There have been many times in my life where I have asked the question – ‘Where to from here’ and maybe you have asked it too. And looking back it is clear that the times this question has been asked, have been those that are often called watershed moments, ones that come after our life changes in some shape or form. A time when we may stop – or be stopped – and realise that there is a choice to be made as to which way we go next; left, right or straight ahead, or maybe even back to where we have just come from.
These watershed moments could be:
- at the end of a relationship
- upon leaving school or University
- after a medical diagnosis that has the potential to be life-changing
- when we retire and not sure how we are going to fill the space now on offer
- when the kids leave home and the ‘nest’ is finally empty
- when we turn 50, 60, 70 or 80, wondering how we got here and realise that we are, in the eyes of the world, ageing.
And right now, when many of us have been in enforced lockdown as a result of our government’s response to Covid-19, we may find ourselves in such a place, one where we are asking once again “where to from here?” and not just for us but also for our country and the world at large
The face of our world has changed dramatically since the beginning of 2020 and I feel that there is a whole lot more change to come, many more choices to be made; some that will be welcomed and some that will not. This is a pivotal time in our history, one that is possibly going to be a challenge for many as the call for adaptability to a new ‘normal’ sounds loud and clear. So how adaptable are we prepared to be? Will we make it just about us, or maybe allow ourselves to acknowledge that there is a bigger picture than the life we have been living, one that includes of all humanity, after all we are currently being shown so very clearly how inter-connected we all are; we are in truth, one big global family.
Although I am sure that there will be many in our communities, our elders and the more vulnerable, who have felt more isolated during this time, the majority of people I have spoken to over the last few months have been enjoying the space that the lockdown has offered them and have shared what they have learned about themselves and the way they have been living. But when it comes to making different and probably more life-supportive changes, I wonder how hard that will be as I know from my own life experiences that change is often challenging, but I have also learned that it is always worth saying yes to, for it is an opportunity to evolve.
I found myself browsing through my social media outlets the other day curious as to know how people are feeling and I got my answer when I came across a post on a local community page. It asked the question – ‘what have you enjoyed about lockdown?’ – and at that stage, there were 139 comments. So here was an opportunity to see what some members of our community were feeling about being confined to their homes for the last five weeks and so I decided to read on.
And except for a few who expressed very vehemently that they hated it, most sounded like they really been appreciating this space, as the comments were very telling about the way they had previously been living and the way life has been in the last few weeks.
Those that jumped out for me were:
- Healing my broken- down body from work
- Not sitting for hours in traffic
- Not rushing around to kid’s after school activities
- Being a stay at home mum
- Quiet streets, space, and birds
- The simplicity of life
- Being with my wife
- Unhurried – time to stop and smell the roses
- Time to breathe – no time pressures
- Just about everything – it’s been 50 years since I had a break like this
It was ever so revealing and somewhat poignant to read these comments as I could feel that each writer wrote with the knowing that once the lockdown was lifted life would change again and that there was a part of them that wanted it to stay the way it had been for the last few weeks. Perhaps lockdown was offering them the space in their lives that they had been longing for but didn’t know how to make it happen – until now.
So, I got to pondering about how each one could step back into the world, perhaps back into their workplace, and maintain the quality of life that they have been enjoying over this most unusual period of time. What I could see so clearly, is that this is another watershed moment, one which is offering us the space to reassess how we have been living, what we want to let go of that no longer supports us and what we would like to bring into our lives. But, in truth, we really don’t need a ‘crisis’ such as this to bring us to this place of decision making, instead, it can be a place we choose to go to whenever we feel that our life is asking for a change of direction.
‘Healing my broken- down body from work’
If this is the place we find ourselves in, what a wonderful opportunity to discover how we can still go to work, but to work in a way that does not ‘break our body’. And if the job is, in all honesty, too hard for us then maybe this is the time to say, no more, and to begin to look around for one that is gentler on our precious body. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got!
‘The simplicity of life’
So, how can we bring the simplicity of life back into our everyday? Maybe this is the time to say no to the complications that no longer have a place in our lives. Perhaps is also the time to say yes to making the self-loving choices that can make our lives way more simple and more enjoyable.
‘Unhurried – time to stop and smell the roses’
I have found that there is actually always time to stop and smell the roses, after all, it only takes a few seconds and if there are no roses around there are always the clouds in the sky to marvel at, the beauty of a tree or even the smile on the face of another.
‘Just about everything – it’s been 50 years since I had a break like this’
If it has been a long time since we had a break – hopefully not 50 years long – maybe this is time to ask ourselves why? Have we been so caught up in the daily grind that we have forgotten to say no to that which doesn’t serve us? Perhaps, now we can finally begin to say yes to always making our health and well-being our top priority?
So, is it possible to begin to make different choices so that life does not run us, instead we run our life?
And what better time to begin than right now.
With the wisdom I have accumulated from my lived experiences over seven decades, I have finally come to know that nothing needs to stay the same and that the quality of my life is my responsibility, nobody else’s. And I can see that as I am ageing this quality is becoming more and more important. I know that in every moment I have a choice – a where to from here moment – which offers me the opportunity to do things differently, to let go of what doesn’t serve me anymore, to see the world through wider eyes and to say yes – or no – to what is being presented.
It has always fascinated me that one of the smallest words in the English language – no – is often the hardest to say and that by not saying it when we know we really need to, we can cause ourselves, and sometimes those around us, much harm. But by saying it with love and without guilt we can bring our body the love, consideration and care that it always needs and absolutely appreciates. This appreciation will, in turn, build the foundation that supports us during every future ‘where to from here’ moment as we continue to move through our life no matter what is going on for us, around us and in the world.