Seasons Are Changing: Taking An Honest Assessment of My Life

Monday, November 21, 2011

I am in a serious, prolonged period of introspection and reflection. On December 16 I will celebrate my 36th birthday. And for the first time in my 36 years I am not that excited about the impending celebration of my birth.

Even when I turned 30 I was beyond excited. I do believe that with each year of life comes growth. So I'm always excited to see what can happen. Turning 35 was met with a little less excitement because I honestly thought I would be much further along professionally, relationally and financially than I am. But this year, my mortality, career position and accomplishment of goals (or lack thereof) has really caused me to pause.

Since late September a situation has caused me to step back from things that once gave me great joy and a sense of purpose. My own semi-carelessness in this situation has caused me to pause and seriously reflect on my own actions and how I often let things happen to me instead of me making them happen thus navigating and negotiating my own life.

I know my friends and family see my potential and wonder why I am not doing more than I am. I wonder the same thing. I have talked about doing things for years, like moving to ATL or some other larger city. And where am I? Right here in my hometown watching former students, co-workers, friends, acquaintances literally ride out of town to start making their own lives.  When I see them I can almost hear a small amount of disappointment (or maybe I'm just being paranoid) when they find out that I'm still here and pretty much doing the same thing. Yeah, I'm pretty bummed about it too.

This post was prompted by my current situation and a recent post by Happy Black Woman. Through clicking the various links referenced in her blog post, I have stumbled upon the concept of "lifestyle design." It is a concept discussed more thoroughly in the book "The 4 Hour Workweek" by Timothy Ferriss. I haven't read this book but I did read almost half of The Art of Nonconformity by Chris Guillebeau. I think I am going to finish reading it tonight...I hadn't gotten to the best part yet.

I am not into astrology but I was reading information online about my astrological sign, Sagittarius. The site said that Sags longed for adventure. I knew they were wrong because this couldn't be further from my current behavior, so I checked another site. Sure enough, it said the same thing. And honestly ya'll, ever since I read that thing, it has bothered me to the core of my soul. Where was my sense of adventure?!?!? The most exciting thing I'm known for is trying a different restaurant every once in a while. Ok, maybe it's not that bad. But I've been conditioned to "play it safe." But whenever I get the chance, I rebel. That's probably what has gotten me into the situation I'm currently in.

What I'm slowly realizing is that I keep beating my head against a brick wall. I keep trying to construct my life based on the way my parents' constructed theirs. Now do not get me wrong, I appreciate and have the greatest respect for what they did, because it gave me the stability and comfort I needed to grow. I have generally inherited their work ethic, but I need something different. I need freedom, flexibility and little bit of adventure.

Here are the things I realize about myself:
  1. I am not challenged in my current position (this is an OLD revelation)
  2. I am too comfortable where I am and with what I'm doing
  3. I do not like my life and my future in other people's hands (but who does right?)
  4. I am not a 9-5 type of gal (10-7, 8-4, 3-11 or any other real set schedule)
  5. I work to get the job done; regardless of the time of day. But after the job is done, I want to move onto something else (preferably personal)
  6. I need variety and flexibility in my life (in projects, duties, schedules, locations, etc.)
  7. I am horrible at work-life balance (another factor weighing in the situation I'm working through)
  8. The ability to connect with friends, family and others is really important to me (and I do not get to do it as much as I would like in my current professional and living situation)
  9. I do not need the amount of clothes, shoes, (dare I say) jewelry, etc. that I think I need (this 30 for 30 challenge is teaching me that)
  10. I value experiences more than things
  11. I think I want to try a telecommuting job or some other job that I do not have to always punch a clock (they do exist right?) :)
  12. I like travel, hotels and living out of a suitcase (at least right now, but I've never done it, so I could easily and quickly change my mind :))
  13. I am tired of keeping up with the Joneses, Garcias, and Smiths (smile). And with the money I'm making, I can't keep up with them anyway :)
  14. I don't always have to do what my friends are doing or what they think is important. In other words, I don't have to go along to get along (not that they expect that anyway)
  15. I have to stop living above my means and be realistic with myself about where I am financially so I can start really creating the life I want to create
  16. Greenville will always be my home, but I feel my life is somewhere else

I suppose many of you are reading this and saying, "Well DUH!" You should be your own person and not keep up with anyone else. You might even think I'm stuck back in junior high trying to impress or fit in with someone else. But at one point or another (whether we will actually admit it or not) we have all done this. Some of us buy houses or cars or take jobs we don't even particularly want for reasons other than that's what WE want do.
So what's keeping me from doing or conquering any of the things listed above? I am not married, I have no children and other than my parents and my church, there is NOTHING keeping me here in Greenville or at my current place of employment. But until I get to the real root of why I'm stuck in this muck and mire currently known as my life, I may likely repeat these posts over time. The devil is a liar! I do not intend to live like this another day.
If I had to take a gander as to what is keeping me where I am, I would say two things 1) procrastination (you may view it as laziness *shrug*) and 2) fear. How I wish it was some external circumstance so I could blame someone else for my own stagnation. But I can't. It's all me. 100% my own fault and doing. I am hoping that being vulnerable (another thing I have to work on) and public with this admission will begin the change process. Dr. Phil says, "You can't change what you don't acknowledge." Say what you want about that man, he has some good one-liners. :) So I'm acknowledging it to the entire blogosphere!
Do I have a plan to address these things and move forward? Not really. I need another day or so of quiet and listening to God and my spirit to see exactly where I'm supposed to go from here. But I am letting you see these particular "cracks" in my armour in hopes that it will 1) hold me accountable to my blog reading family (I actually do consider you part of my extended family network) 2) motivate others who may feel the same stagnation to get up off your duff and DO SOMETHING 3) remind myself and others that I/we are not the only ones that feel like this at various points and times in our lives (and it's ok--as long as you move forward at some point). Hopefully it won't take you as long as it did me to move forward.

So it is time for all of us to walk into our season. I leave you with one of my favorite songs of all time (and what my cousin walked in on at her wedding a few years ago): Seasons by Donald Lawrence.


Juanette on December 25, 2011 at 9:23 AM said...

Sorry I missed this original post but this is a powerful message!

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