A Year Spent Learning About Life

As year end approaches, I’ve always been a big fan of looking ahead and making plans.

As business guru Tom Peters wrote in his book Thriving on Chaos, it’s important to ask two questions.

One, have I made a difference in the last two years and two, am I having fun yet? If the answer is no, you still have work to do.

This year I’m not sure I’m quite ready to look forward. Given what I’ve learned and how blessed I’ve been this past year, it seems more appropriate for me this time round to invest some time in looking back and reflecting.

So what exactly did I learn?

Well, probably one of the most important things I learned is that it’s never too late to try something new. Adventures aren’t exclusively for the young.

Nothing like leaving a good job and moving across the country to add a little excitement to your life!

The challenge of packing up our lives brought my husband and I closer than I would ever have thought possible.

We’ve spent a lot of time together making decisions that ranged from the minuscule to those that were life-changing.

Even after being with my husband for some 20-plus years, I’ve learned new things about him.

Who knew, for example, that he was such a good researcher? Prior to actually moving I came out to Edmonton to find a place to live during a time when vacancy rates were less then one per cent.

While I was at my wits’ end, my patient and thorough husband found the obscure online ad that ultimately led to the house where we now live.

I also didn’t know he had the skills to confidently drive 2,000 miles in a 28-foot truck hauling our van behind. Unbeknownst to me he had honed his skills driving a pop truck when he was still in high school.

All in all, the move has served as a wonderful reminder about the inherent goodness and kindness of the man I married. I like him, I really like him and I love that we have more time together just being.

The past year has also taught me that it’s OK to follow your heart even it if means leaving a good job and a good place.

In fact, it’s better than OK as in my case it led to financial rewards greater than I had imagined and meaningful work that is an absolutely perfect fit with my interests, skills and experience.

Taking a leap of faith to move across the country also taught me about the importance of letting go. I think my focus on fixing and finding solutions took up so much room in my life it crowded out any other possibilities.

I had to learn to listen to my gut instincts, let go, and have enough faith and trust in myself that I would be able to figure it out.

It’s good too to have learned that leaving a job doesn’t mean you’re leaving your learnings, and that leaving your friends doesn’t mean you’re leaving your friendships.

On the practical side, I’ve learned about the ins and outs of working from a home-based office.

Turns out it really works for me. Maybe it’s just that the reflective nature of my work needs more solitude than I’m used to having.

I think though it’s likely just more conducive to the way a lot of women multi-task in order to integrate their different life roles on a daily basis. I must say it is pretty cool that when you hit a wall during the day, you can simply take a break by getting up to get dinner started.

I know I’m much less stressed and able to accomplish far more in a day working from home. I think it’s something more employers need to think about.

I’m learning as well to listen to my body. It tells me what it needs, and it’s my job to pay attention. I’ve also learned that despite my protests, I really do need more than six hours of sleep a night.

Maybe it’s because I have more time, but I’m also doing a better job of appreciating the moment. And I don’t mean only the splendors of viewing a sunset in the Rockies, which, by the way, really is quite spectacular.

I mean noticing the good things that are happening to me right now - a crisp winter snowfall, a smiling baby, or the smack of hockey sticks against the ice in the outdoor rink in the park across from our house. I’m learning to live each of these moments fully instead of missing them because I’m too focused on the next item on my to-do list.

Lastly, I’ve learned more about being grateful. Being away from the majority of one’s family and friends forces one to take stock of all the good things in life and being appreciative.

I am thankful every day for all that I have. Life is sweet.

Posted on 12-26-07

Comments:


Thank you for your smile, your wisdom, your thoughtfulness, I greatly appreciate the special attention you have given to this.

•Posted by sebrinaridge  on  01/19/11  at  05:59 AM


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