“Find your tribe and love them hard.” I am so connected to this saying, and likely more as I age. I hit 40, and have begun to ask myself, “what’s more important quality or quantity?” Be that circumstances, events, invites, people, or things. I always come back to quality, and this has once again become my zone of comfort and grounding. I am an extrovert by nature, love having fun, and connecting to new people, new things, and taking risks! I am also impulsive, and when something feels like too much change is occurring, or I don’t have a grasp on it, I commit harder. Network larger, and end up in a place of “oh my what did I get myself into.”
I used to get a bit of a high out of racing from one event to the next, looking at my calendar, strategizing, and thinking, “I’m not sure how that is all going to happen, on that timeline, but I know I’ll do it,” and I did. I also got good at filling in, every minute of every day, because I didn’t want to say no and disappoint anyone. And then later giving my husband, mom, or kids a play by play of “ALL,” I did. It was always met with , why did you schedule so much stuff. and because I never had a good answer why, my response was filled with defense.
I have started to realize, that “high,” was often followed by an overwhelming knot in my chest, irritability and frustration, and an end product that was filled with a quantity of connections and expectations, but limited quality connections or emotion. I look back at pictures, and see a smile that was flat, and think, “wow, did others see that too, or was I moving too fast, no one really connected.” I also left with the nag of resentment, lots of resentment towards not only myself, but others when they didn’t understand why we (or I) would have to leave one thing an hour after arrival, to get to the next thing I had scheduled. What I also realized is that resentment was a defense, defense that I was often “killing two birds with one stone,” and not fully invested in the people or event that I was attending, and others were beginning to notice. What were my intentions grounded in, and what was my investment in needing to have so much to navigate, and so many people to please. When all of this was coming to a head, I decided to resign from my job at the time, open a private practice, so I could be more available to my kids and family, and leave space to “just be.”
What actually happened? I took on another day at my practice, said yes to everything asked of me, signed up for a yoga teachers training, and committed to every job offered to me that first year plus. Because in my brain, I was being a risk taker, redefining my self, and bringing experience and income to my family. And in my brain I was doing it really well from the outside, while inside I was struggling to keep my head above water. All things that on paper look amazing, but in real life lacked quality and oozed an inauthentic quantity.
As the years have gone on, I have felt a shift, a shift that I felt very conflicted about for a long time, trying to force that shift to stay put. But the shift was happening for a reason, and that reason, I have come to find out, was to create balance, redefinition, and an awareness of what I cherish most. Quality.
The simplicity and comfort of having a limited amount of things to do, having a history with someone that feels easy, and a structure to the week that is tolerable is something I now need. I put as a priority. A familiarity, and quality of connection, not only to others but to my time, my family, my friends, and myself. And only In the last few months, have I learned to give in to that shift in myself, realizing that the things that provided me with “I’m going to tolerate that,” have become intolerable. Schedules that feel overwhelming, and hard, are not “I’ll push through moments,” anymore, and people that feel difficult to be around, I can’t justify my investment anymore. I’m not saying, I need everything to be easy and familiar, or not busy and smooth. I’m saying that as I age, I realize connections that I let drift away have started to reconnect which means I have started to reconnect to what is most important to me. I have scaled back on my commitments, given up jobs, and realized in all, I had begun to lose track of the solace, simplicity and familiarity time brought to me. I had begun to lose track of my tribe, the quality people, who loved me hard, accepted me in every way, and waited patiently for me figure it out. And in the end they just wanted my smile to be authentic, and my commitments to be quality.