Dangerous Safety Blankets.

“The true disaster is living the life in your mind and missing the one in front of you.” – Geneen Roth, Lost and Found

As I plodded along through this book, vacillating between being interested and thinking it didn’t apply to me, I read this line and quite literally gasped aloud. As I so crudely alluded to in my last post, I am always focusing so hard on the future that I fail to really see and experience the present.

When eating a meal, I don’t taste it. I’m fixated on the next bite, or the next course, or even the next meal. On a vacation, I’m always thinking about the next bullet point on the itinerary. At work, my mind is always on the next project or the next client. In life, I’m dreaming about the next day, the next month, the next year. In finances, I’m always counting on the next paycheck to help reach a financial milestone.

It’s sad, even pathetic. How can I waste so much of my life…a beautiful, glorious life with safety and love and potential, by planning my next move?

I’ve always announced to people that I’m an idea person, but that I lack follow-through. At the root, this is true, but really, it’s that I have Attention Deficit Disorder within my life. I can’t sit still and follow a project through because I’ve found a new obsession: a new diet, a new budget, a new blog, a new hobby.

How does one stop and smell the roses? Is it as simple as it sounds?

Experience tells me no. Like every other pattern, it is learned. The planner within me is part of my identity, my safety blanket when things get tough. If life throws me a curveball, there are two places you’re likely to find me: creating a spreadsheet or researching on Google. As I sat on a plane speeding back to Chicago and my husband drove to his new home in San Francisco, what did I do? Pulled out a scrap piece of paper from my purse and made a list of everything I was going to accomplish in the next 3 months we’re apart. In theory, this sounds fantastic. {Wow, she’s so self-actualized, Maslow would say.} But I fear it’s become unhealthy. It’s great to have goals, but when you continually set unrealistic expectations upon yourself and flog yourself emotionally when you fail, there’s a problem.

So there it is, interwebs. I have a problem, and it’s only taken me 400+ words to figure it out.

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