When I was young, many of my daydreams surrounded growing up, getting married, having babies… standard dreams, at least that’s what I thought. What I saw happen with my friends was a detour from that path. Many of my friends waited to get married, had no kids, pursued their careers, they made different choices. But not me, I took the path I thought I was supposed to in order to truly “adult.” I got married, had my babies, and at the same time, did the career thing.
That’s what many of us do, we follow the path that someone else has laid out for us. The plans that the collective “they” said we were supposed to go down. The plans that were supposed to lead to lifelong adulting happiness. And sometimes that worked out, at least for a while.
In talking to many other women in the middle of their life, what I notice is that many of us did what society expected of us. Happily. Once the kids were out of the house though, the prescribed route started to feel uncomfortable. Now what?
We entered the stage of life where we have choices. In reality, we had choices all along but were so engrained in the societally defined lifepath that it didn’t even register. But now, we start to experience discontent, or feel out of alignment with our own lives. The thought of making a change is scary.
Continuing the path we’re on is certainly an option. It would provide a smooth slide into retirement. But we want different qualities in our lives now. A fulfillment that we haven’t yet experienced. One that comes from reaching into ourselves and pulling out our unique gifts and talents that may have sat on a shelf for 25 years. That’s where courage enters the picture.
It may be that in order to pull out our unique selves, to bring our gifts to light, we take a shift from the paved road. It’s a different phase of adulting, one that is less defined, honestly, it can be a bit scary. We can continue doing the same thing we’ve always done, comfortable, but if it doesn’t match who we are on the inside anymore, is that how we really want to ride out our lives?
Brené Brown explained that whenever you have change, something ‘dies.’ Whether it’s a way of life, a career… and if you’re wise, you realize that and allow yourself to grieve the loss. Doing so better prepares you for what’s next. You can change into who you truly want to be. It’s not that who you were wasn’t right. It was. For a time. But it’s ok to change. Healthy even. Change to who you are becoming.
Now is the time to explore who you are, what you want in this phase of life. What “adult” do you want to be today and for this phase of your life? Even if you’re not in the middle, you have choices. Not always easy, bumpy at times, but leading to the you that’s waiting inside of you. Becoming is beautiful… I pray you are courageous and pursue you.