You’re (almost) Simply the Best (sometimes)

11 Aug

Still here. I have officially survived the plunge and things are looking fairly bright so far.

(I have really just been looking for an excuse to use this image, so bear with me as this blog is a little bit all over the place. This is actually the first entry I have genuinely struggled with – I think Satan is trying to tell me something.)

So then. I have been doing some thinking about a phrase that’s recently popped up all over the place: The idea of ‘fulfilling your potential’. These innocuous little words have actually been haunting me a little bit by way of posing the following questions: Am I on the right track with my life? How would I know if I am not? Am I the best I can possibly be right now? What does that even mean and does it even matter? As we get older, we acquire new friends, experiences, cars and haircuts. And we develop and change (or do we?). And how does all this stack up against expectations and ideas about ourselves held by our families and friends who have known us since we were 4?

Sometimes it’s really bugging me that my family know me. I mean, really know me. I don’t really know why that is bugging me so much. Possibly because I am quite different to them to some extent (they are all medical people) and hence I think they have no idea how my head works, but also because I never really tell them anything so I actually know that they have no idea how my head works and they have pretty much all said that to me at some point. However, I have recently spent a bit more time talking to them and holey camoley batman, they have given me some insights that were rather uncanny. My dad wasn’t really around much after I was 10, but he really gets me and I am starting to believe that I might have not changed that much since I was 4. I am not saying that’s bad, but it somewhat renders all this personality development stuff a bit pointless if we are all essentially 4 year olds with more expensive haircuts. And I hate to say it, but whenever I try and learn something new and don’t quite get it straight away, I get myself into the same old strops I had when my parents first took me skiing. Screaming, shouting and the feeling that I am about to explode with frustration. Honestly, the tantrums I can throw are spectacular.

So anyway, in trying to find the answer to all these questions, I am really trying to get an idea of who I actually am, what lies beneath it all. My brother for example is a doctor and as far as his career is concerned that’s all he has ever done and been. He also only really ever had one hobby – basketball – and he became pretty damn good at it. So, if I had asked him 5 years ago where he would be in 2011 on a purely professional level, he would have probably given me a fairly accurate answer. I have never been able to do that – my CV reads a bit like a cooking recipe (bit of this, bit of that) and although that’s quite cool on one hand (I am quite good at Ballet/Volleyball/Tennis/Yoga/Piano), one thing I have never had is direction which has always been much more nerve-wrecking for my parents than for me as I have always had confidence in the fact that ‘it will all be fine’. And it has been. But is ‘fine’ really enough? Whilst being decent at a few things, I never got really good at anything. And why do I think it’s been ‘fine’ and not great? Am I too ambitious or spoilt or delusional or plain naive or have I simply ‘not arrived yet’? Gulp. I am not complaining (I promise) and I still have that quietly misguided confidence that I will always be fine, but as of recent I have started to question whether I am on the right track (in case it exists) or whether I should not be running a sloth sanctuary somewhere in the pacific. One reason why not?

I am at a point in my life where ‘being in the right place doing the right thing’ is quite important. After all, at the moment I only need to report to myself – yes, it will surprise you, but despite the hundreds of dashing bachelors serenading outside my window every night, I am still single – and I can do whatever I want. And that means I would like to make the best use of all my skills that I have acquired over the years and be in that ‘right place doing the right thing’.

It’s always so much easier looking back and making sense of it all than it is looking ahead. I can turn my CV (or life story if you will) into a narrative that sounds as if everything has always pointed to ‘right here, right now’. But I know it’s not been that straight forward and I can also turn my CV into many different narratives if I want or need to. I am fully aware of some of the crossroad situations in my life and that certain decisions could have very easily taken me into a different direction. So me being where I am right now and doing what I do really seems to be an accumulation of random decisions, chance, accidents, situations of running towards something or away from something and about 5% of planning. And I think that’s true for a lot of people. So the idea of a ‘grand plan behind it all’ doesn’t really work for me and the idea that there is one right track that will get me to a place where I can truly fulfill my potential, whatever that means, somewhat falls apart. So all I can do is do what feels right at the moment and run it past a few trusted people.

Of course there are always other things I could be doing or I could have done – But it’s utterly pointless moaning about what hasn’t been (unless you own a tardis) but there is a point in thinking about the things you could be doing now or in the future (maybe not necessarily instead of but as well as). And funny enough, sometimes it helps to look way back to find a direction for the future.

And if you don’t know whether you are on the right track – ask your mum or your dad. They probably know.

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