Today, I’m surrendering my Superwoman status in order to become an Average Jane. When I was a kid, I aspired to be like many women. I wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder (she inspired me to write, explore the outdoors and follow my own path), Samantha on Bewitched (I practiced that nose twitch yet couldn’t turn my cat into a person), Wonder Woman (no matter how fast I spun around, I never changed into her), and a mail carrier (it’s why I still write postcards and thank you notes).
More than a decade ago I vowed never to be dependent upon anyone and I’ve finally come to accept no man or woman is an island. Not only have I been the go-to person for myself but for many others, in work, volunteering and personal life. I’ve been that reliable person others know who will get something done or make a connection for them. People often tell me I’m Superwoman for all I’m able to accomplish for myself and others.
Here’s the thing, being Superwoman doesn’t build and nourish relationships, pay the bills, enhance personal health, create happiness, or even get you a pat on the back. I like helping people but it’s become mentally and physically draining because I have no time for myself. And the time I do have, I’m so mentally and physically drained, all I want to do is recharge my batteries.
Everything I do is at least 110 percent and I’ve come to accept I can’t continue at this pace anymore. As someone once commented on Facebook, I’m a Huber which makes me an over-achiever. Well, it’s time to become an Average Jane.
Another friend recently shared with me a Facebook post from writer Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love and the new Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear) which included wisdom she received from a female friend:
Just because you can do anything doesn’t mean you can do everything.
Lately, I’ve felt like a machine and simply stuck in my life. With the exception of the trip to Germany in December, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been outside to play. During my appointment earlier this month, my hairdresser asked if I was depressed because my hair color had not faded from my last session – which it typically does when I’m frequently outside. I’ve been indoors either working for my day job, volunteering, or attending meetings after hours which has me home as late as 10 p.m. It’s been about two weeks since I last wrote a blog post.
I see other people’s lives moving forward while I’m treading water.
I chose this photo of my old Montana license plate for this blog post because of what it symbolizes. It hangs on my living room wall and I initially kept the plate (although the Florida DMV woman was reluctant in letting me keep it) as a memento of the wonderful life I had in Yellowstone National Park. Last week in a not-so-happy mood, I looked up at it and realized it’s not a symbol of my past, it’s a symbol of my future.
When I was younger I was driven by goals. After that first time visiting Yellowstone while in high school, I made it a goal to spend one summer working there. I ended up spending seven and a winter. While working in the park I had a goal of being the front desk manager of the park’s largest property. That season just about wiped me out in overseeing 609 units (primarily leaky cabins) and a staff of about 20 but I did it. With my former husband, we had goals with a pivotal one being leaving the national park life. I made the leap but he didn’t.
Looking at that Montana plate last week, I realized I haven’t had any goals in the last few years, making me feel stuck. I’ve been in survival mode with the economy and in giving my time to others, I’ve neglected myself.
My new goal is to surrender my Superwoman status by saying “no” more often, becoming more forgetful, making time for myself and surrounding myself with people who nourish and not drain me. It’s what an Average Jane would do, right?
You know that phrase about building your own dreams before someone hires you to build theirs? I’ve helped build dozens of dreams for other people and it’s time for me to get back on track and build mine.
Jenn, the Average Jane