This weekend, as I sat down and tried to work out (once again) the things that I wanted to do and the things that I needed to do, I realized that I am once again the victim of activity overreach: I want to do far more than it seems I ever really have time to do. By my count I have at least 10 things I am trying to make happen in some form or fashion outside of my regular job.
As I sat and pondered a little more I realized that this is not only a trend for me, but that I have a history of half started things, projects that started to move along but never really got past the point of catching fire. My bookshelves are littered with things I thought I would do once upon a time but did not and various portions of the house piled with materials "I intend to get around here to any day now" but never seem to.
Why is this? Why do I start so much and finish so little?
As I tried to continue to slice through the outer edge of my consciousness looking in, I realized that one thing I felt to be different was that in some way I had "permission" to do some of the activities that I did while other were somehow "not sanctioned". That is odd to me, since I have had the ability to choose what I want to do for 30 years now. What would cause me to still feel like I needed permission to practice something.
Then the thought crept into my brain "You do not do them full force because you are not approved in doing them."
Approved? By who? For what? What a strange thought, that I should somehow need someone else to say "okay" before truly doing something. Is it not true that the things that I have done and stuck with have been things that I started on my own, without "asking" permission but merely doing?
As I teased the thought out more what I found is that I am looking for the approval or the sense of pleasing others in this as I look for it in so many other areas of my life. I start something but then, in the depths of my soul, there is a "second-guessing" that I do, a sense of holding back full commitment until someone (and this person seems to vary) says that it is "okay" for me to do. I took up writing to please myself; it was not until such friends as Bogha Frois and Songbird and Otis said "Hey, you can write" that truly began pursuing it, just as it was not until Snowflake did the same that I was able to commit to writing a book. Highland Athletics became a part of my life when some participants told me that my size and lack of ability did not matter as long as my spirit was there - in other words, someone "approved" what I was doing.
How confusing it must be for my inner self that I am not always conscious of, this constant back and forth of "Let us do this" and "Let us stop doing this", all by driven by this vague sense of seeking out the approval of others to really seem to commit to something. Carried out long enough, it means that I will never really do a tenth of the things that I desire as I will always be seeking the approval of others to do what I want to do.
And that is really the rub - not the picking up of activities or varied interests but this constant and nagging sense that I need someone else to sign off on the activities to commit to them. I continue to find myself trapped in a need for someone else to make me feel better about myself and my decisions.
(Note: I am incredibly uncomfortable as I write this, a sense of turmoil and wanting to turn away present. Probably means I am on the right track.)
How to combat this? Strike at the root, not the branches. The activities are hardly the issue at hand - the fact that I continue to seek the approval of others long after it is relevant is.
Somewhere in here, there is a very small boy continuing to ask others to like him and approve of him. How do I tell him that it is okay to just be about doing - with no-one's approval needed?