I slept well last night. I slept in this morning. I woke sufficiently early to enjoy the dawn. The kitchen is filled with the aroma of freshly ground coffee. The overcast sky promises cooler weather. The cool soft morning air fills the apartment by way of the open patio door. The morning is quiet, even serene.

Cooler weather and lovely overcast skies often come at a cost for me, and this morning this is the case; my arthritis pain is significantly worse after many days of not bothering me much at all. I shrug it off – at some points quite literally for the relief that movement gives – and wait on the kettle to put coffee nearer to ‘now’.

I look around my home contentedly, and without dissatisfaction, although it is Saturday following a week interrupted with stress; there are chores to do this morning. There generally are on Saturday morning, and I don’t offer myself any criticism that one or two things I could have done Wednesday or Thursday wait for me today. Why would I? My home is lovely and well-kept, and in any case, the rules are my own, the standards are mine, and the outcome need please and satisfy only me. I am enjoying this moment.

You see, it’s not a competition – until or unless I choose to make it one, of course. I don’t. I dislike competition [in life] rather a lot. I enjoy ‘game-ification’, and I don’t mind working to measure up to the standard I have set for myself, but frankly – there is no one else I compete with for my success, my sense of self, or my enjoyment of my experience. You can’t have what is mine [me] – and I can’t have what is yours [you] – on a level beyond mercantile goods, destination vacations, just the right schools or just the right neighborhoods; we are each having our own experience, and all the purchasing power in the world can’t change who we are. Of course, you could choose differently. You could choose to focus on what someone else has, what they enjoy, what their life looks like from an outside perspective, and you could make all your effort focused on getting there, being that, and doing those things. Let me know how it turns out? I haven’t seen any remarkable success stories on that front, mostly tales of frustration, discontent, disconnection and woe, instead. I have found that when I strive to be something or someone I am not, the less easily able I am to enjoy who I actually am – and the less easily able I am to grow or change. I consider my choice to fully embrace authenticity quite fearlessly to have been one of the most profoundly positive things I have ever done for myself.

Having said that I don’t find life to be a competition, myself, I admit that this is based on the choices I make, and what I enjoy in life personally. Perhaps you enjoy competition? I won’t [can’t] take that from you – but I won’t be keeping score with you, or making any effort to participate or ‘keep up’. I don’t invest in relationships in which it becomes clear the other person is ‘competing with me’, generally. I dislike it when people undermine someone else’s experience in order to get ahead, themselves, and don’t favor those sorts of people for relationships, either. It comes up a lot out in the world. Is your house bigger? (Probably – this place is small. And enough for me.) Do you make more money? (A lot of people do, it’s really not the focus of my goal-setting or effort, nor do I measure my own success in dollars.) Are you leaner, stronger, fitter, or more muscular? (I bet you’ve worked hard to get there! I’ve worked hard to get where I am, too. There are verbs involved, regardless of the goal.) Are you famous, expert, or highly sought for your opinion, or your charm? (Is that filling when  you are hungry? Does it secure better sleep for you at night? Are you well-loved and secure in the companionship of those you love?) I guess my point is that there is always someone with more, someone with less, and those quantities are not truly relevant to living well and being a skilled and loving human being.

Have I drifted off topic? I was thinking about housework on a Saturday morning. Ah! I was thinking about my Granny being, perhaps, appalled that there is hair in my hair brush, or that my bed is not yet made. I am thinking about my first husband as I notice that vacuuming is a thing, and that today is a good day to do some. I glance at the kitchen and recall other kitchens, in other conditions. For a moment, my thoughts turn to laundry. My wee home is quite tidy, but so small that any disarray whatever is very obvious – and I’m okay with a bit of disarray before dawn on a Saturday morning as I sip my coffee; there is no rush, and this is not a competition. There is literally, quite definitely, no competition at all – this is my home, these are my rules, this is my way. After coffee, chores – it’s a lovely Saturday morning and that’s enough.

I grin at myself thinking back to other circumstances, and being annoyed at getting sucked into the ‘housework rodeo’ because someone would be coming over; it is the antithesis of ‘being myself’ to radically change my environment to impress someone, or to measure up to my assumptions about their expectations. I can’t imagine any of my friends would be so rude as to come over to visit and criticize my housekeeping – it’d be the last time they were invited in and given a chance to do so. I feel pretty much the same about family – and every bit as willing to be very frank and to say out loud “how dare you be so rude and ungracious – get out.” lol Even my late grandmother’s spotless home filled with antiques from all around the globe lingering in my memory does not fill me with the drive needed to compete with her by cleaning my home to meet her expectations – and…um…why would anyone else’s expectations of my home be relevant to my own experience at all? Just saying.

More than the housework, the stacks of paintings not yet hung, and not yet stored, cause me some concern; I hesitate to paint because they are so very much at risk of damage stacked here and there, out in the open. If I lose myself in a creative moment, I could so easily find, later, that I have damaged existing work that I greatly love. My traveling partner is eager for me to get a loveseat, so we can cuddle and watch movies or talk. I’d like that, too. My own needs in the moment have more to do with finishing getting moved in…which means doing something about the stacks of paintings. One of the cabinets I generally use for that purpose is currently filled with my valued porcelain; I have no curio to display them in, yet, and the sideboard I lovingly hauled all over the world for 25 years is gone now. So…what is the most practical next step? What best meets my needs over time? That’s a tough one. I do enjoy cuddling my traveling partner… I also enjoy painting, and seeing my home in a very ordered state. (Stacks of paintings here and there do not seem especially ordered, to me. lol)

Enough.

Enough.

Needs of self. Needs of others. Needs of Love. Expectations. Unanswered questions. Well…it’s a good thing enjoying a pleasant Saturday does not require that all of life’s questions have answers. Today is a good day to be, unanswered questions and all. It’s not a competition, and this, right here, is enough.