Going Through the Motions

Driving to work this morning I caught the tail end of the morning show on one of the local radio stations here in the DMV (WKYS, to be specific, if you’re in the area). Every morning I channel surf while driving to work looking for the motivational moments all these morning shows have. But today’s moment on their show, called The Fam Vitamin, really resonated with me and me stop and think. Today’s little nugget of insight, called “Make a List and Adjust Accordingly,” basically started with the directions to make a list of all the things that make you happy. The next step was to make another list, but about this time of things that you accomplish or do everyday. As you might guess, the last step is to stop and compare the lists to take note of if how many, if any, things from your happy list (the first list) are also on your second list (the daily task list). The end result is that if the lists are nothing alike, it’s a sign that you need to adjust your list of things you do everyday to include more things that make you happy. .

While the idea behind this wasn’t new, it did make me pause. As I was driving and mentally making my first list, I was easily rattling off all the things that come to mind when I think about what makes me happy. But when I got to the second list…I actually got a little sad. Bored even. I knew even before he got to the end that this little activity made all my business very clear and plain: that somehow along the way, despite finally getting a job I enjoy and getting clearer about life, I’ve started going through the motions. I’ve gotten so caught up in routines that the things that make me happy are like little indulgences that I allow in once in awhile. All I can stop and think about is why that is. But even more, why is it that when I think about it am I so quick to want to explain it away?

There’s this voice in my head that says that part of being grown up is accepting that life can’t always be fun and games. Schedules are necessary. Taking care of things that you may not want to take care of is necessary. That’s part of life. That’s adulthood.

But then there’s this other voice that’s like: Yeah… but you can still do something that makes you happy everyday. In fact you can do some things that make you happy everyday. It’s all about how you think about it. And anyway, since when have you started thinking like that? And even if that’s what you’re thinking today…umm, hell no. Going through the motions is not life. It’s existing. And we know there’s a damn difference.” (you can tell I like the second voice better – they get italics and all.)

And so that’s where I’m at. I have somehow, somewhere along the line, morphed into the very thing I swore I wouldn’t and that I prided myself on not doing. I’m existing – not living. Who cares when it happened, because the fact is that it did. Somehow getting caught up in my adulting, I lost sight of that. But the beautiful thing is that, like all problems, admitting and acknowledging it is the first step.  So now some changes can begin.

To be continued…

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