What do you want to BE when you grow up?

Interesting how that question is worded. Not "what do you want to DO when you grow up".

I suppose in some ways I'm just growing up now. I had several life altering experiences within a few years of each other. Bad ones. I mean really, really bad. The kind of things that make people's eyes widen and they don't know what to say. So, I've been asked many times how I came out on the other side. How did I not just wallow in self pity and become a walking disaster? Well, I was a walking disaster for several months, but some key things happened to get myself to a better place. Today I found something and would like to share with you.

I've always been in a hurry to do everything. At this point, I know it's in my DNA, and I've accepted it, so I only try to slow down when I'm being crazy and it's affecting me or someone I care about in a negative way. I walk fast, talk fast and like to cross things off my list. So, 2 years ago I was sitting in one of my coaches training classes and we were asked the question to ponder and write down the answer:

"What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" 

And being little Miss Busy Bee that I am, I started writing furiously. Making goals. The things I was supposed to do. The things I thought I should do. I even put timelines on them. I wrote about 5 things and stopped. I drew a big X through them. On the next line I wrote:

Just Be. 

Just be happy and confident and know that when the time is right and when I am ready it will happen. 

That was a big step for me. Letting go of all the doing. Letting go of control, knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be. Looking at my own words in my own handwriting this morning brought me to tears. That was my list of hopes and dreams. That was what I wanted to be when I grew up. Sure, I wanted to do all of the "things" on my list, but really, it wasn't working out so well in the past. I was lost. So, that day I threw the towel in. I didn't care if everyone else in my class had goals written down. I was tired. Tired of chasing the impossibleness of "doing" all the time. I wanted to just be me. I suppose my soul sighed from relief and thanked me.

Trust me, my life isn't all unicorns farting rainbows. I still make lists of things to do. But, I've been able to just be....me. Messy, unorganized, imperfect, crazy, spazz girl me.


Anonymous said...

I really liked this post - things don't come when we want them (even learning 'life lessons'), we just have to let them happen. (BE!)

I'm glad you can just be, without unecessary stressers. That's a wonderful thing to accomplish!

Andrea said...

Well, it doesn't come without being mindful and with work. But, it was interesting to find this piece of paper. I think that day was a turning point for me. I should mention that having kids has made me slow down too. Although I'm busier now that I have them, they've taught me to love the moments, and not be always striving for something, even when I'm doing something else.

Michelle said...

I SO relate to this post. I am at a point in my life where I have never been happier, and I don't think it's a coincidence that I have stopped trying to fit myself into a box. I've stopped trying to be this person or that, and instead realized, I already am. Just am.

Anonymous said...

I stumbled across some exercises a counselor had suggested I do a couple of years ago. I found them when I was rereading a book I was reading at that time. (I hope that sentence made sense!)

It had the HALT acronymn on it and each time I felt one of those HALT feelings (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) and was led to turn to certain behaviors, I was to HALT and write three positive things about myself first. Finding that paper helped me remember the hope I had (even that long ago), in getting myself better. It was a nice reminder to stay on that track. Which really has nothing to do with slowing down, but it does have to do with BEING!

Alex said...

I feel the same way. I grew up in a household of OVER achievers. So just relaxing and not doing tasks, or being my best, or accomplishing goals has always been tough for me. But I feel like I have come to the same conclusion that you have. Gotta take things in strides. And learn to slow down, breath, enjoy life, and in your words "Just Be".
Thanks for the post Andrea!

Andrea said...

@Michelle- Yes! I've found it's a lot more work to fit into a box that isn't made for us than to step out and embrace ourselves.

@Lindsey- I love the HALT acronym. So simple, yet so effective.

@Alex- Yep, breathe. I'll admit- I love the Miley Cyrus song "The Climb". Makes me teary every time!

Laurie Wallin said...

LOVE it. It's funny how life seems to throw lessons at us on the same topic from every direction, eh? I was just encountering that same idea as I looked ahead at summer time (kids off school) and all that I wanted to "do" to keep the kids active. Then the idea of planning intentional time to just "be" really pressed in hard. I'm looking forward to seeing how that will play out in our lives as a family this summer!

Thanks for the post. You're a real encouragement to me!