by Andrea Stunz
For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.–F. Scott Fitzgerald
When I was younger, dreaming seemed easier.
I enjoy sipping my morning coffee from my mug that reads “Never quit your daydream”. I fumble around my cupboard to specifically choose it on days when I need a reminder. In the spirit of reminders, or maybe revelations, I thought I’d share a few things that can help us wake up to a new day filled with new dreams.
One thing I’ve noticed, now having three adult children and a very empty nest, is that I have to be purposeful about how I spend my days. And honestly, I don’t always do it well.
Since much of my life has been spent being a parent, there are benefits that come along with the freedom of only needing to be me. I’m not planning around naps, school runs, dinner prep and doing mounds of laundry day in and day out. But I have found that some days I get lost in that freedom and flop and flounder about like a fish on dry land. I’ve spent the greater part of my life being someone else’s someone. I recognize that at some point in my life I was only me and that I did indeed have dreams of my own. It’s not that my dreams and I got lost, it’s that the nest got a little crowded. I’m finding it to be a bit of a challenge to re-learn how to be me; to re-learn how to dream again.
Be Kind to Yourself
Take a gap year. Our youngest daughter took a gap year between high school and college. For a few years before she graduated, her world was riddled with transition and she needed some time to regroup. I feel like we PerGen’s should incorporate a gap year into our own lives. A year of space and grace. A year of taking the time to rest and regroup. No apologies. No guilt. No shame. Fulfilling our life’s work has been wonderfully exhausting but we’re going to need to find a new normal and that may take some time.
While you’re being kind to yourself, focus on your health. You’ve likely been responsible for keeping other humans healthy for years. It’s your turn! Focusing on yourself may be uncomfortable but you can love others better when you love yourself well.
Get to Know Yourself Again
Painting • Writing • Dancing • Cooking • Traveling • Playing • Gardening
Are there other “-ings” that you can recall loving once upon a time that were placed on the sidebar? Revisit them. See if they take you somewhere. If one doesn’t work out, try another, then another. You get the idea.
When we invest so much of our lives into raising our children or building a career or whatever our life work is, we often put much of who we were meant to be on hold. This is a very good season to find ourselves again. Start digging to find the best version of you. You’re in there and I bet you’re wonderful. When you rediscover you, you might even like yourself too!
Do Something Meaningful
(Holding babies) has been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it. –David Deutchman
Have you seen the video of the ‘ICU Grandpa’?
In a version of the video from Humankind, David Deutchman said as he leaned over a tiny baby’s crib, “And all of the sudden the world is good.”
What can you do that would bring meaning to your days? What would make your world good?
– Volunteer – Serving others is one of the best ways I know to add meaning to life.
– Get up early and catch the sunrise.
– Go about your day committed to make eye contact with people and offer a smile.
– Plan a girl’s trip with your peers.
– Learn a new language.
– Plan something – anything. Put one thing on the calendar and don’t cancel. Make a promise to yourself and tell yourself you won’t break that promise because you are too important.
Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips. –Dawson Trotman
It’s a struggle, an often-overwhelming struggle, to find a new familiar in the midst of what has been our familiar for so long. When we are reinventing normal, writing down our thoughts, our goals, dreams, our prayers, ideas, visions, what we’re grateful for and even our losses that this season brings can be much-needed therapy for only the cost of a fun pen and pretty notebook.
It’s true that when we were younger, dreaming seemed easier, but we’re never too old to dream again. Do you have a dream that got crowded out, one that is fighting its way back to the surface? C. S. Lewis has a word of wisdom for you: “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.”
Andrea Stunz has been a Christ-follower from the age of seven. She is the committed wife to one, loving mom to three amazing adult children, grateful mother-in-law and ridiculously proud grandmother. A well-traveled Texan, having lived in Brazil, Asia, and the UK, Andrea finds joy in her family, grace in her friends, beauty in a story, purpose in the sunrise, wonder in her travels, and hope in Colossians 1:17. Andrea longs to encourage other women by sharing stories because “a story worth living is a story worth sharing”. Find more from her at AndreaStunz.com.
This piece first ran here. Cover photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash