I’m a born and raised Arizona girl, so I feel like it’s not my fault that I didn’t know what seasons were until my thirties.
But I’m not talking about leaves turning colors and ice moving in. (That’s what happens when a season changes right?)
I’m talking about seasons of life, which were in fact a mystery to me until about a year or two ago. And were definitely owning me until very recently.
I am by nature and genetics a deeply impatient person. I like things quick, well-done and preferably right now.
So anytime I’ve been at a crossroads where I want to do something or be at some sort of level of accomplishment and circumstances dictate that I can’t have that right now, I get angry.
And not “well this really sucks *pouty lip*” angry, but “why am I such an unbelievable failure is there anything I can do right” angry.
Letting a Season Stand in the Way
There’s nothing I want more in the world (professionally) than to be a published author. I’ve wanted it forever and have never deviated from wanting it. I’ve written a full manuscript that I tabled and have produced a half of another that will reappear in a different way later and am currently 40K words into the one I know will be the first I put into the world.
Not long ago though I was filled with despair because I had a thought set in my mind that I needed to get my first book out in my 20s. No reason for that other than perhaps my own hubris and impatience, but as I sit here I’m 30 + 6 months. And for a little while, being 30 with no book on a shelf killed me a little.
I felt I had failed.
I neglected the good things I had done. Big life occupying things like getting married, buying a new house, becoming a dependable stepmom, changing careers, making two tiny humans. I let the thing I hadn’t done sit front and center and put all the accomplishments behind the curtain.
What was worse though, is I looked at all those brilliant achievements and blamed them for my presumed lack of success.
What a Season Is
As I sit here in a healthier space, I look at that mindset and cringe, deeply ashamed that I resented my beautiful life because it had appeared as if it was keeping me from a single goal.
When in reality, what I was experiencing was a season of massive change and development.
A season is simply a period of time in your life. It can be a few months of deep grief. Or years of joyful chaos. The main point is that they are temporary and ever-changing and sometimes out of our control.
My 20’s was a season of insane change and growth, just not necessarily in all the ways I had expected. I had no idea I’d start dating my high school buddy at 22 only to marry him at 26 (becoming a stepmom to his kids well before that date). Career plans became daycare plans. Traveling for work became trips to the OB.
It was a season where, looking back, I couldn’t have imagined managing to write a book or successfully starting a blog, even though those were things I wanted (and half-attempted).
A season where my priorities were my family, our livelihood and our growth.
A season where my accomplishments were measured in joyful smiles and pumping 5oz of breastmilk, not money in the bank or a book on the shelf.
The season I am moving into now doesn’t look drastically different from the outside. It may even look more packed with family life.
The difference is I’m learning to adapt to my season.
What a Season Isn’t
Have you resented your children’s needy littleness (even if only for a few weak, chaos-filled moments)? Do you see others with seemingly the same “baggage” as you achieving more and feel sick with envy? Have you ever just felt like you’d deeply failed because you haven’t reached some sort of destination you expected to have arrived at by now?
Lady… I HAVE BEEN THERE. I am still there on bad days.
What I’m learning each day though is that a season presents obstacles and limits, but it doesn’t have to dictate your whole life.
I have four kids now. YES, FOUR. And I am writing more than I have at any other point in my life. I am working part-time. I am *knock on wood* starting to go to a gym.
I’m not in a wholly different season. I’m just beginning to better understand the limitations and hurdles within it. And that I have more power over it than I once thought.
A season isn’t a brick wall. It’s a river you have to wade through.
So how have I started to wade through mine?
Waking Up Earlier
I know I can’t get everything done AND sleep in until 7:15. Oh I like sleeping in. I just don’t love it enough to put it ahead of the other things I want. So that alarm goes off at 4:45 and I hate it SO DAMN MUCH. But I get up and I get to work.
I know that if I get dinner on the table at six that means I can go to the gym at seven. So at five, I better get my butt moving even if it means the baby fusses a bit in his bassinet. And even if it means the toddler watches ONE MORE DAMN EPISODE of How to Train Your Dragon. And it even means that my 8-year-old is on his own for 15 minutes, dealing with his homework on his own terms.
I love spending downtime with my family, but in my heart of hearts I feel positive they don’t need me to watch another Disney movie with them, so to my desk I go.
Instead of making my season and my dreams mutually exclusive, what I should have been doing was making a plan, testing my boundaries, setting a schedule and getting organized.
I thought I was organized because my kids got to school on time (hair done and teeth brushed thank you very much) and because my son gets to go to the park and because I meal plan and cook at home. The thing was, I wasn’t planning for me. And so my family life was functioning great, but my personal ambition was dying on the vine.
Seasons matter not because they dictate what you can and can’t do, but because we have to acknowledge a season and work within its boundaries to progress forward even when things are sticky.
A season does NOT freeze your dreams in time. It just changes how you need to approach them. Or so I am discovering.