I think that turning 45 has had the greatest impact on me than any other age has. Not in a bad way…in some very good ways in fact. For example, lately I have begun delegating. I used to joke that it took 4 people to replace me when I would go on vacation with John. But I think part of me also got off on the “irreplaceable me” image I had of myself. That somehow I was so important because I made decisions which cause me to fill my plate soooo high, that no real life human being could ever keep up with what I could do. Irreplaceable me.
But something about 40 started me on this path of desire to get very real with myself. Not that I started thinking about mortality and all of that, you’ll never convince me that death is real, I know way too much for that illusion now. But what I began thinking was how full of shit I had been most of my adult life. Suddenly it started dawning on me that I could choose to be a very honest person without losing any part of myself. Maybe there is something about 40’s which makes us more fearless, and more able to enact change in our lives based on some of the lessons we have already learned.
In our 40’s we are young enough mostly to have the energy to create great changes in our lives. “Living Happily Ever After” is still possible if we are not satisfied with how we feel in the current situations in our lives. Later on though I found myself realizing more and more how much value I placed on the opinion of other people about me. Now that I think about it, that’s incredibly narcissistic, even thinking that people have enough spare time in their lives to even have an opinion about me is extreme. But to make decisions based on this illusion of opinion is practically insane.
So, lately the balance between family, farm, 3 bands, relationships, sickness in family, new boarders in, old friends back in play, new career opportunities, songwriting, recording, rehearsing, physical challenges on farm, behavior issues with animals and kids, ok…I could go on, but let’s say, it’s been a helluva start to 2012. I needed help but was somehow incapable of asking for it, I understand now because deeply buried inside me was a belief that if I delegated some of my responsibilities to the people in my life for whom I was starting to get resentments because they would stand still while I ran around “doing everything”, that they would think I was less valuable…not enough, unless I was doing all those things.
That’s a pretty brutal way to make decisions about the things that should be important to me or not.
Delegating as one would have it actually leaves me some time and space to include myself on my list of things to take care of in a day. And hell, every once in a while I take a day where I am the only thing written on that list. I really think that partly that my bio mom’s cancer (and one day I may kick myself for saying this), has been a blessing. For a brief period of time there was this real shift in the relationships of everyone in my family. Everyone started paying abit more attention to one another, there was a sense of community. Many of us chose to get real very fast. We dropped all pretenses and pretending of whatever it was we were holding on to, were motivated to quickly forgive the small transgressions which we allow to become overblown as years went by, like festering wounds. Then we even tried in all our own ways to support each other and find some balance in what we could do and what we couldn’t do. It was a strengthening exercise in spiritual stamina, and I find I have come out the other side of it more solid in my center.
I suppose this kind of centering creates in us an awareness of our own individual essential needs. I knew that the most important thing was for me to be strong for my family, and I also knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if I didn’t do a quick right turn on my thinking and perceptions I was going to be good for no one. I knew certainly that the best and only place I could in fact find any fast track to change was within myself and that this meant getting to understand myself without judgment. Let me tell you that took a while, but most often now I am in the place where I can be much more objective about the choices I am making; meaning not always dragging the past into everything I do, but that took some time and tremendous challenges were overcome.
This brings me back to delegating. So all of a sudden this more “objective” awareness allows me to become starkly aware of my “superwoman” image which a part of me must think is so “valuable” (and therefore means I am ENOUGH) or why else would I continuously ignore the wise counsel of friends and family who know me, love me and care enough to tell me I am insane and am going to kill myself with all the ways I push myself beyond my limits. “Limits?” I scoff at them secretly in the unheard places of my mind. I’m really getting a strong sense that they are not really as impressed with my martyrdom as I am.
I have now become a one-job woman. I have delegated entire days off so I can take the time to do the things I do. We are not after all put on earth simply to wake, work and sleep. There is a whole life to be lived outside of that. Now I can spend time working on the book, my songs, or even (gasp) ride some of those horses I deplete all of my energy caring for. I was told a long time ago by an old horse farmer that the very WORST thing I could ever do for my riding was to get my own horse farm. I know what he means. But I still plan on finding a way for that not to be my reality.
I find that my “resentments” are melting away because I don’t feel harassed and pushed and pulled by the constant responsibility and workload that stared at me day after day. I got to say…it’s an enormous relief. Although I love my work and all the things I do, no one can be happy spreading themselves that thin and running on everyone else’s schedules.
My friends and family don’t tell me I am nuts as much today…they’re too busy doing my other three jobs, perhaps slightly regretting the truth they pointed out to me.
And today I am trying out day 1 of “project delegation”, under a sunny sky and the promise of more days just like this one.