As a highly solutions-based thinker and person, for a long time I thought that once I had it all figured out—who I was, where my issues stemmed from, and what I wanted out of life—that was it, and the rest of it was going to be cake. Ha! Then I turned 30, and subsequently 31, and realized, stubbornly and slowly, that life really is a journey, not a destination.
And with that realization has come an overwhelming need to shift gears a little, and move away (just a temporary step or two) from my accomplishment-obsessed mind to a kinder, gentler version of myself who allows herself more room to slow down, to reevaluate, to change and flex, and to adjust to new ideas, new feelings, and new needs.
Here’s the thing. Last year I thought I had every single last bit of it figured out. I felt unstoppable and invincible. Then relationships fell apart, my safety was compromised, and life got really messy, really fast. Everything that was going on around me (and it was a lot!) had a sneaky little way of making me reevaluate what really matters, including thinking more about basic needs I desperately needed to nurture and pay more attention to (and fast!). These tend to be those small, but critical things we all tend to take for granted in the midst of pushing full steam ahead toward dreams, keeping busy schedules, socializing, juggling, and well, living our lives to the fullest, as they say; things like rest, safety, and balance.
Soon, as the fog began to lift little by little, it became more and more clear to me. Sometimes you really just need to STOP. Give yourself the freedom to pause. Allow yourself to think. Every season in your life is not meant to be lived on a high. Some seasons are for learning, strengthening and shedding the old so that you can come out of the other side of struggle with something so good you couldn’t possibly have dreamed it up before.
Trust me, I know it’s hard. I literally have to talk myself down from that nagging urge to go, go, go all the time, but sometimes, when things start to fall apart, we have to listen to the universe, take a step (or two!) back, and let all the questions and doubts take a good, long swim so that the answers might have a fighting chance at rising to the surface and propelling us into the next adventure. Because you the more you struggle, the faster you sink.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember through it all is that you do not lose your value in times of confusion and unrest; you do not stop being YOU. You do not stop being strong. You do not forsake all of the progress you’ve made and learning you’ve done until that point. There is positivity in the fight, in never giving up, in forging ahead through the pain, and keeping hope alive for another good (screw that—GREAT) season to come!
So if you find yourself just going THROUGH right now, take a deep breath, and accept that life is beautiful but life is also cyclical. Accept that you are ever-changing and evolving, and so is the life that surrounds us and lives within us. Work through it. Read a lot. Talk it through. Don’t give up on the puzzle just because you’re missing a few pieces, or you’re not sure how the big picture is going to pan out. Keep looking for joy in the small things, and trust that the answers will come. Most of all, just keep swimming!
Sonia, Word Share Junkie