It isn’t that our kids went from living with us to getting married. In fact, they have both been living on their own for over a decade. They are well established, independent and happy. Even so, I sort of figured out that I knew what life looked like for me in that scenario. In the past six or eight months, I very consciously decided to be fully present for the build up to, and for the moments of, these two very special events. I have no regrets about doing that. As such, it has been easy to not think about what would come after ‘wedding season’ for me.
Clearly in almost every visible way, nothing has changed. Both kids still live where they did 6 months ago. We still see them and talk to them just as regularly. I still have my coaching practice and my work at the University. I still dance.
There has been, however, a fundamental shift in how I see myself and how I view my life. I have such a huge value for family that I know I want to value each of our kids as they have become part of their own new little family. I want to give them space and at the same time continue to create a place for all of us to celebrate our larger family. What I think I am coming to notice (and I am still processing all of this), is that I have spent more than 30 years identifying as a mother. That role informed every single decision I have made in that time. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. While I still identify as a mother, I find that a door has opened for me where I can now identify as some other things as well. I feel like I have an opportunity to create whatever I want in my life. I feel uncertain about what those new or new-to-me, things will be.
I recognize that I am someone who does not always love change. Routine doesn’t bore me; it often gives me security. Routine means I don’t have to think very hard about what I will do. Routine means that I am confident in my ability to do familiar things. I recognize that sitting on the edge of uncertainty can be a scary thing for me. If I was coaching myself through this process, I would ask myself two questions:
“What are the gifts that this uncertainty brings?”
“What is it that I could do now, that would allow me to look back in a few years and say, ‘That was a wonderful turning point in my life’.
The answers to these two questions can hold the key to next steps for anyone who is facing an uncertain time in life. What I know for sure is that there is always a gift in any situation and that sometimes the smallest step can be the start of a wonderful journey.
For my part right now, I am going to continue to live my ‘Summer of Welcome’. But now, instead of welcoming guests and wedding preparations, I am going to welcome new ideas, new adventures, new confidence, new opportunities and new challenges. I am going to welcome the chance to say yes, and to say no. Most of all I am going to watch and listen carefully for the gifts that are presented to me as I face this undiscovered chapter in my life.
My inquiry for you this week is to ask yourself, “In this moment of uncertainty, what is the gift?”
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