‘Where you are going, Mum?’
My son’s voice snapped me back from whatever dreamland I had been visiting.
‘I’m taking you to school,’ I was about to reply. But then it struck me. I was heading for the Primary School, when my son had been at high school for nearly a full year.
Now I might have driven my son to the High School for nearly a year, but I had been driving him to the Primary School for seven times as long. For some reason, on that particular morning, a moment of inattention had me reverting to old habits – retracing patterns and paths from the past.
In the course of my life there has been a succession of people who always managed to make me feel that I was somehow inadequate. Rather than being clever enough to use this as fuel to fire me up and prove them sadly mistaken, I let it drag me down and did stupid things which only served to prove them right.
But, we all reach a stage in our lives when we have a choice as to what path we intend to follow for the rest of our days. I believed that I could break the cycle of failure and despair. While I may never have become the person that others expected me to be, I have certainly become the person that I am comfortable being.
The trouble is that I was that ‘other’ person for a large part of my life – and I’ve been this new person for a much shorter time. And sometimes I forget. Sometimes I find myself retracing old patterns and paths from the past; reverting to old habits.
There is no one in my life now who expects me to be anyone except who I am. There is no one who doesn’t see me as capable and efficient. In fact, dare I say it, there are even some who suggest I might be … talented???
But I make a mistake and immediately I am operating on Auto Pilot – beating myself up for being such an idiot; so incompetent; so careless. I take a little longer than normal to do a job and I am making excuses – must be getting old and slow; I wasn’t properly organised etc.
And my husband looks at me with bewilderment in his eyes instead of the disapproval I seem to be expecting and says
‘Okay. So you made a mistake? So what? You took a bit longer than normal? So what? I wasn’t timing you anyway.’
Thankfully, the only person who expects too much of me now is me. And that’s good, because, after all, I am the only person I can really change. I just need to learn to disengage the Auto Pilot.
©Lyn Murphy 2011