I’m one lucky gal to have loyal readers who care about me. Over the last several weeks, as I’ve shared journal entries from Waking Up in Winter, some of you wrote in encouraging me to slow down and take more time for my life. I want you to know that I listened to myself back then and life today is very different as a result.
Waking Up in Winter was completed a few years ago and it shared my process of coming to terms with needing to make some big changes in my life. It explored a time of transition, a midlife reckoning of sorts, where I faced the fact that while life appeared to work on the outside, my heart and soul whispered for something quite different.
The book is about taking these whispers seriously. And I did.
Today, I travel mostly for pleasure (something I rarely did before) and Michael and I enjoy much more time together. I’ve grown to really appreciate the fact that our intimate relationships sustain us in ways no outer accomplishments ever will and that these connections demand our presence, our attention, and our care. This has become especially clear and important to me at midlife.
Plans have changed. My goal-oriented nature has shifted from being focused on creating financial security and building a big career, to cultivating the ability to sit in my own skin, to be present for myself and others in meaningful ways, and to take care of my emotional and physical health so I not only have a better chance of enjoying a long life, but one where I feel good and capable of doing whatever I feel inspired to do.
When we listen to the call for change, it doesn’t mean pulling the rug out from under our lives by making big moves all at once. Honestly, that’s often a recipe for trouble. Best to take a gentler approach – noticing what feels good and what doesn’t and writing it down in a journal so we don’t forget. Paying close attention to our energy levels – when we feel uplifted by something or someone, and when we feel let down. Valuing those things we didn’t seem to have time for during the career-building phase of our earlier years – our inner life, time alone, commitment-free afternoons, an on-going connection with nature, or the activities that foster health and well-being.
This life of mine doesn’t always feel comfortable or exciting like the old days of travel, speaking to large audiences, or appearing on TV, but it feels like the right direction for crafting a new kind of meaningful life.
Yes, I listened to the whispers and I’m so grateful I did.
I hope you do, too.
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