Ever so often we pause to look ahead, plan for the next few months or year to come and begin setting things in motion to make our goals our reality. Ever since I was a little girl I have always loved looking ahead and setting my sights on exhilarating adventures for the future. It was always refreshing to let go of the old and embrace the possibilities of something new.
Today though, is different. As I sit here at the end of one year and the beginning of another in my comfy oversized sweater, favorite jeans, and fuzzy socks, with my computer in my lap, having carved out “me time” from the family, I find myself not at all focused on the possibilities of a new year. Instead my thoughts are on the past year , the toughest year of my life.
In the spring my husband and I decided to put our house on the market and move our whole family (2 kids and a golden retriever) back to my home state of North Carolina. Then, just three weeks after our house went on the market, I was diagnosed with an extremely rare and potentially life-threatening adrenal tumor. At that moment many things in my life came to a screeching halt. I, now, needed to focus my energy and attention on my health. Except for my current coaching clients, I knew I would need to take a step back from my professional work while I addressed this daunting, personal obstacle.
That was hard for me as I thoroughly enjoy being connected to the coaching world and I had several projects I was passionately and intensely working on. Yet, in a matter of weeks I was in my red pajamas at Mass General Hospital preparing for surgery that only a handful of surgeons are trained to perform. And as if that wasn’t enough, our house went under contract during all this and we had no idea where we were moving.
My surgery went very well and for two weeks into my recovery all was going smoothly. I was returning to my normal self. Then one week before moving to N.C. my doctor notified me that a test came back that was very “concerning.” Eight more tests were needed and I wouldn’t get the results for 2 months.
Okay, I’ll just say, up to that point, with the amazing support of my family and friends and some serious positive psychology “self talk,” I had been a rock star in dealing with everything that had come my way. However, after hearing “concerning” and my potential prognosis, in about 2 seconds I went from wearing my rock star pants to being enveloped in a cocoon of both fear and sadness, thinking of how to prepare my children for a life without their mom.
A week later and the last morning in our now-empty house, we were frantically cleaning. My favorite shorts and tank top were covered in dirt and sweat. We had about 20 minutes before meeting the buyers — a young, “showered,” professionally-dressed couple — the realtors and the closing attorneys to sign the papers. Yet, right before we walked out of our house for the last time, instead of freshening up and changing our clothes, my husband and I and our 2 kids walked through each room, holding hands and sharing memories of the past 7 years. Slowing down to reflect on our past before we stepped out of the door into our highly unknown future allowed us to package those 7 years of our life, the good and the bad, and take them with us with acknowledgement of what we have experienced and appreciation for being at the point we were that day.
After 2 months emotionally snuggled up in my cocoon, helping my kids adjust to a new life in North Carolina, absorbing every moment I had with them and my husband, and with fear pulsating through my body of not seeing my kids grow up, I had finally gotten to a place that I knew my family would be strong enough to thrive without me.
And then I got the call with the best news possible. More in depth testing indicated that I am in the clear. I could finally be that person I was at the beginning of 2013. I could finally put my rock star pants back on!
But it was hard to find them.
It took awhile to totally absorb and recover from those long months of physical ailments, rollercoaster emotions, making tough decisions, and being a mother when I was feeling more like a child. With each new day, I started to see glimpses of my old self bubble back up. I could think of the future beyond the next few months. I could hear myself laugh again. But strangely, I continued to really need the things in my life that made me feel secure, cozy and comfortable like refreshing walks on the beach, snuggling with my kids, hugs from my husband, more baths than I could count, long talks with family and friends and of course my favorite pair of jeans, baggy sweater and fuzzy socks.
This year, unlike any other year, I have spent a lot of time thinking back on 2013. How I started off strong, how I was reaching my personal, business and health goals, how everything stopped dead in its tracks, how weak and vulnerable I felt at times, how fearful I felt for my future and the future of my family, how hard it was at times to keep my head up, and how I learned that I could handle the worst year of my life.
Before opening the door and stepping into your future, take some time to reflect back on your past year. Allow yourself to acknowledge your strength in making tough decisions in difficult situations, your courage in standing up for what you believed in even though you felt alone, your compassion in hugging yourself when you needed hugs, your sense of humor in laughing at yourself when you tripped, your bravery in stepping into the unknown even though you were scared, your humbleness in allowing yourself to lean on your family and friends when you needed support, and your perseverance in continuing to push forward in what it is that makes your life worth living. Whether things have gone the way you planned or not, think about what it took for you to make it to this day.
And suddenly we realize, through it all, our rock star pants were on the entire time.
New Adventures, here we come!
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEBSITE?
Great! Just include this entire blurb along with it:
Paige Ritchie is an Advocate and Mentor to Women and Men who are Embracing the Possibilities of their Lives. She helps people find the courage and confidence to clarify ambitions and accelerate personal growth through individual business coaching, life coaching, tele-group coaching, workshops and retreats. She lives in North Carolina and works with people, nationally. If you are ready to “Embrace the Possibilities” of your life, you can contact Paige at https://paigeritchie.com.