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.
I 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.
Slowing 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.)
You 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!