This morning in my Instagram feed was a post from VIDA and the model was wearing my scarf. It’s one of my favorite South Dakota two-lane images. There may be an algorithm that puts the designer’s image in their feed. I don’t know. It was pretty cool anyway.
This design is titled “finding your way home“. Conceptually this is something I believe we spend a lifetime doing, sometimes literally…often metaphorically…always worth the emotional effort.
What story are you willing to let go of to have a future unlike your past?
Sometimes I’m unable to sleep because I’m so jazzed about something I’m working on that sleep seems like a waste of time. However, this time it’s something else. I’m pretty sure it has to do with closing in on fifty-one, hormones, grief, puzzling rage, extraordinary joy, occasional alien identity theft and letting go.
Sometimes it all actually feels this alien to me and I barely recognize myself. I know that non middle-aged women tend to believe (at least from my experience) that menopause is an excuse to explain away shitty behavior, lack of energy or out of the blue tears. It’s really not an excuse and it’s often as confusing to me as it is to my poor family.
A generation ago, it was less frequent that Moms would be going through menopause with teenagers still in the house. Not that it didn’t happen, but it was less common. I feel sort of sorry for my twin daughters right now. My relationship was different with their brother. He was not twins. He was never a 17-year-old girl. He’s not living at home right now. He was not a mirror to me the way my girls are.
My girls are living with the Many Faces of Mom during their stressful last year of high school. Sometimes I freak out thinking that I haven’t taught them what they need to know before they head off to college in a year. I have to trust that I have and allow them to learn the rest on their own. It’s time to let go a little bit more.
However, I feel like after going through pregnancies, nursing and giving up my sense of self to care for these little monsters (that I heart breakingly love) that I’m due a little break now. Is that so wrong? Isn’t that what menopause is? Transition from one stage to another.
Nothing in my life has been as dramatic of a shift as becoming a Mom…and now in some weird way, when my girls are a year away from leaving home, my body is making me feel like I’m in the first trimester of my pregnancy.
Fatigue. Uncertainty. Cravings. More fatigue. Headaches and more even uncertainty.
Nature’s cruel joke or a reminder of how tied to them I am on a cellular level?
Often I make things way too complicated. Today I’m choosing to simplify.
ASK. WAIT. LISTEN. REPEAT.
What we focus on can give us more clarity OR get us to hyper-focused, losing sight of the big picture. For me, I think this is a crucial distinction to understand right now. Take a look at the very subtle differences in the photos. I focus on the fungus in front and the whole picture shifts. I focus on the fungus in the back and everything changes…even the light a little bit. Perspective.
I feel this shift a lot when parenting teenagers. What do I need to pay attention to right now? Should I use a different lens here? Why am I so focused on this right now? Should I take a broader look OR get in there and really explore one singular issue, letting other things fall out of focus?
These are really hard questions for me to manage in a split second. However, as a very visual learner, a subtle shift in perspective made more sense to me when I thought about it in terms of photography. What we focus on grows and sometimes we need a ridiculously wide lens and sometimes we have to hyper-focus.
I chose to focus on these mushrooms and not focus on other thins for a few minutes. Aren’t they magnificent?
lately and basically the more I read the crappier I felt about myself…however there was some hope in what I was reading too. Einstein helped considerably. Thank you, sir.
The more I protect my lack of knowledge (get defensive, react, don’t listen, dig in my heels) in any given situation the harder I have to work to protect my ego. When I’m protecting my ego I’m generally talking more than listening as well. Not a great habit. If I let go and accept things as they ARE instead of how I WISH they were in relation to me—my ego becomes much less fragile or reactive. This will no doubt be a lifelong practice. I’m only noticing maybe .00005% of the time now when my ego is acting wounded and subsequently protective, but that leaves a lot of room for growth, right?
When things come up and I start offering my views about how to fix something or what I think someone else should do, my husband reminds me (and I him) to, “put that on the list of things you don’t have to care about”. Sometimes, because he’s a leadership coach, I don’t take kindly to be “coached”, but now that we’ve done this for each other I notice when my EGO is showing up much faster. That ain’t nothing.
“This country’s hard on people, you can’t stop what’s coming, it ain’t all waiting on you. That’s vanity.” —The character Ellis in the film “No Country For Old Men”
Indeed, it ain’t all waiting on me.
When my kids were little I wanted to see all of the similarities to me and other family members…moles, mannerisms and so much more. Those observations were really fun—welcomed and celebrated.
However, as a parent of young adults I’m acutely aware of how they are differentiating themselves now. It isn’t easy to “parent” their emerging adulthood and separateness, but it’s really quite necessary.
I’m trying to understand their choices and what they represent—freedom, a (hopefully) healthy sense of self and discovering their place in the world. This is really important work for all of us. I feel more compassionate and slightly less pissed off when I access how I felt at sixteen or twenty years old. Sorry Mom and Dad. I had to do what I had to do.
Our kids are trying to understand this brand new adulthood thing and the process is a little clunky (to say the least) for everyone. Young adults that on occasion still need us like they are little kids. Little kids who want the privileges that come with adulthood. And parents who would much rather be snuggled up reading bedtime stories than watching the clock and waiting to hear the car pull in the driveway.
I don’t want to spend a lifetime feeling like there should’ve been one more book read. One more camp. One more trip. One more lesson. One more skill taught. One more ______________ (fill in the blank). If I don’t let go of the ONE MORE(S) they will keep us all from moving forward. I’m pretty sure we all want to keep moving forward.