I was on the phone complaining to a friend recently about my life, feeling incredibly frustrated by where things are vs. where I want them to be, and I found myself saying that I am living a rough draft version of my life.
As in, my real life is this other version where I'm skinny and happily in a relationship and my coaching roster is full and none of this current medical drama I’ve just been diagnosed with and am way too busy to deal with is anywhere on my radar.
As in, I don't know what this thing is, this life that I’m currently living. Let’s call it a scratch pad version, waiting to be crumpled up when the real thing comes along.
This is something I’ve always struggled with. This idea that I’m waiting in the wings for my life to begin. The notion that somewhere out there, somewhen out there, Future Me is living a fabulous life. And I just need to catch up to it so I can ditch this one.
Have you ever felt this way?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but something I’ve been contending with lately is how powerful my fantasy life is, and how much more comfortable I am dreaming of a better time than being here, now, in the present, doing the drudging work of creating that better time.
I mean, I made a vision board, right?
So it's coming…. right?
I don’t want to arrive at my future self and realize the things I wanted never materialized.
So I’m engaging in some honest explorations of what do I really want, and what am I willing to do to get them.
I know the obstacle isn’t hard work. I’m pretty much a glutton for punishment when it comes to work. Plus, the things I love don’t feel like work. So it’s not that.
I do think my two biggest challenges are my discomfort with what is; and my impatience with the journey.
No matter how much I meditate, no matter how many mantras I repeat on inner peace and whatnot, I still find living to be inherently… uncomfortable. Yearning for things is uncomfortable. Wanting things to be different is uncomfortable. Being disappointed, getting rejected, feeling frustrated… all freaking uncomfortable.
And I want to run from uncomfortable. So rather than sitting with it, allowing for it, I eat to shove it aside, or binge watch another Netflix series, or plan another getaway weekend.
I don't stay and let it pass. I create side drama. I create distractions. I create anything to pull me away from uncomfortable.
This is a huge block, because the real gold in what I'm trying to build is often just on the other side of uncomfortable.
Similarly, I have no patience for the small consistent steps it takes to get to my actual, ideal life.
I keep thinking I should be there already, and grow frustrated with the learning curve.
I am not okay with not knowing how to do something.
I take set backs as a sign I must be on the wrong track, and decide maybe I didn’t really want it after all.
I get frustrated and decide maybe I'm doing everything wrong, and then it takes me a long time to recover from that and get back to trying again.
In answer to both of these challenges, my goal for awhile now has been to grow the muscle of resilience. Resilience for disappointment. Resilience for setbacks. Resilience for failure.
I hate the idea that I’m not enjoying what my life is right now. In whatever form it is, no matter where I stand in relation to my goals, I guarantee you it is full of laughter and friends, art making and soul soothing, deep connection and adventures. I have built these into my life the last few years, and I am damn proud of them.
So the question is really how do I celebrate the journey ahead, so I can appreciate all the living I’m actually doing?
By shaming my life as it is -- my rough draft life – and rejecting it for not being what I wanted, I’m actually disempowering myself from making any changes.
If I don’t like where my weight is but I refuse to buy new clothes for my bigger size and refuse to step on a scale or think about what I’m eating, then I can’t change course.
If I hate that I have digestive issues and adrenal fatigue and need pills and medical supervision and a restricted diet and lots of doctor's visits, then I can’t participate in healing myself. I just want to shut the door on the world and crawl into bed with some rocky road ice cream.
If I refuse to start engaging with potential coaching clients because I'm still unsure how to share what it is I do and definitely still unsure about charging for any of it, then I’m just putting off learning the skill set I need most – getting out there and talking to people. Doing it badly until I can do it well.
There is a quote from the playwright Samuel Beckett that my aunt had framed years ago and hung on her wall. It reads:
Ever tried. Ever failed.
Try again. Fail again.
Recently, she gifted the framed quote to me, and I’ve been staring at it for a few months now. And I think it’s starting to sink in.
The adventure is to fail better.
The adventure comes in saying, it’s not that I didn’t learn anything from the things that didn’t work out. It’s that I didn’t learn enough. This time I will fail again, but I will fail better.
How do we turn the tide?
How do we stay in the game, and make failing again and again a way of life?
There is no magic pill.
But there is accountability.
I know that this work doesn’t get done alone.
Why? For the simple reason that the part of us that is scared of change is way smarter than the part of us that desires growth and new adventures.
We are hard wired for safety.
So changing what feels safe, what we’re capable of receiving, what level of success feels natural to us – that takes consistent inner and outer work.
So, tell me, are you living a rough draft life too?
Are you ready to do something about it?