I was rereading some old (and some not so old) journal entries and I was overwhelmed with how much they could have been written by a 13 year old.
Sometimes, the older I get the younger I feel. I can’t really explain this except to say that I do not feel my age. Well except when I get up every morning and I hear the creaks, pops and cracks...then I feel 100.
I guess what amazed me most was how immature my journal was. Like I had not progressed past that self obsessed, teen that talked about clothes, boys and friends. It seemed so shallow. Which came as a surprise because apparently I think about myself as having way more depth.
But as I think about my life thus far, I have dedicated far more time to outward appearances than internal ones. Friends, intimate relationships and looking good were the focal points of my life. It almost seemed like I was stuck in a perpetual adolescence. Preoccupied with my hair, clothes and what guy liked me. What my friends were doing. What I was going to wear to the party.
This thought caused me to be horrified and laugh at the same time. Can the sum total of my life really be that I have been stuck in teenage drama? The faces have changed and aged but really I am still thinking about the same stuff I was in high school?
Apparently the answer is yes...and no.
There have always been other things that I am interested in: meditation, yoga, writing, reading, personal development, my children, animals. I am pretty sure that I am among very few teenagers that read the classics in literature for fun long before they were assigned in school. Then re-read them, for fun, when they were assigned. I am also pretty sure that writing daily since I was like 10 is something of an anomaly.
What strikes me at mid-life is how much time I wasted on things that were self centered. I did charitable acts and worked for causes I believed in. But so much more of my time was spent on the same shit for decades. Just when I was feeling like I was making so much progress...
Reflection is tricky business. I am sometimes reluctant to re- read things I have written because I have a hard time having empathy for the woman that wrote what I now consider to be drivel. I have this idea about myself that is just not born out when I reflect and am honest.
A friend of mine said that I have been a bit redundant in my writing. That I am covering the same shit again and then again. At first, I was offended. Then I realized that he was right. He said that it was as if I was trying to work through some stuff but that required that I revisit the same stuff again and again but each time see something a little different. Exactly.
Rendudancy felt, at first, like failure. My rehashing of the same tired subjects boring and repetitious. Then I realized that is my path. To try to figure out shit, I am going to have to be willing to keep returning the the broken places over and over again. As much as I would love to be someone who could bang out deep profound shit on the daily, I am really just a normal person who is trying to heal, grow and change and is willing to share the minutia with you....whether you want me to or not.
I did not create this blog so that you would think I was amazing or even talented. I started sharing my writing because I felt like I was living a lie. There was this incongruence between who I showed you and what I thought and felt. I felt like I needed to live outloud. I felt like I needed to connect these two parts of myself in a more public manner to hold me accountable for my growth.
There are so many times that I re-read what I wrote and feel stupid, ridiculous and wholly ashamed. I think “what the fuck are you doing? Why do you think anyone wants to read that?” But then I remember that I made this commitment to have the insides and outsides match and that required that I stop the facade building and just be real...well, as close as I can to real anyway.
So today I share this redundant reflection on the fact that I am more shallow than I like to admit, I lack a great deal of depth in the things I am concerned about, my life frequently overwhelms me to the point of inaction and I am still sorting through why men and my relationships with them are so fucked up.
I feel like I have traveled so far in this life: living many places, doing a lot of different things, doing a lot of the same things. Only to suddenly realize that I am on a loop. A giant fucking loop that requires me to re-examine the same shit repeatedly. My horror quickly gives way to a budding realization that it is mastery over the everyday that gives rise to great change. That first, I must become aware. Awareness of what I am doing and why has to be the precursor before real change can occur.
And the loop? It is called life. From where I sit, life is not a series of disconnected events on a meandering path that leads nowhere. Life is a cycle, a circle, a continuous revisiting of shit we thought we dealt with. Life is redundant because we never completely learn the lessons the first time around. Life needs to keep giving us more of the same flavor so that we can learn the lesson. It is this redundancy that teaches us a great deal...if we let it.