You know the worst thing you can hear from someone? Parent to child, supervisor to employee, friend to friend: “I’m disappointed in you.”
It stings the most when you say it to yourself.
I’m not who I want to be right now. And I have had nothing but time to be exactly that. The (paid) project I was working on has wrapped, and I’m looking for my next gig. The job search consumes a few hours each day, leaving plenty of time to work on this project, get some exercise, and enjoy the bountiful fruits of the Bay Area. But I’m not doing it. I’m not just disappointed in myself, I’m pissed at myself.
I quit my job to pursue this passion project – and for the first few months, it was game on. But after the first round of interviews, I’ve lost some steam. It’s a little befuddling. How can I not bounce out of bed for the passion project that I created?
Sure, there have been some extenuating circumstances. I took a part-time assignment that gobbled up a lot more time than anticipated over the past eight months. I had a technical melt-down, losing all the files on my external hard drive – all recorded interviews and photos yet to be transcribed and published. Eventually, everything was restored (thank you, Drivesavers). It was another blow when the Geniuses at Apple confirmed that the audio file recording of my interview with the ladies of 923 Oak in New Jersey was indeed corrupt, leaving me only with my very limited notes. The holidays. A trip to Mardi Gras. A bad cold.
It’s disappointing to me that I did not overcome these obstacles gracefully. I did not march on, full of resolve – I didn’t even slowly trudge. I just stopped. It’s been five months since I worked on the project.
A kinder, wiser, gentler part of me suggests that maybe everything is happening exactly as it should. The part of me that reminds myself to relax.
Another snarky voice chimes in. You have nothing to do all day but look for a job, workout and work on this project. How freaking hard should it be? I think about my best friend Amy, juggling two teenagers and a tween, a husband, two dogs, and soccer, track, dance and orchestra commitments. I marvel at my friends who juggle careers and families. Really, I’m fascinated with anyone who has a full-time job and a seemingly full life outside of work.
Both of the voices are right. Through the din of their back-and-forth, I’m getting another message: everything is a choice. So I’m working on making better choices.
I set my alarm this morning – something I take great pleasure in not having to do during this phase of my life. But if I am going to prioritize those three things, they are clearly not going to complete themselves.
I am sitting at my computer sipping my mason jar of hot lemon water, warmed by the glow of my “believe” glassybaby candle holder, listening to the West of Memphis soundtrack, and writing this as the sun begins to soften the cerulean sky.
I have already done the Oprah Chopra meditation for the day. I’m walking to the yoga studio for a Pilates class in an hour. Pretty sure once that’s done I will feel virtuous and convince myself I deserve a well-earned vacation. But instead of coming back and donning the Procrastination Queen crown (those candlesticks really need a polish, and don’t you think you should vacuum the crown molding?!?), I will make it a priority to move the needle a little bit more on The 923 Oak Project today. And rinse and repeat tomorrow.
I do need to be gentler with myself. And I also need to make smarter choices. One smart choice I can make right now is to stop beating myself up for the past few months, and try to impress myself with being the poster child for focus.
In true form, the universe delivered the perfect message to me in the form of a Chinese proverb accompanying my meditation today:
“Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it.”