:: WHY WE BE ::

Boo to false, self-imposed limits, we say. These champion oracles want to live enthusiastically. Follow our trip through projects that challenge, frustrate, and/or scare us. In the end (which is really the middle) we want to live like big bright free and authentically awesome people.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

I weeble and I wobble but I won't fall down (Becky)

Balance has been a common thread among the coffee posts, so I decided to take a little inventory and boy is my balance way out of whack. A quick online search yields many interactive "balance wheels of life." Here’s my lowdown on the most common categories.

Physical health: Check. Between good luck, good genes, hard work and exercise, I’m very fortunate to be healthy.

Physical environment: Check. I own a cute little bungalow and it’s full of fluffy white Charlie hair. Despite the lack of an ocean, Des Moines is a pretty nice place and has grown on me over the years.

Career: Check. Despite my best efforts to not know what I want to be when I grow up, my experiences over the last 20 years have combined nicely and led me to a field and a job that is a pretty good fit for me. And I was recently accepted to the DNP program at Iowa so my next goal of becoming a nurse practitioner is in the works.

Financial: Check. I feel pretty secure in this area. Would like to spend more money on travel and less on student loans, but that’s OK, I can deal.

Community/Social/Recreation: I have many acquaintances and any number of people I can call to go on a bike ride or grab a beer or a glass of wine. But I seem to be getting less out of those activities than I used to. Which leads me to another common theme, distraction. I'd like to find a little more meaning in my social outlets. Speaking of, I'm proud to be part of the COFFEE community.

Friends/Family: I need to do a little work here. I have a lot of wonderful people in my life, but I may have been pushing them away… not sure why… It's always been important to me to be a strong independent woman and rely on myself. I don’t like to need people. I don’t like to seem weak, so I don’t reach out to people when I feel weak. I also have this belief that if people are interested in what I think or feel or need they will ask. If they don't ask, they don't want to know. So I won't bother or burden them with my opinions, my thoughts, my stuff. So I wait for people to approach me, engage me. And if they don't, I think no one loves me and I'm all alone in the world. That makes me kind of grouchy and then people really don't want to be around me so I isolate and really do become all alone in the world. Vicious cycle.

Romance/Significant Other: Ugh. Why is this so hard? My past relationships have typically been distractions, fun little diversions from work and school and life, etc. But I haven’t really put the work into figuring out what I want and expressing it to a partner, or finding out what my partner wants either. Relationships are hard work, I know that. I’m finally ready to put that work in, but where are the hot, single, straight guys?!? I'm taking a much needed break from the online dating scene so am back to square 1.

Spirituality: Hmmm. My purpose, my calling, the meaning of life? I got nothing. It seems that many people live their lives for their children or their God. I have neither. As a 38-year-old agnostic women without a ticking biological clock, what is my purpose? I’ve never felt the need for either children or God and I’m trying to figure out what that means for me, if anything.

So, I’m about 50/50. There's a lot of positive in my life and I have to remember that. Lately I've been focusing on the empty half of the glass. That approach seems to throw into question/chaos all the good that is in my life. I've been second guessing my career and my decision to go back to school again and my decision to move back to Des Moines and everything else. So, I've got a lot of work to do. I have 4 very important categories that are sorely lacking. But I also have to keep it all in perspective. It's not necessary to scratch everything I have and start over. I'm half way there. And I love a challenge. And I love the COFFEE chicks.


Wendy said...

Becky, I love the idea of taking a personal inventory like this. It's basically the literal counting of one's blessings.
Man, I am SO with you on the pushing people away and not reaching out to people. Feeling like you're 'burdening' people is most often the opposite -- it's making them feel worthwhile/needed as a friend. But you know this, and I know this, intellectually. So why is it so hard to talk our hearts into believing?
I don't know... but I hope that COFFEE has shown you that needing people is not weak or a burden to those who care about you. Speaking for myself, it's a privilege. We all need outside of ourselves, and that's actually one of the most beautiful parts of life.
Thanks for sharing this very personal journey - I'm rootin' for you, Girl!

patresa said...

well, i certainly like that there are more greens than reds! and what i love even more is that you see more greens than reds!

and actually, the self-awareness to make the list in the first place. that is awesome.

i know i am one of the very worst people i know about contacting friends/family, reaching out. partly because i despise the phone. partly because i don't like leaving my house. partly because i crave solitude and alone time like tiny little chocolate candies. when i don't reach out it's more about my self-absorption than anything else. i'm not very original, so i wonder if it's the same for a lot of people. it stinks though. solitude = delicious. isolation = painful.

for me, that's always been the beauty of the spiritual quest--the antidote to isolation, plugging into a charged universe, feeling connected to something beautiful even when i'm alone, trusting that something has my back. or something like that. i don't know. the more i think about spirituality and god stuff, the more 'isolation' really seems like an illusion-- a brain trick. but i don't know if everyone gets the same thing. it's hard to see outside this body i've been lugging around. hm. i should poll.

i don't know why people need children. :)

(that was a joke.)

the other thing that i'm drawn to here in what you wrote is the idea of knowing what we need. [this is turning into a long comment. sorry.] 2 things come to mind:

1) my massage therapist is really intuitive, and she always knows what i need. it isn't always what i want though. sometimes i want just a nice, relaxing rubby rub. but she knows that i need twisting and stretching and jamming elbows in twisted ligaments. i always leave better.

2) sometimes i don't know what i think until i start to write. literally, i have absolutely no idea, until i just sit down and start composing. then, all of a sudden, out it comes. this makes me think that it might be enough to just open receptors, and then the unrecognized need or want will find us. we don't even have to know what it is. we just have to open the receptors.

or something. i may be full of poop.

at any rate,

patresa said...

p.s. i think i just screwed up your format. i added the "becky's posts" label, and it messed with the spacing between paragraphs. sorry!

Steph said...

Becky... I love that you might weeble & wobble, but you refuse to fall down! The green outweighs the red, and you recognize that. Love it, love it, love it!
Balance. That's a four-letter word in my book. A necessary evil or something to shoot for, at the very least.
I suppose a balance inventory should be required for everyone every so often, and I kind of did a mental inventory of my own after each of your sections. Not pretty! :) I can smile about that because it wasn't a surprise to me... I have stuff to do in my life!
As far as second guessing yourself, we all do it. The more I look at my life, the more I realize I've spent more time second guessing myself than I have actually LIVING my life! Reflection is healthy and necessary, but I try very hard to avoid the second guessing thing. Keep up the good work; you rock, m'dear!
This COFFEE chick <3s you, too! :)

amy said...

As of today, Becky, my brother's birthday was 3 days ago. I have facebooked him a "Happy birthday!" but I have not actually called him. He has publicly embarrassed me about this this via facebook. (Like Patresa, I hate the phone. In fact, when she was in Atlanta in November, we emailed/texted to try to get together--it didn't work out. And my husband, this rabid phone fanboy/people caller/reacher outer, went: why don't you two just TALK to each other?? And I told him, using my best "duh" voice: Because Patresa and I hate the phone and wish it had never been invented. DUH.)

I'm also a lot like you in the asking for help dept.--I HATE to ask for help/show weakness. First, it just gets done better and fast if I do it all myself. Second, people should just be able to read my mind. I'm very very busy and important and don't have time to stop and actually explain or ask for what I need. And sometimes this makes me grouchy, too. (I'm so relieved I'm not alone!)

Online dating is a scary area, I'm told. Why are so many skeeves on the internet, and why do they all populate at plentyoffish.com? (I don't populate over there, but I have friends who do, and their tales make me shudder at humanity.) I think taking a much needed break from that is good for the soul...and I've heard breaks like that sometimes send you a hot, single, straight guy once your soul is very rested.

Also, fyi: children are overrated. (I'm kidding...I love my girl. Especially once she's asleep for the night. :-)

It's hard to be in that "2nd guessing myself" groove. I have at least 10 of these per day. Lately not about where I've taken my life...however, about 3-ish years ago I did, and it was a very chaotic time. However! It does end, you do figure it out, and you're always so much better for having gone through it. More warrior woman-like. It's a good workout for the soul.

You'll get all the spikes in your wheels balanced out. I feel it deep in my COFFEE bones.

Holly said...

Becky, my friend...excellent post. I love that you took an inventory and thought through each of the categories. I've been wanting to do this myself. It's fascinating that when even one category is out of whack, it can sometimes mess with your whole life and well being.
I would like to reiterate/comment on a couple of things that Patresa commented on.
1. partly because i don't like leaving my house. partly because i crave solitude and alone time like tiny little chocolate candies. when i don't reach out it's more about my self-absorption than anything else. i'm not very original, so i wonder if it's the same for a lot of people. it stinks though. solitude = delicious. isolation = painful.
I did very much resonate with this comment. For me, the craving of solitude and aloneness has been overpowering. I'm not very good at it yet...but I'm getting there and learning the benefits. As original as Patresa is, I think she's right in her assessment that probably a lot of people are nestled up in their homes and their lives and feel this way-especially in the winter.
2) sometimes i don't know what i think until i start to write. literally, i have absolutely no idea, until i just sit down and start composing. then, all of a sudden, out it comes. this makes me think that it might be enough to just open receptors, and then the unrecognized need or want will find us. we don't even have to know what it is. we just have to open the receptors.

About knowing what we need-I have recently found this to be true as well and is why i'm in love with the morning pages. I have learned more about myself since writing morning pages and this blog than the many previous years.

I love you Becky. Can't wait to see you Thursday at Patresa's gig!!!

Katie said...

Becky, what a cool post this is. Mostly because I enjoy a good clear, concise listing of positives and negatives like no other. It tickles my statistical-measurement elbow like crazy. (You should know that many other people think I'm a weirdo, especially when I say out loud that I like easily measured things.)(this could easily turn naughty, but I will refrain.)

I totally resonated with the Romance and the Spirituality headings. Romance IS hard. But breaks are good. Rest up, and chin up. You're a multi-dimensional, interesting, dynamic woman. He's out there. He probably has to finish his documentary about the indigenous population of Borneo, and recover from his broken clavicle from rescuing the 4 year old from a rampaging elephant, meanwhile arranging for the protection of the native shark population off the coast of Taiwan before returning to his hometown Des Moines for some R&R. Busy guy!

The Spirituality thing has me hooked. I am also agnostic, and live with an avowed atheist, who challenges my sense of faith all the time. It has become an interesting intellectual battle, but so far has not affected my need for there to be SOMETHING bigger than me in the universe. Also: kids. We will (probably) not have any. I say (probably) because the door hasn't shut yet, but if we do it will likely be in the form of foster care or adoption. I have never been one to "burn for babies" but it has been interesting to have the American expectation of marriage and family challenged so robustly by Axel. I am discovering that I don't need to feel guilty if I am perfectly happy without children. That the meaning of life can be complete without living through, and for, others. When I express this, many people think this sounds selfish. I am all right with that, because usually the people who think it's selfish are the ones who find their main identity by being a parent.

You are a well-traveled person. I'm sure you have seen that the meaning of life takes many forms. A decision thoughtfully reached is always better than one reached through conformity. You will find your meaning, and it will be just right for you.

blj said...

Thanks, ladies! Katie, how'd you do that, you've got a pretty good handle on my dream guy. I always thought I'd meet him in my own travels to faraway lands, but now I see that I have to wait for him to get back to DSM!
Patresa- I really like that thing you wrote about isolation being an illusion. I'm going to have to ponder that one. I just haven't figured out who's got my back yet.
Wendy, thanks for putting the "privlege" spin on the asking for/helping others, I'll have to try and remember that perspective.
Steph & Amy, thanks for really getting so much of what I wrote about, good to know I'm not alone.
And Hojo, right back at you, love you and can't wait to see you Thursday, too!

Tanner May (Tanya) said...

Man, personal inventory is hard. H-A-R-D. I think you have a pretty amazing handle on what you want and where you are. I don't know that a lot of people have that. I don't think it's easy to even consider it frankly.

Kudos to all that you've accomplished.... NURSE PRACTITIONER! YAY! I think this is super duper!

I also love your list and how it seems you DO have so much balance to be so proud of. When I read your thoughts about friends, families and relationships, it struck me how strong you are, and how sometimes the strong people don't feel comfortable ever "needing" anything or anyone, but how so many people out there would probably love for the strong (you) to need them. Vicious cycle, probably, and probably a lot exhausting Becky COFFEE! Ok, now I'm bordering on you saying "STOP!"

So anyway, I think you're pretty cool sister. And I'm also with you so so so so much in the relationship dept. It's a mixed bag in so many ways. Maybe square 1 is where it's all about. :)

Rock on. And I LOVE that you love a challenge.