Growth or death
I've been thinking of my life as boxes to be filled. Every time I 'achieve' something, that's a box packed neatly and put away. (I prefer to pack big boxes rather than little ones, but sometimes I'll take whatever I can get.)
This way of thinking leads to a great deal of frustration however. For example, the housework box gets 80% packed every day, but then someone comes and tips it all out again. I seem to spend my hours packing and repacking the same box. No wonder I feel mad.
I think I've had the wrong picture in my head. Life is not about 'achievement' or filling a box. Putting such arbitrary boundaries around things is not a sane way to view them. There is never a beginning or an end to a story.
Now I'm thinking of my life as a circular journey. I'm on my way somewhere and every part of what I encounter is useful to the journey.
So I might not be able to 'fill my big box' of writing a book right now because I'm too busy living with small children. But I'm learning how it feels to be under pressure. I'm learning how depression can feel and what it means for relationships. And all of these learnings will be great material one day when I write it all down! (Anyway, once I write that book, there'll be another one too... another frustration of the box picture.)
It's freeing to be clearing out my boxes. I've decided life is either growth or death. I'd rather grow.