I am a work in progress.
In my life, I feel I’ve always been on the way to somewhere; maybe I think this because I’ve been in school since I was five. I’ve always been striving to “arrive” somewhere – to get to high school, to graduation, to college, to my first college final exams, to summer, to Regionals for Irish dance, to Christmas break, to Spain, to senior year, and finally to college graduation. But then what’s next? What’s next on the list of “getting to?” No one can tell you that. As an up and coming adult graduating from college, that is one of the big things that you have to figure out on your own. That’s one of the things that has been hard for me since graduating. I have often focused too much on where I am getting to, instead of what I have the opportunity to learn along the way; how I can make the most of being in process; and how I can enjoy the process. Here’s the thing – we are always and forever in process.
When I was hired and started working full time after graduation, I felt like I should have already “arrived;” I should have been an expert in my field, right? I should have had my young adult life figured out, right? I should have been completely independent and able to fend for myself, right? Wrong. Well, maybe half right. Yes, I needed to graduate with a degree in an area of interest. Yes, I needed to move out on my own and be a responsible adult. Yes, I needed to be independent. But, I did not need to be completely self-sufficient. As human beings, I believe we were created with a need for connection and community, and a need to be in process with other human beings. The value of this is something I am learning every single day.
In my daily life – work and personal as one, since they are essentially one in the same – I am beginning to internalize the idea that being in process is part of the job. It is not something I do outside of work in order to be better prepared for my job, although that is a piece of it; on the contrary, deepening my understanding alongside my team is encouraged, expected, and essential to our company culture. The notion of saving the imperfect and messy process for “home life” is an unrealistic societal expectation and slows or stops the uncovering of someone’s best self.
Sometimes I wish I could “arrive” somewhere. But that would be the easy and unfulfilling way. If I “arrived,” I might no longer have a need to learn from others or keep my heart open to the possibility of authentic relationships with others. Others-centeredness might not exist if all of us already know everything. I might then wonder if there is more to life, and the answer to that would be, yes, there is more. That’s why we are all a work in progress.
Being a work in progress can elicit opposing responses – willingness to learn, or constant frustration with yourself; patience and acceptance, or punishment; forgiveness, or an unrealistic standard. It is a choice, and often a difficult one, because you are, in a way, choosing how you will view perceived failures and expectations; you are choosing your mindset, how you want your life to look, and how you want to look at your life and the lives of others.
Before we can truly love others, we have to love ourselves. When your inner voice is telling you that you are not worth it, that you have not tried hard enough, that you are inadequate, you do have the power to tell it the truth (Danielle Krysa, Your Inner Critic Is A Big Jerk). None of us are perfect. We are allowed to be imperfect, so long as we recognize it as a truth, rather than as an excuse.
When you are frustrated that you are “not where you want to be,” in whatever way that manifests itself for you mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. – be encouraged. We are all in process. I encourage you to try writing down some truths about who you are and about your life. Even if this seems small and insignificant, it can help shift your perspective back to where it belongs, if you are willing. “I am not always in control.” That’s my truth for today.