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How Do I Start?

How do you start over when you feel like you’ve been given a brand new set of shiny tools, but you’re not building, you’re driving.  You don’t need a toolbox, you need a map!

Cryptic, I know.

Over the past few months, I became a follower of Julia Cameron’s books.  She has 30+ books out there, plenty to choose from.  I’ve learned a lot from her.  In many ways, I feel like my eyes have been opened.  I feel as though I’d been wandering in a workaholic haze.  Living to work, but not working to live.  Little or no time for my family, my friends, or for my own pursuits.

Gotta pay those bills!

Gotta be a good employee!

Working every holiday and almost every weekend, that’s what a good manager does.  Right?

And in the end, what do I have to show for it?  I was released from my job, a job I’d worked at for 15 years.  Does it matter?  I don’t know.  I’m still trying to figure this out.  In many ways, my release was a turning point.  A positive thing.  The longer I’ve been away, the more I can appreciate the change.  At the same time, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling lost, confused, adrift.

Where am I going in this new life of mine?  What does this life look like?  I’ve been journaling, going on weekly outings, and exploring my creative side.  I’m working again, but I have to fight the urge to fall back into my old, bad habits.  At some point in my past, I stopped dreaming.  I stopped reaching for new goals.  I became stagnant in my own complacency.  I avoided living my life.  I worked, and worked, and worked.  Now, I can see I had/have a problem, but I’m at a loss to fix it, to fix myself and my nature.

I haven’t been blogging because I’m ashamed of the life I was given, but stopped living.  I stopped writing my stories on a regular basis.  If I couldn’t find the perfect time to write, I didn’t write at all.  If I felt like I didn’t have anything worth blogging about, I stayed away from WordPress.  I’m a child that way, avoiding the things that make me feel uncomfortable.  For example, it’s easier to binge-read, or binge-watch Netflix, than to deal with the realities I don’t want to face, like the clutter-seeds that are still in my living room—leftover boxes and bags of stuff I’ve inherited or bought.  I have the tools to deal with the last of my clutter.  It’s not much, maybe one carload of miscellaneous stuff.  If I dealt with one basket/grocery sack per day of leftover clutter, I could be purged of my mess in a week or two.  I’ve already purged and maintained other rooms of my home.  This is the last of the clutter baggage I’ve carried with me.

Why do I avoid doing the things that will help me?  Because if were to finish writing my book, or cleaning up the last remnants of my clutter, or to accomplish any of the other goals I used to have for my life, I’d have to move forward.  I’d be stumbling around in new territory, no map.

And it scares me.

Success scares me.

Writing this and admitting the truth, scares me.

Why?  Because it’s easier to blame the world, to blame anything outside myself for where I am in life.  If I were to take control of my own destiny, to do all the things I’ve wanted to do… What would that look like?  What would that feel like?  I know I should feel happy and excited when I think about a successful future for myself.  I’m smart.  I know how to do many things.  I’ve worn many hats in my life, as well as in my career.  But I can’t be happy when I’m afraid of getting out of my comfort zone.  I can’t be happy when fear makes me want to hide in my bedroom, in my bathrobe.  There are days when I don’t want to get out of bed because I don’t know what my day will look like.  My old routines of fifteen years are gone!  Each day is different from before.  My life is better in many ways, but fear keeps me from enjoying the changes.

This is not a healthy way to live.

I’m not writing this because I’m fishing for advice, or comments.  I’m writing this because I feel like I’m not alone in my troubles.  I feel like there are more of us out there that feel lost, confused, and afraid.  I feel like I need to admit to my fears if I want to move past them.  I think most of us are not living the life we thought we’d be living, but it’s not acceptable to admit to being disappointed in ourselves, in the way we’re managing our lives.  We keep busy, not productive.  Keep moving, don’t stop.  The more I understand, the more frustrated I feel, the more I wish I had a magic wand to make everything all better.  Poof!  All fixed.

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2 thoughts on “How Do I Start?”

  1. Wow. I don’t have the exact same situation as you, but I feel a lot of what you’re feeling. I’ve always prided myself on being an optimistic person who doesn’t let things get me down. I don’t get depressed. I don’t wallow in self-pity. But after reading this, I wonder if I’m fooling myself. Like when I know I should be doing something, but I’m on the computer playing games or watching Buffy for the 6th or 7th time…or both at the same time. Then I suddenly start feeling useless. I think your post opened my eyes to some things. Thank you. And I hope you get it all figured out.

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