I have always had very high expectations for myself and am an extremely goal oriented person. However, it has only been recently that it has been brought to my attention that I have never revised my life plans in my head. I have never altered my expectations in my mind even after going through all that I have over the past 12 years. I still get very down on myself because at the age of 26, I am not even remotely close to where I always thought I would be at this point in my life. I am still dependent on my parents and just have continuously needed to deal with the emotional toll being chronically ill has taken on me. Now that I am more physically stable (knock on wood), I believe there is no excuse for me to not have a full time job, live on my own and be self sufficient. However, as I began talking this out with someone, I realized that I need to stop being so hard on myself. I need to learn how to enjoy things again. I have been on high alert and on guard for so long that it has become increasingly difficult for me to just let go and relax a bit.
When we are young, we have so many huge dreams but what we fail to take into account is the unpredictability of life. At the age of 10, no one thinks about unexpected events because most ten year olds believe they are invisible. It is an amazing way to think and I have often wished I had this innocence back. I wish I didn’t know as much as I do now but since I do, I am trying to think about all of the ways that I can make my life easier. I always expected that I would graduate from college and go on to graduate school, have a career where I had the privilege of helping others, and was just genuinely successful. I have been feeling anything but these past few months/years. I wrote in a previous post about how you measure success (http://keepingthingsinsideisbadformyhealth.wordpress.com/2012/09/30/how-do-you-measure-accomplishments/) but it is still something that plagues me every day.
My life was literally turned upside down at the age of 13 when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I do know rationally that I have had to endure so much pain, disappointment, frustration, etc. However, even though I do know all of that I still cannot shake the feeling that I should be in a different place by now. I feel as though I should be on my own and set in my career path. I saw a group of physically and emotionally disabled children at the local YMCA today and was watching some of the teachers interact with them. It really warmed my heart to see these wonderful people light up these childrens’ lives. It made me think about all of the people I know who are special education teachers and what an amazing and fulfilling career that must be. And then I realized that I was completely kidding myself if I thought I had the emotional strength to work with children who are struggling like these kids are. I empathize way too much and I do think it would be truly disastrous for my mental health at this point even though I would want more than anything to help make someone’s life better.
This whole situation led me to realize that we are all doing what we can handle and sometimes the plans we had earlier on in life need to be tweaked. I want a life filled with enjoyment (yes, I know I am not the only one). I want to love what I do. I want to wake up in the morning and look forward to going to work or being involved in whatever I decide to do. I want to come home at the end of the day feeling like I made a difference. I am realizing more and more that the key for me is to find a career path that allows me to help others and utilize my psychology degree and interpersonal skills, but also something that doesn’t trigger me. I become too involved with people and when that happens, I feel their pain which would be okay if I wasn’t also dealing with my own pain and issues.
We all need to remember that each day our lives are changing. Things happen unexpectedly; sometimes for the better and sometimes not. It is human nature to want to make plans for the future. It gives us a sense of security. However, those things will be detrimental to you if you fail to acknowledge what you are actually physically and/or emotionally capable of. You will be left feeling disappointed if you can’t seem to take into account some limitations that were thrown your way. That is where I am now and it just leaves me feeling like a failure. I know rationally that I am not even close to a failure but I can’t help feeling like that and I do believe a part of that reason is because I never revised my plan.