Care-less: (adjective) not giving sufficient thought to avoiding harm or error
What comes to mind when you hear the word “careless?”
For me it brings up other words like reckless, irresponsible, and shallow. All words that describe virtues that I was taught to avoid like the plague. Merriam-Webster will give words their commonly accepted definitions but, we all have our own stories that give them context.
I’m not even sure what it means to give something sufficient thought any more. What I used to think was sufficient was usually excessive. As I learn to trust the wisdom of my heart I realize that, although a certain amount of thought must go into anything worthwhile, for me a little less thought is in order.
I consider myself a very contemplative person. I like to spend a lot of time by myself in deep thought about all the important things in life. Things like, “what is the meaning of life, what if I try XYZ and I fail, or should I have Chinese or Italian for dinner?”
I spend so much time thinking, that I have very little time left for doing.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about all these quotes I see flying around social media.
Everybody loves a good quote.
At least, that’s my perception based on the number of facebook likes they get. Quotes are very powerful because they trigger the emotions that fuel our life stories. They have the power to launch us into action or freeze us in our tracks depending on how they line up with our personal stories.
One of those quotes that doesn’t serve me today is, “Be careful what you wish for.” I’m not sure who taught me this one first but it has been reinforced over the years by many others. I’m sure they all meant well but I suspect they didn’t realize how much I like to overthink things.
I can buy into the notion that some form of care should be used when taking action but trying to do this with my wishes seems a little bit over the top. After all wishes are just thoughts and as far as I can tell nobody ever died from a thought.
This past weekend I had a chance to follow up on one of my childhood wishes. I wanted to be a singer for a big time rock band. I knew I had the talent and now, at 57 years old an opportunity was presenting itself to me. Everything in my body said, go for it and then my brain kicked in with the old stories.
* You’re too old, you missed your chance
* This doesn’t line up with your plan to save the world
* You’re being selfish and shallow
What came to mind was Mel Robbins’ 5 second rule. In a nutshell, it’s about acting on what your heart is telling you before your brain has a chance to talk you out of it.
I went for it.
As is often the case, the outcome that the universe had intended for me came completely out of left field. And as is ALWAYS the case, it was better than the one I originally wished for.
As I looked into the eyes of my rock star hero I saw something much different than what I had imagined. I saw a tired man, worn out from years on the road. A man who was possibly looking for a new chapter to his own life story.
It was then, I realized that this chapter in my own story was due for an edit.
As I turned and walked away I felt a new spark of energy in me. I felt lighter from letting go of the baggage that no longer served me in my new story. The best part is, I’m not abandoning a childhood dream, I’m just simply rewriting the script. Staying close to my family and performing from a local stage is my new wish and it’s no longer strapped to a big sack of ‘what if”. In fact I am JUICED about it.
Starting from a place of love has completely redefined the word, care for me. It now is synonymous with compassion rather than the fear monger that used to quash my dreams.
Today I see the irony in being careful all those times and ignoring my heart’s desire to the point where it became necessary to self medicate from the pain of not living a life true to myself.
Save your fear based care for the next time you’re being chased by a saber toothed tiger. Be careless what you wish for and pursue those wishes with reckless abandon. Otherwise you may spend the rest of your life giving sufficient thought to a much greater harm known as regret.