Written for Essay Contest - Round 1 Feb 2020 - Write essay about me
Even when I was a teenager, learning about myself was important to me. It still is very important. St. Teresa of Avila counsels us to “spend much time in the cell of self-knowledge”. Only by knowing who I am can I discover who I was meant to become.
Thriving with a structured lifestyle
Having a routine and a structure to my days, especially now that I’m retired, is far better than drifting through large blocks of time without goals, commitments or aspirations. During my 20s, 30s and 40s, task lists drove me. I’d put more items on them than any human could accomplish in a week, much less a day. I would berate myself for each uncompleted item, even if it was partially done. I would add things to the list that I got done for the pure pleasure of checking them off. I still use task lists but they now serve as a memory aid; they don’t tyrannize me. Either in the morning or the night before, I’ll write down three things I’d like to get done. Whatever I don’t accomplish will keep until tomorrow — no shame.
Flowing in balance
Balance is something I struggle with on every level. Even my Wii Fit Plus proclaims “UNBALANCED” when I step on the balance board. If I lift my foot for a count of three without falling, it’s a major achievement; if I don’t wobble, it’s a miracle. I have more interests, hobbies, projects and favourite leisure activities than there is space to list here. I’ve found it to be impossible to keep these in balance. This would mean that I’d give even a small amount of attention to each of them over the space of a week or even a month. What I usually do is to focus so much time and energy on one or two of these activities or projects for several days or even weeks. I would end up feeling “unbalanced” for lack of a better word. I would feel a deprivation of an unidentified “something” that engaging in the neglected activities would have given me, even if I don’t know what it was I deprived myself of. Sometimes I feel a psychological “indigestion” from over-doing the activity.
While my friend and I were at a conference, our husbands “entertained” several Jehovah Witnesses. My husband can get quite intense when he’s in a discussion. Had I been present, I’d have tuned out and played a game on my iPad or gone downstairs. I don’t initiate conflict except with my husband and only when I consider the issue supremely important. When others near me are in such intense discussions, I don’t participate. I don’t believe that anything I say would change the others’ minds. People believe what they want to believe, usually for reasons completely divorced from logic, reason and evidence. I’ve discovered that the only thing worth taking away from these situations are ideas to reflect upon and to possibly write about.
The most basic aspects of my character have not changed. I still thrive on solitude, and I crave silence. What drives me has also not changed. I’ve developed various skills, gained plenty of experience and hopefully wisdom these past four decades. By God’s grace, I will fulfill His plan for my life - to be a blessing to others in every way He calls me to do that.