You don’t have to be awesome, or win

25 May

4:16 pm

Yes, that’s right, folks!  At 43, soon to be 44 next month, I have at last made the realization that, nope, you don’t have to be awesome, and you don’t have to win.

You don’t have to do anything amazing, or challenging even; you don’t have to do it perfectly, or better than someone else; you don’t have to win any prizes.

Life goes on; life will go on, whether you publish a book, or open a business, or make millions as a lawyer or doctor.  NONE of that really matters; what matters, I say, is the fact that you got to fall in love with a dog, and walk him–he laughing into your tears with his tongue–until you stopped crying and starting laughing with him.  Our boy is gone now, but he lives on in my mind; and most days, that’s the only thing that feels like it matters to me.  And, I’m not sure if I am supposed to feel liberated by that or straight up SCARED to death that I am getting closer and closer to just not giving any fucks anymore!

There is so much consumerism here–buying and selling of things, of work, of jobs, of people, of relationships, of experiences–in America.  Maybe it really is everywhere, but, man, does there seem to be a desire here, almost a frenzied one, to acquire experiences.  I’m in on it, too, of course, and as frenzied as the next person–and enthusiastically so most days!  Yet, I try to remind myself of the existence of my higher power, the higher things, the lessening and loosening and lessons of sobriety.  Life is about the wind, the breath being taken away; the letting go.  Sometimes I do feel…estranged, I guess, in a “land of plenty” where there is never enough, and in some cases, feels like nothing.

I am trying to write these days, and all the usual bullshit comes up; somehow, though, I had this thought the other day that it just doesn’t matter–for real.  It’s a thought that I’ve tried believing before, and I got to a certain level and then you know, went back to being my normal competitive, hard-on-myself self.  Yet, the other day, I just thought, you know, you’re going on 44, you don’t have to win anymore.  You don’t have to get into a good school (did it, twice), be the best in that school (failed at that, but I’m sure I tried and tried), do this and that and the other (did it all, in search of “growth” and “challenge”); you don’t have to get another degree and even if you do, you don’t have to do well in the program!  You don’t have to DO anything or BE anyone except…yourself.  A person who will maybe be loved and maybe be forgotten; that is life, and that is what we fight for, and against, it seems, every single day.

At this, I drank.  I drank so much trying to be and do and achieve and win–and also, to NOT be and do and achieve and win.  Now, I don’t want to drink at this; I have accepted that this is how I feel sometimes, and what I think, and well, maybe the reality that we all have to face now and again in this lifetime.

It’s so hard not being hard on myself; it’s so hard for all of us, I assume, to not be hard on ourselves.  And, I would venture to say that, even IF someone tells you, Oh, DDG, don’t be so hard on yourself; in the back of their mind, they’re thinking and plotting and planning because there seems to be so very little example here (I’ll just call this world USA, Inc.) of actually choosing to not do, to not achieve, to not regard the world and your place in it as part of a game whose very existence hinges on your winning.

I’m not sure I know anyone who has completely said, fuck it, and decided to do away with the need for validation, by self or others.  I am not there yet, but there is a voice inside me that is screaming, quietly, DDG, it does not matter what you do, just be.  Just breathe.  You can try stuff, and do stuff; and trying it is good enough; doing it is good enough.  There are no prizes, and there is no winning, and when you die, your name and your achievements will not really be remembered as much as who you were, and what your presence meant to people.  So, just be.

Ahh–if ONLY I could practice this now-ness all the time, and not for about three minutes a day!

14 Responses to “You don’t have to be awesome, or win”

  1. Katherine at 8:55 pm #

    Beautiful post. Thank you for the words, the wisdom, and you.

  2. George M at 9:20 pm #

    I like this post. It challenges me and makes me feel uncomfortable. As a person discovering who and what I really am while not drinking at the same, it really gives me pause.
    Your blog was among the first that I read. Thank you. Peace and strength.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl at 2:07 am #

      I am glad I am not the only one who feels uncomfortable thinking about this stuff. Stay strong. xx

  3. Ruth Marie at 9:49 pm #

    Thanks for writing this; it’s very inspiring! I had to laugh though – the advertisement at the end is for a sweepstakes, and says, “WIN $10,000,000! ENTER NOW!” (Don’t do it.)
    Enjoy those moments you can just be. You are enough.

    • Drunky Drunk Girl at 2:08 am #

      Haha…yes, one of these days, I will subscribe so I don’t get ads. Thank you for that–I like thinking that I am enough. It makes me feel…calm. xx

  4. Adrian at 9:06 am #

    You’re on to it. You’ve figured it out. There are people out there who can help you deepen that realization if you want. One is Michael Singer and his book _The Untethered Soul_. The other I really love is the “release method.” Some of those folks are here: https://www.releasetechnique.com/. (the site is a little cheesy, but it’s the real deal.) (one review I read of this method and its proponents complained that they purported to be helping one gain financial freedom (or business success or something) but in reality it was about enlightment. ha, bummer, man) They have a strangely simple method of guiding a person to let go of all that wanting. (And I love “I drank at it.” Gonna use that!)

  5. Adrian at 9:10 am #

    Oh, and I agree about the frenzy to consume “experiences,” sort of. I don’t actually feel the pressure, but that may be because I block it out as irrelevant. But I remember when I noticed that thing asserted — Americans don’t want things, they want experiences!! I thought, really? How do you figure? At the time, and I don’t remember where that line emanated from, it sounded to me like the statement of someone who sells experiences. But I’m definitely an outlyer. All I really want is a garden and a workshop. What Americans really want is tools!

  6. R. at 11:11 am #

    Thank you for writing this It rings true with me. I relate so much to the concept of trying to be and do and achieve and win while at the same time trying to NOT be and do and achieve. Learning to just be and to give fewer f’s. Sobriety helps so much and I’m learning to let go more and more every day.

  7. Robert Crisp at 2:25 pm #

    I understand this. Pushing myself and being hard on my has lessened the older I’ve gotten (and being sober helps, obviously). I’m a writer whether I publish a book or not; the process matters. Same with music. Some days I have to tell myself that a lot and others not so much. But I was such a wreck with unhealthy expectations when I was younger and drinking my face off….

  8. ainsobriety at 4:26 pm #

    The more we practice the just being, and recognizing how right it feels, the easier it becomes.
    This is really all yoga is. It is simple, but it take time and awareness.
    Anne

  9. Randi Danielle at 10:27 am #

    Amazingly put

  10. beththesobergirl at 11:26 am #

    Such a good reminder. I’ve been striving all of my life, until finally, I sabotaged it all. I almost threw away everything I had worked so hard for. Thank you – great post.

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