While this piece is all about living life on your own terms, finding passion and taking control of your life, I need to start with reality. While I hope that anyone can take away something from my little pearls of supposed wisdom, this is geared towards Moms: women who have more than just themselves to deal with.
When you think “living life on your own terms,” you start to imagine a fantasy. “While I find my passion and bliss, my family is so going to love the new me so much that life is just going to fall into place. My happiness will be so contagious that everyone around me will change.” WRONG! You cannot change anyone else. Hopefully your attitude can affect others around you, but you cannot actually change anyone.
Another fantasy, “living life on my own terms will take away all the financial stress in my life.” WRONG. While you may find a job that you are excited about and make some money, it doesn’t mean that the realities of trying to raise a family in today’s economic times are going to change or that you are going to win the lottery. It could take away some of the financial stress (mine did), but once again, let’s deal with reality.
You are probably wondering then, how is living life on my own terms actually going to help me and how do I do it anyway? Okay, let’s roll up our proverbial sleeves and get started. Our goal is a redirect if you will; subtle changes that will lead to a more fulfilled you.
I want to take you back to a time in my life about 6 years ago. At that time I had a 2-year old girl and a 3-year old boy. I put my career on hold to be a stay-at-home Mom and I had temporarily moved from Los Angeles with my husband to North Carolina for his job. This was a difficult time for me. I do not regret one second of staying home with my children until they were in school (I will never get that time back) and I do not regret for one second traveling to wherever my husband needed to go for work (it is important to stick together as a family), but I was lost. I gave up anything and everything for myself. In retrospect, it didn’t have to be this way. I was living a life that I thought I was supposed to live: loving wife (not always so loving, but I tried), doting mother (I actually did that maybe too much), and home-maker (always a hot meal, but not always with a smile on my face). Once again, I am so glad I made those choices, but if only I had known then what I know now.
I know that so many of you can relate that all it takes to be a mom and wife (or single mom for that matter without support of a husband). I know that all of you understand the there are only so many hours in a day and with all that we have to give to others, there just isn’t time to give back to ourselves. That needs to change. Right now. I am going to tell you how.
10 tips to living life on your own terms:
1. See The Signs. Are you stressed? Impatient? Feeling like you lost your identity?
2. Find your passion: What do you love to do? What would you do for free? What did you used to make time for in your life?
3. Make the time: Look at how your day is structured. Where can you find some wiggle room for YOU? What can you say “no” to in your life? Whether it is an hour a week or 8 hours a day, find the time. Now!
4. Strategize: Who can you delegate some of the tasks in your life to? Are you looking for a job, a hobby? Get your plan together
5. Get your spouse on board (if you have one): Time to let your spouse know that you need something for yourself. You may get some resistance (change often brings that about), but let him (or her) know this is going to bring you more happiness and therefore you will be a better wife and mother.
6. Get your kids on board: If your time for “you” is going to affect your time with your kids and they are old enough to understand, let them know that mommy is a person and that she needs something for herself. They may not like it, but you are showing them happiness in adult life. A lesson that you cannot teach without actually living it.
7. State your claim: Don’t say, “I am thinking about going to a painting class to start painting,” say, ” I am an artist!”
8. Reach out now: Do you have a friend you can buddy up with if you are thinking of starting a business? Are you looking for a job and know a friend of a friend who is in that field? Call! Email? Facebook? Reach out to your “village.” You may be surprised how big it is.
9. Try, try and try again! Do not give up. What you think you wanted may change and that is okay. As long as you are looking for something that fuels you and that you are passionate about, you are living life on your own terms.
10. You’re on your way: You are doing it! You are starting to live life on your own terms; finding something you are passionate about and applying it to your every day life. You may find that you have a just a little more “pep” in your step.
For more on living life on your own terms, please check out my new book, “The Mother’s of Reinvention” Reclaim your identity, Unleash your potential, Love your Life!
© 2012 Jennifer Pate, co-author of The Mothers of Reinvention: Reclaim Your Identity, Unleash Your Potential, Love Your Life