"time to grow up"

*First published via email on Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Click here to subscribe.

 
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Hi,

I’m sitting in the parking lot in Pleasant Hill, CA waiting for an interview. This is my first time in this area, and like the name implies, it’s truly beautiful here.

Melo and I are planning to move here in a few weeks and being here today amongst the sunshine and all the green (oh, the green!) is making me feel a bit more excited about moving.

To be honest, I’m a little scared to move to such a suburban area. Even more scared that I am enjoying it and can really imagine myself being happy here.

Since I left home at 18, I’ve been terrified of “settling” and “settling down.” And now that I’m looking into getting a job and living in a such a suburban, cookie-cutter area, that familiar fear is coming back.

The fear that says, “What if this is it? What if this is all there is to life? What if I get so sucked into making a steady paycheck that a decade will go by, I’ll look up, see that I’m 40, and have money in the bank but I’m still feeling miserable and stuck?” 

I fell asleep crying last night, wondering why I’m back again in this emotional space. Feeling like the years are zipping by and everyone around me is moving forward while I’m standing still. Still a child, wanting to play all the time, wanting an easy life, wanting a pleasurable life.

A few weeks ago, a friend said to me, “You’re lucky to have such supportive parents, but…” and her unsaid, “...but it’s time to grow up” hung like a dark cloud between us. I felt so hurt. Still feeling hurt as I haven't made the time to talk to her about it just yet. 

My dad yesterday said that my view of the world is too idealistic. Yes, I want an ideal life. I want a life in which I am surrounded by caring, compassionate, intelligent, forward-thinking, inspiring individuals who are doing what they love every day, and I'm feeling in love with giving back to others in a way that lights me up on the inside, too. To me, that is a wealthy, successful life. And Dad said it’s easier to lower my standards and be happy where I’m at. Make the best of everything.

Even though I felt really sad hearing the lowering the standards bit, I believe there is truth in the way he’s thinking. At least the be-happy-where-you’re-at part. I have to be happy with my current life in order to attract more happiness and fulfillment in the future. Patience with oneself is truly a goddamn virtue, isn’t it?

I will do my best to focus on that this week - first by enjoying the heck out of the scenery here in Pleasant Hill. While also allowing myself to feel sad that I’m not where I’d like to be yet. Both and.

And if you’ve been hearing things like "It's time to grow up," "You're too idealistic," and "Lower your standards and you'll be happier," and you feel like giving up...let’s form a band together 😛. I know I’m not alone (although it’s still very nice to get emails from you saying so). And you are most definitely not alone.

We can help each other remember that when other people share their beliefs and stories with us, we can choose to take it as love and not as a personal attack.

At the same time, if we really don’t like hearing their beliefs and stories, we also have the right to say so...again, with love.

What are some things that you hear in your life that feel like a punch in the gut? Is there a way for you to perceive it as love instead?

Thank you for reading my emails. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you.

With love,

Jess

 

 

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