As human beings, we thrive on change. yet we avoid it like the plague...
Off and on throughout our lives, we develop a sense of knowing. That knowing that something could be different or better in our lives. It might be about the work that we do. It might be about the relationships we have. It might be about our health or well-being.
That knowing might be a subtle whisper at first. It might grow into a full on scream. We try to ignore it. We try to talk ourselves out of it. We play ping pong in our minds. The game between 'I can make this work' and 'I can't do this anymore'.
We feel stuck.
Our bodies can feel heavy, constricted, lethargic.
We choose to stay in our dis-comfort zone.
We try to make ourselves comfortable by telling ourselves 'someday'.
And we put our lives on hold.
We get to choose how we live our lives.
Every aspect of it.
We only get one shot at this one life.
And we can't know how much time we get.
Now is your life.
This understanding guides how I choose to live my life today.
But I didn't always live this way.
I was married to a man, Gary. We used to laugh and play and have so much fun together.
We had two boys, Kenny and Bryan. They brought so much depth to to our lives. As our years together accumulated, Gary began to take his Provider role more and more seriously. He was in sales for a Fortune 500 company and he was very good at it.
But, he didn’t love it. Or even really like it.
We used to live our lives based on a definition that was far from unique. These were the things that guided us:
- Having a distinguished job title
- Making a certain amount of money (which would continually increase)
- Having high quality STUFF and plenty of it
- Having our kids attend the right schools, get perfect grades, participate in the right activities
We believed this was what determined the quality of our lives.
So we kept chasing our TO DO List doing the things that would get us where we believed we had to be.
Truth is… we weren't necessarily enjoying much of what we were doing. Or having. Or being.
We were living on a treadmill. We kept believing that the next accomplishment, purchase, step up the ladder would finally bring us the happiness we were looking for.
Gary worked so much – and so hard – that he was constantly consumed with it. That fun guy I married was getting more and more difficult to find. I started asking him, “When are you going to take time for yourself, for us, for the kids?”
And he’d always reply, “Don't worry. When I’m 55, I’ll retire. I'll have that boat repair business I have always wanted. And we’ll do all those things we've been wanting to do.”
So we put it off. We played the 'I can make this work, I can't do this anymore' game.
And we upped the ante in the game. Gary received and accepted a multitude of promotions. We kept buying into the idea that we had to make more money. I have to admit, as his wife, I helped fuel that fire. Me and my 'have-to have' list.
I found myself spending more time with my girlfriends. And the kids. I was spending less time with my husband. To be perfectly honest, I missed having that fun guy in my life. I did not have a whole lot of compassion for how hard he was working at the time. I thought it was just a part of the deal.
The 'man up', 'work hard', 'income equals success', 'husband as Provider' deal.
That deal came at a huge cost.
With the promotions came more pressure. Gary began to develop physical symptoms. It started with his inability to sleep. The doctor prescribed Ambian to knock him out for the night. Then Gary developed acid reflux disease. The doctor gave him Prilosec to relieve the discomfort. And then it was Chronic Fatique Syndrome, an auto-immune disease. There really was no prescription for that other than rest. For the next several months, Gary muscled through, believing the fatigue would pass.
The fatigue finally got to be too much for Gary. We made a decision to end the 'I can make this work, I can't do this anymore" game. We planned to move back to Arizona so Gary could take a less stressful position.
But by then, it was too late.
One day, shortly after the decision to move was made, Gary started shaking uncontrollably in a sales meeting. He was having a seizure. The doctors found a tumor on his brain. They tried everything, but ultimately there was nothing they could do. Gary passed away at age 44.
He didn't know that he wasn't going to get to do all the things he planned to do at age 55.
None of us can possibly know how much time we will get to live the life we imagine.
Understanding that has guided me to do my work in the world.
I am compelled to work with men and women so they can live the life they imagine.
So they can have the relationships they yearn for.
So they can do work they love.
So they can engage in the leisure activities they long to experience.
So they can have the health and well-being they desire.
As Gary's wife, I didn't get it then.
But I do now.
Now is your life.
I believe I can guide you to really live it.
Sooner versus later.