When I got to that place in my life where I was sitting in the shambles of what I had created, I felt really defeated. What a mess! It was all a shambles, and I had created it. The woman that told me that I could create something different gave me those words to live by. And, I set out to do that.
I’ve done a lot of things to put my life back on track. And, I promised in my first blog that I wanted to share that with others so that we can all have better lives. I’d like to set aside Friday to blog about things that give life, great fun things to do, great music, whatever I feel like sharing that’s inspiring and joyful. If I do this on every Friday, by the end of the year, we will have 52 things that we can use to make our lives better, happier, more fun, more fulfilling, or whatever else we decide we want them to be. This is my blog space, but I also want to invite you into this space. Ask me questions, share with each other, tell me I’m crazy (I’ve certainly heard that before), but talk to me. That’s what blogging is all about for me. I’m still building community. Somewhere out there in internet land, there are people on the same journey as I am, and I want to know you.
When I decided I needed to change my life, I had to create a sort of map to get where I wanted to go. I don’t think I’ll ever “arrive”. My life always changes. Every January for the past two years, I’ve taken some time to think about my priorities for the past year and make some decisions on whether or not I want to keep those priorities. In 2012, I realized that one of my main priorities for the past 2 years was running. I ran lots of races, traveled to races and spent quite a bit of time on that hobby. But, I wanted a change. No reason, I just wanted something different for awhile. So, I decided to take the spring off from racing. I’d still run for fun, but I’d free up some time for other things I like to do. I went to Hawaii on a retreat. I couldn’t have done that if I’d still been traveling for races all over. It was a trade. I also do this anytime it seems like there’s no joy in my life anymore. There’s not always fun everyday but there should always be joy.
The real issue is that my time is limited. I used to work all the time. I had no life. That’s one reason I ended up where I did. I finally made the decision one day that I was going to go home at 5 PM everyday and just leave the stuff for the next day. I just made the decision and stuck to it. And, you know what? I got promoted- twice. I doubled my salary in 6 months. I have a really satisfying career, but I can still work too much. I have a very firm boundary on my work hours. I get kidded about it all the time. “Don’t get in Sharon’s way at 5 o’clock.” It doesn’t bother me anymore. I am who I am, and my life is very full. I don’t want to look back at my life and wish that I’d done it differently. We only have 70 or 80 years in this place. The clock is ticking.
A real issue I had was that I didn’t know how to set boundaries. I couldn’t set boundaries on myself or on other people. My 5 PM departure time was a boundary I had to set with myself. Unless there is a really important reason to stay and work (and sometimes there is), I need to go home. It was not easy at first nor is it easy when people kid me about it because I want to be liked. I want to be respected. I want to fit in. But, sometimes, I have to set priorities. And, I can’t please everybody else. I have had numerous Senior Leaders come to me in private and tell me how much they admired the fact that I got out of there at a reasonable hour. I am actually MORE respected because I respect myself.
Below are some really good books I read to learn about boundaries. I had to practice. I had to have support from people to stick with my boundaries. I often have “after-burn” when I set boundaries. I feel guilty for saying no. I question myself. But, I have friends in my corner who assure me that the boundary was appropriate, and that I can make my own choices with my life.
- Boundaries: When to Say Yes When to Say No to Take Control of Your Life (Christian Resource) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.
- The One Life Solution (Secular Resource) by Dr. Henry Cloud.
Boundaries are critical. If I can’t set boundaries, I will never move forward in my life. I’m not exaggerating. There will always be other people or other causes that need my time and energy. The world is an incessantly needy place. I have to take charge of my time. And, it’s not easy.
Just to let you know, my boundary around writing is that I will publish Monday – Friday. Have a great weekend….