Okay, that’s it! T H A T I S I T. It hits me. Almost like a lightning bolt. I can feel it in every part of my body. THIS IS IT. I am done with it. I am just not allowing this to happen anymore. I am just not doing it. NO WAY!
A few days ago I heard her voice in the back of my mind: “Shouldn’t you be working your ass off?” Huh, who are you?, was my immediate response. But she went on: “You are 39 years old and you should find yourself a decent job. Contribute to society! Work hard and save up for your retirement and pension plans!” The voice was really loud and impossible to ignore. “What am I doing wrong? Why are you here?”
I sat down. That helped. The voice calmed down. But she had no plans of leaving me. None whatsoever. Maybe I should take a moment and listen. For it is true. I don’t have a 9 to 5 job. I have no retirement plan (never had, to be honest; my bookkeeper always told me not to worry about that until my 40th and I loved that advise ;-)). The voice finds fertile ground on my dormant feelings of guilt. Guilt. Yes. A horrible feeling when you think about it. You feel guilty about something you should do and aren’t doing. Or have done whilst you should not have.
“What’s up?” my love asks me. I tell him about the guilt. That I can’t enjoy what I have and at the same time know I should, because my life is awesome. I tell him that I should have a decent job or at least know what she is heading for in her life. He knows my story. He has heard it so many times over the past 12 months that it has become a stuck record. But he remains his loving self. Understands my impatience, but wonders why I should even be bothered by other people’s opinion. “The only opinion that is worthwhile taking into consideration is yours and perhaps mine. Forget about all other voices!”
I know he is right, but that voice inside my head still comes around for tea in the morning, for coffee in the afternoon, and in the middle of the night she manages to whisper into my ear. It takes me three more weeks. I take myself for walks. I try to understand. Try to let go. But it is not easy. I want to. Desperately. I know that guilt has no use. But it has created a few strong roots in my fertile brain…
And then it hits me. Like a not-to-miss-light-bulb-moment. And I make a choice. At that moment I just decide to stop feeling guilty. I stop listening to the voice, ‘cause who is she to tell me that I should feel guilty? I have always dreamt of living in Africa. And here I am! I always wanted to meet interesting and extraordinary people. And I am meeting the most amazing ones. Every single day. Do you hear me, Mrs Guilt? EVERY SINGLE DAY! So, I think, Mrs. Guilt, that it is about time we say goodbye. It was good meeting you.
And that was it. End of guilt. I don’t say it will never come back, but it taught me a great lesson in that we always have a choice. We can listen to the voices inside our heads or decide not to be available to them and move on. And just say: “No! I am not listening. I am not available for your stories!” That’s it.
The voice turns around as I say: “Bye, keep well!”
I don’t think she will have any difficulty finding another mind to crawl into, but it ain’t gonna be mine.