I used to wear classic styled blazers to work. The kind with beautiful shell buttons, tailored for my silhouette, and a perfect sleeve length hitting my mid thumb while walking to that next meeting.
I loved those blazers…jackets. Sometimes my favorite black jacket could change my mood instantly. It was a superhero cape of sorts. But that cape also required hard work. It was a different life.
I would look forward to a day (or two) of conferences at the Cal-Chamber for the latest employment law updates. I seriously SERIOUSLY loved these days. I liked the days I would build a new computer program in Access or FoxPro language. I liked the PowerPoint presentations, mind-boggling spreadsheets, and employment contracts, position agreements, flowcharts and organization graphs that looked like giant Christmas trees. My favorite periodicals were BLR (Business Legal Reports) and HR Magazine. Oh and don’t even get me started on how I love-love-loved the local business journal to see what builder or vendor or subcontractor had a new or released lien.
All this in my fancy-pants blazer. My cape. And eventually my straight jacket.
Today I’m a jeans and t-shirt/tank top girl.
Oh I still have a couple of those jackets… but anymore, my daily grub, it’s pretty difficult to find a piece of clothing that isn’t scared with paint, adhesive medium, or ink.
My favorite periodicals now have nothing to do with pages and pages of law. I read stuff about art, art supplies, coaching, and soul healing (for others and myself).
I don’t think I’ll ever get a paycheck again that looked like the ones that came with a blazer. If I do….then I know I’ve been blessed beyond what I ever imagined.
But here’s the thing—not having that paycheck means I won’t need the frozen heart required to terminate endless number of employees when the market changed. Five-hundred employees…down to thirty-two in the last days… Money doesn’t fix that type of internal hurt.
And money can’t buy the feeling I feel when a painting turns out…well, in my own humble opinion, pretty amazing. Or how I feel after teaching an art journaling class when everyone learns a new thing and is jazzed about the experience. Or the joy that bubbles over when a child or teen can’t believe they just made an art piece they like (or when the parent tells you how much their child enjoys class).
There are times that old paycheck tempts me. Oh yes it does. Times when I wonder what I’ve done to myself, my career. I wonder if I’ve made the wrong choice to go with my heart and change everything before I turned 40. After all—I should have had it figured out by then…right?
But I went with my heart…my awakening. I dove into what comes naturally to me: creativity. Teaching it to others. Encouraging what’s inside everyone. Offering a type of self-imposed healing through creative expression. Mentoring others on life, thoughts, and righting the wrongs we build up in our heads through coaching.
But I did it with a plan. Not a perfect plan—but a plan. And it took time. See, I’m mid-forties now.
And why the heck am I telling you this.
Simple: if you’ve gone off course. If it’s killing you inside. If you are willing to sacrifice. Then it’s not too late to turn it around. BUT it’s all in how you execute. You either create a midlife crisis—or you acknowledge an awakening.
The other day I told a friend, that what I’ve done, what other women experience (typically) in their 40s, 50s, etc… is NOT a midlife crisis. It’s an awakening.
The difference between the two?
An awakening is simple and deeply profound: your heart desires to do something purposeful. And you begin to do it without wrecking your life (that’s sounds harsh, I know).
See, we wind up doing the cray-cray when dropping everything—financial stability, relationships, etc… to dive into this new newfound purpose and awakening without a plan to transition. That creates crisis.
A mid-life crisis. (And yes, there are the rare exceptions when it actually does work out—dropping everything and changing in an instant. But like the diet and exercise commercials note in fine print—we need to remember: “results not typical”)
Awakenings can be slow or jolting—it varies as much as how you get up in the morning. The overwhelming joy and contentment you receive in the awakening—finding a purpose, maybe the very thing you were created for—all comes in the way you handle—with care— this new love in your life.
Treat it gentle. With care. Take care of yourself in the process.
If you pull out a butterfly from the chrysalis (the straight jacket of sorts), you’ll create stress, crisis, most likely death.
But if you let it take it’s time…the new creature awakens. It will emerge. The wings slowly open and close—dry— acclimate. It’s a beautiful slow process. And eventually, when it does fly, it’s a beautiful thing.
There is always a sacrifice in an awakening. I know of three:
1) Ignore it…and the chrysalis hardens. Like petrified wood.
2) Pull it out too soon…and the effects create crisis, harm, even death.
3) But embrace it with patience and time and sacrifice time in one place for time in this new love…and oh baby, those wings are gonna be something quite amazing. You just wait and see.
I hope you fly.
I really do.