When Life Demands a Pause

We live our lives in a great hurry. We run from this activity to the next, from this meeting to the next one, and we look back on a completed year with a smug, satisfied smile for all the things we accomplished. Yet, what was truly accomplished? Were important things getting done, or were you just busy? The way we spend our time, and the goals we set for ourselves become our legacy. It is my hope for 2018 and beyond that I am more focused on wisely using my time.

IMG_2061I became scattered and lost when we moved from Dallas to Seattle three years ago. My husband went to his job every day, the kids went to their school, and I didn’t know where to go except home. I was mildly depressed, and I perfected the art of time wasting. My days were a blur of household chores, text threads with friends back home and lots and lots of social media scrolling, liking and commenting. I can reflect on that time as a terrible funk, a semi-dark time in my life, or I can also choose to look at it as a giant lesson in embracing changes and slowing down.

 

IMG_0222Slowing down was an inevitable result of the move. Starting over in Seattle means I have fewer social engagements and clients. These days you can find me writing, reading blogs, taking photos, planning what I will write and so on (all solitary activities). This slower pace has meant I can pick the kids up from school, take them on afternoon adventures and spend more time with them in general. I had a lot of support in Dallas, and my image consulting business was beginning to take off. As a result, I saw my children a lot less than I see them now. So, this forced pause was good for us. What a blessing it has been to enjoy them during these sweet, young years. My business can always get a re-boot. I can’t get time back with my kids.

The “slowing down” part was easier for me than the “embracing changes” part of this lesson. I do not like change. I do not enjoy the thrill of a new challenge. I freeze, fearful of the unknown, desperate to go back to what I know, my comfort zone. Moving to Seattle, a city that is quite culturally different from The South where I had lived for 42 years, was about as big of a change as I have ever faced. I had to put myself out there, making many efforts to build a social and a professional network from nothing. Three years later, I am relatively well-connected in the Seattle fashion industry, and I have lovely, supportive friends. I am proud of that accomplishment. I love that I have these new connections. I would not know them if I had not been forced into a dis-comfort zone.

The Bottom Line: Life always has a few tricks up its sleeve. I am sure it has blindsided you on many occasions just as it has me. When life tells you to stop or slow down, do it. Have faith that there is a greater purpose for it than at first meets the eye. Try not to be angry or resentful about it, though these feelings are normal and you have every right to feel them. Just don’t stay at the pity party for more than one drink. (My thanks to Stacy for that great illustration.)

IMG_8167You will arrive at the right places at the right time. All the things that are meant for you will be yours. You don’t have to sprint. No one will take them from you. Learn and grow in the “pause” moments. Happy New Year!

Change – It’s Here to Stay

One thing that keeps people tied to the same clothing and the same style year after year is the fear of change.  Years ago you may have discovered a formula that works for you and rather than try new looks you stick with the old look because you got a compliment on it 10 years ago.  All the while, change is constantly happening all around you.  Your career changes, your body changes and your lifestyle changes.  Life is constantly throwing you curve balls, egging you on to change.  Your style must keep pace with you and shift with the changes in your life.

Occasionally I encounter someone whose style is 10 – 20 years behind.  An interesting question to ask this person is when was the last time you felt really good about how you look?  The answer often reveals they felt their best 10 – 20 years ago!  You can’t hold onto your ‘glory days’ simply by holding onto the clothing from that time.  That time has passed, and staying in the old clothes denies the person you have become since then.  New glory days are happening and your new style is waiting to be discovered.  See me if you don’t know where to start!

I am the first to admit I am extremely averse to change and trying new things.  I understand the hesitation and the fear.  I stayed in a corporate job for 15-1/2 years, a job I did not love, because I didn’t know what else to do.  I thought if I kept doing the same thing, it would be okay.  It wasn’t.  I was miserable.  I loved my company and my co-workers, but I was never able to find satisfaction in my job.  Change was begging to happen and I kept putting it off.

Don’t put off accepting change as long as I did.  Whether it’s a new job, a new style or a new city you seek, embrace the change and the adventure.  If you need an illustration of how silly it is to think you can avoid change, consider the change happening right under your nose this very second.  Our earth rotates on its axis at a speed of about 1,000 miles per hour while rotating around the sun at a speed of 67,000 miles per hour.  We are rotating around the center of our Milky Way galaxy at a speed of 490,000 miles per hour while our galaxy is speeding through the universe at a rate of over 2.2 million miles per hour.

Do you really think change isn’t going to find you?  Change is real, and change is constant.  Step out and seize it before it seizes you!