The first half of my life was spent people pleasing, acquiring stuff and taking care of everybody but me. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It was the season of life that I was in and just the way I’m wired. I had a husband to consider, kids to raise and a career to build. I’m grateful for each of those things and what they taught me. I poured myself into each of those roles, tried to be a good daughter, sibling and friend as well.
My friends tell me that I’m a caregiver and I take that as a compliment. They also tell me that I give to my detriment at times, and I take that as a place to pause and reflect. Reflection like that, age, hormonal changes and a lot of therapy, helped me to decide that the second half of my life belongs to me! To wake up and realize that mathematically, half my life is over was a poignant moment. It wasn’t scary or sad, it was freeing. I realized that I had done the best that I could up to that point, but if I was ever going to thoroughly enjoy my life and do the things that make me happy, it was now or never. I chose now.
With that choice made, I had to begin to do some things differently and I knew it wouldn’t be easy for me or those that I love. I started with therapy so that I could gain an understanding of why I am wired as I am. It was the best investment that I had made in myself, and it continues to pay dividends. I have more compassion for myself and others. I am more self-confident and operate out of need and desire instead of obligation and guilt.
My yes means yes and my no means no. Before therapy, telling someone no or potentially disappointing someone would make me physically ill. Now I can say no and without feeling the need for long drawn-out explanations. It’s liberating to be able to decline and not be racked with guilt. I am much less available than I used to be. I protect my time with my family and my alone time. I lived in a way that I gave most everything that I had and then tried to manage my family with whatever was left. Therapy helped me realize that and I flipped that behavior on its head. My time with myself and with my family comes first and what’s left is disbursed among friend, extended family and whatever comes up. Being clear about my priorities and seeing how I was living in direct conflict to my priorities, helped me quickly make this change.
I have noticed some significant differences in my life after making these changes. I am calmer and more satisfied with my life in general. My husband and I enjoy each other’s company much more. My friends and family solve their problems without heavy handed intervention from me. They are extremely capable people, and I was sometimes in the way of that capability. I have learned this year that I am not the expert of anyone’s life but my own. I serve them much better by asking good questions that lead them to solutions instead of prescribing a solution. I have my coaching training to thank for that lesson.
As a business performance coach, I have spent several times per month working with individuals to fine tune their goals, develop solutions and implement those plans. I have provided accountability, asked thought provoking questions and cheered them on as they met their goals yet, I was stuck. I needed help, self-reflection and a commitment to get better and stay the course.
I have done things that I didn’t think I would ever do. This year’s biggest event was skydiving. I expected that I would be a nervous wreck, but instead, I had a quiet calm. I sang one of my favorite songs as the plane climbed to 10,000 feet and when it was time, I stepped out and took the ride of a lifetime.
My intention is to share my life’s journey in hopes of inspiring others to set healthy boundaries, speak your truth and stand in your authenticity. From there, you can accomplish anything and enjoy yourself along the way.