For weeks, I have been on the cusp of cleaning out my email. I look at it multiple times a day, then I sigh and feel anxiety about the volume of unread messages. After a moment, I exit the application or web page and move on with my day. And then I repeat.
This is the way I live my life.
Today, I found myself reading one of these ancient unread messages and something clicked. The email, and subsequent blog post, was about quitting something you love – ending dependency.
The blog was interesting, with two concepts standing out: Personal change needs space to happen. And quitting doesn’t have to mean giving up, it can mean freeing up.
Umm… did I just have a Monday revelation? (Yes.) And how the heck does this relate back to my emails? (Patience, child. I will explain.)
Unopened emails are not a root cause. They are simply the manifestation of a larger insecurity I carry: Ending possibilities. I don’t like to shut doors.
Maybe it’s an effect of growing older, but when you start to see things become inaccessible – it freaks you the F* out.
Doors closing is not something new – and it’s not even something I have complete control over (time, resources, bias, etc.). But I absolutely hate (and fear and loathe) feeling “stuck,” from any choice I have made.
To be unhappy, and then to know that you chose this path… Oh that is like twisting the knife that is already in your back.
Which brings me back to the emails:
I don’t delete my emails because I don’t want to close the door on any opportunity – even mundane and trivial as they may seem. I may need to refresh my memory of what the Loft said my horoscope would be for last November. I may need to show my sister a product that was on sale at Ulta 56 days ago. I may want to copy and paste a statement I used in a previous email. I just don’t know what the future holds!
I don’t want to give up on this unknown… but to keep all the doors open, you can’t choose one, either.
I have hundreds of unread emails, and they are all still available to me to read. But they have expired. Because not choosing for yourself doesn’t mean a choice isn’t still being made (see that comment about ‘things I can’t control’).
Instead of having the ability to influence my own future like one of those glorious Goosebumps Choose Your Own Adventure books, I’m just sitting… and waiting… I’ll have to deal with whatever gets pushed my way, which may not be what I want.
Since starting this blog, I have articulated the personal change I am working towards. I want more control and ownership of my life, career and priorities. I can’t any longer.
This is the personal change I need to happen, so I need to find space for it to grow. I can free myself up of the burden of “what if,” and I can be decisive. I can choose a path. And I can live with the outcome (and probably navigate around those potholes, too, darn it!). But I need space.
Today, I start unsubscribing, deleting and de-cluttering. Limitless possibilities sound beautiful, but they also bog me down and stress me out.
Today, I’m putting up structure, requiring decisive choice and kicking FOMO to the curb. Because I need that space for something useful.
What personal change are you pursing? What can you be “freed up,” from to ensure space for your personal change? Share in the comments below!