I’d be doing work I enjoy and where I can put my health first. I’d show others that you can be successful AND manage narcolepsy AND not hide it, but embrace listening to what your body tells you. I’d help others with something practical or empowering and then maintain those relationships. I want to learn and love – through travel, through culture, nature, activities, strangers and friends. At the same time, I want to be more present and less concerned about checking things off. Horseback riding was the first thing I shifted from a goal-oriented activity to enjoying for its own sake after a whole mess of experiences, and still amazes and excites me every time I go to the stable. If I stop for a second though, technically, I’m doing a lot of the above already. I want to say “BUT IT’S NOT ENOUGH,” but why? Why is it not enough? Because I say it’s not, think it’s not, assume it’s not. Therefore, it IS not. And it will stay that way as long as I want it to. I’ve already been through the phase where I secretly wanted everyone’s pity, but pretended like I didn’t. I pretended to be fine with my life circumstances when I was so very not. Then I dropped the facade and just openly complained about the impossibility of it all (still do this some…).
But what if I could truly just be ok with where I’m at? There are some real benefits. I’m getting to ride on a regular basis – last week I jumped cross country for the first time and I can’t even describe how insanely happy that made me. I actually had three lessons last week! I rode in a show jumping clinic with Kira Conner, a CIC** eventer out of North Carolina, on a cheeky pony that has scope for daaays. Then I did a little dressage test with the OTTB mare I later rode on Friday for xc and she was a star for that as well.
Did I mention I’m back at the stable where I first sat on a horse 15 years ago, all of 10 minutes from my house? And my instructor is someone I rode with in 4th grade? It’s a small world folks.
Then there’s the fact that I kinda-sorta have a dog. Well the benefits of one at the moment, without the responsibility or costs. I walk/run with her most mornings, and as a Husky, she has been thoroughly enjoying the recent temperature drop we’re having in the Midwest. One of the things I love about it is that it gets me moving and outside first thing. There’s still dew on the lawns of my tree-lined neighborhood and the sun makes us squint and warms my skin when we’re walking back. She’s taken to looking for me and will lay at the end of her house keeping an eye on either my or the bathroom window. While I know her enthusiasm is more for the walk than for me, I still can’t help but laugh and get more excited as she spins in circles (and still occasionally tries to jump on me… sigh… work in progress) and starts whimpering when she feels I’m not moving fast enough.
There’s also all the time I’ve had to learn more about myself; through therapy, through researching narcolepsy, keeping up with current events (although those can be just as depressing as my own vicious little circles…), learning more about the Myers Briggs system, the Enneagram, Spiral Dynamics and other systems. I’m figuring out what my habits are – beneficial and not-so-helpful. I’m working on my self-esteem, becoming more involved with my community, reading books, going through all of accumulated stuff from over the years.
I’m not doing so bad anymore.
Even that is scary to admit, because I think I assume by naming that, I can’t have any more bad days. Or that stating that will call forth more shit. But I’m thinking too far into the future again – something I am incredibly good at, for better and worse. Right now, I am well. I am content. I’m still keeping an eye out for the proverbial Next Opportunity, but I don’t need to go blindly chasing after it. I’ve started reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and just read the part about mentors, wherein countless young women will explicitly ask (sometimes) random people “will you be my mentor?”
Now, I want a mentor as much as the next person. I’ve never asked someone if they would be/are my mentor, but I’ve done it with opportunities: I will literally ask myself if this is my next big thing. Nine times out of ten, when I’ve had to ask that, I’m trying to make it something it’s probably not. The most influential opportunities/decisions I’ve had, I didn’t need to ask. I either knew it was, or went in with no expectations. To be clear, that’s not lowered expectations, but none, and it’s helped create some of my best experiences, or ‘lead-in’ opportunities because whatever it is, is enough. Point being, I know how to just be and ‘catch’ big possibilities that come near me with forcing it, but doing that on a daily basis is more challenging. I’m making a concerted effort because where I’m at and who I am right now must be enough, otherwise I’ll spend more time in the mindset of my last several posts here, which only creates more of the same.
Here’s to succeeding, surely failing, and then succeeding again at being enough.