#19 What does your life mean to you? They told us (women) we could have it all. They lied!
I mean, do you think you are here to work, pay your bills then die?
They told us (women) we could have it all. They lied!
Do you think life’s all about striving for more and better?
As a young woman I knew life could be better and I kept striving for it until I eventually burned out.
In my mind my thoughts were something like this… If only I worked harder, did more, had that thing, then life would feel better. I had children and worked and cooked and cleaned and ferried them to places. Made sure they got to school, had clean clothes and a bedtime story. I did the best I could for them while denying my own needs. I also wanted them to hurry up and grow up so I could be free.
I thought, if only I had more money, then I could stop.
I was making unconscious choices about my life based on what society deemed was desirable. I was playing the game perfectly according to what I had been led to believe and what was expected of me.
I cleaned for other people, did childminding, fostered teenagers. When my mum said she wished I’d slow down, I ignored here and did more. I didn’t want to be dependent on a man. I didn’t want to be like her. Men had all the power. They were the earners. I wasn’t going to be like that. Helpless. Powerless. Loads of limiting beliefs that kept me stuck in this cycle for many years.
I wanted my own income. In my mid-twenties I trained to be a nurse. I knew within six months it was the wrong career for me but I kept going as I needed the money. It was a profession. I was going up in the world. I would put on my uniform and I was a different person. I had status. People respected me. They respected me for my knowledge, the fact that I had trained full time for three years and that I was a carer. I kept up the pretence and felt stressed and tired all the time. Although I admit I enjoyed the caring aspect and found it easy. I was a natural.
In my first job on the wards I was bullied. Being part-time, so I could be there more for my children and having trained in a more academic way, meant I gained little respect from my colleagues who trained on the wards. I was pushed from pillar to post. Sent to different wards without any say. Given too much responsibility way beyond my experience and pay grade. Fortunately, nothing untoward ever happened but I was anxious all the time. I changed jobs every two years trying to find ‘my thing,’ until my final job as a Practice Nurse where I lasted 4 years albeit with a year out for maternity leave.
We’re making choices all the time and most people are making them unconsciously.
Even not choosing is choosing. Choosing by default or letting others choose for you. Choosing to let others choose the course of your life. Not trusting that inner knowing. Not even feeling it any more because of the burden of making a living and paying the bills. Something we have all been conditioned into for centuries and don’t even question.
Of course, we have to live in this society as it is until we can find other ways. Or until an epiphany or crisis happens to make us question this One Beautiful life and make brave decisions like Sophie Ingleby of Simple and Calm.
What will it be for you?
We hang on to a way of life that feels dull and meaningless because we don’t want to upset people. We have no other reference for doing life differently. We have bills to pay, mortgages, rent, children to feed. We’re stuck in systems that were designed for us to serve the economy and we accept it. Chained to our jobs, pushing the most meaningful people and experiences aside until we’re older.
Until… until what? We have enough money. Until we have more time. Until we retire. Until we’re dead and it’s too late!
We hear it all the time. A terminally ill person or someone at the end of their life doesn’t wish they had made more money or worked more hours and yet that’s exactly how most of us live.
So how can we change it?
One of the happiest times in my life was when I owned nothing except a battered Vauxhall Cavaliar that used to smoke from the steering wheel. Now I am not saying this was a good thing but I knew exactly what was coming in and what was going out. I was a single mother. I was aware. I was careful to ensure we had the basics covered and any little that was left was put in the pot for treats. It wasn’t perfect but what I really did have was time.
Time to rest. Time to play. Time to listen to my children. Time to start to listen to myself. Time to take long walks in nature. Time to play.
It didn’t last long enough because I got pregnant and stepped off onto another journey, another life, another family. But I do remember the feeling of freedom and how I came into myself in a new way. I was proud and happy with myself and where I was at. I was present.
Life was good. Not exuberant. Not particularly exciting looking from the outside but exciting for me. Because I felt freer than I had ever before.
We can start to change things by becoming consciously aware of and honest about what’s working for us and what’s not, then deciding what’s worth changing and what’s not. Prioritising our own needs and desires.
Now in my fifties I am embodying all this knowing, all my knowledge and being a fully expressed me. I am halfway to my death and there’s no time to waste. I may be even closer than that, who knows?
I am choosing to make decisions to prioritise how I spend my time. The garden is completely wild! It’s great though because the wildlife loves it like that.
With five adults living here, I am choosing to have firm boundaries around my time and time for myself. I am having to insist that my family help out more.
I am choosing to say ‘no’ more to others and ‘yes’ more to myself.
I am choosing to listen to my own body more and honouring when it needs to rest, move or play.
I am choosing to follow my moods, so I know when I am in just the right state to do the work I need to do.
Following the flow and the energy. Pausing, stopping, resting or doing something completely different to shift energy or recharge.
And I write
I love it. I always have. Now I have found a way of doing it easily. Well easier. ;- )
I am aiming to create a writing career for myself.
It takes me about 4-6 hours to write and edit and create a letter that is readable and understandable. I care very much about it. About getting the right message across. About expressing it from the heart.
I am more consistent with it than I have been with anything else I have tried in my life. It helps me understand things to get them out on the page. Free flow writing. Ideas come easily and then I craft them into something someone like you might like to read.
Why do I share my writing?
I want a business that most suits me and my energy levels.
A business that flows with me rather than against me.
A business that is a full expression of me.
A business where I am using the skills and knowledge that I love to share.
A business that is manageable on my terms rather than the imagined terms of others or the pressures of society.
A business that I delight in waking up to most mornings. That fits with my lifestyle and energy levels.
A business that allows me the space to be and ponder and get fresh air and walks and time to read a novel every day.
A business that feeds me rather than drains me.
A business that keeps me interested, enthusiastic and motivated.
A business that is completely congruent and aligned with my values and beliefs.
A business that Honours My True Self.
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What does success mean to you?
Are you having it all/ Or are you burned out doing it all?
I want a life that…
I can move forward in at my own pace. That I don't have to compromise or try to make things happen that I am not interested in.
I want to fill my days with the things that I love to do. The things that nourish and nurture me.
I want a life and business that don't feel like oughts, shoulds or have tos but feel more like a love affair with myself.
I'm getting to know it. It's getting to know me. We meet in the middle. We have conversations with each other. We have fun together.
Sometimes it’s hrad. I still have a lot to learn but y enthusiasm for leanring my craft keeps me motivated.
I have a business and life that satisfies my purpose in life AND helps others.
That to me is success!
What does your life mean to you?
From my True Self to Yours
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P.S. I want to get to know YOU and for us to build this COMMUNITY together.
Sharing our thoughts, ideas and struggles on what it means to be our True Selves; what stops us and what needs to happen for us to Nurture and Nourish our Flourishing. To Thrive rather than just Survive.
Let me know…
What lights up in you, when you think about being your True Self?
What are the whispers you hear?
The longings you feel but push away?
The impulses you can’t act on (yet)?
What is your greatest obstacle or your biggest fear about being your True Self?
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