I learned in my past season, which lasted about 3 years, that every season is not for accomplishing goals. Over the past three years I experienced trauma in all major areas of my life. I was completely lost, defeated, and tired. I don't think anyone could have prepared me for an off season like the one I just experienced. I was so accustomed to bulldozing through my goals, that when I was met with unfortunate circumstances in my life, I was barely coping.
It is now 2023 and I feel like the fog has lifted. I feel lighter again, confident, and capable. I am ready to reclaim my life and intentionally lay down new bricks to my foundation. Some bricks can be repaired, and some are beyond repair and that is ok. One of the biggest lessons I learned over the years is that as long as you never give up, there will always be an opportunity to achieve what you desire.
When life throws you a curveball, getting readjusted is often difficult and frustrating. Here are four things I did, and I am still doing, to slowly move forward in creating the life I want.
Making peace with the off season
I spent so much time making my off season worse. I did this by remaining in a state of lack. I was riddled with anxiety and would easily burn out. I compared myself to other people and just kept myself so low. It wasn't done intentionally, but I could not acknowledge where I was at in my life. I couldn't acknowledge that life was one upping me in a dramatic way.
I spent the last 3 years overwhelmed and sad. Like, really sad. Our culture does not teach us that the ebbs and flows of life will force us to bench ourselves. I did everything "right" (according to the book) and because I was not receiving the fruits of my labor "in this season, I felt like a failure. Even though I knew I failed at nothing, I could not shake that feeling.
I didn't start to see the light until I just accepted it. Radically. These were my circumstances, and I just needed to ride out the storm. Not accepting my storm was making me more miserable. Little by little I went back to the basics. I had support from my family, I had an abundance of resources, and an abundance of time. It didn't matter that I was in this predicament now, I would not be in this predicament forever.
What felt like giving up at first began to feel like perseverance. In my life, I often hear that word and I associate it with pushing through. Against all odds you push through, aggressively and with wild determination. After the past three years I expanded my understanding of perseverance. It has a gentle side. Once I made peace with my off season and with myself, it became much easier to center myself in the chaos.
How did the off season come to be? What about your life are you trying to reclaim? When did you get back to a fork in your road? What keeps you up at night? What is making you hesitant?
I began to ask myself questions again. Became curious about the resistance happening within myself. In my late teens, early 20's I chose a different route. I worked for companies for 16 years. I completed 3 degrees. I networked and made a name for myself, all before I was 30. I traveled a familiar road. But this alternate route was always in my passing. As if I was on the expressway and every exit, every couple of miles was this alternate life. Always reminding me that I could travel there whenever I needed.
The familiar road I followed as I got older began to frustrate me. It began to disappoint me, and it began to wither me. Sometimes, I think we hold onto things because we believe we invested so much. Invested time, money, love, resources, and we want to see our return. But sometimes the return just isn't worth it, and we are making ourselves miserable by not walking away.
Reflecting on my life helped me make peace with it. I did accomplish everything I set out to do in those 16 years. It reminded me that I am capable. It helped silence the imposter in my brain telling me I cannot travel this new road. But every road I thought I couldn't travel, became a road that I knew like the back of my hand. Reflection helped me understand I am truly amazing.
Set Goals in Range
After reflecting, I came to understand one of my biggest triggers was setting strict time frames on my goals and becoming sad when I did not achieve them. My sadness would snowball into other emotions, and I would be so upset I couldn't fathom pursuing those goals. I was disgraced. Honestly, I was also being hell of dramatic.
To help combat this, I have range for my goals. Instead of saying, I will have this blog post done by "x" date, I say I will publish 2 blog posts this month. Instead of making my goals rigid and definitive, I decided to make them more fluid. This takes the pressure off and helps me approach them with an understanding that I have time.
Have fun and dream big
I stopped having fun with my life. I became so pragmatic. I got a "real job" to support my "real life". I stopped dreaming, I stopped imagining. I adulted. I think that is something many people can relate to. It is hard to dream when you are anticipating your next nightmare. It is hard to have fun, when bills must be paid, investments need to be made, and goals need to be achieved.
But over the last 6 years, the urge to live freely has taken over. I have dreams that seem impossible but the journey to pursue those dreams deserve just as much time and attention as my practical dreams. To live a colorful life, a creative life, a truly beautiful and free life. That is what this is about now.
We can come for a different life. The lives we lost but are uncovering again. The hugs we forgot to give ourselves we can give now. The chances that we didn't give ourselves, we can give now. Because like the saying goes...
The time will past either way.