• Anna

Endless Possibilities...

Updated: Nov 11

Transformation, change, adaptation, metamorphosis: whatever word you choose to use, human beings appear to be engaged in a rollercoaster of life transitions. And it can be hard to keep up with them all as we stumble from one phase to the next, gathering experiences and emotional baggage along the way.

You are so much more than your job or family role...

The years roll by and before we know it, the need to make a living finds us in work and forging careers. These jobs become our routine and often our identity; it may be working for a company, for yourself, or running a household and bringing up a family. These roles provide comfort, a nice label, giving purpose and meaning, with a path to pursue. Nonetheless, when it comes to retirement, or when the children leave home, we lose that security and it can be scary, sometimes casting us adrift, lonely and purposeless.

The only way out is in... We can be so unnerved by the situation that we fail to notice the plethora of opportunities waiting to be discovered. At this stage in our lives, we have greater experience and self knowledge; we are vibrant with promise, the only question is, how do we harness and refocus that energy? This is not the moment to allow ourselves to drift into another phase without taking stock of who we are and what makes us tick. Doing this effectively may need some space to contemplate, as Zen Buddhist Master Thích Nhất Hạnh says, “the only way out is in.”

What do you really want from the rest of your life?... As we ruminate our options, we often discover the scariest thing is not the lack of routine or missing a chat around the water cooler. No, the scariest thing is coming face to face with ourselves. All at once there is no hiding place. In an endeavour to avoid this, a variety of activities ensue as we attempt to reassemble a rhythm to life. For a while we competently fill the void, but ultimately we are avoiding the point. This is an unmissable opportunity to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask “what do I really want from the rest of my life?”

Taking stock...

There are those who yearn to retire, to leave their mundane, stressful job and canter into a world of travel, or enjoy new hobbies and appreciate time with friends and family. Conversely, there are those who decide that giving up what they do best is not an option and they are fortunate enough to use their talents and skills well past retirement age. For others, retirement means giving up a familiar work environment and this can feel like falling off a cliff.

It may feel like we are heading for a bumpy landing as we tumble through the air from the edge of the precipice. Shock prevails when the colleagues we thought were friends vanish into thin air, our phone calls go unanswered and lunch dates are cancelled. But we have a parachute. By taking stock of our lives we realise our trajectory has been a veritable cornucopia of different existences wrapped up in one. We observe the multiplicity of schools, friends, relationships, jobs, colleagues and adventures that have peppered our time on this planet. Each has brought unique knowledge, skills, exploits, emotions, or understanding. We have navigated these upheavals before and we can do it again, only better.

Spaces in between are places for growth, change and opportunity... Looking closely, life is dotted with in-between spaces, the pause when one particular phase finishes and before the next begins. That doesn’t mean they are easy, but they hold potential and possibility. And, each time they crop up, our task is to exploit the options.

This too shall pass...

Who knows what is awaiting as we traverse the stages of life. The important thing is to be open and aware of the possibilities. The Buddhists teach that everything in existence is impermanent. Both sadness and joy are transitory, and in knowing this, we can take them more lightly. No need to invest so much emotion in negative experiences, whilst equally reminding ourselves to appreciate every particle of the positive, as this too, will pass.

Listen to your heart...

Achieving our highest potential at whatever age or stage, means we need to be open-minded and give ourselves the greatest possible chance to adapt. One way we do this is to discover exactly what inspires us. Stop and listen, listen and then listen some more to our intuition and follow our heart - who knows where it will lead.

“Whenever you feel lost, close your eyes and retrace your steps.

Follow them back, footprint by footprint,

to the place where you last felt like your soul was rising.

Once you get there take a deep breath and start again down a different path.

There is no shame in starting over.

There is only shame in continuing to walk down a path no longer meant for you.

Your home has a heartbeat – and it’s your own.”

Rebecca Rinaldi

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