I spent a weekend driving through Arches National Park.
I was surrounded by beauty. I was giddy and child-like. I thoroughly enjoyed taking it all in and marveling at the creation. Reading plaques that illustrated millions of years of transformation and shifts. Wind, or water, slowly flowed and eroded rock until these magnificent structures were all that remained.
While many of these formations took a very long time, others happened quickly and dramatically.
Very much like our lives.
In our youth and adolescence, it seems to take forever. The idea of “adulting” a constant and exciting pull that we’re drawn to like bees to nectar. We learn life lessons while still under a protective wing and yet the longing to be “old enough” gains strength and momentum. We’re so focused on the end goal of leaving the nest we don’t see the immense changes we are going through as we draw nearer and nearer to that exciting day.
It seems to take forever and yet, then it’s here, it happens. And the change is immediate. Your boxes are packed and you’re on your way. What was once a slow build is now a sudden wake-up call.
On the other side, the people raising you see the constant change. They’re watching as you take your first steps, say your first words, feed yourself, learn to read, ride a bike, drive a car. The changes continue coming and just as everyone adjusts to the “new normal” another change peeks around the corner.
Often we see the change simmering. Waiting to happen. Like the kid waiting to spread their wings and fly. We know it will happen and we either look forward to it or shy away, block it out, pray it won’t actually come true.
It’s that breakup. The relationship hasn’t been great and yet you were fine staying in it because at least you knew what to expect.
The new job. Whatever happened, and for whatever reason, you find yourself searching for something that will be a bit more enjoyable than the last one.
The loss of a loved one. Sudden or long-term illness, when they finally let go it’s always a shock. We know none of us makes it out of this life alive and yet the idea of not being here can be hard to accept and embrace.
Leaving home. Whether we’re talking childhood home or an adulthood shift in location. Letting go of one space and finding belonging and friendship in a new one.
A shift in self-worth. There just comes a time when you realize there is something better than what you’ve accepted all this time. However you lost it, it’s time to find it again.
It all takes time.
It all takes effort.
Back to that kid, yearning for adulthood.
Every choice is focused on “when I get to make my own decisions.” They are constantly forming their own reality and it’s repeated like a mantra. The goal gets closer each day and the new freedoms earned are a positive reinforcement of opportunity and progress. They are like breadcrumbs on the trail inspiring you to keep moving forward.
If you are now choosing change, let me encourage you with this: Breadcrumbs and Guideposts.
The guideposts are what you weigh decisions against. On the highway, they are every 1/10th of a mile. Seeing them lets you know you’re still on the road and going in the right direction. So, with each decision, seek the guideposts. Will this bring me closer to my goal?
The breadcrumbs show you your progress. Take a look back to see how far you’ve come. Each step, or decision, is another one moving towards what you want and away from what you don’t. The more steps you take supporting your new way of being the easier it gets and the less pull the old ways have on you.
Give yourself a break and allow time to happen. One day at a time. One decision at a time. Sometimes you’ll see and feel the shift immediately. The relief and change is a palpable experience. Others will be a little slower and yet as you look at where you’ve been compared to where you are now, you’ll be able to see the difference.
Take a moment to look around and review.
You’ve so totally got this!
Think about a change you’ve worked to make. Perhaps there’s one you began and then stopped.
- Look back on how life was when you first decided to shift. The ups and downs. Challenges and rewards.
- Reflect on how your life is now. What are you grateful for and are there any course corrections you’d like to make?
- Give yourself credit for the progress you’ve been able to create.