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Remember when you were little, playing the “What do I want to be when I grow up” game? I loved that game. I would sit on my mom’s brown plaid couch watching Electric Company and imagine what the future might hold. I was young. I had no plans. The universe was wide open to me. I could be a horse rider! Or an animal doctor! Or a space hero shooting past the stars in my magical treehouse/spaceship to save the universe from faceless bad guys with unimaginable powers. I’ll admit that imagination trumped reality for me pretty much every time back then. It still does today, too. The point is, the future was wide open with my whole life before me. Endless possibilities, like staring at the presents under the tree on Christmas morning while you waited for your parents to get their coffee. Who knew what you would find when the paper stopped flying. I loved that game.

Fast forward. I recently celebrated my forty-sixth birthday. God, even saying it sends a shudder down my spine. It sounds so- old to me. And yes, I realize as I write that there are beautiful people that will read this who are sixty-six and laughing, shaking their heads at the silly kid who has no idea. I know because I find myself doing the same thing when I read kids bemoaning the fact that thirty is just around the corner. Thirty! Ah, to be young…lol.

I don’t feel forty-six. I never ‘felt’ thirty, for that matter. I stopped feeling my age around the same time I started having kids. Once I had kids taking up all the free space in my head I just kind of went on autopilot, I think. But even though I don’t feel it, it still is a shock when I stop and actually think about it. Where did the time go?

I still feel like that kid, sitting on mom’s couch, wondering what I’ll be when I grow up. Which is silly, since by anyone’s standards I have long since reached grown-up status and I have hit many of the goals I set for myself way back when. I have worked with animals my whole life. I met a wonderful man. I have wonderful kids. I own a business that I am able to run from my home. All the pieces came together nicely. There have been joys and heartaches, victories and tragic sorrow. I have lived a well-rounded life. I have been blessed.

But.

Recently that kid has been knocking on the inside of my brain, asking me to open up my eyes and discover something new. A classic mid-life crisis? Probably. I have loved my life up to now, challenges and all. I don’t want to leave my life- I still adore my family and the home we have built together. But I feel like stretching in a new direction. I need to redefine myself a little bit. I’ve worked in the same field now for over twenty years- I love it and I’m good at it. But, am I allowed to love something else? Be good in a different way? I think it’s allowed. I’m willing to try.

You hear about it all the time: Wanda decides she needs a change so she listens to what she believes the Universe is telling her. Out of the blue she quits her job, moves to Hawaii and BAM!- three months later she is killing it as a scuba teacher in the gorgeous Pacific, more successful and fulfilled than she ever thought she could be. Why can’t that be me? (Not that I want to teach scuba in Hawaii, but you know…) Why am I so scared to take a leap? Is it fear? Or is it a healthy respect for the fact that I have bills and responsibilities? It can be hard to tell.

The hardest part of trying something new is shifting direction. My life’s momentum has been barreling down this one direction for quite some time, picking up speed, wheels digging into ruts worn deep with time. Realizing a turn is coming is scary. Should I pump the brakes slowly to avoid too much trauma or should I slam on them and jerk the car completely off the tracks? What if nothing is there when I take the turn and I lose everything. Or maybe it will be a sheer cliff that my life drops over. I don’t know. It’s scary. That might be the point.

It was scary back on my mom’s couch, too. But exciting scary. Somehow I knew back then that no matter what happened I would end up okay after a fine adventure. Maybe I need to remember that feeling. I will still be okay, and it will be a fine adventure. Things have changed since then, though. I’m not just one little human getting ready to spread her wings and fly off into a new life. I’m a wife and a mom, a business owner and a homeowner. These things are all mine to care for, responsibilities I love, but that certainly carry a lot of weight in any decision I want to make. I can’t just leap with no regard to the consequences.

So how can I start making that shift for real after so many false starts? I’ve tried many times over the past year to take that turn into a new direction, relatively unsuccessfully. Like my mind is screaming “Turn!” and my body is leaning into the wind of Here and Now, ignoring the signals.

I’ve decided not to try so hard at it. I’ve been pushing and straining at what I perceive as limits, trying to force any change to happen. And some things have worked out. I’m a lot closer to getting my book finished. I am working as an animal psychic and Reiki practitioner on the weekends at our local new age holistic shop. I’ve been blogging with some success, too. All small starts which seem to be stuttering and flickering with possibility. There is still so much to do before any of them could be considered ‘successful’ in the traditional sense, though. Although I’ve made a small amount on each endeavor, I certainly can’t pay my bills with any of them. But I am moving forward. Last year at this time I had none of those things. This year I am a lot further ahead even if I have a long way to go. One small step at a time, looking around at life as I go, enjoying the journey. That is life, after all, the journey, not the destination.

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