In the last 10 years, I’ve had so many different seasons (and I’m sure you have too). I changed majors so many times. I graduated from college. I placed over 1000 job applications. I moved cross country. I became a married woman. I bought a house with my husband. We brought our first pet home. I graduated from grad school. These new seasons were full of so much joy, but also admittedly confusion as I was figuring out what I was doing- that’s okay. I’ve learned so much through these experiences, the ups and the downs, and I wanted to share what I have learned about how to be grateful in a new season.
YOUR CURRENT SEASON IS NOT YOUR PAST ONE
This seems obvious, but when we moved to Atlanta I kept comparing it to my previous cross country move when I transferred to a different university. Friends were so dang easy to make in college, fun was always to be had, and I was learning constantly. However, what I failed to realize is our seasons changed.
Instead of watching Devin’s roommates learn how to breath fire (I’m not joking), we were now a married couple living in quiet suburbs. I often walked places instead of driving in college because I loved the sidewalks and sunshine, but now we were stuck driving everywhere and commuting sometimes for hours a day. Our road trips with our sleep deprived friends turned into cross country flights to visit our massively spread out family. The differences were more than the similarities and I often felt very lost.
Our circumstances didn’t really change, but slowly I did. I began to appreciate how quiet our home was. I loved that our elderly neighbors gave us clippings of their plants when they had too many. I loved we were able to purchase a home at a time when it allowed for other financial dreams like grad school and international travel. I started making friends. The hard thing about some new seasons in our life? They just take time and a lot of hope.
Slowly, after time, the mosquitoes overtaking our backyard seemed like less of a big deal when I could have lunch with friends. The weather that made my makeup melt off my face in the summer was less obnoxious when I realized the springtime was so beautiful here. Recently, I was surprised when I put myself into those previous compared seasons in my head and I realized my old life wouldn’t be as fulfilling to the person I am now.
These are some great questions to ask yourself when you’re in a new season and you’re struggling:
TIME TO EVALUATE WHERE YOU PUT YOUR ENERGY
In the past, I spent a lot of my time unemployed feeling stressed out and searching for jobs. It was harder on my self-esteem than I thought it would be and I was very sensitive to comments about my lack of employment. This is hard to admit and hits a vulnerable spot for me, but I’ll always remember when someone made the comment that I was at home sitting on my butt while my husband was working hard for our family… and I cried about it for weeks. I was already heavily struggling with feeling adequate about my situation, I was in therapy for it, and I was extremely depressed.
When I realized I would be unemployed after quitting my job recently, this thought came to my mind again and I realized that with the maturity I have gained: I didn’t care. While I do make money on my blog, people have plenty of hobbies that give them a great sense of fulfillment and help them grow without ever having a dollar; that is perfectly okay. I decided I would not invest my energy into thoughts I didn’t want to feed. I moved in the direction of where I wanted to direct my energy instead.
While your situation might not be the same as the one I had above, you’ll have people who have plenty of thoughts on what you’re doing with your life. There will be the person who makes a comment about how many kids you have or the one who you feel uncomfortable around because you don’t have any. There will be the person who thinks you are silly for getting married at ___ age or those who think marriage is a sham and you’re falling in line with yadda yadda construct. The list keeps going, but let’s get constructive.
MY INDIVIDUAL WORK
I sat down and wrote down what I love, how I want people to feel around me, and I cut out pictures to make a vision board of what I wanted my future to look like. I realized over and over again that I want people to feel special and loved when they are around me. I want a life full of positive connections with others that are uplifting and growing. I realized writing can help me accomplish these goals as much as teaching and I moved forward knowing that blogging wasn’t my safety net, it was honestly another way to reach my deepest hopes for myself.
The infographic below is the information I’ve found that has been most helpful for me to begin to be grateful in a new season.
KEEP YOUR COMMITMENTS TO YOURSELF
I’ve noticed in the past that it is easy for me to fulfill tasks for other people, but often not myself. Blogging tasks were easy for me to put off even when I had written out my goals, but I realized that if I wanted to take myself seriously then I needed to take my goals seriously too.
This seems so easy, but we consciously and actively let ourselves down daily. Over time, it starts to build up. “Tomorrow I’m going to really deep clean the kitchen and I’ll fold the rest of the clothing.” However, I would quickly realize that even though my goals weren’t too lofty, I didn’t keep my commitment to myself and I began to doubt myself.
I had already planned what my days would like prior to my transition, but it has taken a lot of self-discipline to keep my commitments to myself. I have allowed flexibility when it has been needed, but I have been demanding more from myself and I have been happily benefiting from it.
If there is one thing that is consistent in life: it is change. The seasons will keep changing in life, but I hope my ability to be grateful for new seasons will keep improving. This new season has given me the opportunity to evaluate where I invest my energy and then show up everyday to my personal commitments. With a renewed focus on what direction I wanted to go, it has been much more simple for me to put myself into a better state of mind. I’ve been able to see gratitude for where I am and I can only hope the same for future seasons.