Last week I had my first call with my life coach since retiring and we had a lot to catch up on. She didn’t know about my mom…India…Key West…The Taste…or my blog. After giving her the run down, I confessed how hard the first two weeks after leaving were and how much easier everything had been since returning from vacation.
I also confessed that I volley between giving myself complete permission to do nothing and feeling anxious about not working. The volley isn’t as frequent or extreme as it was in the beginning, but it’s still there.
I’ve been trying to pay attention to the thoughts that ping pong around in my head. It’s everything from feeling like I should move out of Indianapolis…to simply wanting to jump in my car and drive somewhere for a long weekend…to combing through want ads for part-time jobs…to acknowledging and being proud of how much growth I’ve experienced since focusing on myself…to feeling completely selfish.
It’s not the kind of ping ponging that causes mood swings (thank goodness for me and everyone around me). It’s more of witnessing the thoughts as they come up and then letting them go. I can’t shake feeling like the ones that need further consideration or action will stick around….and so far, they are all passing. They make repeat appearances but I’m not getting stuck on any one for a long period of time, except the appreciation for making myself a priority.
I’d done what was expected of me for so long that I lost sight of what I really wanted for myself. Did I want a big house to entertain or was that something that I felt I needed to create some sort stature? Did I want to live in Indianapolis or am I here by default…because I just never left or was too afraid to leave? Did I want to hang out with so-and-so because they make me a better human or because I feel like I have to? Did I want to go to crossfit or yoga because it makes me feel better or because it’s what everyone else is doing?
By purposely focusing on myself, I’m taking the time to ask myself “Why?”. Why am I doing something…or not doing it…or wanting to do it? It’s amazing what happens when you take a moment – however brief – to ask yourself “Why?”. I had been doing a lot of stuff…making life decisions…because of some value system that existed outside of myself. Meaning, I wasn’t living to my values…I was living to someone else’s.
And that was the advice my life coach gave me. She said, no matter what I’m doing or thinking about doing, I should take the time to consciously ask if I’m living my values.
It’s brilliant and so important. It takes just a minute to do and is something most of us probably don’t consciously do often enough, if at all. It’s easy to get caught up trying to keep up with what society has told us we should do. It’s easy to waste days…weeks…months…years working for….for what again??? It’s easy to stay in a relationship that is sucking the life out of us because…because why again??? Because it’s just easier sometimes to stay on the trajectory that we’ve set in motion than to pause…ask “Why?”…and make a change. That’s disruptive…and hard…and unpopular…and lonely…and risky…and scary…but completely worth it.
A friend tagged me in a post today that said, “Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
Because by “un-becoming everything that isn’t really you”, eventually you’re effortlessly living your values.