Acting my authenticity
“You don’t act like a 30 year old Amanda!”
When I was 30, I managed a yoga studio in upstate NY for about 6 months. It was a huge learning experience, mostly in what I didn’t (and still don’t) want out of a work environment and what kind of behavior I will and will not accept from other humans. Also, why living with humans you work for is probably not the greatest idea. At one point during this 6 month stint, the owner of the studio I managed and I got in a fight about something trivial. I don’t remember the subject of our argument but I do vividly remember when she lashed out at me with the insult of, “You don’t act like a 30 year old Amanda!”. I was so wounded by her accusation and felt like I had been found out for the fraud I was and felt immense shame. I called girlfriends, crying and asking them in a small voice if they agreed with this woman’s assessment of me. I don’t remember exactly what they said but they tried to reassure me as best they could. I couldn’t shake the shame though— I didn’t act like a 30 year old! I didn’t have the hallmarks of adulthood- successful career, marriage, house, and a baby. In fact, I had NONE of those things. It ate me up inside. I spent a lot of energy and brain power beating myself up for not “acting my age”. I had been already feeling like I was failing before this woman used this insult against me but, hearing it from her felt like a confirmation of my failure.
Over the next couple of years, I would make progress in an area but feel it was never enough because I still didn’t have x, y, z and society had told me I was supposed to have by my age. I continued to feel like a failure. I felt like I was broken and something was irrevocably wrong with me. I felt that because I didn’t have a high powered career where I made a ton of money and everyone knew my name meant I would never find a partner. If I never found a partner, then I would never be able to get a house or have a baby and then my life was pretty much wasted existence. I know it seems mildly dramatic to think this way but, I genuinely did. Even when I started doing work on myself, this feeling of being a failure and fraud stuck to me. My former boss’s words rang in my ears constantly. I worried my friends secretly felt the same way she did and were all snickering about my lack of adulthood behind my back. Looking back now, I can see I felt supremely unworthy of feeling content with finding my own path. At this point I had been carving my own way for awhile but was doing so without any real confidence about it or myself. Life offers no rule books and when society told me there’s essentially 1-2 ways to be successful or to be a good person, I believed those were the only ways. I tried their way and was miserable. And then I was going my own way and STILL felt miserable. What was I doing wrong?
Before I left for my trip, the worry of not acting my age was huge. I felt like an idiot for leaving everything- a great job, a pretty good apartment, a community- to go travel for an extended amount of time. I thought that my window for it had passed when I turned 30 and now here I was thinking it was a great idea to go ahead anyway—still not acting my age! I got on the plane and wondered if I was making a huge mistake and when I got back if my life would be a complete disaster. I still got on the plane because by then I had done enough work to know logically all the fear and worry were not my truth, they were actually limiting beliefs. I knew my fear was trying to protect me and showing me I was hitting my edge and about to push past it. I knew this logically but I didn’t FEEL it yet. I couldn’t live it yet. And then I got a plane to SE Asia and stayed for 7 months.
I heard, before my trip, that traveling would change my life. What it did was affirm my life, my path and all the mistakes I’ve made along the way. And, I guess that has been pretty life changing. Sometimes, I feel because we all run so fast, do so much and consume so much that we don’t get to integrate our experiences very well. We need space, quiet and being to integrate. Traveling gave me all of that and all the work I had been doing, all the logic I knew really SUNK in to my bones and my cells. I was finally able to alchemize the work into myself. All the truth I knew logically, I felt and could now live. I began to see the absurdity of societies time line and the idea that I have to have anything figured out by a certain point. I saw that we don’t have to do anything to be worthy. We are worthy because we are born. No one is higher or lower than anyone else either. We are all equal. I began to realize acting my age meant absolutely nothing.
I still don’t own a house and I’m not married. I will gladly welcome those things into my life when they come but, they are no longer markers of success for me. Or indicators of me “acting my age”. If I got the same insult now, I would take it as a compliment. A lot of people, as they get older, get more and more bogged down with the “shoulds” of life and don’t live authentically and joyfully. I feel privileged enough to be doing both. If that means I don’t “act like a 33 year old”, than hallelujah! I’ll take acting my authenticity any day of the week.
If you’re feeling like a fraud or failure or stuck, I look forward to connecting over a session. Find out more here.