Starting today I am intent on spending as long as it takes re-evaluating the many ways I define myself. It’s not as easy as it sounds. I am mother, partner, teacher, friend, and neighbor. Then of course I am my strengths and weaknesses, my hopes, fears, triumphs and disappointments. I’m sure there are more. I want to weed out all of the labels that don’t work anymore.
As a single parent of four children I have spent most of my adult life defining myself as a provider. I did whatever I needed to do to support my family in any and all ways. The last of my four is finishing high school and the rest are making their own way. I know from experience that they don’t stop needing when they turn 18 but it certainly changes.
Who am I without all of those definitions? Who might I be if I could be empty of all preconceived ideas and recreate myself? What will I keep and what will I find doesn’t serve me anymore?
I’d love to know if anyone has travelled a similar path. I’ll let you know what I find.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” – Lao Tzu
Jump, and you will find out how to unfold your wings as you fall.
How much can we really plan anyhow? Tomorrow I’m going to take a few leaps of faith and see what happens.
Whatever you are not changing,
you are choosing.
— Laurie Buchanan
As with most questions in life, if you pay very careful attention, the answer presents itself. First subtly, which is why those most ‘in tune’ get the message right way. Then, with a little more force. Perhaps the stain on the ceiling is growing and it’s time to check out the reason for that? If we ignore that message we often get a full-blown catastrophe. The ceiling stain becomes the roof that leaks, which becomes the roof that falls in on your head. The final answer is now given in a way that we just can’t ignore.
I have always aspired to be the person who got the message at the first whisper. Unfortunately, the reality is that I’ve often been the girl who stayed too long at the party; stuck out the bad relationship hoping it would change and when it did it was for the worse; worked at the stressful job until it made me ill; held the hand of the incredibly needy friend until they sucked the last bit of energy out of me and then were nowhere to be found when I needed them. I’ve almost always known what I should do, but instead I stayed. Maybe I was always worried that I’d leave right before things got good. Maybe I just afraid to be wrong.
I hope I have finally learned that staying beyond the usefulness of anything, whether it is a roof or a relationship, is not healthy. It is also not a failure to choose to change your circumstances when those circumstances conflict with what is beneficial to your overall self-worth, self-image, health, or aspirations. Choosing to surround your self with healthy, supportive people and rewarding work is how we love ourselves and it is impossible to create a fulfilling life, in my opinion, if you don’t first love and care for yourself. Many things, both good and bad, are wonderful learning experiences. It’s important to know when to let go and move on.
So as I step in to a new phase in my own life I am focusing on trusting my intuition. I am also trying to remind myself that sometimes even when you’re scared, for whatever reason, that’s not enough of a reason to stop going forward. The safety of the familiar, the hope that sticking it out will be rewarded, or just the fear of regrets, are not enough to of a reason to ignore needed change or prolong the inevitable.
Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway. – John Wayne