Are you feeling unsettled?
According to the dictionary, the definition of unsettled is: wavering or uncertain, undecided; doubtful, and liable to change.
That’s a pretty good description of how I’ve felt the past few years.
After decades of having a clear path, shortly before I turned 50 I began feeling uncertain. I started doubting my current career and what I was doing with my life. I’ve always known where I was going and had very clear goals. My motto has been, just tell me what to do to get there and I’ll do it!
The problem is, I became uncertain about where I was heading.
Is that really where I want to be going? It was an uneasy feeling, especially for someone who has always been very clear about her path in life. For the previous 40+ years I knew exactly where I was going and my life had been all about working the plan, achieving my goals, and ultimately arriving at my vision.
You know the drill.
Try to be a good kid. Go to college. Get a job. Get married. Buy a house. Have kids. Climb the corporate ladder. Raise the kids. The quintessential American Dream.
Then you wake up one day and realize you have the husband and the house, your kids are grown, you’ve achieved success in your career, and you look around and begin to ask, “is this all there is?”
That’s the point I’d hit when I wrote Breaking the Spell a few years ago.
The process of writing that book changed me forever. I look at, and live, my life very differently now. I’m very sensitive to doing what makes me happy vs. doing what I believe society or culture says I’m supposed to do. My priorities have changed. As a result so has my attitude and my day-to-day life.
I suppose that’s why I also keep finding myself in this unsettled state.
I’m no longer willing to keep getting up each day and doing what I’ve always done, just because it’s “what you do.” I believe it’s important to be happy, healthy, and make a contribution to this world, more than it’s important to have a million dollars. And yes, chasing success and that million dollars was what my life was about in my forties. I learned some hard lessons through those adventures, but lessons I’m grateful for. They’ve made me someone who is unwilling to settle for less than what makes me truly happy and fulfilled.
Thus, the periodic unsettled feelings as I navigate this winding road of change at this pivotal point in my life. With my kids raised and my career established, and my lack of interest or necessity in trying to find a way to make that elusive million dollars, I am free to pursue what’s meaningful.
I think that’s where many of us land at this point in our life.
Whether you’re 30, 40, 50, or 60. Whether you have a significant relationship in your life, children, or a career, it doesn’t seem to matter. At a certain point in your life you begin to question if what you’ve always done, or always wanted, is what you still want.
That is the place of being unsettled.
The good news is, feeling unsettled is the catalyst for change. If you can see that it’s a sign of better things to come, and if you’re open and willing, your life could be about to change in ways you can’t even imagine. All it takes is the willingness to let go of where you are and trust that something better is on the horizon… the patience to wait for it to show up, and the courage to follow it when it does!