The weather report is calling for snow today.
It’s very cold out.
And here I am indoors, feeding Bruce’s voracious appetite for seasoned oak and going all introspective.
For me, introspection has become an art form. And today this propensity has gotten kicked up several notches because this month I turned 70.
When I look at that number, it appears ludicrous to me. Like some cosmic comic book cover, not to be taken seriously in any way. But alas, it must be faced. Ergo, introspection has ensued. And I must tell you, the introspection of an INTJ personality type can be a formidable thing to experience.
INTJ is one of the 16 types in the Myers-Briggs personality test. INTJ’s are rare. A female INTJ only occurs in 0.08% of the population.
(This explains so much.)
Don’t I know it.
What started this blog post today was the fact that I suddenly noticed that I was mentally holding my feet to the fire because I felt I needed to be ‘practicing’ some skill or another. Improving. Somehow. Somewhere.
Here’s a paragraph from the Myers-Briggs book describing my dilemma:
And there you have it.
This is my internal dialog most of the time. And unfortunately, due to weather conditions, mid-winter constraints, and the mental integration of the big 7-0, the volume of that inner dialog is pegged on ten.
Now, because of the blessing of living to this age… ( I AM grateful for that!) I have had a goodly amount of time to have picked up a lot of skills along the way. This is nice. But it also adds to my pile of things my inner critic thinks I need to be practicing. To get better and better and……. better.
(Sounds like a quite competent and praiseworthy character, this inner critic you speak of….)
I’m sure you would know all about that.
Anyhoo… I was making a mental list of all the things I might be ‘improving’ were I to listen to my self talk echo chamber today. And I decided to lay them out on the table so to speak. I think I have something to say to them.
So here’s my list:
Not to mention more domestic skills like this:
So now I really want to speak to all these creative endeavors in my life.
I am grateful for my inquisitive nature and my creative impulses. I am also grateful to have made time in my life to explore each and every one of you. I am sure that I will revisit all of you in the coming months and years. . . [who am I kidding? Probably in the coming days.] But we need to come to an understanding. I henceforth absolve myself of the self imposed and imaginary construct that I have some kind of moral obligation to be involved with you on some weekly or monthly or [on the bad days] daily basis.
Having reached my 70th year, I am formally giving notice that I will only engage with you if it gives me joy. The phrase, “I should be practicing [this or that.]” will be considered an improper and perhaps rude statement henceforth. Make note of it.
Or to put it more bluntly: I am the boss of me.
My goal in this is to free up some emotional, psychological, and mental energies to channel more along these lines:
You may now go about your business.
I am reminded of something that happened many years ago. I was visiting a friend of mine who was in her early 70’s at the time. Hanging in her living room was the most exquisite oil painting worthy of any Dutch master. [She was Dutch interestingly enough.] It was a painting of a windmill surrounded by lush trees next to a large pond with a dark and foreboding sky. It was moody and inviting and in every way exceptional.
Turns out, my friend had painted this marvel herself.
I was stunned into disbelief. I asked her if she was still painting, and she waved her hand nonchalantly and said she had lost interest in it. [There were as I found out later, many paintings in her house that she had done.]
At the time I found it incomprehensible to be in possession of such a skill and not be using it.
But now I understand. At some point, she too had declared her freedom from the ‘I should’s’ in her life.
I guess this is a fringe benefit of turning 70.
And God knows, we need some kind of compensation for the deterioration of other aspects of our lives at this age. 🙂
(I on the other hand, just keep getting better and better.)