative paths one could have taken or may yet still need to take. It is a cliché to state that in the midst of investing one’s life in raising a family and cultivating a marriage with solid roots; in living sacrificially by putting everyone else’s happiness before your own, one can easily loose their identity and simply be identified as the link that keeps different chains together, be it family, work or relationships. Cliché or not, I have most definitely found this is true in my own life.

The recurrent thought or voice echoing on my head as of late has been saying: “Stop hiding behind what you are good at, what is familiar, and go on the journey to discover what it is you are destined to be, what it is you are meant to excel at. Go on a journey of self-discovery. Put for once in your life yourself first and discover what it is that you were made for, what makes your heart sing. I have spent so many years putting everyone else’s needs before my own that I am beginning to feel that my voice, the essence of who I am has got lost in the midst of life’s demands; my voice has been drowned out by those whose voices matter most or so I thought.

I know this will sound heartless and self-absorbed, but I am all about being honest to others and primarily to myself, and so I call it as I see it. Yes, I must say it: I would like to wake up tomorrow and not feel the ongoing, relentless, unforgiving burden of being a mum, a wife, a sister, a daughter or a friend. I want to know what it feels like to be truly free, free from a heavy sense of responsibility, free from the yoke of religion, education, history, expectations and promises, free from the oppressive sense that our life is all panned out for us; from the predictability of what is to come; the barrenness of what will never be. I long for my chains to be broken so that I can walk forward with only one thought in mind: How can I best use my personality, my knowledge and my gifting to be able to claim when it is all said and done that I have lived my life fully, without reservations, fear or regrets; that I have always been true to myself, pursued my truth and no one else’s?

Every fibre of my being assures me that I was meant for more than what I am today, than what I have achieved so far, and I am not talking about a reputation, fame or material success. I am referring solely to a place where my life will finally reach its purpose and full meaning; a point where I can assuredly say: “I have arrived”; a point where there will be no more internal turmoil, wrestling or strife. Perhaps such a place doesn’t exist, but why then be tormented by a void within that no one and nothing can fill? I know I am not alone in feeling this. When you move in Christian circles, you are told that only God can fill that void, but God’s presence is ever beating in my life and yet that void, that call to something more meaningful not only remains but rings louder and clearer each time.

I do not regret the path I have chosen, far from it, but I do not want to resent it because it stopped me from finding out who I am besides Mercedes the mother, the daughter, the sister, the wife. There is so, so much potential in all of us to do extraordinary things. I do not want to short-change myself by hiding behind what it is I am expected to be doing instead of braving it and embarking on the quest of finding what I was truly made to be. I know that longing I feel burning inside of me is a seed that has been planted in my soul. I did not put it there. To ignore that latent undeniable inner call that incites us to discover what is yet to be achieved, what is yet to be fulfilled is to clip the wings of a bald eagle and expect it to still dazzle us with its majestic presence and skill.

There must be more than this. I know there is!

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10 thoughts on “WHERE DID MY TRUE SELF GO?

  1. I loved this essay. I prefer to think of this point as the mid-life awakening. It’s not a crisis and I don’t feel the need to buy a sports car. But I know that feeling where the ordinary has become mundane. And when I got there I had to look for what I wanted to do, beyond work and parenting. What, when I lay on my deathbed in my eighties or nineties, would I regret not having accomplished? What that thought process generated for me became my target, my proverbial bucket list. And, like you, mine is not driven by needing wealth, or fame or public accolade. I make enough money to be comfortable, I get enough love to feel valued. What I want is to know I climbed the mountain of my choice and either succeeded or failed but gave my best effort. I am five years in. I’ve written a trilogy and a very personal novel. Neither have attracted interest of agents. I have another three books in some level of development. And I have to constantly nudge myself. Have I given this my best? Am I done trying to climb this mountain? What are my markers for success? I don’t know yet. One of my friends calls this “rattling the cage” when we feel that urge to shake things up. I think you are on the right track. Set your sights forward and find your mountain.

  2. Thank you Carol for sharing of your own personal experiences and where you are at. Maybe you are right, maybe I am rattling my cage. I don’t know. All I know is that I have not brought this upon myself. It is something I feel very, very strongly deep inside and I cannot shake it off. It feels like something has literally been planted within and I have to nurture and bring it to fruition whatever that may be. Whether I will have the courage to see it through is a different matter. I hope and pray I do. M

  3. The one thing that was said to me that helped me is that nothing you take on needs to be permanent. So try something. If that something helps you find the fulfillment you are looking for, great. If not, you cast it off and try something else. Give yourself permission to try things on for size. There’s no countdown clock. No wrong turns, just paths to explore. Maybe that will make it feel more like using your creativity and less about risk and bravery.

    I hope that helps.

    • Problem is I am not just thinking this in terms of creativity. Some of the paths I see in front of me are not the kind of change of direction that would necessarily allow you to get back to the setting off point, if you know what I mean. To be honest, I am not even sure what any of this will look like. I just know my cage is being rattled and the more I try to drown the noise out, the louder and clearer it gets.

      • However you decide to journey forward, I am sure you will have deeply considered it, and that is the best you can do. We are all tightrope walking through life. Keep your balance and keep moving. I wish you the best possible outcome in your personal voyage.
        Carol

      • Thanks Carol. That is just my problem and what holds me back. In trying to always keep the right balance I curtail my own freedom. It is a funny mixture of wanting to always be in control and fear. I am only human after all. It should be interesting. Hold tight, Mercedes, hold tight!:-)

    • Can’t read that article unless I subscribe or pay a minimum fee. I don’t think it is fair to expect someone to purchase or register to something before I even know whether it is worth my while.

      • That’s ridiculous. I have to say I hate the Trib. But I like Eric Zorn’s writing. Here’s the relevant excerpt of the article:

        A year ago in this space, I put out a call for volunteers to join me in conducting a major test of my theory that the best way to reach a personal goal is to commit to working on it for just 10 minutes every day.

        Learn a new instrument, language or other skill. Purge the storage areas in your house. Write the memoir, novel or screenplay that’s been percolating in your head, read those classics, scan those old photos. You know, the big plans that often come to mind when the flip of the calendar reminds us that somedays rapidly turn into yesterdays.

        My personal experiment with it had gone well. On New Year’s Day of 2014, I’d quietly resolved to devote 10 minutes a day to the fiddle, an instrument I hadn’t played much for 30 years. And my improvement was noticeable, at least to the one judge who matters — my long-suffering wife.

        The plan was simple: 10 minutes of practice, minimum, no days off.
        The idea was also simple: The average American is awake for 1,032 minutes a day according to a 2013 Gallup Poll and 10 minutes is less than 1 percent of that — an almost insignificant interval dwarfed by the time most of us spend poking idly around on social media or gawping at forgettable TV. Yet over the course of a year it adds up to more than 60 hours.

        If you want to try a 10MaD project for 2016, here are my five guidelines based on reading all the updates:

        1.Set a specific goal. “Meditate,” “read,” “get fit” and so on are resolutions, not goals, and usually too vague to be sufficiently inspirational. My goal for 2015 was to get hired to play fiddle at a square or contra dance, and I ended up with four gigs.

        2.Find a 10MaD partner. Or get someone else to hold you regularly accountable.

        3.Make it portable. Contrive tasks at least tangentially related to your goal for those days when you’re away. For me that was studying sheet music on my travels.

        4.Don’t combine days. Getting momentum is the secret, not averaging a certain amount of time. There’s no point in doing 20-minute “make-up” days; just get back on the 10-minute horse.

        5.Ten minutes is the floor, not the ceiling. Nearly everyone discovers that, on some days, the 10 minutes turns into 30 minutes or an hour. That’s not extra credit or an excuse to skip tomorrow; it’s baked into the idea that inertia, not lack of time, is the biggest obstacle between you and what you want to attain.

      • Great advice. I just wish I knew where it is that I am heading with all this. That’s just it. I don’t know what it is. I just know I am not there yet.

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