When You’ve Figured It Out: Dropping the Mike.
What feels like a lifetime ago, I had the benefit of listening to someone much wiser than I was at that time tell me her experience in the places I was trying to navigate.
She had this way of explaining things with allegories that seemed somehow more attainable than the feats I was facing.
One of those included the Baby Elephant Story. Capitalized because it is a good one.
The Baby Elephant Story went something like this. Remember Dumbo? Chained to a stake so he could only walk in a tiny circle around the stake. One day, the chain to the stake was gone, but Dumbo still just stayed in his little circumference around the area previously defined by the stake and chain. Even though they were gone, Baby Dumbo Elephant didn’t realize he could walk away from the stake, much less fly away from the whole circus!
I have lived the Baby Elephant story over and over, never realizing that I’m no longer staked to the ground, that my freedom allows me to fly! In time, I realize it in one area of my life then generally take a timid step in the direction away from where the stake was holding me captive and find that I can hold my own in space I just hadn’t thought I could occupy before.
Well forget that.
I am about to sprout my big old Dumbo ears and blow this thing up!
I mean, really, what am I waiting for?
I make excuses like:
I have to be responsible.
I have kids to raise.
I can’t just start over. It’s not like I’m in my mid-twenties…or thirties….
So Freakin What?! Exclamation Point.!
So why not?
I sat outside this evening (after what I might add was kind of a devastating right hook from Reality to that bone under the eye) and sat with my heart a little bit broken. I sat there under the stars in a place where there’s nothing between me and the Truth of all Things, and I laid it out there. Here is my life. I’m not getting any younger, and while I realize that time is this elusive trick of a thing, what am I doing that is meaningful with my life?
And I waited.
And I realized that the answer is: Not Much.
So I need to change that.
What do I want to do? What do I want to activate in the world? What do I want to influence?
I think most people hit this place in their early forties. (Because #midlifecrisis) but also because it’s a viable and reflective question: What am I about and what do I want my life to have been about? Because probably I am at the middle, and if I haven’t been about what’s important then I had better get a move on…
So I land here. I have invested my life in what I thought might improve the world in ways no one else could make the dent I could make. I have dug in with my kids in every way to ensure they are “parented” for the long haul and equipped to be successful adults who live with a lot of confidence in what they are about, not about being the most popular teenagers. (Between you and me, that hasn’t been easy, but I suspect when they are 27 it will have more than paid off.)
Actions. It’s just time to rip off the Band-Aid and get down to business.
Divorce, schmivorce. Whatever. What am I going to make of my life and my ability to influence the world and time I’m living in?
Hold onto your hairnet, because it’s about to get real.
Challenge: What is holding YOU back? What are YOU waiting for? What’s next?
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