It’s been well over 5 years since I found myself out of work. I can still remember the feeling of being untethered and at odds with what to do next. I faced much disappointment and frustration (and still do at times) in my search for the next big thing.
“Kiss Your Life”
For someone who has run in the fast lane most of my life, to find myself on the sidelines watching life’s traffic zoom by was VERY frustrating and disconcerting. The most challenging thing was what to do with ALL my free time. A large amount of free time was not something I had available to me for as long as I could remember, so to have an abundance of it all at once was a bit overwhelming.
I’ve never been one to sit still for any length of time, regardless of the circumstances. So I launched myself, quite literally, into finding my way. At first it was as if I were ping-ponging all over the place. That is not to say I wasn’t productive. It just pointed out my need and difficulty in finding a desired direction. When I finally settled into a more relaxed state of mind, I realized that I had, as have many others, based my self-worth on my profession and all that it entailed. I never thought that I’d done that, but there I was with the realization that somewhere in my career I had allowed my self-worth to be determined by my job.
The challenge then was to determine just what I wanted to do next. I needed to view my current circumstance as an opportunity, not an impediment, to explore what I really wanted to do. It was also very important to me to redefine myself in the process.
So what did I do? In the beginning, I spent time on all the personal items, both large and small, that I had postponed for a myriad of reasons while I was working. Once I ran out of those things, which didn’t take very long, I again found myself looking for projects and direction. To “find” myself I started doing things I felt were good for me. I traveled, spent time with my husband as well as family and friends, read a large number of books, started writing a book, started two blogs (both still active), developed a personal web page, worked on a family cookbook and worked in my garden, etc. and so on… It was as if I were running to find my place in life. Was it exhausting? It was at times.
About midway through the first year I started a blog “Finding Our Way Now.” Little did I know the joy, happiness and opportunity my need to express myself in a blog would bring to me.
The transition from where I was to where I am now, although still a work in progress, has not been easy. It has taught me something I thought I already knew – that our self-worth should be tied to who we are, not what we do for a living. I know, it’s something we hear all the time but to truly understand the meaning of our true self-worth we must live the words, not say them.
What have I discovered in this 5+ years? Oh, so many things, more than I can recount in this post. These are just a few things this last 5 years have given me. I have surprised myself by finding I love to write. It is a form of creativity that I thought I would never be able to do with any great success due to my dyslexia. I have rediscovered my love of gardening, drawing and cooking. I am reconnecting with some old friends and family. I now have faith that my energies will not be wasted regarding a new opportunity or direction. I just need to be patient with myself, keep working toward the goals I set, the right opportunity will present itself in due time. Lastly, I am learning to enjoy life again.
That is not to say I wasn’t living life before, but I was too busy to enjoy all that it had to offer. It was all about the future, not about the now. Things like what is your goal, your plan, the timeline and expected outcome and so on were all I had time for. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying these things aren’t important, they are. What I am saying is to keep these things in the proper perspective, not at the expense of living in the moment.
So why all the reflection? Before I explain, I’d like to say that it’s always a good idea to take stock of our life and where we are at different points in time. Sometimes a reflection appears out of nowhere. While on one of my walks, my brain was in free form, a memory floated into my mind of a very pleasant day I’d spent with a great friend and successful artist. My friend and I were wandering around a beautiful garden center admiring all the creative plant displays and art arrangements, looking for inspiration. We came upon a wall of art. In the display, there were some art pieces offering different messages. It was such a beautiful eclectic display we almost missed the piece that was the inspiration we were looking for.
We stood there for a moment looking at the wall, not saying anything. Then my friend motioned to an art piece and said, “The art piece, just above, kind of says it all.” And then she read it out loud “Kiss your life, accept it just as it is. Today. Now. So that those moments of happiness, you’re waiting for do not pass you by.” The message in the art piece hit home for both of us then, as it does now.
The past 5+ years has been an amazing experience. I’ve learned to appreciate and love life again, something I hadn’t realized I needed to do. I’ve been blessed with so many memories – good, bad and everything in between, all of which have offered valuable lessons. One of the many lessons was to not miss the many moments of happiness when they’re present. I’m still learning to “Kiss My Life” along the way, not missing, but accepting and appreciating all the gifts life has to offer as I work towards my goal to find my way now and into the future.
Still finding my way as life’s journey continues…