I know you. You’re a dreamer. You know you deserve a wonderful life and you’re not willing to settle for anything less. You have a vision for yourself and will do anything it takes to make it into your reality. You want to be out there, dancing and playing inside the beating heart of life. You want to do what you love and leave the rest behind.
The Prison of Tiny Things That Don’t Matter
But often, you are too overwhelmed. You are bogged down by the details and trivialities of life. You’re standing there, washing your dishes, tidying up your house, with the fiery urge to get out and do something. You’re stuck inside the house, studying a bunch of words in a huge textbook or staring at the lifeless screen of your computer, while looking out into the bright weather, dreaming of being out there. But you can’t be out there. Because you’ve got to be a great student, you’ve got to have a tidy, perfect house, you’ve got to be a great employee, you’ve got to make that money. This isn’t an attempt to dissuade you from your own disciplines. This is an attempt to challenge your current boring as fuck patterns and liberate yourself from the things that no longer serve you. Most of us don’t realize that we hold the key to unlock the door and walk out of this prison of tiny little things that don’t matter.
When Their Values Supersede Your Own
I have learned over the years that I do not thrive in the academic setting. It’s so rigid. There are too many rules, too many deadlines, too many details, too many regulations over bullshit things. There was literally no room in my life to actually go out with friends, explore, enjoy, and spontaneously do things without having to think of that big exam coming up soon, or that assignment that’s due at midnight.
I understand why they have these systems in place—to cultivate a sense of discipline and excellence in their students. Fine. Great. That works for some, but not for me. To me, it’s like a suffocating chamber, with walls that are slowly closing in on you. The values upheld by academia do not resonate with me whatsoever, but yet they were pushed upon me and I felt forced to live them.
Knowing what your personal values are can be the key to crafting your own wonderful life. I had the awesome experience of discovering my own values by experiencing the contrast academia had provided me. However, after realizing this difference, I still felt like I was stuck. I needed to get through school in order to become a nurse. There seemed to be no other way out of this.
When Old Patterns Stop Serving You
Here’s another example: I really love to read books. However, before I allow myself to enjoy a book, I make sure everything around me is organized. I tidy up my room, I check my emails, I clean up the kitchen. I can’t sit down, read, or enjoy until everything is all in its proper place.
Unfortunately, I can get so involved in these little things, that I end up wasting away precious time for my book. And when I sit down to read the book, I’m already too spent and stressed from all of it.
One day, after doing something like this for the hundredth time, I sat down and thought about what had just happened. Did it really matter that my room was clean before I read? Did it really matter if all the dishes were washed? Did any of those things matter? Why did those boring things take priority over what I truly wanted?
Am I am willing to be a less tidy person, if it meant that I could spend more time doing something truly meaningful for me, like reading a wonderful book?
When we aren’t feeling fulfilled in some area, we must look to see where most of our energy is going. It’s up to us to stand up for what we truly value, and let the rest go. We don’t have to put so much pressure on ourselves in becoming great at things we really don’t care about.
Am I looking to fulfill a career at cleaning people’s houses? Does an extremely clean and tidy house make me any happier? No.
Then why is so much of my energy going towards this?
Learn To Be Okay With The Mess
I’m slowly learning to be okay with an untidy house. I’m learning to be able to enjoy a book in the midst of a cluttered room because I know that my own personal energy is limited and I won’t be able to be perfect at everything.
It’s okay if you highly value your social life, which makes you a slightly less excellent student. It’s okay to prioritize your reading, which causes your room to be a bit messier than usual. It’s okay to leave a few dishes piled up if it means you get to enjoy more time with your boyfriend after dinner. All of those little things we really don’t value in the long run and those things that don’t give you that juicy satisfaction can wait.
You can afford to be bit messier, a bit later, or a bit crazier if it means you get to spend more time and effort doing the things you truly enjoy that enrich your life. It is absolutely impossible to be perfect at everything, so might as well play along with this simple truth and do what you love most. So let your kitchen be a little disorganized. Let your clothes have a few extra wrinkles. It doesn’t matter. You can afford it. The world won’t explode into chaos.
Prioritize Your Values
Connections and relationships mean a lot to me. However, with the way my life was heading with school, it seemed like these other values were forced to be my top priority. The most important things in my life were being suppressed, and as a result, I wasn’t a very happy person.
Your values are part of your connection with yourself. And my connection with myself was severed and weakened. I felt absolutely stuck. But then I decided to entertain the idea of being okay with being an imperfect student. I learned to be okay with being a bit messy, if it meant I had more time for my friends and family. I learned to be okay with being a bit late, if it meant I could have a wonderful morning savoring my breakfast. I learned to be okay with sucking at one area in order to be better in another area—an area of my life that actually mattered to me. Because at the end of my life, when I looked back, I won’t say: Man, I’m so proud of myself for always keeping a tidy room! I’m so proud that all of my papers for school were submitted on time! Oh God no. I want to remember the genuine connections I had with people and the wonderful adventures I had the pleasure of experiencing.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to stop focusing on school and start failing classes. This doesn’t mean my house is going to become a pig sty now. It simply means I’m choosing to direct the majority of my energy towards the things that add richness to my life and be okay with the rest just meeting the bare minimum.
So what’s important to you? What are trivial things in your life you are devoting too much attention to? What are areas in your life that you love that you aren’t giving much attention to? What are some personal values you aren’t honoring right now?
Kisses and Meows,