FINDING PEACE IN THE BEAUTY OF BECOMING

When life turns out differently than expected, we can fight it or we can embrace the uncertainty of becoming someone new.

WAITING AND WONDERING

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about how unsettled I was feeling. Since then I've been trying to figure out what it is at the heart of things that's causing me to feel this way. I've dithered back and forth trying to dig down to the crux of it all and to try to bypass all the little distractions that seem to be the reason but are just symptoms rather than the cause.

Ultimately I think what bothers me the most is the lack of control I have over life right now. I'm really not good at letting things go through to the keeper. I want to know where I'm heading, what's next, and what tomorrow has in store for me - and that's impossible for me right now. Previously my life revolved around raising a family, working to help pay the bills, and fitting in a few little extras around the edges. But that's gradually changed.

TRANSITIONS IN LIFE

First to go was all the family commitments - ticked off and tucked away, I readjusted and moved forward with plenty to keep me busy. I changed jobs a couple of times, and settled into my new normal that I neatly projected into the next ten years until retirement. I had everything carefully arranged and tied with a bow. And that was my mistake! Life took one look at my little plans and threw them up in the air and said - "now lets see where you go"!

I kicked the "perfect job" to the kerb because it had been sucking the life out of me, and then proceeded to agonize over my next phase of life. Did I want another job? Did I want to stay home and retire early? Did I have to fill every waking moment with activity so I looked productive to others? Could I choose to be unbusy and step out of the rat race? So many questions buzzed around in my head and I don't think I found the right balance for me before COVID threw itself into the mix and turned everything upside down.

LACK OF CONTROL

I really, really want a crystal ball - nobody gets one, we all need to be patient and watch and wait to see what's coming next. I think what I need to do is change my mindset to one of anticipation instead of doubt or feeling like I don't have things completely figured out. I like having a purpose, but maybe for a little while I can just float and allow things to be what they are, instead of pushing and prodding and getting frustrated.

Life right now isn’t what I expected it to be – I'm really happy I'm no longer working, but I'm still in transition. And I think the underlying issue is that I'm frustrated with the wait to see what's coming next. I saw this quote (below) from Ram Dass and thought it was very wise because I find it really hard to just let things be and to wait to see what's next.

When you get frustrated because something isn't the way you thought, examine your thinking, not just the thing that frustrates you. Ram Dass

MOURNING AND MOVING ON

I think part of me is mourning the loss of what I thought the next ten years of my life would be. The silly thing is that my life is sooooo much better than it was for those last few years of work. When I stop and think about the reality of life now, I'm much more stable, and content, and at peace than I ever was when I was working.....I just need to sink into that more.

You're mourning the loss of what you thought your life was going to be. Let it go. Things don't always work out how you planned; that's not necessarily bad. Things have a way of working out anyway. Frasier Crane

TRUST THE JOURNEY

I also need to trust the wait and stop fighting the journey. COVID slowed things down and ruffled the water and threw me into a bit of a quandry for a while, but really it boils down to having faith in my ability to reinvent myself, rise from the ashes and live a life full of joy and satisfaction. It takes time and a degree of uncertainty to reach that point - and I don't think I'm there yet - which is where that "out of kilter-ness" stems from. Rather than feeling that way, I need to "enjoy the beauty of becoming" - how perfect does that sound?

Mandy Hale — 'Trust the wait. Embrace the uncertainty. Enjoy the beauty of becoming. When nothing is certain, anything is possible'

I don't have all the answers - no crystal ball that shows me what my life will look like in ten years time - and I'm deciding that I'm not going to waste the time I have now worrying about what the future holds. Nobody knows that - we all really only have the day we're living in - some people may have it all figured out, but fate can change that in a heartbeat. I certainly don't want to look back and regret not enjoying every moment of this transitional phase that I'm in. I can't get this quiet and unbusy time back again, so I'm going to intentionally choose to be in the "now" and let the future bring whatever it chooses in the days ahead. I'm slowly learning to relax into this time of change.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Have you been a bit uncertain lately? Are you going with the flow and letting life unfold, or are you taking the reins and keeping things under tight control? Are we in the hands of God, or are we the masters of our own fates?

RELATED POSTS


When life turns out differently than expected, we can fight it or we can embrace the uncertainty of becoming someone new.
When life turns out differently than expected, we can fight it or we can embrace the uncertainty of becoming someone new.


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30 comments

  1. I tend to think that fate is a moveable target and changes depending on which choices you make and directions you take yet somehow you end up where you should be. Love the quotes you've used here - there's a lot that resonates with me.

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    1. Hi Jo - I've come to realize that I really have no control over most of the circumstances of life and once I accept that and let things unfold, I'm rarely disappointed. Letting go of the need to control and to "know" brings me a lot more joy than fighting the inevitable. x

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  2. "When I stop and think about the reality of life now, I'm much more stable, and content, and at peace than I ever was when I was working.....I just need to sink into that more." Me, too, friend. Me, too. I mourned the loss of my job and my unexpected early retirement but truth be known, my life is sooo much better than it was in the last year or my career. And the part-time jobs and volunteer work I've done have left me frustrated and unhappy, too.

    Just in the last few weeks, I have allowed myself some grace. Grace in not having to be doing something 'productive' every minute of every day. Paul used to come home and say 'what did you do today?' to which I thought I better have a laundry list of things I had taken care of. But lately, he doesn't ask, and lately I am okay to say I took a nap, I painted, I went for a run, I read for a bit. All of which I would never have allowed myself to do when there was a load of laundry waiting to be washed or dishes in the dishwasher to put away, or clothes that needed to be ironed.
    So, I am trying to just enjoy...allow myself to relax just a little bit, to not try to control and fill every moment. And as a result, I am much happier.

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    1. Leslie I think you and I are on exactly the same path and journey. I've found that the more I look into how this early retirement thing is going, the more I see that it's about allowing myself grace and not feeling that I have to earn my place in the world, I've done more than enough and it's okay to sit back and enjoy some of the fruits of my labours.
      I'm loving the freedom I have these days, I love that my days are slower and that I'm not fitting things in around my work days. After the toxicity of that last job, I'm not sure I could ever trust another boss to be who they say they are - there always seems to be a hidden agenda and I'm not good at playing games. I'm really working hard on being kinder to myself and allowing a sense of peace to be my new normal.

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  3. Thank you for another thought-provoking post, Leanne. I love the quotes that you have included here.
    I believe that I am currently a combinaiton of letting life unfold and (loosely) guiding the reins. When I worked, my style was predominantly the latter (minus the loosely). :D

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    1. I was the same Donna - I had so much of my life grasped very firmly in my closed fist. I thought I needed that sense of control, but really it was a drag and I was constantly operating under a low burn of stress. Now I feel so much lighter (figuratively and literally!) and I can't imagine ever returning to the grind again.

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  4. These quotes are all fabulous, especially the one about mourning. This can relate to so many facets of life lately and it really resonates with me. We are mourning for lots of things, and not having a crystal ball makes our lack of control very noticeable. A very interesting and introspective post - pinned and shared. Thanks and for the record I think you are going well, working things out in your own way. we all need to give ourselves some grace as Leslie says!

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    1. Hi Deb - I think that's what I've been learning the most through this unexpected journey - that it's okay to mourn what you thought your life would be, but you also need to step back and look at what you have now and all that it has to offer. It might not be what I'd have chosen, but it's so much better than what I had before - maybe letting go and allowing things to progress in their own time is far better for us than we realize? And thanks for your encouraging words xx

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  5. I love how you presented this post with the same image and those brilliant quotes, Leanne. COVID has thrown a huge spanner in the works for many of us.

    I believe that your introspection will lead you to something soon. In my experience, times of doubt and uncertainty lead us to search deeper within and sometimes redefine our beliefs and lead to positive action. I'm learning to go really easy on myself during these times and take one day at a time, grateful that I'm safe and well.


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    1. Hi Corinne - I'm finding that this phase of life has definitely given me more time for introspection and to actually live proactively rather than reactively for the first time that I can remember. And you're right about the searching - the more I look at the "why"s of this transition, the more I discover aspects of myself that aren't "me" and that I can finally release - a wonderful bonus from all of this.

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  6. I've been thinking about control a bit myself! I read a couple of things that might resonate with you. "Having control means choosing your actions." And if that choice is a day spent in reading, writing, and enjoying the quiet, it's your choice. Another one: "you can only control your behaviors and not someone else's". This is helping me as I watch the craziness unfold here in the US. And another "a choice today is not necessarily the forever path; choose to adjust your choice tomorrow as things play out. Life is not a straight line". Believing you have control (choices) is actually a positivity attribute, versus feeling like you have no control (helplessness). I'm choosing to embrace being a homebody, slowing down, and savoring more, and accepting that right now, with the pandemic, "it is what it is" and looking for the positive aspects in that. Tomorrow, I might choose differently!

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    1. Hi Pat - I really like the idea that choice is fluid - I know that my choices have changed a few times during this last 18 months. I'm working my way through a lot of preconceived ideas and giving myself permission to toss them aside and embrace what feels authentic and fun. I've never allowed myself the gift of doing nothing other than what I please - I feel guilty for how much I enjoy not working, but I'm getting better at accepting that I've worked hard and this time is my reward.
      Who knows what the future holds, but for now, I'm enjoying discovering what I like to do, rather than what I've been told what I need to do - it's a joy!

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  7. Oh, yes! I have been feeling much more anxiety than usual too. Lack of control is a good explanation for what is going on. I am constantly amazed at how empty my calendar is. Comparing it to last year is depressing. We do need to adopt that "it is what it is" attitude and just let things be. It isn't always easy to actually let go of that control, though, even when we have already lost it. Thanks for sharing the wonderful quotes.

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    1. Hi Laurie - my calendar was dismal for a few months, but it's now quite nicely spaced with things to do and time with no commitments. I think I needed to adjust to the spreading out of my week and to relish those days when I have nothing to go out to. Just being at home on my own timetable is a privilege that I hadn't appreciated enough - I kept thinking that I needed to be busy to prove my worth - now not so much!

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  8. I think your post is a great reminder that we can plan and plan and plan some more but fate can put that fork in the road and your plan gets a little off path. I love your decision to live in the now and Leslie's point of giving ourselves grace to not have a laundry list of chores to get through each day.

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    1. The fork in the road is definitely something a lot of us come across in life (although we never expect to for some reason!) I feel like I was running, running, running, and then one path dropped away and another was presented unexpectedly. Adjusting to the change in direction and pace is what threw me for quite a while. But now that I'm ambling along this lovely new road, I need to keep my eyes focused ahead and take in the loveliness of where I've ended up. That other path was not healthy for me and I'm grateful to be somewhere else - but it's taken a while to adjust and appreciate :)

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  9. I can remember feeling like this in my fifties. I’m sure that would be magnified now during covid. That feeling seems to have passed me by now, probably because there have been so many unexpected changes to my life since then. I’m pretty sure that I can cope with whatever life throws at me now after those experiences. I love reading about the examination you’re making of these feelings.

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    1. Thanks Jen - I can see that it probably does relate to my age and to the changes that came unexpectedly. I think I've lived a fairly rigid and routine life up until now, so having the restrictions removed has given me a LOT of freedom - getting used to that, and to the lack of commitments has been strange, but as I adjust and as I figure out what I want to keep, and what I can discard, I'm gradually settling into a very pleasant way of life - I just need to stop feeling guilty for having it so easy!

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  10. Leanne, I create my own structure to give each day a purpose but I'm flexible with how each day turns out. If my day doesn't unfold the way I thought, I just deal with it. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, life is still very good to me atm.

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    1. Life's amazingly good for me Natalie - and I think that's part of my problem, I keep waiting for someone to say - okay you've had your fun....back to the grindstone. As I gradually come to accept that this is my new life and it's okay to relax, I start to get this deep sense of joy and appreciation for how blessed I am to live like this.

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  11. Hi Leanne, I really needed to read this today. Life has thrown me so many curve balls this year that I can't help but feel unsettled. Those quotes are lovely and so true. It's about coming to the acceptance that we have no control over life - it's up to God what happens next. I just have to trust that this is how it's meant to be. Regards, Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - yes, giving things over to God (or the universe for those who believe differently) gives us a real sense of how little we actually control things. Life happens to us (while we're busy making other plans) and we need to learn to adjust and see the positives. I think that's where I'm at now, looking at all I've gained from the mayhem of the last few years - the contrast and the peace of being my own mistress is an amazing change and one I need to relax into and appreciate how lucky I am.

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  12. Hi Leanne, it can be unsettling if you don't feel in control of your direction. I think we have all been there and your quote and thoughts about 'mourning' are pretty accurate and not something we usually relate to this feeling of loss. I think you are wise just trying to accept life for what it is at the moment. Something will come along and light a spark within but until then enjoy being free to do as you please. xx

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    1. Hi Sue - that's my plan (that isn't really a plan!) I've realized I have a life that thousands would envy (including "old me") so I need to stop over-thinking it and just be in the moment - and enjoy every second of it xx

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  13. Ah, good old certainty vs uncertainty. It's a lie that anything is certain but we (those who like to think they are in charge....) like to plan and know. I understand this but I have learned so much in the past 4 years about what I can control and what I cannot. it's a day to day thing with me and I have some frustrations. However, I am, now much more prepared to let things come and evolve as they do, as long as I have some information about it. This is how I had to manage my emotions over the past 6 weeks when I had to have a second surgery and trust the process would work if I did all I was asked. I did and it did. Thinking about all you wrote can be a weight to carry but I understand you are looking for guidance. Take care of each day as it comes as best as you can for you and I am pretty sure things will work out OK. Thank you for linking up this week. Next week on Life This Week, the optional prompt is 41/51 I Have Never. 12.10.2020. Hope to see you there! Denyse.

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    1. You're so right Denyse - when you're a person who likes their ducks in a row it can be very unsettling when everything is thrown up into the air and falling into new places. The funny thing is that I really like where they're falling but I keep second guessing everything and waiting for it to fall in a heap. I think I need to learn to trust the process and to accept that I'm allowed to be in such a lovely calm stage of life instead of constantly chasing my tail - and I guess that will come with time and patience.

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  14. So true, Leanne. None of us has a crystal ball to see what's coming...or to control it if we could. I've been on a journey of acceptance and mindfulness. I'm not there yet. Maybe there is no "there" to get to. It's all about the journey, living in the moment. I love that you said you wanted to change your mindset to one of anticipation instead of doubt. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could sit back and say, "Isn't this interesting. I wonder what will happen next?" Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

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    1. HI Christie - I really like the idea that there is no "there" to get to. It frees up a lot of my questioning and allows me to just enjoy what I have in the here and now. I like your journey of acceptance and mindfulness - and probably need to make that my journey too - living in the "now" and not worrying about the next step until it arrives.

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  15. A beautiful title, Leanne. Wow, very wise about the concept of “control.” A lightbulb just went off in my head. I am usually a cup half full kind of person. Yet, I more frequently feel a low grade malaise. I believe I am with you on the significant feeling of lack of control. I have worked on “acceptance” for the last number of years. This is different. A great post filled with many gems. Changing my mindset is one of the keys. I love your word “trust.” Thanksgiving here this weekend, and I am thankful for you! xx

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  16. Hi Erica - I'm well aware that I like an orderly life and to have a bit of an idea of what's up ahead. It's been quite a learning curve for me to just let all that go and wait to see what comes next. I think Acceptance is a word that has been featuring a lot in my life over the last several months - and probably will feature quite strongly in the year ahead!
    And PS: I'm grateful every day that I met you and have you in my world x

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Thanks so much for your comment - it's where the connection begins.