Have you ever missed the patterns of your life because they are so familiar or just allowed them to continue because you’re afraid to make a change? Sometimes the patterns are BIG problems in the world, sometimes they are small problems in our life.
This morning, after dropping the kids off at school, I took the advice of a life coach and drove a square mile around my house to see what’s there. I had never taken the time to really look at where I live. So, often we miss what is so familiar. We take for granted the relationship we have with the way things have always been. We don’t see that we could try something new.
That little drive gave me a fresh perspective about my world. I had not seen the functions going on around me – the schools, the churches, the shops, the homes, the health clubs, the banks. For quite some time I have been seeing all the homes for sale and the foreclosure signs as well as beautiful homes where everything seems to be fine. There are strip malls where major stores have closed down and housing developments which stopped growing. There’s a silence that is frightening.
Kane county where I live has been devastated by the Great Recession in some ways, but the City of Aurora has amazingly become safer with less crime and gang activity going down because of innovative policing strategies.
The needs of this community are so diverse. I spent five years working on sustainability and economic development in Chicago but I’ve been afraid to do anything in my own backyard because I have felt that I don’t have the right credentials. I started using my experience to think about what could happen here. Not sure if I can help, but I decided that I would start talking to some people, and see if there is some way that I can contribute more. If not me, then who will?
This is the BIG work calling to me that scares me.
Later in the day, one of my close friends called and asked about getting together. Like me, she’s trying to grow and evolve her business, and she wanted to get together on a Friday because that’s her day off. I work from home, but that doesn’t mean I always can drop what I’m doing. So, I suggested that we try out a new idea for growing business together during that morning which was unscheduled as a way of honoring both our needs.
She practically barked at me on the other end of the line, saying I just want to have fun, you always want to work. This is a pattern that began a few years ago, when I started getting more serious about my life’s work. Yet, to call me someone who always wants to work, is so very crazy that I can’t even begin to say how funny that is.
Since we don’t see each other often, I have often changed my schedule to accommodate her “more important” schedule. I also find myself doing this same schedule accommodation with my kids and family. Then, I get mad at them all as if it’s their fault that I don’t have the ability to say no.
I’m lucky to have the freedom to be accommodating, like when my son was sick at school yesterday. I was grateful that I could drive over quickly to pick him up. I remember the days of 3 hour commutes and full-time work when balancing kids, childcare and work were so difficult. Yet, it’s a matter of balance. I’ve realized that I’m not honoring my own work or self-worth enough when I say yes too easily or say no too quickly to bigger work.
I suspect I’m like a lot of suburban Moms who get caught up in this trap of feeling like we have to drop everything for our family, and maybe you don’t have as much to contribute to the world anymore, now that we’re older. It’s some of us older moms that need to get involved with rebuilding America.
I’ve decided that it’s time to make some changes and move out of my comfort zone as well as honor my family and those needs. As I look at my world with fresh eyes, I see that small changes on behalf of my work and play could be good for everyone.
Does any of this resonate with you?
- Is there any place in your life where you are missing little patterns or habits because they’re so typical and ordinary?
- Do you feel guilty for enjoying your work or taking it seriously?
- Do you find yourself accommodating others because you “should” help others more than yourself?
- Is there any place where you heart and mind are saying get involved, but you’re scared that you couldn’t contribute enough?’
Let’s see what we might do differently to follow our hearts where they lead us as we take a closer look at the world around us.