Tomorrow I will turn 53.
It seems like both a minute and a lifetime ago that I turned 50.
I was newly empty nested, just beginning my coaching practice and I was on the precipice of a new decade.
On my birthday my husband asked where I’d like to go for dinner (going out to eat is one of my favorite things – I love really good food and beautiful restaurants and being taken care of by a slew of wait staff).
My immediate, knee jerk response to the question shocked me: “I don’t know, where do you want to go”
What the holy hell??? It was my birthday and my husband and son were taking me out and they, by the way, WANTED TO KNOW WHERE I WANTED TO GO AND I COULDN’T ANSWER!!!
I can’t be certain but I have a feeling this is how I had answered that question for most of my adult life. For the first time, though, I was paying attention to the crap I was saying both out loud and in my mind.
And the truth was it wasn’t always pretty in there. I love what Anne LaMotte says about her mind being a bad neighborhood she tries not to go into alone.
Fortunately I don’t have to (go alone that is). But once the words were out of my mouth I decided I needed to go in… and here is what I found:
- I have a hard time asking for what I want
- I have a hard time knowing what I want
- Once I think I know what I want I get a little scared that maybe I’m wrong, maybe it won’t be so great, maybe getting what I want will end up being sort of disappointing
And there it was- the thought that was holding my birthday dinner hostage: what if I make a bad choice and I’m disappointed. I know it probably sounds silly or simple to many of you but for me it was a light bulb moment.
As we coaches like to say: how you do one thing is how you do everything. And how I was doing life was trying to inoculate against disappointment by not making a mistake.
I’d love to tell you everything changed that day and truly it did (albeit a bit slower than my perfectionistic self would have liked) . Because it was the first time I noticed myself noticing my thoughts. At first it was like a bit of a trickle from a stream that had gone dry. Some days the stream becomes a rushing river and some days it’s back to a dribble.
But here is what is true: I’m paying attention to my life; to my thoughts and to how they affect my actions. I’m living a bit more on the edge and taking more risks.
One of those risks? Doing my first tele class. I’ve led lots of in person groups but I’ve never done a class using (omg) TECHNOLOGY! And I created a journal – my first ever go round at creating a hands on “book” for my clients. Things are bound to go wrong; phone lines will go down and typos will be found and I’m reveling in it because I have something to share. Because the things that will go wrong are going to be lessons learned and cause for celebration. Because doing something scary is actually a lot of fun and truly exciting.
If you have been thinking about this class- now is the time to sign up. If you missed the last emails- here is the link to find out more and join the class. Click here.
If you do, you just might find out where my family took me for my birthday dinner!