Breathing Space

Thursday morning, I awake a little tired, stiff and sore.

Wednesdays are hard at the moment, I have a PT session after work followed immediately by an hour and a half of Ashtanga yoga on Wednesday nights. By the time I drag myself through the door at 9pm I’m shattered.

I feel guilty that it’s too late and I’m too tired to walk the dogs, but once the biscuits hit their bowls they don’t seem to mind too much. Tess comes over to plonk herself on my feet while I brush my teeth, pull a comb through my wet hair and study the little lines at the corner of my eyes, that have slowly become more prominent over the past few years. I don’t really mind their presence so much, but when Im tired, I do think they make me look old, and it’s a scary reminder that time is moving on and there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it to do what I want to get done.

But then, our goals are quite fluid really, aren’t they? Frequently altering speed and direction, at times becoming obsolete by deflecting us onto a completely different path, forever changing and adjusting to accommodate our journey along the landscape that is our life.

My goals seem to change more frequently these days. Sometimes I feel frustrated by this and disappointed that I tend to give up more easily than I used to. However, perhaps I’m at a time in my life when, as a result of struggling with and achieving the goals I set earlier in my life, I now have the luxury of having more choice.

I get disheartened sometimes at my apparent lack of willpower, my inability to follow everything through to the bitter end. But when I really stop and think about what I’ve done, I find that there have been plenty of times when I have fulfilled my obligations, even if it pained me to do so, even if every moment, every step towards completion was agony or the last thing in the world I wanted to do.

I sacrificed a lot, but I’m not the only one. Others around me sacrificed too in order to allow me to pursue my ambitions.

I should be proud of what I have achieved, and at times I am. Other times I’m too distracted by what’s next to really dwell on it. Besides, it is inevitable that once you have achieved something you have strived for, it no longer seems as big or as important as you once believed. The next challenge is always the thing that requires the biggest committment, the keenest focus, the most difficult sacrifice.

I have spent the better part of my (almost 33) years setting difficult and seemingly unachieveable goals, then battling through to finish what I start, longing for the day that my life becomes easier. I have also spent a lot of that time worrying more about others than myself. A lot of the time worrying about what they think of me. A lot of time ensuring that their good opinions are maintained and that they are comfortable.

But now I don’t need to. Now I’m on my own. The man in my life is often distant both geographically and emotionally, and whether that is right or wrong for me in the long term, it creates space for me. There is no stepson to look after, no fiancé to wait on, no infatuation to impress, my siblings are ensconced in their own lives/careers/marriages/children, my parents are settled in the country and until yesterday I had been without a “boss” for more than 6 months.

What I’m coming to realise is that perhaps this inability to commit to each and every goal and see it through to the end, is not because I’m flaky, or lacking loyalty, or committment, or drive, but rather because for the first time in my life I’m discovering what I like; what I enjoy; how I prefer to spend my time; what I am willing to sacrifice, as opposed to what I feel obligated to like, spend my time on, or sacrifice.

I have a little time, I have breathing space.

This is a gift- can I learn to just appreciate it rather than panicking about what I havent achieved?

Well, I am trying because I dont want to look back one day and wish I had made better use of this time to gain a better understanding of myself.

So, perhaps in addition to the other goals I have made (which may or may not change) my most important goal is to use this time to explore, to trial, to taste, feel, to experiment, to be inquisitive and to really “experience” this period of freedom that comes to us so rarely in our lifetime.


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