A terrible habit of mine - reading whilst walking - but I am fantastically practised at.
So back in the day, when I came here, gosh what a gap it has been (for a myriad of reasons), Fridays were for 'Wish Lists' & I have no doubt that that will mostly resume being the case, but for now, after such a hiatus I wanted to instead have a look at 'taking stock of life', why we do it and how we do it. If that is we do ever do it.
For whatever reasons & I have no doubt there are far more then I will end up listing, I have been doing a fair amount of soul searching & taking a bit of a stock check over life, some aspects have been thrust upon me by pure realisations that certain traits of others or actions towards me, or similar, are just not okay with the core of me. On other levels it's been finding myself in O/P treatment once more & having to adjust to that & work out how I intend to make it worthwhile & with longer affects then previously, or even how I came to find myself in the place where I needed that (& the myriad of linked appointments) once more. But for whatever the key reasons it's been tossing around in my mind a lot, that I need adjustments & to work out what's actually important. Am I okay still being a commodity to others as & when they need me? Am I okay being silent when perhaps I should be anything but? What is actually important?
It's been reality cathartic (ish) giving this thought when I know I have time, inclination & safety to do so. Working out where to start was less easy, but I love lists so they have featured a fair amount and sometimes there wasn't a specific starting point, thoughts bombed in & I scribbled them on a number of scraps of paper. Sometimes it's the best way - a starting block. This may or may not help you to work out if your life needs a readjustment or some consideration or where perhaps to start in considering it (please bear in mind I am not this fantastic zen being, anything but, but we all have to try & start somewhere to becoming whoever it is we want to be & what we want our lives to hold).
So firstly why have I been considering this?
1. Realising that I let a number of things slide that ultimately make me incredibly uncomfortable, uneasy, unhappy and with it unwell; from actions people take/how they live their lives, peoples behaviour, treating me like a doormat or a commodity, so on & so forth.
2. That moment my age hit me incredibly hard around the face; in less than a month I turn the terrifying age of 31 & there are a number of things that I think need addressing, considering & re-evaluating prior to that point.
3. Having someone I greatly respect & admire tell me how many times I apologise & say 'I'm sorry'.
4. Ending up back in O/P treatment & spiralling with my mental health at a tremendous rate of knots.
5. My utterly scrumptious, rapidly growing, developing, learning & just mind boggling 18 month old niece; do I want her thinking how I live at present is the way forward? That being timid & a pushover is worthwhile? Hell no. I want her to be proud of her auntie for being a number of things, none of which equate to weak or submissive or down trodden, that is not an example I want to set her.
6. Questioning who I want to be & realising I am none of those things & looking at the people I most admire, love & just am flawed by on a pretty much daily basis and the reasons why they flaw me, whilst also considering those I have lost & wondering what the hell they would think of me now, of who I am, of how I lost core aspects of me & why I let it happen and then also considering what would I leave behind if I went to sleep tonight & didn't wake up? How would I be remembered? Would I be remembered? What do I want to leave behind me?
There are more but onwards & upwards for now . . .
So then what? Then came lists & spider diagrams & thought processes to answer the above (& those unlisted) & the outcome goes a little like this;
1. Lies, being used, drink-driving, ignorance, arrogance, selfishness, self-entitled behaviour, being dismissed for something 'better', being asked to lie to others & for others, knowing you will always be the bottom of the heap for some people, being talked over/interrupted, people being disrespectful; to others, to me, to others property etc, childishness, when people are cruel, when people can't accept they are wrong, ending up as the butt of peoples jokes or the thing they get out & humiliate to make themselves feel better, really drunk women/women that curse worse than squaddies, idleness, broken promises, poor manners, when people don't take responsibility or don't know how to say I'm sorry, (there are more but now seems like a good stopping point).
2. What do I really want? What direction do I want my life to go in? Who do I want to be? How do I get better & really get better? What is genuinely & completely important to me & who? What would I like to achieve before I am 32? What am I running out of time for?
3. How many times? For what reasons? For being me, for existing, for speaking, requiring assistance, taking up someones time, wanting to matter to someone, cancelling plans, making a cup of coffee that is not the exact colour of brown someone takes it in, having to use the toilet, for others mess/washing up/mannerisms, for not wanting to be drunk/get drunk/have an extra glass, for not remembering someones dogs 7th birthday if he was born a year earlier, not instantly texting someone back, for being tired, for not driving, for not wanting a date, for wanting a date, for reading a book, for not watching tv, for what I wear, for what matters to me, for my interests, for my eating habits, for not wanting to live with students, for needing a cuddle, for ending up in tears, for being hurt, for not being someone better, for being the size I am, for being my height, for walking, for the way I speak & my mannerisms, basically for being here.
Why? Why do I do that? How have I let people make me apologise ultimately for my very existence? It is not just an 'English thing'. How do I rectify that & why do I apologise for others? I am slightly tempted to actually tally how many times I apologise in a day & how many times I hear others do it.
4. Yeah . . . this is a story for another time, but it's something I address daily, or try to in whatever ways necessary or within my capabilities (strength to fight myself) on any given day & at any given time & alas it is something that has required me to once more be in O/P treatment & under a team of people to keep me ticking along & 'safe', but in turn it is something that is greatly exacerbated or aided by life around me & those within it. You'd be amazed at just how much easier things can be, less scary, daunting, lonely with just a text message or a cuddle.
5. At teeny tiny baby point she wouldn't have noticed a damn thing, other perhaps than the reality that 'Auntie Lulu' held her, adored her, made odd noises, changed her, that kind of thing, but now at 18 months old she is this amazing little ball of energy, of watching eyes, of repeated words & every bit of her I am utterly smitten with. I worry more perhaps about what she thinks of me then what my boss thinks of me, I want to be the auntie she not only loves but can admire, can learn from, cry to, trust & be proud of. I don't want her thinking I'm just her 'sick, weak, walked over' auntie Lulu, I want her to somehow learn from me that you can be interesting & interested without doing the same things as everyone else, that strong doesn't mean bullish, that you shouldn't be a commodity to anyone or let people stand all over you, to know that beauty & frivolity can mean spider hunting, eskimo kisses, turkey noises, cuddles & blowing fairies.
and 6. This was the one that led to an insane amount of lists & similar & heaven help us, further questions, but I'll summarise where possible & of course do so with a semblance of categorisation.
So ... Who do I want to be?
Loving, interesting, with a degree of wit, abundantly more care free, successful (in whatever way I translate success to be), in control of my own head & mental health, fit & healthy, happy, reliable, wanted, loved, compassionate, always learning or thinking at least, strong, brave, competitive in the good variety, quirky, bohemian, loyal, trustworthy, worthwhile, compassionate, varied, a mummy (one day I really hope), creative, congruent, qualified (I still intend to get there with my qualifications), someone worth loving not using & numerous others, but mostly I want to be me & happy me, the best version of me.
How would I be remembered now if it all ended tonight? I'm not sure, nor do I really want to know, but in my head, with the way things have been, how far I am from who I want to me, I don't imagine I would be remembered for much, or at least not attributes I would want to be remembered for. I imagine these to be; weak, endlessly apologetic, a mess, unaccomplished, worthless, easily used, dismissible, unimportant, flawed, scarred, a disappointment. Those are not things I want to leave behind, I'd want people to have warm memories of me, good ones, funny ones & be able say that in whatever way I was true to me, I mattered & I left behind . . . x, y & z & that I would be missed.
So where does that leave me in taking stock? With a plethora of lists ultimately, perhaps the beginnings of an action plan, but a beginning none the less & one that can be extended, tweaked, & altered - because that's the funny thing about life, we can do that. At this moment in time I intend to start small, start within my capabilities, not with things outside of my power - alas we have no control over others (wouldn't it be dull if we did) but we can all start somewhere when it comes to taking stock of our lives & what we value.
For me right now? That means finding ways to fall in love with life again, not with me, but with life, eventually it might seep into liking myself, try things, learn things, attempt things, fail at things (something I do not accept well) & build upon the values & essence that make up my core, my centre. What am I not okay with? Maybe those things need slowly addressing, what makes me happy? Where are my simple pleasures? Start small, indulge, create & see what happens. So finally I am back here; typing, writing, creating, doing something for me, because I enjoy it!
Slowly doing something with the lists & stock checks on my life.
How often do we stock check? How often should we?