I've spent years of my life living with a serious case of the "shoulds."
"I should practice more." "I should work out." "I shouldn't eat like that." "I should have more recordings done by now." "I should be in better shape." "I should live with less clutter."
Thoughts like this would nag me day in and day out, like secret weights inside my chest. No matter what happiness I was experiencing that day, it was always tinged with bittersweetness, because I wasn't yet the person I should be.
Every compliment was a double-edged sword. "That was a good song." Yeah, well, it should've been better.
And like any good rebel, I actively sought to shirk the incessant nagging. I should practice? Well I'll read articles online instead. I should de-clutter? I'll show you by buying more clothes. I should be more self-disciplined? I'll be lazier than you've ever believed I could be.
Every day was like this. Years were spent in quiet misery, not just because I wasn't ever good enough, but because I couldn't seem to create the life that I wanted.
But then I realized something. I shouldn't be superhuman. I shouldn't do anything. I want to have the life I want.
I don't play music because I should be a musician. I make music because I want to.
I don't exercise because I should be fit. I exercise because it feels awesome.
No Should Police are requiring me to make new recordings. I record music because I enjoy it!
Now every time I hear myself thinking that I should do something, I remind myself that no, I actually just want to. With this simple change, I have stepped out of my guilt suit.
And you know what? The life I want is already here. I've been living it all along.