“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ~Lao Tzu
Ever since my birthday in December, I’ve been changing things up. I think it’s good once in a while to take inventory and make new decisions.
You don’t always have to analyze why you decided to do something or where you went wrong or where it all started. Sometimes, you can just stand where you are, decide you want something different, and then do something about it.
I realized in doing this, even though change can be scary, it can sometimes feel downright refreshing!
The thing we sometimes don’t realize is how in charge of our lives we really are. We think change has to come from the outside—that we have to be the recipients of change. Something needs to happen to us before do something about it.
You have to lose weight because your blood pressure is too high. You have to look for a new job because you got laid off. You have to move because your job requires it.
But what if you initiated the change in your life because it was simply time?
Time to get in shape. Time to earn a living that makes you happy. Time to follow that passion you’ve kept buried for so long. Time to eat healthier. Time to wake up earlier. Time to get out there socially. Time to overcome a fear that has been inhibiting us from living fully.
What if it was simply time to start making some new decisions?
This weekend I decided it was time to upgrade my wardrobe. I invited a friend who appeared to know how to dress beautifully and cost effectively, to help me shop.
Not really following the trends, myself, and consistently picking the same boring wear, year after year, I promised her that I would let her pick out the clothing and that I would keep an open mind. I sat in the dressing room while she brought me jeans, blouses, jackets, dresses, and skirts in all styles I would never (ever) choose for myself.
“I would never wear that in a million years,” I would say about the fluffy blouse on the hanger.
“Humor me,” she’d say, “and try it on.”
“I could never wear this out,” I would tell her looking in the mirror at the skirt.
“Really?” she’d look at me. “Why not?”
And what it came down to was this: I was uncomfortable. Uncomfortable in a new look. Uncomfortable in feminine clothing. Uncomfortable to be caught dead in anything different than I was used to.
But after enough of “humoring” her chosen styles, I actually came to appreciate the new look. After discovering new ways of layering, mixing and matching, and getting comfortable with simply being uncomfortable, I became oddly satisfied.
I was finally braving a new wardrobe!
And then came the real test: When we returned to my place she looked at my closet and said, “Okay, now we need to make room for this clothing. Mind if I get rid of some of this old stuff?”
I watched as she threw out my longtime favorite turtleneck (“too boxy,” she said), my well-worn clogs (“these have seen their day”), my new sweater (“this does nothing for your figure”), my crocheted sweater (“it’s grandma clothing”), while the pile kept building on the floor.
To ease my discomfort she said, “These are just my suggestions. You can keep what you want.” But I knew she was right. It was time. And so, before having the day to change my mind, I bagged up the old clothing and got it ready to donate.
There’s something refreshing about taking on a new look or a new challenge or a new habit. There is a feeling of empowerment that comes from making a new decision.
Because the thing is, you are not just taking on the new activity. You are taking on your life. You are deciding to be the one in charge.
I say in 30 Ways to Live Out Loud, “We are not victims of circumstances. We are victors of circumstances.” And isn’t this a better place to be?
This same weekend of changing out my wardrobe, I got an email from my sister in LA. She tells me there is a thirteen-mile marathon happening in Healdsburg that I should look into. I don’t run. I haven’t run in years. But I checked it out.
It’s the most beautiful time of year on the most scenic route in the wine country. How could I not participate?
So I signed up. And I signed her up. Because now I have a good excuse to get into shape and hang out with my sister.
Starting over doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be immediate and adventurous and exciting. It can be intoxicating and exhilarating and fun.
And it can be all of these things starting with just one decision. Just one.
Have fun with it. Let it work for you. Decide what isn’t working. Make a new decision. Begin again.
Or said another way: Discover. Create. Play. And then discover once more.
Photo by jenny downing