“Embrace the seasons and cycles of your life. There is magic in change.” Bronnie Ware
Twenty-three years ago today my husband and I met on a Sunday afternoon in church. We met and he immediately asked me to lunch. I accepted. And here we are, 23 years later. Now obviously in those 23 years a lot of life has happened. We have both undergone plenty of changes- mentally, physically and spiritually. At the time we met I was a single mom to my then seven year old son. I was going through a long, drawn out divorce and finding myself after a decade long abusive marriage. Larry had gone through his own divorce and relocated to South Florida to start anew. The years between when we met to now have resulted in two more children, buying a house, starting multiple businesses, changing numerous jobs, selling a house, one child leaving the nest, moving across state lines, losing parents and grandparents, having grandchildren and growing older. Two decades older. It is truly astounding to think of all of the changes that we experience during a lifetime.
Growing up in South Florida I never got to experience the change of seasons. As I got older I longed to live somewhere that I could experience something other than summer ten months out of the year. When my oldest son graduated high school I knew it was time for the move that I had thought about for years. I set out to figure out where I wanted to land to raise our two youngest children, who at the time were seven and four. After many months of visiting possible destinations we put our house on the market and narrowed in on Atlanta. When people would ask me “Why Atlanta?” I would explain my desire for a change after living in the same general area for 40 plus years of my life. Most people in this area didn’t get why ANYONE would move from South Florida to Atlanta, LOL.
Now I had no idea what awaited me here in Smyrna, Georgia, but I knew enough to follow my gut and trust the process. And now a whole decade later I KNOW that my instincts were correct.
“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” Henry David Thoreau
While reminiscing can bring up wonderful memories we often long for things to be the way they used to be rather than accepting that all things must change. We tend to practice radical resistance, rather than radical acceptance. We resist the transformation of our relationships with our aging parents, growing children and significant others. We resist the changes our bodies undergo as we get older. Rather than accept the gifts of each season of life we often do everything in our power to keep things the same.
When it comes to your self-care practices what motivates you to take care of yourself? Is it your desire to stay “forever young” as we are so deeply conditioned by society? Or is it to accept your season of life and enjoy it more fully?
My reasons for self-care have evolved over the years. When I was in my twenties I exercised to “look good.” I wanted to be skinny and sexy, so I worked out to attain some ideal that I somehow never managed to achieve. No matter what I did it was never good enough! In my thirties as I raised my children I worked out to become stronger and more energetic so that I could keep up with raising a family, but also to prove some level of athletic success. My self-care didn't include stillness and quiet time to meditate and reflect until I became so overwhelmed with doing all the things! My forties created an awareness and challenges of its own and caused me to rethink the things that I once deemed my priorities. I have developed and redeveloped self-care practices as I’ve navigated life. Which is why Rachel and I continue to offer new self-care challenges like the current 30-Day Self-Care Challenge that we are doing for the month of November.
As Larry and I celebrate spending twenty plus years of committing and recommitting to each other, I think that it is equally important to acknowledge that we are still on our own paths. Sometimes I push him, and sometimes he pushes me. In this new season we are continuing to challenge ourselves both individually and as partners. I’m not gonna lie- it’s not always easy. Which is why it’s crucial to maintain our self-care practices.
Our self-care practices are the foundation for all stages of life. When we create self-care habits that support our health and well-being we gain clarity and are able to accept that this phase will give way to the next one. We can reprogram our mind from societal conditioning and know that we need not languish as we age. We can change our beliefs and realize that each season becomes fertilizer for the next stage of growth if we let it.
This Sunday, November 15th is our ConnectEd Workshop on Gratitude & The Four Seeds of Self-Care. We will discuss how our self-care practices support us in our life’s journey and how we can appreciate and express more gratitude through each season of our life.
Even as my self-care practices have changed over the years, The Four Seeds of Self-Care have fed me many ways, not only enriching my relationships, but also in helping me achieve personal goals, and allowing me to live more fully. And ACCEPT more fully. In this season of Thanksgiving I am truly grateful.
With Love and Gratitude, Kinda and Rachel