What is the most important thing?
Being true to yourself, I hear that a lot. But how do you know what that is? There are, and will be, so many things in life that don't feel right; do you just drop or avoid them all? I feel like you would never end up doing anything!
Some people believe that the most important thing is to do good unto others. An act of kindness every day, grand gestures, "giving back" (a phrase I can't stand, but that's another day's post). What if constantly thinking of others takes away from being true to yourself? I'm thinking of parents who stay together for the sake of the kids, or elderly spouses who become caregivers, sometimes for years, to the detriment of their own health. Is being true to yourself a way of saying selfish, and if so, can you be selfish and selfless at the same time?
Is the most important thing to do something new, step outside your comfort zone? Doesn't doing so remove you from being true to yourself? Without challenge, we don't push ourselves, we don't grow. Those high school students who never write exams because they can't cope, how will they cope in university, in college, in a job, in a relationship, all of which involve a level of stress? Maybe we can step only slightly outside the comfort zone: a blue run for one skier, a double black diamond for another, stay where you are until you feel ready to move on. Or, is it better to simply embrace who you are, where you are right now? Won't you stagnate eventually?
Sometimes, I hear people say that the most important thing is being happy. Knowing, even as they say it, that happiness is a bit nebulous, and highly dependent, for most, on a basic level of food security and accommodation and income. The statement reminds me of "live your dream," and "do what you love." The truth of it is that every dream comes with good points and bad, and people who love what they do of course don't love every moment, nor every aspect. They're citing a net benefit.
Maybe that's the most important thing: attitude. Embracing the wonderful, letting go of the unpleasant, or accepting that things need to change. Helping others, within the limits of your own abilities, at this moment in time. Maybe the most important thing I can work on is my attitude. It's no small feat, but a place to start.
Hi, I'm Karen. This space is a chance for me to get some of those notebook sessions out there: Motherhood, medicine, writers and writing, the state of the world. Non-published, sometimes non-polished, just a chance to open a discussion. Let me know what you think!