I haven’t listened to Shawn Colvin in a long time. Twenty years ago, she would have been at the top of my playlist, except we didn’t have playlists back then.
And if it weren’t for the sandpaper tongue of the cat, I might be myself at twenty-five again, hearing this music. I can feel the energy of that person around the edges, wanting so badly to figure out who she was and who she was meant to be, and desperately wanting to get it right. Get it all right.
I had so much freedom at that time with no family demands, just a job to show up for. The rest of my time was my own to create what I wanted. And yet, I didn’t feel free at all. I was shackled by the fear of missing the boat, of not doing life right, of being alone in the end.
I spent a lot of time writing in my journal - always in the form of questions. What does this mean? What does that mean? Who is inside of me and what does she know about this thing called life? How will I know if I am on the right path? I was determined to figure it all out.
I never did figure it all out.
But twenty years have passed, and now I can see how that level of pressure and self-scrutiny merely created rigidity, angst and disappointment.
There was no one “a-ha” moment for me that shifted my mindset from one of self-preservation to one of self-love. Awareness came in bits and spurts... especially once I became a parent and recognized the need to let go of expectations and the need to be okay with not being perfect. Because... hello... kids. It’s like their main job - to help their parents be imperfect.
It has been a long road of awareness building and trying and failing and trying anew that has moved me along on this quest to simply embrace being me.
In this moment, I can sit with that twenty-five year old version of myself and offer her some compassion and ease. It's okay not to have everything figured out. You're perfect just as you are.
These days I don’t have nearly as much free time as I did at twenty-five to focus on myself and do things just because they please me. My time is mostly taken up with taking care of others and running a household.
And yet, on the inside, I feel freer than ever: to discover who I am and who I am becoming, to explore what brings meaning and fulfillment to my life, to simply love the person that I am showing up as today.
After all, she is the only me I’ve got.
Where in your life do you put pressure on yourself? What would it look like to ease off that pressure? What are you appreciating in yourself today?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.