I was born a do-er. From a really young age, I was a ball of moving energy. I moved until I couldn’t move anymore. I was exhausted from a hard day’s work ( or play).
And each time I completed something, onward! And so naturally, I accomplished quite a bit without really noticing.
I have so rarely in my life looked back to reflect on all that I have … well… done. As soon as an ending approaches, the next door is being knocked on, maybe pushed open, and run through. The goal is the golden nugget at the end only to open yet another door and continue on.
Walking with a friend this week, I felt so uncomfortable. I have completed a large portion of my Master’s program and the last few months are here. Wow. Two years ago I was just beginning. I was just opening books and wondering what counseling was all about. I spent my evenings cramming, questioning, and soaking up. And now I am spending my hours practicing, seeing, and listening.
I usually catch the “messages” of life when I hear them in more than one place or from more than one person at a time. Sitting down with my supervisor this week, she asked how I felt after completing my national exam. I responded, “I think, okay!” She peered over her glasses, tilted her chin down, and repeated, “ I think, okay. hm.” She and I discussed that sometimes in life it’s okay to celebrate that well, I’m doing a pretty good job. That I have found a space in connecting with others that allows me to serve what my heart has to offer. She ordered me to make a note on my desk “ I think I am doing a pretty good job.” The note sits in a special place to read, and re-read over and over.
I don’t know if I hear it quite yet. I am in this in-between space of hoping that what I am doing is enough and good and helpful and making the world better, in some way. And yet, still a voice inside asks me, “Now what?”
I have contemplated on why I have this urge nudging me forward without hesitation to look back, reflect, and enjoy. Part of conceptualizing has led me to upbringing. My parents are strivers. I mean, both are Dr’s in respective practices and in each arena of life, boundaries continue to be stretched. My Dad didn’t just run, he ran marathons. He ran a 200 mile relay, he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with a $30 backpack. My Mom didn’t just go back to school, she studied for eight years and completed a Doctorate program. She opened her own practice.
Another reason perhaps is that I was born busy. I think my insides sometimes are like busy bees working all the time. (they don’t sting!) The settled bee hive has its moments, but more often than not it’s work in there!
I also think I have high expectations because I know I have work to do while I’m on this planet. I want to give as much as I can for as long as I can because that’s what it’s about. We leave with nothing, so what can I give?
Regardless of its roots, I grapple with the two sides: Holding the belief that I am doing a good job and knowing that there is more.
I think of it as a teetor-totter; and the goal is balance. When I am having a hard time believing that I am purposeful and accomplished I :
- list goals I have crushed
- look in the mirror and smile at myself
- put on my running shoes and hit the pavement
- listen to hilarious college music to take me back
- write down things I feel proud of
And when I am eager for what’s next I :
- get quiet and ask myself simple questions like what do I need? how can I get there?
- make lists
- breathe deep
- try to take it one step at a time
- peruse the internet for ideas
- connect with others
- talk it out.
Although balance is beautiful, it is rare. More often we are at 60/40 or 30/70. A small nudge may be all I need to remind myself that I am already part of something beautiful and so long as I’m here, there’s more to do.