Thursday, September 18, 2014
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Do you remember when you were invincible? I think we all start out that way. That is why we play so hard as kids. We have no idea that we can get hurt...until we actually do. We are completely open to trying new and ridiculous things. Sometimes we learn from our mistakes, and become more cautious. Sometimes we think we can just tweak things a little, and have a better outcome. Like jumping off a swing. I recall jumping off and landing face first several times....but I kept doing it, thinking "one of these times I will SURELY land on my feet!" (I am pretty sure I had to use a different swing all together to accomplish that.)
We see something that looks like fun, and seems like a great idea at the time...like when I decided that the picnic table in the back of my dad's truck would make an excellent stage for a tap dance number. I didn't have tap shoes, so my clogs with the wooden soles would work nicely. And since it was summer, and evening, I was wearing my cute little pj's that looked a lot like something Shirley Temple would wear. You know, ruffled top and short little pantaloons. This would be GREAT! And it was, until I got up to the top level of the table, and shuffled off to Buffalo with a little too much enthusiasm, and my clog fell off, causing me to do a face dive in the gravel driveway. I swear, I can still feel the impact of my nose meeting the ground.
I never tap danced on a picnic table in a truck again.
These experiences make us wary. Once we start to realize that bad things that can happen, we stop taking risks. For the most part. Unfortunately, the brain doesn't full develop until after college (or at least I would assume) and this is the female brain. The male brain takes much longer. My husband is 43. I will let you know when full development hits. The 14-23 year old (approximate ages here) still does take risks, but usually they are really stupid ones. Like "let's have _______(fill in the blank) lay on the hood of the car, and see how fast we can go before he falls off!" Because that is an excellent idea.
Obviously, the clever ladies and gents who participate in these types of activities did NOT learn anything from falling off the picnic table in their clogs.
When I look at my life, I see a woman who has typically played it pretty safe. When I graduated from college, I went straight into teaching (I had considered getting a masters in opera) and then got married, bought a house, had two kids, got a dog. It all played out like "Leave It To Beaver."
Obviously, those were my choices, and I am happy with them....but where was the risk? Why didn't I pursue that masters? Why was I so hasty in starting a family? Why didn't I let myself get a little wild and dream? At that time, I suppose those were my dreams. :)
My husband and I have talked about this a lot....how hard it is to go back to school once you have a family and a house and all the responsibility that goes with it. It's easier to just keep the status quo.
To not take a risk.
Now we are almost to the other side of things. In two years our oldest goes to college, and two years after that, we will be empty nesters.
This has the potential to be a very exciting time for us. We will be broke and living on the street, but it will still be exciting. I have been in a rut for a looooong time. I think this happens to all of us. We either have been in the same job for years and years, and know that we need to stay for the stability of it, but it is sucking the life out of us. Or we have or are giving everything we have to our families. Every ounce of energy, time, money, all of it...and there is nothing left for ourselves. In fact, we don't even know who we are anymore, because our identity is "mom" or "wife" or "short person taxi driver." Or maybe you have been home with the kids for years, but are ready to get back into the work force, and are scared to death.
Three years ago, I resigned from teaching, after 15 long years of doing it. 15 years of getting up way before my body was capable of functioning. 15 years of running myself ragged (because teaching was never my ONLY job) 15 years of trying to juggle my kids and husband's schedules with mine, because we were always in three different school districts. I finally had enough. I didn't enjoy it anymore. I hated going to work each day. It really was just killing my spirit.
My first year of "freedom" was still relatively busy with other part time jobs, but they were all jobs I enjoyed. My second year, my schedule freed up even more...and I fell into a pretty deep depression. I felt guilty for not having to get up and go work when my husband did...and then I felt guilty because I was in such bad shape, there were many days that I didn't even get out of bed, so he would come home and have to deal with making dinner, etc too. It was awful.
I eventually pulled out of it, and things slowly improved. My third year was going to be THE year. The year I was going to focus on ME. I was going to set goals and work toward them...and then my mother came to live with us. This actually kicked my butt into gear.
I am just starting year 4, and I am more refreshed and excited than ever. I finally started addressing the clutter in the house, which frees me. I am cooking interesting new things...and am finding I am not such a bad cook after all. But the very best thing? I am writing. This ridiculous blog has forced me to do something that has been lurking in the back of my mind for a LONG, LONG time....and it is feeding my SOUL! Who knew something this simple could throw me into a positive spiral. And it really is...because since I began a week or so ago....interesting things and people have entered my life. And I am going to continue to feed my soul....and the only way to do that is to take a risk!
I should also add that I had been worrying a lot about being "too old" to start something new. I felt as if I had passed up the opportunity to do all of the things I had always dreamed about, but never got around to.....until I saw the Joan Rivers article that stated "She was 81 years old, and at the height of her career." Well, heck! I have another 40 years at least! And that woman TOOK RISKS!!
I challenge each of you to do the same. Is there something that has been marinating in the depths of your spirit for awhile, but you just haven't take the time, or the risk to put it out there?
Is there one little change you can make or something you can add to your life that will not only bring you joy, but may spin into something bigger?
The universe is a funny place. I will tell you from experience....and it is sooooo true:
If you take the risk and let go of one thing that is holding you back in some area of your life....and really think about this, because I truly believe there is something all of us hold onto that we know we should release but are either too afraid to, or unsure about what might happen if you do.
If you take that risk, your burden will lighten, and positive things will begin to fall into your lap. And once that burden has lifted, and the positive starts to embrace you....jump in head first. It is time to chase some dreams. You will only regret it if you don't try.
What have you got to lose? :)