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Queen of Your Own Life

BINGO | The Battle for You

by Cindy Ratzlaff

I feel like I’ve been playing an endless round of Bingo and as I look over my card, I’m just so close to winning but I’m missing one spot in every row.  That makes me feel anxious and unfulfilled because I’m always waiting for the winning number to be called.  Until then, I’m hunched over the card, ears tuned to the caller, body tense, waiting to pounce and jump up screaming Bingo, when that winning number is called.  And, in the back of my mind, I’m sure someone else will beat me to it. I’ve been working so hard, and sometimes spinning my wheels, trying to figure out a new business model. I often feel as though I’m so close but that I don’t quite have all the pieces and any minute someone else will call Bingo and I’ll have lost.  Silly, I know, but I can’t shake the feeling.  And, that feeling leads me to make choices about the way I eat that are not in keeping with my ultimate goals.  So anxiety, fear, food, shame.  Hmmm.  What a familiar pattern.

Bingo is a lovely parlor game.  I don’t want Bingo to be my life. I don’t want to continue to live as though tomorrow will be the day I win.  I am very blessed today.  I want to enjoy the journey; be present in the present more.  In fact, I want to enjoy each and every moment or at least be aware of them.

I need to choose to put down my bingo mentality and pick up another life attitude. So for today, I don’t care who wins or who loses.  For today, I’m simply grateful to be, period.

Is there something that keeps you feeling caught up in the race to the future, that wakes you up early and keeps you awake at night, makes you eat or drink too much?  Let’s talk about how we can put that burden down, together.

I’d love to hear from you.  When we share our stories, our hopes, our worries, we help one another, so feel free to comment below.  In fact, I’d love it if you would.

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7 Responses to “BINGO | The Battle for You”

  1. Diane Shreve says:

    I believe that I relate to this Bingo analogy concerning me and my hard work and efforts through school over the years. In a narrow view, my entire life has been dedicated to school, and I’ve always been that straight A student – not because I had a knack for anything or was a natural genius, but because I have applied myself greatly over the years. I know that many people my age stress over school, and their grades, but it has been a form of a lifestyle for me. I’ve spent countless nights without sleep, not necessarily because I’m up working on a project or report (though that’s common, too), but simply worrying on whether or not I was going to be able to maintain that 4.0. Not only has this continual scholarly success been expected of me since the get-go between my parents and grandparents, but I have a slightly competitive nature and because school has always been such a huge part of my life, it has been ingrained into my very nature that I must always get those straight As.

    The problem with this is that the anxiety and stress and depression that has come along with this dedication has not been healthy for me. I kept wanting to ‘win’ at school, because I’ve never been good at anything else (not being deafest, just honest). This stress has resulted in binge eating, self harm, insomnia, depression, and general negativity, all which has obviously been detrimental. I’ve never been able to find the ability to let go, to not beat myself up over not doing particularly well on a test, and so forth. Probably the biggest knife to my soul was when I graduated number one from my high school, yet I was not made valedictorian.

    I felt like I lost something that day – like my efforts had been for naught. And if I am to be honest, that was something that’s bothered me to this day. By all means, the title should have been mine.

    Fast forward to present day. I am yet again preparing to graduate, this time from Arizona State University. I still have a 4.0 GPA, and yesterday I received some truly wonderful news: that I was receiving the Moeur Award, which is ASU’s version of valedictorian. I was dumbfounded and was blissfully happy, feeling like all of my hard work and efforts had finally paid off, and that for once, I’d succeeded in something wonderful. I have a hard time being able to take pride in myself of my work, but I felt proud, and accomplished, and so forth, and so forth.

    But then today I learned something else: I was not the only one receiving the award. Nay – a nice handful of students are receiving it as well. And suddenly, I plummeted right back to ground zero. I felt like I could no longer be proud of myself, that my award meant nothing because my title was being shared with others. I felt worthless, and once again told myself that I had failed, that I’d ‘lost’.

    It took me a few hours, but I was finally able to realize something very important. It wasn’t that it had just dawned on me, but it was more that I was finally able to accept it. No matter what, award or not, I deserve to be proud of myself – for what I’ve done, for who I am, and for what’s happening right now. I shouldn’t have to be valedictorian in order to be appreciative of my own strenuously hard work. I’ve sacrificed much to be graduating, and I am still being recognized. But even if I wasn’t, it shouldn’t matter. I spent too much time focusing on ‘winning’, on being the very best, on being the top, and not enough on how I felt, or what I was doing to my body, emotionally and physically. School has been such a monumental part of my life that while I am slightly terrified to graduate, I am grateful for it to be over, because perhaps now, I can finally stay more focused on the present, and begin to fix the other problems going on in my life. It’s not going to be an easy journey, and I am most fearful, but as Queen Cindy wrote, it’s not about winning or living for tomorrow. Goals are good, they give us direction, but they shouldn’t be so overwhelming as to consume your very life and soul in a negative aspect. I am looking forward to being able to move on to the next stage of my life, and my future is looming over me like a worrisome, dark little cloud, but I can gain the strength and courage to face the future by embracing the present and continuing to make positive changes.

    So overall, I am learning that it is OK to be proud of myself and what I’ve been able to accomplish today and in the past, instead of waiting for something wonderful to happen in the future. That wonderful thing you’re hoping for might never happen, and if it does, it might not turn out the way you expected. It is far more important to find satisfaction in what you have currently accomplished.

    Sidenote: Geez, I just realized I wrote a small novel there. My apologies, lovely Queen Cindy and Queen Kathy! But I hope that my anecdote will perhaps be intriguing to other queens.

  2. cindy says:

    Bravo Queen Diane and thank you for your honesty. We’re so grateful that you are coming to see yourself as the accomplished, gifted, hardworking, talented and gorgeous woman that you truly are. Here’s out graduation gift to you. A bit of wisdom that we’re still learning but so wish we’d grasped earlier in life. There is an abundance of success in the world. The success of any other person does not diminish your success in any way. They are each unique and separate. You had the highest GPA in high school, period. Amazing and congratulations. You’re being given an honor as you graduate from the University. Powerful and wonderful. And every day, for the rest of your career, no one will ask if others received this award as well. All they will see, and all we hope you see, is that YOU received it, through your own hard work. Now we hope you can give yourself a gift and truly enjoy this moment, really feel the accomplishment and celebrate with abandon. Congratulations and thank you for giving voice to what so many of us experience.

  3. Just love this post. I very much relate as I have shared before. Between all the set backs in life in our financial situation, and then my health. I race forward with a plan to make both better and honestly feel it is going to happen and am so close to calling out “BINGO!!” and then another door closes or another set back, or heck I feel like everyone around me got that last piece needed and calls it out before me. I try and try and so very often feel as if I shall never see my biggest dream will happen, it is so important, but it is also so very all consuming.

    I want to learn to “be” in the day and not always have all the things that are not falling into place hang over my head. I do not want lack of money, fear over loosing everything again, keeping a roof over our head, and my health and all the struggles I have with that and the fear over it all getting so much worse to take away the good times or even prevent them from happening, and I certainly am exhausted of them being my total identity!

    Slowly I am learning to find ways to just be in that moment, not to worry about the past moments and try not to obsess over the ones to come, but it is a very long and bumpy road. Your posts truly have helped, they have inspired and combined with my own blog, often based as you know on your posts, I think the road is getting smoother. Still fighting for my dream(s) to make them happen, but now not letting them take over.

  4. Sproe says:

    Achievement is important to me as well, but the reward for that achievement has always been approval by others. I’ve come to recognize that in myself and found a good way of patting myself on the back as well as finding sources of supportive friends, co-workers, and others in my profession willing to give me the approval I seek.

    It is important to recognize your own accomplishments and If, like me, you need that echo of recognition, find a supportive group of friends who will tell you how well you’ve done. In exchange, listen to their tales of success and applaud them as well.

    My boss recently decided our whole department was so overworked and overwhelmed that we seldom took time to look at all we accomplish. So she bought a white board posted it in the hall by our department and any time we accomplish something, overcome a challenge, we post it on the board. It”s nice to see it in writing.

  5. cindy says:

    What a wise boss to understand the value of recognizing our accomplishments. Thank you so much for sharing her wisdom and thank you for sharing yours. Clearly, you’ve learned to surround yourself with supportive friends and co-workers. What a gift.

  6. nanci says:

    I was in Bingo world for a long time; trying to make sure all my squares were covered at the right time and place; then came my husband’s illness and i got a matching illness of chronic fatigue; the bingo card was lost in the shuffle for survival on an entirely different level; my successes became redefined and God became more real.

    today getting up and just surviving a day at a time with alzheimers and staying grateful fill my new bingo card. but I do kind of miss the old one.

    thanks for letting me share.

  7. cindy says:

    Nanci, you hit it right square on the head. Our priorities get very clear when we’re in a fight for life and death, health and wellness, financial ruin or safety. We’re so grateful that you took the time to share your story with us and we’re honored to be on this journey with you.

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