What’s driving us?

Every day, in various situations, we ask questions like, what’s the reason for this? Why are we doing this? What’s the goal? Who is behind this? Who are we doing this for?

We ask it at work when we begin a new project and there isn’t much direction yet. We ask it of our friends or family if we’re confused by their actions, or if a relationship is stalled. We ask it of ourselves when thinking about our future, when setting goals for the year, when making life-changing decisions.

Sometimes, we have the answer. Sometimes, it’s as easy as setting a fundraising target or making a project plan with roles and responsibilities. Sometimes it’s telling someone you love the truth, clearing the air, and fixing the problem.

But sometimes, these questions seem almost unanswerable. Impossible. Cloudy. Questions you know aren’t going away, but still, months later, sometimes years later, you still can’t pin down.

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Questions

Left unasked, finding out the answers too late can cause problems. But sometimes, asking them hurts more.

Asking the right questions of people you care about can lead to discussing elephants in the room that need to be cleared out. But then there’s the questions that may be wrong, or if not wrong, they make you wonder why they were asked in the first place. Do they have a hidden meaning? Does it point to a deeper concern or is it truly just a simple question?

Questions. Tears. Fights. Doubts.

Question: what’s next?

Triggers

Knowing and recognizing our emotional triggers and not letting them take control of us are two very different things. It’s definitely one of those “easier said than done” instances. Have you ever worked at something for months, for years, maybe your whole life, and then one tiny little thing that someone says or maybe worse, doesn’t say, seems to erase all of your efforts and suddenly you’re wanting to bust out of your seams?

Yeah, that was me today.

I’ve been working at it. I have. I had a great first step last week. I was so proud of myself. And I have been talking out loud about everything more, to myself, to my family and boyfriend and friends who care about me. I was making changes.

And then, “it” happened. A trigger. Without going into too much detail, it was the thing that wasn’t said today that set me off. That set me on a stream of tears, a stream of consciousness that went something like this: i’m-not-needed-recognized-loved-worthless-doesnt-matter-who-cares-get-over-it-forget-it-why-does-this-keep-happening?

You’re like, man, she sounds like Cybil! Nothing is worse than starting to beat yourself up and getting angrier and sadder by the second while simultaneously trying to force yourself to stop thinking about it and to not worry about it and to not make anything of it. Nothing is worse than feeling like an entire couple months of progress are gone in one instant, an entire year’s worth of work is unnoticed, and that an entire life’s worth of this SAME EVER-PRESENT FEELING has still not gone away and seems like it never will. And nothing is worse than 98% of the people around you telling you and showing you that you’re appreciated, but the other 2% (yourself and one other person) negating the whole thing.

Back to square one. Deep breaths. More hugs.

Making plans?

I’m a planner. A think-aheader. An organizer, a routine person. Anyone who knows me, knows that about me. I have lists to check off and dates to remember and goals to meet and visions to pursue. In some arenas, I pride myself on this. It makes me feel productive, and somehow, it comforts me.

But lately, I’ve been realizing how sometimes, planning ahead isn’t possible and it isn’t the best way to go about things. For instance, planning out the BIG aspects of your life: marriage, kids, career, where you’ll live, etc. Don’t get me wrong – thinking about these things and having ideas about them isn’t bad. But I know that I can, and I’m sure other people can, fall into a rut of imagining their lives so far in advance before certain things have even happened, so much so that it can take away from living in the moment, and take away from you doing the things you truly want to do and being the person you want to be.

Parents are good at these times, to remind you to be selfish while you can, before you have obligations, before it’s too late. As someone in a serious relationship, I know that I often think about what will happen in a few years and what it means for the things I want to do in life. There’s trade-offs. It’s inevitable that we give things up to be with someone else. That’s where planning ahead too much can make things harder. Suddenly, the plan to get married in 3 years and have kids 2 years later and live in City X for 5 years before moving to City Y isn’t so appealing if it means you might have to sacrifice other things you love.

As this year moves forward, it’s part of my “plan” to not plan so much. Now is the time to figure out what I want to do – and go do it.