WHOLEHEARTED LIVING - CULTIVATING JOY AND GRATITUDE

If we let go of the worst case scenario and reach for joy, life begins to open up in so many wonderful and unexpected ways.

WHAT IF I FALL?

There's a fantastic little quote from Erin Hanson that's all over the internet - it says....
What if I Fall? 
Oh but my darling, 
What if you Fly?

Life is full of "What if moments?" that often hold us back from moving onto the next stage of life. Or they keep us small because we're too afraid to stretch our wings. I wonder how often we choose scarcity thinking and risk aversion instead of opening ourselves up to joy and gratitude? If we let go of the worst case scenario and reach for joy, life begins to open up in so many wonderful and unexpected ways.

LETTING GO OF SCARCITY AND FEAR

So often I've allowed fear to control my thought process and decision making. I've held back and chosen the safe path every single time. My thinking has always been "better safe than sorry" - but in the process how much have I missed out on? How often have I pushed on, and pushed through, and held back instead of taking a risk and seeing where that risk would take me?

It's only been in the last few years that I've finally started "going with my gut" more. I've started asking myself if the catastrophizing that I'm so good at is actually serving me, or is it stunting me? As I looked back over the last couple of years I've come up with a few occasions where instead of asking "What if I Fall?" I asked myself "What if I Fly?" and you know what? Flying is always a possibility and worth taking the risk to experience.

What if I fall?  Oh but my darling,  What if you fly?

LEAVING WORK

What if I Fall? When I finally reached breaking point and left my toxic job, it took me several months to have the confidence to choose not to start back on the job hunting trail. At first I was asking myself questions like - What if I get bored? What if people think I'm lazy? What if I don't get another job? They'd whirl around inside my head, I'd be second guessing my choices, and I was so unsure about what to do next and what the future held.

What if I Fly? When I finally stopped worrying about what other people might (or might not) be thinking about my choices, I started to settle into my new normal. I realized I was home, happy, free, and loving being retired. I wasn't hankering after going back to what I had before - it felt like it would be clipping my wings to lock myself back into that 9-5 grind again.... and how would I fit all the freedom I have now into less days if I had work to consider? I love that I can drop everything if I have a whim to, and the flexibility I have now is an absolute joy.

BUYING A SCOOTER

What if I Fall? When the idea of buying a scooter first popped into my head I wondered whether I was just blue skying and it would never happen. Those play safe questions leapt into being - What if I'm no good at riding? What if I don't use it much? What if people think it's silly? I nearly put the whole thing on the back burner and forgot it. Fortunately my husband kept encouraging me and with my 60th birthday looming as further incentive, it was enough to push me into making a spontaneous purchase that I haven't regretted for a second.

What if I Fly? Buying that scooter has been one of the best decisions I've made in a long time. I gave myself time to gain my confidence by practicing before I went into too much traffic, I bought some fun clothes to wear (I get a LOT of compliments on my scooting shoes!) I'm  scooting around, happy, having fun, and smiling from ear to ear. I won't be trading in my car just yet, but nothing beats zipping around on a sunny day to have coffee with a friend at my local cafe - and I'd have missed that if I'd stayed safe.

Buying a scooter in my 50's - best decision ever!

BEING SOCIAL AGAIN

What if I Fall? As we've slowly emerged from isolation and gotten back to living life again, I think that there's been a degree of having to relearn the social niceties. People seem to be more hesitant in their connections with others and the spontaneity seems to have been a little lost along the way. I've asked myself - What if I just stay home where it's safe and easy? What if I smile at people and they ignore me? What if I try to engage and they don't respond? Do I hug or don't I? There are many little gestures that I took for granted that I now have to think about - but we can't keep living in fear.

What if I Fly? Now I ask myself different questions - What if I keep smiling and eventually they smile too? What if I keep looking and engaging and if they were shy or disconnected they might eventually feel safe enough to respond? I want that connection with others, I want life to be as normal as possible - we humans thrive on relationships and I'm so grateful for the fact that I live in a country where we've been able to keep the pandemic at bay. It's meant that those social interactions have been re-established so much sooner and it's worth the effort to smile and engage and share in the joy.

CULTIVATING GRATITUDE & JOY

It's up to us to invest in our own happiness, to seize every opportunity to spread our wings and fly. I think of those pictures I see of people making snow angels - you can't do that if you don't fall first. Lying there, looking up into the sky with a huge smile and flapping your "wings" - what a wonderful celebration of life! It makes me wish for snow! 

I think we all need to say "Yes" to ourselves more, to take those little risks, to allow life to happen to us and to be grateful for all we have. That's how we let go of fear and scarcity thinking, it's how we open our hearts and souls to all that life has to offer us. Playing small and safe might be the easy choice, but it stifles us and maybe life is telling us all just to let go and see what happens.

To begin, start by saying yes to yourself a little more.  Yes to that little spark of curiosity, yes to that little smile that you shrug off, and definitely yes to that burning feeling inside your chest that screams, “Listen to this.  This is joy.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you celebrating life and saying Yes to whatever opportunities come your way? Do you wake up each morning with a smile and a little kernel of anticipation? For some of us life has been pretty tough over the last year, but things are getting better and brighter and I want to be ready for all that's heading my way - don't you?

RELATED POSTS


If we let go of the worst case scenario and reach for joy, life begins to open up in so many wonderful and unexpected ways.
If we let go of the worst case scenario and reach for joy, life begins to open up in so many wonderful and unexpected ways.

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Cresting the Hill - a blog for Midlife (Middle Aged / 50+) women who want to thrive

42 comments

  1. This post echoes the message at church this morning. "Jesus didn't give His life for us to have a 'not able' attitude." It can be so exhilarating to experience something outside our comfort zone. It can be such a wonderful way to grow. I've always loved that quote..."what if you fly?" or discover how much fun riding a scooter can be. Bravo!!

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    1. Hi Leslie - I think playing safe got me to where I am today - I've never been a risk taker, but now that I have less responsibility resting on my shoulders, I feel like it's okay to stretch my wings a little and see if I get to fly. Every time it happens it makes me a little braver (and more "able") x

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  2. I can definitely relate to this Leanne. I tend to go with my gut but I don't really take chances. At least I don't think I do. I know I make some mammoth decisions sometimes that don't always turn out for the best but I think I ponder the pros and cons and then go with my gut.

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    1. I've been quite good at listening to my gut but then going the safest route possible Deb. Now I'm a bit more game to have a go at something - and if I succeed then Yay! If I don't then at least I can tell myself that I gave it a shot :) Look what happened when you gave Italy a shot - so many great memories!

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  3. I was only discussing this in a podcast interview I did this morning - taking chances on life and moving out of your comfort zone. There are so many opportunities we miss when we don't say Yes. It can be difficult at times because saying Yes to something might involve change/fear of change of fear of the unknown. On the other hand it can be scary and exhilerating at the same time. :) I hope you are still zipping around on the scooter!

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    1. Hi Sue - yes my scooter has been the best decision I've made in a long time. Silly and a bit "out there" but so much fun and it makes me feel like a bit of a goer. It will definitely be a fair weather ride, but there's enough sunny days even in Winter to give it an outing. I'm never going to be someone who jumps off a cliff on a dare, but I like to think that I'm getting a bit braver with my choices these days. I quite like my comfort zone, but it's also a great base for taking little leaps from :)

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  4. I LOVE this post, Leanne. What if I fly? That's a great question to (repeatedly) ask ourselves!

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    1. I'm so glad Donna - it's a question I've been asking myself a lot lately... Not quite as extreme as "what's the worst that can happen?" - more like "what new skill or experience might I gain from this?" I'm liking the idea of stretching and growing and not living in a worst case scenario world x

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  5. What an uplifting and encouraging post to wake up to on a Monday morning, thank you Leanne! I just love your Scooty and something I have always longed to have, but in wet dreary and cold English weather it is probably not the best mode of transport. Having said that, I spent many years on motorbikes and Harleys in particular when I worked for Harley Davidson. It is probably acceptable to be dressed in full leather from top to bottom to keep the weather out, but not the image for a Scooty that needs the sun beating down on you. Your words are very encouraging and inspiring and despite being someone who always pushed the boundaries despite a very conservative upbringing I have found as I got older that I ask myself more often the question ‘what if I fall’. It was a lovely reminder to have the child within us close at hand, encouraging us to take a risk, even a small one and to fully enjoy life with daring and gratitude.

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    1. How exciting to have worked for Harley Davidson - my husband would be very envious! And no, a scooter definitely doesn't work well with wet, dreary weather - in fact I'm having to think about how I'm going to give it a regular run once Winter sets in. Luckily we still get sunny days here and there in an Aussie Winter - and plenty of them either side of the wet season.
      I've never been a risk taker (something I'm envious of!) but I'm getting better at thinking "what the heck" and just giving things a go - if they work out then great, and if not....at least I gave it a shot.

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  6. Your post resonates with me Leanne as I use that saying often. It helps me to keep forging on. It’s amazing how often the opportunity comes along to spread our wings. We just need to recognise it and act on it. It isn’t always easy but ghere are so many possibilities #lifethisweek

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    1. Hi Jen - I think that's what I'm discovering - there are lots of "little" things to try and see if I like them. It doesn't have to be giant leaps or setting the world on fire, but every time I try something new I feel like I've grown a bit and made myself a little more interesting and my brain thanks me for it.

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  7. Great post! It's always good to take that leap of faith and have a go if opportunities present themselves.

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    1. I ask myself now why I waited so long to take the leap - so to make up for it, I keep my eyes peeled for any little leaps I can take whenever they present themselves :)

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  8. I needed to read this this morning, Leanne. I had a bunch of "what if" moments this weekend. Of course, the root of them is fear. I think for some of us, fear manifests itself as anxiety, for others it shows up as anger or some other emotion. Like you, I have found that saying yes more often is the path to joy.

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    1. Hi Laurie - fear = avoidance for me. If you don't try then you won't fail.....but in the process you fail by default. Now I'm more willing to risk a little bit of failure because most of the time things work out and I'm always glad I gave it my best shot. Shame it took me so long to figure that out!

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  9. Hi Leanne - Hopefully we will soon be over the peak of Round 2, or it looks like we already are. India is huge country with so many people. That makes the journey to full recovery that much longer.
    But I am making use of every moment to be as cheerful as I can, doing many things that I love doing.

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    1. Hi Pradeep - India (and your family) are often in my thoughts - so much sadness and so much devastation from this second wave. I'm so glad you're staying positive and finding things that bring you joy.....and hopefully this awful time will be behind you all soon.

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  10. Thanks so much for stopping by!!
    Loved this post and I really enjoy all the quotes that you feature in your posts.
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. Hi Debbie - thanks so much - it's always lovely to connect and to see what you've been up to with all your decorating ideas.

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  11. I love the concept of this Leanne and the quote at the end sums it up perfectly! You've certainly captured the spirit of flying, especially with your fabulous scooter :)

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    1. Hi Deb - thanks and yes, flying along on my scooter is a great reminder to go with saying Yes to things more often. I've had so much fun that I'd have missed if I'd played safe and stayed in my car :)

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  12. How lovely was this post...congratulations on turning things around as you have. Beautifully written and loved the photos. I have a new-to-me rule..if I think I don't want or can't do something I say "OH...what is this about? I don't wait for an answer because I already know, I need to do it! Drove to Sydney last Sunday, had a lovely walk around and saw Hamilton. Wouldn't have dreamed of doing that before I got cancer! Thank you for linking up for Life This Week on Monday 17 May 2021. It is a great community here and I am always pleased to see your post linked. Next week, the optional prompt is Self Care Stories. I look forward to seeing you then too. Denyse.

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    1. Hi Denyse - we're the ones who hold ourselves back aren't we? Others find it hard to imagine how hesitant I am over choosing to do something new (especially if it costs money!) I'm getting better at recognizing that the new options that present themselves are usually not huge and are quite do-able if I'm willing to have a go. So good for us for having a try - and especially to you for driving to Sydney - well done!

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  13. This post spoke to me this morning, Leanne. Thank you. Both quotes are lovely and just what I needed to hear. I adore your scooting shoes. No wonder you get compliments on them. And the image of you zipping around on your scooter on a sunny day, getting coffee with your friends makes me smile. I'm definitely one that contemplates and second-guesses things. I'm working on listening to joy more. Have a joyful day!

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    1. Hi Christie - I'm so glad you enjoyed it - and yes, second-guessing and worst-case-scenario-ing are my go to defaults....but I'm working on being more spontaneous and just having a go at something without having to be perfect at it - still a work in progress!

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  14. LOVE this quote, Leanne! First time I have come across it. I am also a huge believer in listening to and going with my gut. I am also good at dishing it out and not always taking my advice.😀 I like how you share flexibility and joy in the same breath. I appreciate how I have more choices at this stage of life.

    This past week I have been hearing more about relearning social niceties. I see your word “snow” and my heart skips a beat. I recall how you are entering Winter. My default button is playing it small. Something I continue to work on along with all the other things I need to work on. A great post, Leanne, as always!xx

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    1. Hi Erica - Winter here has no snow - but one day I'll find some and make a snow angel or two - I just love how people always look so joyful when they're doing it - turning something ordinary into a wonderful moment. I also think I'm going to try to stay in the "now" more and do things that appeal, rather than second guessing and projecting outcomes that may never arise (well that's the plan anyway!)

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  15. Hi Leanne, what a great quote to inspire us to go outside our comfort zone. It's good to not hold ourselves back from trying something new. Regards, Christina

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    1. Hi Christina - I'm starting to see comfort zones as a nice soft base to launch or return to.....and not somewhere to stagnate. Trying new things is so much fun and it's really good for us too.

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  16. Hi Leanne. I love that you bought yourself a scooter. I'm so glad that you are enjoying it. It sounds like fun! I think I would enjoy getting back on a bicycle. I haven't done that in years. We live in a hilly area, though, so it would be a challenge. The bravest thing I ever did was, saying,"yes", to our travel lifestyle. Once we did that, for more than 10 years, it was time for the next challenge of buying a property, in a foreign country. It's had it's ups and downs, but has certainly been worthwhile. I enjoyed this post so much and am sharing it to FB. Christina Daggett

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    1. Hi Christina - every time I see what you and Cheryl are doing over in countries where they don't even speak English as a first language, I'm so inspired and a little in awe. My flying is a little less full on, but I must say that I'm loving my scooter and the buzz it gives me when I'm out on it.
      The big "thing" in Australia now is electric bicycles - they are literally everywhere and taking over from normal bikes. Expensive but so many people are buying them so they can ride up and down hills without killing their knees etc. x

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  17. Love your scooter shoes! I often let fear hold be back but I have been consciously trying to make myself step outside my comfort zone for years and just say yes; then tell people about it so I have to hold myself accountable and can't back out at the last minute. By doing this my boys and I have tried some pretty neat things-- like zip lining (though I still really do not like heights at all).

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    1. Hi Joanne - I think every time we challenge ourselves (even in really small ways) we grow a little and surprise ourselves a little - and gain some extra confidence in the process. I just need to remind myself to do it more often! And yes, I love those shoes!

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  18. I can relate to leaving jobs that are toxic or a bad fit. It was an adjustment to be retired but now as you say I do appreciate the freedom and if I were to do anything like working again I would want to do it on my own terms. I do think it is important to listen to your gut. And it is going to be uncomfortable easing back into post-pandemic life. Maybe like a kid's first day of school. Nice post Leanne.

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    1. Hi Deborah - I've often wondered about returning to the workforce, but after the year off that covid gave us all, I've realized that I just don't have the energy or the desire to get back on the treadmill and please an employer again. Maybe something from home would be lovely - but highly unlikely! So, I continue to find joy in the unexpected gift of early retirement and I'm hugely grateful that I'm not in desperate enough need to have to find a job at any cost.

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  19. Leanne, What if I fly is a great question. It's about looking at the situation as an opportunity, as opposed to a threat. I look at every new day as an opportunity to start anew, to explore and to enjoy life with gratitude. Thank you for linking with #weekendcoffeeshare.

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    1. Hi Natalie - you're always so positive and a great example of someone who fills their days with lots of little adventures that bring a great balance to life. I'm aiming to be that type of person too.

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  20. This is so good Leanne. I'm not much of a risk taker. Your paragraph about saying yes to ourselves resonated with me.

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    1. Hi Kirstin - I've never been a risk taker, but I'm getting better at trying new things and allowing myself to be a beginner rather than an expert x

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  21. That lovely little quote may have been around for a while but I need to be reminded quite often to live it. Our JULIE loved it as well, and she has chosen your post to be featured in the next Blogger's Pit Stop. Keep flying dear Leanne.

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    1. Hi Kathleen - that's just lovely - thank you to Julie as well for choosing my post - I always love being featured at your linky x

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