What was Popeye’s mantra again, hmm, wait I have it…”I AM WHAT I AM!” Let me tell you, I never understood what that phrase meant, until I stopped trying to figure it out, and started believing in it’s meaning.
At a certain point, life becomes less about who you’re becoming and more about who you’ve become. When did I come to this life altering moment? Waking up to the fact that I was now “that certain age” and nowhere near what the prescribed definition of “who I thought I was supposed to be” at that point in my life. The established description would be; deliriously content, happily married, with a kid or two and a dog. So, when my “finally of that age self” was not the self I dreamed up so long ago I started thinking how could I’ve fixed this? I worried, maybe my life would be better if I just lived it more fully in the past. But how could I? I was too damn busy thinking about the future.
Now, at the age of 40 I can’t believe that I wasted so much of my younger days plotting out my future self and not enjoying my most important self, the PRESENT. Now, I understand what older folks were saying to me when they said “youth is wasted on the young.” Ugh….
Having realized that the time I wasted in my youth, today I REFUSE to steal anymore life from current myself by failing to be deeply alive IN MY LIFE. I now must struggle to cherish it while its happening. Phew! I finally got it. It’s now not just some theoretical mantra, but viscerally believe that this moment right now is all that I have. This is IT!
No more do I close my eyes wondering about who I might be in 20 years. Instead, I’m studying the videotape of my past 20+ years and looking at how I’m doing. My present is an ongoing activity of checking in with ME. Looking more closely at my thoughts, my behavior and interactions with others. Now I truly and deeply understand that if I come at life from a point of fear and judgement that I have no reason to expect anything but fear and judgement back.
My now PRESENT is spent investing more effort and energy in increasing my strengths and decreasing my weaknesses, looking at my wounds and asking working to heal them, seeking forgiveness for things that I am ashamed of, refusing to find satisfaction in things outside of myself or “completion” in other people.
What I finally realized is that what Popeye said is so freakin’ true — I am who I am. My life is what it is and by shifting my focus on who I AM and where my life is right NOW I’ve finally realized that ol’ spinach loving sailor was right, the fun is in the journey not the destination.