I bet you ask other people that a lot, right? When you are worried about a friend, a loved one, or a co-worker who seem a little off. Or when you can tell someone you care about is down or having a bad day or even just seem not be themselves…your first inclination is to ask “Are you ok?”. But how often do you ask yourself that? How often do you check in with yourself to make sure YOU are ok? Probably not as often as you really should be. I know I am guilty of not checking in with myself enough. And why is that? Well, perhaps we are conditioned to take care of those around us before taking care of ourselves. Or maybe if we really stopped to ask ourselves how we are doing we might not like the answer some or a lot of the time. Or maybe it’s because we want so badly to be ok that we don’t dare look too deeply to see if we really are for fear we might have to make some changes. But what’s so bad about change? Yes, it can be hard. Yes, it can be uncomfortable to go through. Yes, it can even be downright scary just to think about. But as they say, change is the only constant in life, so maybe we should learn to embrace it more because often it’s exactly what we need!
There really is nothing wrong with flipping the script, shaking things up, even just plain old-fashioned starting over. No matter what your age, no matter what situation you are in, if something isn’t working for you, life is too short not to make a change. If the job you are in makes you dread showing up to the office everyday (or given the current situation, logging in remotely), it’s ok to look for a new one. If the relationship you are in causes you more unhappiness than happiness, it’s ok to leave it. If the friends you have don’t support you, your goals or your dreams like you need them to, it’s ok to find new ones. In short, it is ok to hit the reset button on your life at any point for any reason without owning anyone but yourself an explanation.
If you have read some of my earlier posts you know that this year I turned 40. That is really weird still to even type but here I am…40 years old. Part of me thought I would have more figured out by this point in my life. Part of me knew I wouldn’t. The part of me that knew I wouldn’t is probably the wiser part of me to be honest with you. What I have figured out over the last four decades though is that if you are doing life right you really never stop learning, evolving, growing and yes, even changing. I think where the wisdom of age comes in is getting better at recognizing when it’s time to move on and from something, someone or even from an older outdated version of yourself that is no longer serving you and begin to chase after the life you really want.
Now just to be clear, I’m not talking about having one bad day at work and marching into your boss’s office, resignation letter in hand. I’m also not talking about fighting with your significant other because he or she didn’t empty the dishwasher in a timely fashion and deciding to end a ten-year relationship over it. And I am especially not taking about starting a fitness routine and quitting after the first day because it challenged you or pushed you a little bit out of your comfort zone. What I am talking about is very honestly checking in with yourself, taking an inventory of your life every once and a while and making changes if necessary. And what I really want to stress here is that giving up, throwing in the towel and walking away from something you realize isn’t good for you anymore shouldn’t be viewed as failure. I think far too often we associate walking away with failing when in actuality it takes a lot of strength and wisdom to make such decisions, no matter how big or small.
So, this one of those life posts. It is not about working out, eating correctly or losing weight. It is about how ok it is to not be ok and then do something about it. It is about wanting something different. Wanting more. Being fearless in pursuit of what truly makes you happy! I wanted to write this post, to validate to myself and anyone else out there who may need to hear it, it is ok to change. It is ok to grow. It is ok to let go of things in your life that are no longer a good fit or that you have simply outgrown and chase after whatever dream you think might bring you true happiness. Life is too short to be unhappy. Life is too short to be so stressed out that dread is the first emotion you feel when you open your eyes each morning. Life is too short to miss out on the good and beautiful things around you because you are overwhelmed with the negative. So how do we go about taking an inventory of our lives when we feel like it might be time to make a change or two? How do we even know when it truly is time to make a change? In my experience there are a few tell tale signs you are ready:
If you can’t stop thinking about something…
Start working towards it! Just start! Take that first step toward a goal or a bucket list item. Maybe take a small step, but definitely make that initial effort to just start. Maybe it’s signing up for one class as a step toward that degree you have been wanting to go back and get. Maybe it’s committing to a 30 day workout program as a step toward finally getting in shape. Maybe it’s a step toward finally writing that book or taking that trip or finding a new job… whatever it may be that you have been thinking about on a pretty consistent basis, take that first step towards it today!
The first step, in my experience, always seems to be the hardest but if it is truly something you have been thinking about doing for a while, there is no time like the present to start making moves toward that goal. And keep in mind, they don’t have to be huge, drastic moves. If your goal is something pretty major, break it down into more manageable steps and attack each one individually but definitely get the ball rolling and don’t give up until you have accomplished exactly what you have been thinking about, wishing for or dreaming of for so long!
When you don’t feel inspired, passionate or excited anymore…
I think at some point in life we have all probably experienced that feeling that the every day has become maybe just a little but stale for lack of a better word. And if you haven’t ever felt like that then you are doing something really right and I would love to hear from you! But for all the rest of us, myself definitely included, when you start waking up each day without anything to look forward to, or a channel you are eager to focus you energy into it might be time for a change.
For me, I was at that point in my own life roughly two years ago. I was dragging ass through each day, not super happy, not super excited about anything, just sort of existing. I woke up one morning, pretty much as sick and tired as one could be and decided not only was I ready for a change, but I desperately needed one. I decided right then and there I had enough or feeling how I was feeling both physically and mentally and set out on my journey to get healthy and find my spark again. Sure I stumbled a bit, especially in the first six or so months but I even when I was stumbling, I was excited to get back up and keep trying because I had found something I was truly passionate and excited about. Two years later, I wake up every day feeling so much better, so much more alive, so much prouder of myself. I look forward to continuing to chase after bigger and better goals each day and life for sure isn’t stagnant anymore.
When you feel like you have tried everything…
If on a regular basis you find yourself thinking that you might as well be beating your head against a wall because nothing you are doing seems to be working, it is probably time for a change. Exhausting every avenue, trying as many different ways to solve a problem as you can possibly think of without success or trying and failing to make something fit that just isn’t fitting is a great indicator that it’s time to move on or control alt delete that part of your life and start over.
Sometimes we just have to accept the things we can not change and focus our energy on those that we can. And guys, even though it might not always seem like it, we actually can control a lot. Probably most importantly we can control our reactions to situations we may find ourselves in. Life isn’t always going to be amazing. Bad things happen. A lot of time bad things happen that are completely out of our control. But what we always have the power to dictate is how we react to those situations. We can rise above, walk away or choose to turn those negatives into positives. And if there aren’t any positives to be found, learn something, move on and become a stronger, wiser person because of it.
When every little thing annoys you…
I truly believe this is life’s way of telling you to a change is in order. When you are picking fights just for the sake of fighting with a partner or when you are overly irritated about any little inconvenience that you might encounter during the day or when your boss asks you to take on one more assignment and you are not sure if you want to cry, scream or break something, it is probably time for a change. I have found myself in this situation a handful of times in my life and I now recognize it as a clear indication that I either need to take a step back and do some self-reflection and most likely some meditation and yoga as well (that my or may not be a foreshadowing of my next post 😊) or I need to make some major changes before I go totally off the rails.
Now again, we all have bad days. We all have days where we are a little more on edge than normal. But when you are constantly on edge about a particular situation or part of your life, it is really time to examine why and what your options are when it comes to remedying the root of the problem or if you don’t think you can, planning on a way to gracefully leave it behind. No shame in either outcome. If you think you can work on it and find a meaningful solution…fantastic! If you think it is just time to close the book on that chapter, start working towards that. Just try to avoid a catastrophic meltdown that sees you potentially burning bridges by ignoring the warning signs and letting the anger, resentment or hostility get the better of you.
You guys, this isn’t a dress rehearsal. This is your one life! It’s your one shot to live the happiest, healthiest most fulfilling existence that you possibly can. Take the opportunity to check in with yourself on a regular basis and make sure YOU are ok. Make sure your life is one that you excited about living. Someday or this day…that is the choice we are all presented with every time we open our eyes in the morning. Why not today?? You don’t have to wait till Monday to start something new or make a change. And you really don’t have to wait till the New Year to get to work. Like I mentioned above, just start. Put all the excuses, worry, doubt, fear aside and start making whatever changes you need to in order to live the kind of life you know is possible. Be a little bit selfish in the pursuit of your dreams if you have to be. The people in your life who truly deserve to be there will understand and support you, and those who don’t, well it might be time to let them go. Just be unapologetic about doing what is right for you. It might not always be easy, but there is nothing more important than your happiness!!
Stay safe and healthy out there please friends!!!