It’s October, which makes everyone think about Halloween. I barely noticed that October is here, but I did notice this article about trending Halloween costumes for kids and it got me thinking.
According to one survey, more kids will be dressing as superheroes than as princesses this year. The philosopher inside me thinks this says less about society’s evolving views about gender expectations than it says about the power of retailers to drive consumer desires. But either way, I fully support people dressing up as superheroes. Who wouldn’t? (In fact, I know some adults for whom dressing as a superhero once in awhile might actually be transformative.)
I probably won’t be putting on a cape any time soon. But lately I have been wishing I had superpowers—nothing too elaborate, like being able to stop a speeding train or to leap over buildings. When you have superpowers that can actually help save lives, suddenly, your superpowers are not your own. They belong to society.
I want superpowers of my own. Specifically, I want the power to stop time.
I’ve wished for the power to stop time ever since I was about 18 years old. It’s funny how when you’re a kid all you want is to be old enough—old enough to stay up late, or to ride your bike to the corner store, or to get your drivers’ license, or whatever. Then when you’re finally old enough, all you want is for time to slow down or stop altogether.
Everyone wants more time, so they can do All. The. Things.
This week I found myself feeling just the slightest twinge of jealousy toward my professor friends back in Myrtle Beach. Because of Hurricane Matthew, classes are cancelled for the rest of the week at the university where I used to teach. It’s always nice to get back time you aren’t expecting to have, but of course, the threat of a hurricane is not exactly the optimal way to get time back. It is definitely a sign of privilege that I feel jealous toward people who are about to experience a hurricane.
Anyway, in the midst of wishing for the power to stop time for the umpteenth time, I came across this article by Ash Ambirge. And #6 slapped me right in the face: “when you feel totally harried and crazy and like you don’t have any time, that’s when you do yourself a favor and stop time…go shopping at Target, go take a drive in your car. Time will slow down. And you will see the big picture again.”
Reading this was a great reminder. The real trouble with being a badass is that after awhile other people actually start to believe that you have super powers. It seems to them that you can literally stop time because you manage to do more with less time than most people. You set the bar high and raise everyone’s expectations. This leads them to expect even more of you, until you are being pushed beyond your limit.
It’s a vicious cycle.
And when you’re busy being a badass, it can be hard to remember that you have so much power. So it’s good to be reminded once in awhile that you can stop time. You can step out of the vicious cycle. The power is yours.
If you didn’t happen to read the stuff I did or read the stuff I did with the same perspective, consider this your reminder. Then, the next time you feel overwhelmed, remember to ask yourself how much of that feeling comes from expectations imposed on you by others. Then, try letting go of those expectations. Learning to let go just is having the power to stop time.
I’m not saying this is easy or that you will be able to let go of everyone’s expectations (or should want to). Even superheroes have weaknesses. But when we feel stuck in place and like we’re losing control, it’s the right time to take a step back.
Are you feeling the weight of everyone else’s expectations? Can I take something off of your plate for you? Free up some time for you to be your badass self? Checkout my services.
So, if I’m walking around town in a cape the next time you see me, you’ll know where my head is. We all have the power to tap into our superpowers; sometimes we just need to be reminded.
What’s your superpower?
Photo credit: choreograph / 123RF Stock Photo