When I was a girl, I played with Barbies, arranged my stuffed bunny collection, and imagined that my adult life would look something like this:
?? Job: waitress, teacher, or nurse (or first woman president—yes, seriously) ?
? College: 4-year degree in something
??? Relationship: Meet my future husband in college, get married right after. He’d have a cool guy name like Mike or Chris.
???? Family: a few years later we’d start having kids. We’d have two boys and two girls, just like my grandma did.
And that, my friends, is as far as childhood Andrea could see.
Spoiler: my life did not go according to my 8-year-old self’s plan. Praise the Lord! (As I would’ve said back then).
Our vision for our lives can change many times throughout our lifetime, and that’s a good thing… even though it might be painful at times.
Right now, we’re going through a massive global upheaval and it’s only logical that your vision for your life may also need some adjustments. As we’ve discussed in the previous Power of Change emails, massive change tends to incite personal disruption and change, but it’s up to you to decide what to adjust and when the time is right. To do that, you need to accept where you are, what’s holding you back, and how to adapt. If you haven’t read those previous emails, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to do so.
If you’ve been on my email list for a bit, then you know that I’m a big believer in having a personal vision for your life: a clear, sensory-laden description of what success and a good life mean to you. If you’ve never created something like this for yourself (and even if you have), I encourage you to join me for a live workshop on Sunday, October 25th where I’ll be walking through how to create a powerful vision for your future and keep yourself on the track toward personal and professional fulfillment. If you have created a vision for your life, even if it isn’t written down, it’s a good time to revisit it now, in the wake of everything that has transpired this year.
Consider this process when thinking about what you had hoped for in your life pre-2020:
Grieve the loss of what might have been. If you haven’t given yourself time and space to grieve, take some time to do so. Grief is a multi-layered affair and there are so many things to grieve right now– the loss of a job, personal freedoms, relationships, or even just being able to see friends–and they all matter. If you don’t grieve, it’ll come back to you as anger, resentment, or any variety of negative emotions.
Acknowledge the realities of our present time. Sometimes we’re so eager to feel better that we brush past the realities of what sucks now. Our culture wants us to move fast—even past reality. Don’t wallow, but take the time to acknowledge how hard things actually are right now. In fact, make a list. It will help you release it.
Get honest with yourself about what’s most important. Really sit with how you feel about things. Ask yourself how your perspective has shifted. Consider what feels most important to you now. Write it down.
Create an “either or” plan. Everyone I talk to lately is echoing the same sentiment: what happens next? How do I plan when I don’t know if we’ll be in a civil war by November? Trust me, I feel this way too. But this isn’t the first time we’ve been at a crossroads in our lives, individually or collectively. Think about creating a couple of plans–worst case, best case, heck maybe even a few of each. (And if you’d like help with that, consider joining me for my vision planning workshop on October 25th!)
Consider how you can reconnect or serve your community. While personal knowledge, self-actualization, and fulfillment are absolutely important, I think one area in which western philosophies of life fall short is in expanding our vision to our communities. In western countries, we’ve been sold the idea of rugged individualism so severe that we’re now suffering an epidemic of loneliness. The reality is that we humans are social creatures and our individual health depends on our collective health.
Creating a vision of success for our own individual benefit is not complete without including some kind of community component. So as you go about reassessing your vision for your life, I encourage you to consider how you can both serve and seek support from your communities.
We need each other more than ever. This New Normal has shown us time and again how interconnected we are and how collective change is only possible if we work together.
Take good care of yourself. Let me say this again: remember to take care of yourself. Despite how loooong this thing has dragged on (and even compounded), you still need extra rest, extra care, and extra time to recuperate. This is a high stress marathon, so eat, hydrate, and nap.