RECOVERY

I Don’t Know How to Do Any of This Stuff

I’m just over here stumbling my way through life.

This probably isn’t even a surprise to anyone who knows me. If you look at my track record, you can tell I’m not getting anywhere fast. Not really.

I’ll tell you something else.

I’m directionally challenged.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Let me explain.

I can walk into a place (for example, a store at the mall), and when I walk out, I choose to go the exact opposite direction of the way I meant to go. Why? I have no idea what direction I was originally heading.

I’m not observant.

I don’t notice things like landmarks or stores I may have passed already. I’m too caught up in my own thoughts—too wrapped up in my world to notice that there’s another one apart from me, unless it includes flowers or other brightly colored objects that grab my attention.

It’s like I just wander around aimlessly, hoping I end up where I thought I wanted to go. And that pretty much sums up my entire life.

It even sums up my writing. This was penned sitting in the dollar store parking lot. I stopped to get cheese and dog food when I realized I didn’t have my life together and knew I needed to get that on paper, instead of doing what I meant to do.

I’d love to say that my insight and self-awareness were leading me to a new path of intentionality, but I’d be lying. How would I know?

I always think I’m going in the right direction, even though I seldom see a thing that indicates the truth of that.

It’s usually only after I end up in some strange place where I never intended to be that I realize I should’ve taken a different road altogether.

“So,” I think, “I should plan better,” and I make a 60 page to-do list. About two items in on the doing side, I get overwhelmed with the sheer enormity of tasks I’ve created for myself and quit the whole thing. This is further complicated by the fact that I’m a compulsive notebook buyer, and each one is filled with similar lists of things I will never accomplish.

The great thing about having the notebooks with me is I get to write random nonsense and interesting ideas in them, and they’re always handy if inspiration strikes.

Otherwise, I find it hard to justify the fact that I’ll never measure up to those spiral dictators. I don’t give up, though.

One of my favorite blundering-through-life techniques is a little thing I like to call INFORMATION OVERLOAD.

This is where I begin to watch videos, listen to podcasts, voraciously read books, blogs, and everything else I can get my hands on. These help me plan a million and one no-fail ways to get my life back on track based on what everyone else says works.

Guess what? This doesn’t help. I get so much stuff in my head that I couldn’t make a rational decision to save my own life!

Besides, who’s trying to make decisions? I have all this wonderful INFORMATION to sort through.

Sometimes it crosses my mind to wonder if I’m the only one. Do other people plan out their lives and work those plans, or do they just let life happen to them and hope and pray for the best?

I mean, being perpetually lost is NOT the worst thing. I’ve stumbled into places and people I would’ve never encountered had I had a legitimate goal in mind, or at least a goal that came with a plan.

There’s been a bountiful amount of beauty on my spontaneous and confusing journey.

I’ve learned so many things I would have been cheated out of in an ordinary goal-driven, plan-based life.

I’m extraordinarily grateful for my experiences and the savage joy accompanying them, even as I daily attempt to narrow my focus and thereby create some kind of directional path I can follow.

In fact, I’m going to work on that right now. Well, almost right now.

First, I’m going to go find a flower to pick.

Photo by Mat Reding on Unsplash

I noticed daffodils are blooming, and they’re my favorite. Nothing smells sweeter, and one will look pretty in my hair.

I’ll take my notebook with me just in case.

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RECOVERY

THE THIEF OF JOY

In this world of influence and social media, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison. Teddy Roosevelt told us a long time ago that “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and I believe that reality speaks for itself when you look at the increasing number of teen suicides since the invention of certain social apps that are being used as bullying tools. Here are a few truths to fight back against that old stealer of joy:

  • God created YOU to be YOU! He gave each of us a unique set of gifts and talents to be used for HIS glory. You are the only person who was designed to be exactly like you—so be that! And be that BEST YOU that you can be!
  • What you see on SOCIAL MEDIA isn’t real. Faces are airbrushed. Backgrounds are blurred. Vacations are faked. Waists are slimmed. Lots of things are made to appear one way when they are just the opposite! Isn’t it better to be authentic than to wear a mask for the rest of the world to see?
  • We ALL fall short of what we could be! It would be great if we all lived up to our potential, but clearly, we don’t. If someone is pointing out what they perceive to be YOUR shortcomings, it’s probably just to take attention off their own.
  • You may not really want what you think you want. Think about what it would REALLY mean for your life if you had the things THEY seem to have! What if you had that dream job? How much time would you have to spend away from your precious family? What if you had all their money? Would you really know who your friends were at the end of the day? How about that car? Okay, maybe it WOULD be cool if you had that CAR! Okay then! Quit wishing and start figuring out what it would take to earn the money to buy it!
Photo by Efren Barahona on Unsplash

Since you know that it is self-defeating, here are several things you can do to get out of the comparison trap and start to lead a more productive life:

a.  Work on being a better YOU! We could ALL use improvement, remember? You don’t have to make a huge goal. Just try to be better than you were yesterday! Stretch yourself a little further every day. Take more risks toward a better future!

b.  Tend to your health. Start eating better. Make one healthy food choice at a time. Take the stairs more often. Walk across the parking lot instead of parking as close to the door as possible. Drink more water.

c.  Practice humility and gratitude. You will be amazed at what a difference it makes in your life to just take the time to be grateful for all you have.

d.  Give others more of your time, energy, money, and resources. You will be blessed more than they will.

e.  Get rid of things cluttering up your life. Do you really need that porcelain figurine from 1976? Are you ever going to fit in those jeans again? I’m sorry to tell you that the answer to both of those questions is probably NO!

f.  Love more.

g.  Go to church.

h.  Pray and read your Bible (if you don’t have one, go get one).

i.  Journal. Writing your feelings down helps you sort them out and is extremely helpful when trying to work through situational anxiety.

j. Paint, draw, take photos, or do anything artistic! You will be so busy that you won’t have time to compare yourself to ANYBODY. Also, you will have accomplished something wonderful (no matter how it turns out)!

Hope these tips help the next time you’re tempted to compare yourself or your life to someone else! Remember, the most important thing that you can be is YOURSELF!