Updated: Dec 1, 2019
So many of us have created our lives based on our parent’s adopted beliefs or what society told us we should do. We drift through life, working, taking care of kids, shuttling them to and from activities and then numb out with things like Netflix and wine. Then we wake up in our late 30’s or early 40’s and start to question if this is the life we really want or one that someone else chose for us. This happened to me when I turned 40. I worked hard for over 20 years as a CPA and thought I finally had my dream job. Then I had my son and dreaded going back to work after my maternity leave. I couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did, and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I thought I had it all: the job, the family, the house, just like I was supposed to. Why would I mess with a good thing? Having a child and being away from work life for a year gave me perspective and a taste of being fulfilled by more than just my career. I wanted to work less, have more time with my son and for myself. It was both exciting and terrifying to think about going against the grain and do things differently than I was used to. There were a lot of decisions that I didn’t want to make because I was afraid of failing and losing everything I had worked so hard to achieve. Here’s the truth: if you want to live on your own terms, you’re going to have to overcome your past conditioning about what it means to have a fulfilling life. And you may have to grieve the predictable life that gave you a lot of comfort as you consciously create the future version of yourself. Living on your terms doesn’t have to involve anything extreme. Maybe you love your life and just want to be more present and mindful or have a different relationship to your body or work less and have more free time.
Here are some steps you can take now to start living more intentionally: Start where you are Think about what your current life would look like if you lived on your own terms. How would you spend your precious time? What kind of partner would you be? What kind of parent would you be? What do you want to let go of? What do you want to experience more of? Embrace your feelings Any big change will bring up negative emotions like fear of failure or not having enough. Being willing to feel any emotion without fearing it is how you develop true confidence and resilience to achieve anything you want in life. It also allows you to gain the clarity you need define what it means to be successful and what you need to feel fulfilled, on your terms. And it gives you the courage to have the tough conversations and make the decisions you need to make it a reality. Create a vision Set aside some time each day to create a vision of living your life on your own terms. Brainstorm some realistic actions that you could take to achieve your vision. You don’t need to know the whole path, just the next few steps. And taking small actions daily will add up to your bigger vision. I’ll be honest, I’ve done it, I’m doing it, it’s not easy but with the right tools and support and practice, it gets easier and it’s absolutely worth it.
It’s so much easier to let someone else take the wheel. But no one ever says “I’m so glad I didn’t go all in and live my life the way I wanted to” on their death bed.
You have a lot more control over the results in your life than you think you have.
If you would like some help breaking through your social conditioning and fears to become more intentional with your life, reach out now. I'd love to help.