Almost fifty

by Matilda

I intend to stay alive until I am at least a hundred and sixteen years old. This statement may seem silly to you, but to me it means that I will be halfway through my life at fifty eight. In ten years time I will still have fifty eight years to live, really live.

Most of my life I have just done what everybody else was doing. I seldom had an original idea, and if I did, I quickly pushed it way down into the quietness of my subconscious. I was like the peasant at the king’s table. I didn’t know which cutlery to use, so I just copied the person next to me. That way nobody would find out that I am an intruder, that I did not belong. The saddest part was that I believed the lie too.

But the subconscious has a way of bringing up the hard topics. Every situation or person that triggered a great negative emotion in me, was an opportunity to learn the truth about the peasant. I did not want to face the real me. Secretly I was convinced that I would not like this person.

We all come from somewhere. A family, a place we called home. Most of the time the people in that place were just doing the best they could and sometimes they were so broken that they sucked at being a family. Parents like to think that doing the best they can is enough to raise well-balanced, well-rounded, well-adjusted human beings, but the truth is that they can’t. We all got wounded when we were children, even by loving, well-meaning parents. Parents can’t know which words will be taken the wrong way or which intentions will be misread. I believe that it is our own responsibility to face the wound. Everyone will deal with that pain in their own way. Everyone’s journey is different.

For many, many years I blamed other people or situations for my inability to live. I was especially fond of blaming my parents. Even if I never said it out loud. They didn’t even suspect that I felt this way. So we could never hash things out, so I didn’t have to take responsibility for my life. I could keep on playing the victim. I could just keep on living other peoples lives.

Somewhere in my forties I started to wake up to life. I can’t give you twelve steps to follow to an authentic life or ten ways to heal your pain. Big things went to shit in my life. I lost a lot of people and things that I believed defined who I was. I couldn’t cheat my way through life anymore. Life became too real. Oh, I tried at first. Desperate to keep the mask on my face. That was the hardest – to let go of what I thought I should be and what my life should look like.

When I eventually looked at myself and my life with honesty, I could start doing the work. The inner work. Not blaming, not looking at others, not hiding. And what a ride it is turning out to be. The more I discover about myself and life, the more I want to learn and live. Really live.

You see, that is why I want another fifty eight years. I’ve got some catching up to do.

Matilda xo

Say Yes!

by Matilda

Procrastination has a very nasty sibling called self-sabotage. You think about something for ages, weighing the pros and cons. You contemplate all the possible outcomes, you Google it extensively and then you think about it some more. At last you have thought it through and through and then – you do nothing. You do nothing, not because it is a bad idea. No. You do nothing, because you just don’t.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I have excuses. Not the same thing as reasons. I don’t have money. I don’t have time. I don’t know how. I don’t think people will like my idea. I am not a go-getter. This won’t really make my life better. These pitiful thoughts are usually how I rationalise not doing something. You probably justify your inability to take action in your own authentic way.

The horrible outcome of this lifestyle, is that you are paralysed. For a moment you have a plan and you are excited to do this thing. You’ve got this. You also know that this is not true and you cannot do this. You drop the ball. When you get into bed, you haven’t done a thing and you decide to postpone whatever it is you wanted to do.

We fear to fail. We are taught that failure is bad. We feel embarrassed, even ashamed when we fail. So it’s better to not try than to fail. And if we are disappointed in ourselves for not taking action, we can take comfort in our fantastic excuses.

I am no expert in psychology, but I am a professional procrastinator and I sure know a thing or two about self-sabotage. My advice sounds easy, but it is difficult too. Firstly you have to recognise your inaction as self-sabotage. This is not a once-off thing. It is not that you are in a bad place in your life and you struggle to move on. No, this is years and years of wanting a different life, but not doing anything to change yourself or your life. Secondly you have to be brave. You have to say yes to something. There are opportunities all around us. Say yes to one and take action.

When Belinda asked me to join “My Style Journey,” I thought about it for some time. I almost talked myself out of it once or twice, or twenty times. All my excuses sounded hollow and I said yes. This one thing has changed my life dramatically. I don’t want to bore you with how boring my life was, but it was really boring. Now, I interact with people from all over the world, I learn new things every single day, and I feel ready for more.

It definitely helps to be held accountable. Belinda relies on me to pull my weight and do the tasks that we both agreed upon, and I will not let her down. I said yes. That makes me responsible for getting things done. I’ve made plenty of mistakes and the sky did not fall. Not even once.

Getting off my butt and doing something, gave me confidence to try other things. I feel so much more alive. So go ahead, say yes.

Matilda xo