I am at a new place in my life.
In my 34 years on this earth I have experienced a lot and hopefully learned some valuable lessons along the way. I have come to understand what deserves weighty consideration and where I need to practice release. I have had to face some unpleasant realities about the world around me and the nature of the human race and I have had to come to not only accept but embrace who I am and what I see as important in my life. Often this means going against the grain and while it might feel uncomfortable for a while, I know it will be better for me in the end. Just think of a change in diet. When someone decides to give up sugar it can be SUPER uncomfortable. Your body craves sugar. The more you eat, the more you crave. But sugar is also SUPER bad for you, and if you alter your diet to reduce the amount of sugar that you eat, the health benefits are exponential. So much of life is like this – not just when it comes to our physical health but our spiritual, mental and emotional health as well.
So, as I enter my 35th year (okay well I didn’t feel so old until I put it that way) I am going to embrace some major changes. I am going to unapologetically and boldly live out my values instead of giving into the way society says I ought to live. This may mean that I may shed some weight along the way, and by weight I don’t mean pounds, but perhaps individuals that place unnecessary judgment on me or want me to subscribe to the status quo, or it could mean giving up worldly things that have no significance to me. Either way, if I lose you, I’m sorry. If you want to journey with me, I’ll cherish you.
No longer am I going to let insecurity govern my emotions or reactions.
I don’t know what school was like for you but in every class there seems to be a bully and a goody two-shoes. In elementary school, I was the goody two-shoes, or as some would say, the teacher’s pet. I was. I remember helping clean up the class-room before the morning bell rang, I would volunteer in the office, library and younger classes and on one occasion, I even volunteered to review a textbook the teacher was thinking about using…yes, you just heard me right.
Well, in grade six, the goody-goody status hit a climax. I may as well have had Mr. Holland as a teacher and I was a singer – one of very few and as far as I know, the only one willing to sing in assemblies. Further to that, Mark liked me and Melissa liked Mark, which threw my social circle into a complete tizzy. As I walked the field alone one day, I remember a “friend” coming up to me and saying in a rude and snarky tone, “What are you doing, following Jesus?” Okay, so the rhetorical question had nothing to do with being a teacher’s pet, in fact, it had nothing to do with Mark liking me either, but I feel like it was a turning point in my life. I know that the girl, who was part of a group that decided to hate me as a result of the Mark incident, said what she did as a bitter acknowledgement of all the things that were going well for me that subsequently, were not going well for her. And yet, it cause me, not her, to alter my life and no longer want those things which were going well, those things which were good. Because who wants to be called a goody-two shoes, or a teacher’s pet, a try-hard or a Jesus-freak. No one. But why not? What is so wrong with all of those things? What is so wrong with being optimistic, or positive, or trying hard. For over two decades I have tried to suppress my zeal for life and my desire to do well and to do good for fear of what others might think of me.
I have been so concerned with appearing intelligent, and logical, and reasonable that I have had a paralysing fear of being regarded as ignorant, or naïve or affected. I don’t want these concerns and fears to keep me from the life I envision for myself or my children.
You see, now, I have too much at stake – their names are Jakob, Ella and Audrey. I have to ask myself, who do I want them to be: the bullies or the goody-goodies? How will I be an example to them? I don’t want them to doubt doing good, or doing well and especially for Ella, I NEVER NEVER NEVER want their fear of appearing “not good enough” to keep them from doing their best.
I never want them to strive for mediocrity because they are afraid that if they strive for excellence they will be ridiculed.
So how does this translate into my life? How do I put this in action?
First, I have had to ask myself two big questions:
What are my priorities and values?
Where do I want to be in 5 years? In 10 years? In 20 years?
I know that my biggest priority is my family. I want to be able to provide for my family. My husband is doing full-time doctoral studies which limits his earning capacity. But even after he is done, it could take a substantial amount of time to find his career footing. I can’t go that long struggling to make ends-meet, to pay bills and to worry about how I am going to make a life for my kids. This is a bit of a catch 22 however, because I also don’t want someone else raising my kids. I want to not only provide monetarily for my family but spiritually and emotionally as well.
Secondly, where do I want to be in five years? Well, I know that I don’t want the next five years to be like the last four years. In five years I want to be settled into a home. I want to be able to pay my bills in full every month and be well on my way to being financially stable. I want to be able to take care of my kids, be there for morning drop off and afternoon pick up and have a healthy work/family life balance. I want to be able to take a vacation once and a while and invest in experiences that will benefit both my kids and myself. And most of all, I want to have enough to be generous – generous with my gifts, with my time and with my money.
To be continued….
So much more, but in the meantime, it’s your turn. Where do you want to be in five years? Have you thought about it recently. Comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts.