Why do we need permission? Who made these rules we all live by? In the last 24 hours I have went against my “better” judgment twice and both were better choices for me. Yesterday, I was tired and instead of doing what I normally do and miserably powering through my day and just getting things done. Going through the motions really. I stopped. I turned on the fan, closed the blinds and cuddled into my bed and napped for 3 hours. Right there in broad daylight, like I was a baby or a woman of leisure. I woke up and I felt rested and happy. I was in a great mood when I picked up my children from school. I was more patient and kind. I was a better mother than the miserably exhausted person who was there that morning before the nap. I cooked a big dinner and enjoyed the process. I never enjoy the process. It’s usually something that I do because I have to, like laundry. The dinner tasted great. Everything was better but it was all tinged with my secret…the nap. I felt guilty; guilty for actually responding to the needs of my own body. What craziness is that? If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I told my husband my dirty little secret, the nap, and he did not make fun of me or say something flip, he was genuinely glad that I gave my body what it needed. The guilt was lifted and now naps are on the table☺
This is the problem with so many of us. We go through life doing what is expected of us and we are miserable. Who made these rules that we have to follow x, y and z in life? We feel beholden to a certain way of parenting, being married, achieving success even being physically acceptable. If we don’t fit the mold then we feel guilty because obviously we’ve don’t something wrong. We have some deficit. I say fuck the mold. I want to break the mold.
We accept these expectations of us to be fact. They are not! Why are we all made to believe that life is a spinning wheel and once we choose a wheel we are confined to it like a prison for all of eternity? It’s not true and if we just took a minute to think about it logically. If we took a moment to breathe and trust our own instincts, to listen to our own heart, we would realize that we know what is best for ourselves, for our relationships and for our children.
Every day is the chance for a new beginning. I am tired of spinning that wheel that chose me. I want to do what I choose to do; not what life has chosen for me. I want to choose the path my life takes, not follow the path expected of me. I want to be who I want to be not who I am expected to be and more importantly I want to be happy. No one knows what can make me happy and no one can truly make me happy, that is something that I have to take responsibility for. Happiness is internal. It is fulfillment and every person’s fulfillment is different.
I lie awake at night with insomnia worried about all of the things that I didn’t do or need to do the next day because it’s what’s expected of me. I usually go against my better judgment and do what’s expected of me from society. But this morning, after I dropped my daughters off at school as I was pulling out, the car in front of me died. It was a mother who had rushed out the door 2 blocks and ran out of gas. I asked her what happened and she explained. My brother, whose sons also go to the same school, was pulling up as I was pulling over to park to help her. We both got out of our cars and pushed her out of the road and into the median at school. I let her use my phone to call her husband to bring her gas and then I drove her home. Now, to be clear, this is not something I would normally do because you know …I don’t know her. She could have been a psycho or she could have just been a stranded mom. I chose to believe she was someone who genuinely needed my help.
After I dropped her off, I even called the school to make sure they didn’t tow her car because she was so overwhelmed at the situation I doubt she remembered to call them. When I dropped her off, she genuinely thanked me. Someone let me help them. This made my day. It felt great to help her. I felt like I did something good.
The thing is a lot of people just backed out and went around her. It didn’t matter to them that it was 5 degrees out and snowing. It didn’t matter to them that there might have been children in a minivan leaving a Catholic school. They just went around. I don’t blame them because we live in a time where we walk past beggars in the street because we don’t know if they are going to use the money for food or for alcohol or drugs. We don’t stop and help stranded drivers because they could be crazed serial killers who might chop us to bits. We don’t let our kids play outside unattended because everyone’s a potential kidnapper or pedophile. We’ve become conditioned to not trust anyone and our skepticism is keeping us from being the good people we want to be. Our cynicism is keeping us from committing the random acts of kindness we all talk so much about. Don’t get me wrong, an unexpected free cup of Starbucks coffee is fantastic but we can do so much more. We can truly help people in need. We can be happy.
It’s true, we can’t know the hearts of others. We can’t dictate how a homeless person spends the money we give them. We could bring them food or clothes instead of money, I suppose. What we can dictate is how we react to the situation. That is all we can control. We can choose to do the right thing. We can choose to be those changes we want to be. We can choose to follow our hearts and not do what others expect of us because when we do what is expected, we fail everyone, most of all ourselves.
So, I am asking you today to make the decision to follow your heart, listen to your body and do not measure yourself by anyone else’s standards. Be you. Be happy. Love big. Live big. Give of yourself and you will be surprised at what you get in return. In place of going through the motions, you will find yourself living no holds barred out loud and fully. Maybe even taking a much needed nap.