Everyone Has a Bag of Shit!
Yes, it was mothers’ day that got me thinking about this. Why? Because everyone doesn’t have a Hallmark card childhood, and for those of us who didn’t (that would be me), it is important to NOT keep pushing your crap under the carpet. Until you decide to sweep it away, it’s still gonna be a big old bump in the fabric that you keep tripping over.
GROWTH is a process, and one (in my opinion) that should continue until you can no longer take another breath. The most vibrant elderly people I know never step away from learning. Learning about themselves, others and subjects that hold great interest for them. Growth requires a variety of nutrients. Some we take in through our mouths, others we take in through our mind and hearts. Do not underestimate the significance of what you are putting in your mouth. It is not only affecting your physical health, but your mental health as well.
So here we all are, grown men and women, thinking we’ve conquered all of our obstacles and are heading into the easier days of our adulthood.
The kids are grown and either in college or out working in the “real” world.
You’re no longer busy running around trying to participate in their activities, school or extra-curricular, as well as maintaining a household and for many a job outside the home as well.
This is YOUR time now, right?
Here’s a little bit of problem with that. When you aren’t frenetically and constantly in motion, you have more time to think. More time to contemplate the WTFs in your life.
- Did I marry the right person?
- Am I feeling fulfilled?
- What do I want for ME in this life, before it’s over?
- How is what I want going to conflict with what (s)he wants?
- Why am I so unhappy?
- How come I can’t lose weight?
- Am I going to ache all over for the rest of my life?
- How can I turn my passion into a larger part of my daily routine?
- Do I have to do this job I hate forever?
- Will I ever feel fulfilled?
- Will we ever have sex again?
It’s the battle cry of middle age.
Tons of nagging uncertainties seem to plague you more these days than they did before. Before it seemed easier because honestly, you didn’t have time to think about it. You were swamped trying to survive, trying to make it all happen. You fell into bed exhausted from living only to get back up at the crack of dawn and do it all over again.
Now we all have to stick our head in our bag of shit and see what’s inside. Many folks I know continue to create new distractions so they don’t have to open their bag, because really, who wants to look into a bag full of shit.
Did I mention food?
I’m not suggesting we don’t need a break from the real world. We ALL need that. But at some point, you are going to have to look at the reality of your life and decide whether you ‘ll continue on a long slow miserable slide or you’ll choose to take the plunge and not miss the opportunity to finally have the life YOU want.
I’m 52 years old. Because I have chosen to change my lifestyle pretty dramatically in the last 10 years or so, there is a very good possibility that I could live for another 30+ years. That’s a long freaking time and an even longer time as an older woman. How am I going to feel like I’m contributing to the world in some way? How will I financially take care of myself for that many years? How will I still ENJOY my life without being a burden to the system?
It’s gonna take a damn plan, that’s how. While there are no guarantees with a plan (trust me, Katrina cured me of believing in guarantees) but you’ve got to be focused towards something, right? You can’t just keep going through life all willie nilly, can you? I for one am not willing to take that risk in my old age.
For many, fiscal issues will continue to plague them impeding their ability to retire. I’ve spoken to quite a few people who know they will have to work for what they consider to be “the remainder of their lives” and wonder what it is they are going to be doing as they age and become less physically capable. How will they compete with younger workers? Have they saved enough for retirement? That’s some scary shit to think about. If you are going to have to work into your 70s you better damn well enjoy what you are doing.
Many of my contemporaries have been unhappy for so long they just assume they are on the downslope physically, so yeah…they’ll likely continue to get what they believe. Few think they have the power to swing bad health around but I’m here to tell you that you can. But that’s not what this particular piece of writing is about.
During the two years that I lived in post-apocalyptic New Orleans (after the levees broke) I realized this simple fact.
None of us gets through a fistful of decades of living without either carrying along or picking up a substantial pile of cah cah. If you think you don’t have any shit, I’m here to tell you, you need to open your bag more frequently and peak inside.
I highly recommend you do it now…stop pretending that the bag doesn’t exist. The sooner you open it and hold some of the contents up to the light and give them the consideration they need, the sooner you can move on with your life.
Create some pain. I believe that pain is a great motivator for all change. Feel shitty. Maybe you’ll do something to change your life. Hell things might actually improve. You might actually wake up feeling happy every day. What a novel thought!
Maybe it will motivate you to do some things that will get you unstuck, get you moving in a direction you’ve always dreamed about.
Emotional pain avoidance = stagnant life.
Dealing with feelings and emotions you’ve long buried is going to take some time. The longer you delay starting, the longer it’s going to take to get to the other side of it.
The real skill with this will be communicating clearly with your partner. Don’t let fear paralyze you into inaction. Get some professional to help for both of you if you must. I tell people all the time, if your arm was broken you’d go to a doctor to get some help healing it. If your spirit is broken there is no reason why you can’t do the same. Get help. Make it work. Don’t avoid the conversations that need to be had because they are hard. You’ve invested a lot of time and effort into the long term relationships in your life. Try and make them work before throwing the baby out with the bath water.
For those of you like me who are single? What hell are you waiting for? Seriously? You have no one to answer to but yourself. Seize the day.
That big bank has an ad campaign that asks, “what’s in YOUR wallet?”
I want to know, “What’s in your bag of shit and what are you gonna do about it?”
A GREAT life is waiting for you. Not a mediocre one. Not day to day existence.
Go get it. It is NOT going to fall in your lap.