As I reflect back on the different phases of my life, it always felt like I was seeking something…love, success, validation, recognition, money, happiness. At the same time, I never felt like I truly deserved any of those things. I mean, who was I to expect love, success, recognition? Certainly there were much more deserving people (whatever that means) than me. People who knew how to be good friends, good employees, good partners. People who were beautiful and funny and smart. But until I figured out how to be one of those people, I acted like I was already part of that club. I faked the hell out of it. And I think I was pretty good at the faking – I found love, good jobs, had friends, earned money, etc. But I felt like I was an impostor, and at some point, I was going to be made, and the house of cards I built would topple.
At the same time as all of this, I was neck deep in the rat race. My mindset while I was in school was that I could always do more – I could study more for the test coming up, I could do extra credit so I could maintain my GPA, I should also take elective courses. Sports! Become fluent in Italian so I can study abroad. And when it was time to get a job, I regularly worked 60-80 work weeks. I never had time for happy hour, dinners out, etc. And I got a cat, then another cat, then we got a dog, and then another dog. Then I had a baby. For some reason, I kept needing to add more to my life.
And finally, after all that faking and rat racing, my house of cards started to fall. Slowly at first, so I didn’t realize what was happening. But ultimately, I was torn down to the studs. It was painful, sad, confusing, scary – and it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
It’s been 5 years since my house of cards began to teeter. I am rebuilding my house now. I don’t know if it will ever be finished, but maybe that’s the point of life? And while I sometimes still feel like I am faking my way through, I now feel much more deserving than I used to. All those things I was seeking before – love, happiness, success, money? I don’t seek them anymore. Now I seek lagom. The Swedish lifestyle – not too much and not too little. Balance. In everything. My personal balance. And my hypothesis is that by seeking and living lagom in my way, I will be able to better appreciate all the beautiful parts of life.
I am attempting to write about my journey, both about the past and the present. I have never done this before, so we will see where this goes. I used to be very reluctant to share my life with others. Sharing myself meant sharing my vulnerabilities, which made me…vulnerable. I used to think vulnerabilities were weaknesses, and it went against my whole way of life to show weakness. Now I believe that our vulnerabilities are what make us individuals. They can represent strength by showing how we live with, admit to, and work through our vulnerabilities. Vulnerabilities also make us real. And I’m more interested in real life these days.
It’s time to get real.