There are points along the way in our lives where you wake up one day and think “whoa – wait – let’s hit the pause button here for just a second”. Is this it? This is my life??? It’s often just a moment … sometimes it passes and you don’t think about it again for awhile. Other times you really feel the need to do just that … pause … take a big breath … assess … and try to get a read on where that feeling is coming from. It would be so great to have a bird’s eye view of our life. A way to really see the big picture.
You’re grateful for everything and everyone in your life. Yep – life is going along just fine. In fact, it’s pretty good! And then comes this question. Is this my script or someone else’s? Is life going along according to my plan or am I just going through my days doing what I’m supposed to be doing? What if there’s something better? Is there supposed to be more? Is it ok to want more?
I think if we’re being honest, we’ve all had those moments. Those kinds of questions often come at a time when a big life transition is about to happen. One of those particularly well documented times is when kids are leaving home. Launching their own separate lives. Or when you realize one day that you really don’t like your current job. Or current relationship. Those little sparks are your first clue that it’s time to explore making some changes or look at new opportunities.
Finding space to breathe, let alone time to look at the big picture, can be particularly challenging for moms. Some days feel like 100% survival mode with no time for anything else. You’re so busy being the rock for everyone else that it’s hard to have even a moment to yourself. Quiet time is not easily found. When there are kids in the picture, there often just isn’t much time for self care.
It’s in our nature to nurture and care for the people in our lives that we love. For a very long time that was all we needed to give our lives direction. But now you’re thinking you may be ready for more! It’s not that loving our spouses and kids, and raising a family has lost it’s meaning. Quite the opposite! You want to create better lives for them, yourself and your community.
So what now?
Pay attention to the sparks that start popping up. They can be confusing and bewildering, and often times you’ll notice there are other feelings that often seem to come in tandem with them. Guilt is a big one. If my life is full of good stuff to be grateful for, why am I thinking that there might be something missing? All those thoughts will keep bouncing around unproductively in your head until you take some positive steps forward to start processing them.
Positive Action Steps:
Write! Start getting your sparks written down. Why? Because many of us process more productively when we can see it on paper. Some of us don’t know what we’re thinking until we start writing.
Exercise! When your legs are moving, your brain is processing. Works every time. I promise!
Work with a mentor or coach. These questions can be a bit overwhelming and too open ended. Find someone who knows how to ask questions that will help you in your processing.
It might take a combination of all three. Go ahead and hit that pause button. Breathe. Those sparks inside of you are just waiting to be ignited. It may take some time, it may take some work, it may take a lot of paying attention, but you’re going to find your answers. Be patient. Life is full of possibilities and these “pause” moments are just the first sign that you get to go explore them! Permission granted!
One of the places I’ve paused to breathe, several times, is Nepal. The picture above was from my second trip there, on a trek through the Annapurna area. That trip came after a long period of asking questions. It wasn’t the first big trip I’ve been fortunate enough to go on, but it was definitely one of the most nurturing. Lots of wide open space to feed your soul and lots of walking. I highly recommend adding it to your list of possibilities!