I’ve always thought “finding yourself” was such a BS new-agey catch phrase for hippies with too much time on their hands. I can just picture telling the tough men and women coming out of the Depression and/or World War II that they should take a break from life and find themselves. They would have thought I was insane and laughed in my face. They had responsibilities! Jobs! Family! Putting food on the table outranked every other concern, least of which would have been some head-in-the-clouds notion of lazing about trying to find their purpose.
I think about The Greatest Generation a lot when it comes to my own life. Probably because I have it so easy comparatively. It makes me feel guilty. I have the luxury- the opportunity- to read any book I want on Amazon, to attend regular therapy sessions, to research an infinite number of subjects or listen to several experts at the touch of a button thanks to the internet. It hardly seems fair that in the immense circle of time someone like me, an average girl with a lot of issues, gets to experience life in the Information Age. Maybe my personal circumstances are not ideal at the moment, but I feel extremely privileged to have the time and resources to chase my dreams while suspended in limbo.
The trouble is… what ARE my dreams? To be a best-selling author one day? Well, yes, of course. Hands down. But is that really a dream? If I search my heart, would being a best-selling author fulfill me?
It would give me confidence for sure. Excitement. Maybe even a decent income. Possible accolades. But fulfillment?
I gave this a lot of thought yesterday. Fulfillment comes from writing in and of itself. The very act, the creative process, the mysterious magic of words pouring from a muse…now THAT’S fulfillment. Which means, as I type this, I’m technically living my dreams at this very moment. Any after-effects from any sort of writing: reviews, criticism, awards, publishing opportunities… well, that stuff is just “results”. I’m thinking results have little or no bearing on contentment. True contentment lies in the action of doing that thing we love.
I’ve always wanted to be tough and responsible like The Greatest Generation, all the while knowing I was too soft to ever measure up. I spent so much of my youth chasing what I craved most: attention, affection and connection… I needed those things so badly that I never stopped to consider what would truly fulfill me. I was just desperate to be special and important to someone. What if, instead of trying to earn love, I had been pursuing true contentment? How many years have I wasted on pointless quests when all along writing was at my fingertips?
So if we’re to “find ourselves” what does that really mean? I’d venture to say, for me, it means dropping all pretenses and removing the masks I have so easily worn over the years to try to fit in. It’s granting others the right, the permission, to see the real Chelly. And the avenue I communicate best is through letters and words and sentences and paragraphs. Writing THIS right now fulfills me. The icing on the cake, the absolute best gift as a result, would be you reading my words and feeling connected, not just to me but to your own dreams.
Big hugs, my friends ❤ xoxoxox