The truth is I don’t trust my compass. I am not sure entirely why I don’t. I simply don’t trust my internal compass to tell me when I am on the right track or when I have strayed.
As soon as I decided status quo was not for me, the immediate next step was to start building to do lists: the books I needed to read, the people I needed to follow or meet, the courses I needed to take. It soon became a mad race to … not sure where to. The more I got to know, the less I realised that I knew. The more I planned, the more focused I got with just checking things off my many lists.
My coach once talked to me about dopamine addiction and how one gets one’s fix exactly by checking things off lists. Isn’t it ironical? Having lived for some time with an addict in my immediate family, I vouched to never be one as I could see first hand what it means to be in withdrawal, to try to break an addiction, I could see the effects on one’s life. So, I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t ever use sleeping pills and resort to pain killers only when I am crawling, I don’t watch TV endlessly and I quit social media before it was too late.
And yet, here I am, shaking, if I don’t make that last item on my daily list. Like a true addict. And you know what the worst part is? My addiction (probably like any other) cheats me. Diverts me from real meaning and a real destination.
I decide a book is good to read by reviews, title and topic and I start. I am then so bound by my dopamine addiction to finish it that I seldom stop to look at whether it actually speaks to me, whether it resonates with what I think or feel, or whether it teaches me anything worth learning.
This addiction is so subtle, it is socially acceptable and many times praised, and it blends in with a sense of duty I learned in early childhood made me special: do the right thing, be a good girl. All around terrible for someone who wants to trod a path less travelled. No wonder I am in a rut. No wonder I have problems visualising my dream. I am so busy checking things off my lists and getting my fixes that I have forgotten what it feels like to be inspired and moved.
Around eight years ago the penny dropped that at the end of the line there may not be someone asking me how many people around me I pleased in my lifetime but instead asking me how pleased I was with it. I guess what my realisation today is, is that there isn’t stack of completed to do lists I need to turn in either at the end of the rope. That this is a trap of the worst kind because it is in fact a life sucking process disguised subtly into a good thing.
So, once again, I am faced with two roads: I could keep checking off to do lists and know the outcome, or try to discover and listen to that internal compass I know exists somewhere in me and embrace the unknown. Year, I might get lazy, forget deadlines and objective, I may lose consistency. But at the same time, completely agreeing that it is the journey of every single moment of every single day that makes a successful, enjoyable and fun life, there is a a higher probability I will get my groove back and that is worth any sacrifice in the world.