I’m supposed to be hoovering.
Instead I’m sitting here, pondering on life. As you do.
I’ve met a lot of people over the last few weeks who are finding life really tough at the moment. There is a lot of struggle and turmoil around.
I identify with that. I really do.
What I found myself noticing though, as I listened to these people I love and care about, was that I was not particularly sucked into it. Their stuff, I mean.
I used to be. I used to be a top notch drama queen. When there weren’t any dramas of my own, I used to make do with other peoples’. I would surround myself with people who lived at the same intensity as I did, and really go for it. It kept the adrenalin flowing. It made me feel alive. It made me feel validated, and sometimes, if I could help someone, it made me feel wanted.
It was a kick. In a not very healthy way.
I still care about peoples’ stuff. I still help where I can, but I have noticed that I am much better at stepping back from it. I am much better at letting go of things that are not mine, in terms of emotional stuff (I will steal all your biros though. Fact.) I am also better at knowing when I should not help or interfere. I am much, much better at knowing when to say no. I am much better at drawing the line and not stepping over it. My own line that is. I’m also much better at not stepping over other people’s.
It is a good thing.
If you are a regular reader of the blog, and you see my endless stream of agitated blog posts, you might think that is a delusion. It isn’t. I have noticed that there is a big difference between healthy anger and caring about stuff, and unhealthy dwelling. The stuff I get angry about in blog posts feels good. It feels like getting stuff off my chest, poisonous stuff that if I hold onto it will make me bitter. When I write it out, I feel lighter and cleaner and more able to think about things clearly. Writing those things allows me to see what I want to do and what I don’t. It makes me able to focus my thoughts and feelings and move them on.
It stops me feeling hopeless.
When I am poking around in stuff that belongs to other people, interfering, abetting, getting too close, it doesn’t feel like that. It feels claustrophobic and weighty and unclean. It feels weird and needy and strange. It is very different indeed. It often makes me feel hopeless and ultimately helpless.
I am glad that I have begun to be able to see the difference. I am glad that I am able to choose now how I feel and what, if anything I want to do. It doesn’t always happen straight the way, but it happens, and it happens more quickly every time.
It isn’t that I don’t want to listen. I do. It’s perhaps that I am beginning to understand the value of just listening, rather than listening and doing. It is also that I am beginning to understand that just because I listen, it doesn’t mean I have to hold on to what I’ve heard, because it’s not mine. I can let it travel through me and out the other side and still care, and still be compassionate, and sometimes that’s enough.
It is also that I have come to value peace above all things, peace and my own happiness. My own happiness, I have found, is very much linked to peace and the ability to be calm. I no longer need drama to validate my existence. I no longer need to be edgy and on it. I need calm, and I need quiet and I need to be exactly OK with who I am and what I am and where I am. That comes from a place of peace and acceptance that actually, at the core of everything, I’m fine, and I don’t need to apologise for that or attempt to fix everyone else for that to happen. I can be fine anyway, and it’s all good.
It is fine that I don’t live like other people. It is fine that I don’t think like other people. It is fine that not everybody thinks I’m brilliant. It is fine that I don’t want to do and be and think what other people want me to. It is fine if other people still want that for me, but I don’t give it to them. It is fine if other people aren’t like me. It is fine that people still have their shit to deal with because it’s theirs, not mine. It is fine that I don’t want the same things other people want. It’s fine to want to be happy and to try to pare away the things that don’t make me happy. It’s fine to step back. It’s fine to step away if that’s what’s needed.
It’s absolutely fine to see the problems, and listen to the problems, and empathise with the problems, and to not fix the problems, whether they’re those of a friend, or those of the world.
It’s just fine.