There. I said it.
I don't know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I handed over the reigns to my life. It was slow; it was subtle. But it happened. The last several months have provided a lot of reflection on my life, where it's going, what I'm doing, and where and who I want to be. It's been thrilling, heart-wrenching, beautiful, frustrating, exhausting, terrifying. I'm still figuring things out. But I realized something: somewhere in the past years, and I can't even name the number, I turned into something I didn't want to be. I lost my zest.
So for the past few weeks I've looked to get back my zest. It's meant that I've had to learn to let go of who I was so that I can become what I need to be. Here's what I've done.
1. I've slowed down.
I've stopped over-scheduling myself. I've taken a lot of down time and allowed myself to have time to simply just be. It's been fantastic.
2. I've simplified.
This goes alone with slowing down. I've removed anything superfluous from my life. That has meant removing any project, person, or commitment that has caused me unneeded stress. This has been the hardest part of taking back my life. Letting things and people go is never easy for me, but it has also been probably one of the most beneficial things I've done.
And that doesn't mean that I've nixed anything I don't like. I've only pared down to the essential things that I need.
3. I've prioritized.
I've taken months to reflect on what my priorities really are and whether or not my life is currently organized in such a way that supports those priorities. This has meant that I've had to change how I allot my time. Prioritizing has made it easier for me to simplify my life and to turn down attractive offers that I otherwise would have taken were it not for these priorities being firm in my mind.
4. I've returned to the things that I love.
A few weeks ago I realized that I've become kind of boring. I'd stopped doing many of the things that I loved and that gave me a zest for life. So I've returned to some of the things I love. I've been much more involved in music, trying to become somewhat proficient at the guitar. I've returned to reading for pleasure. I've kept the people around me that lift me up and make me feel loved. I've also pared down on the amount of media I consume daily. All of these things have made me much happier and I feel like I am becoming a more interesting person. I like myself more.
5. I've taken time to reflect.
I've taken much more time to myself in the past month to just think, reflect, and be by myself. It has given me the time I've needed to make peace with some things and to improve my relationship with myself and with God. It's been vital for me to just have time to be alone with my thoughts.
6. I've allowed myself time to not have a plan.
So often I've tried to force myself into a path and to have a specific plan. I had a pretty specific plan about a month ago. But as I've been transitioning into a new person, I've realized that, along with needing to let go with who I used to be, I also need to let go of what I used to want and what my plans used to be. Giving myself this freedom has helped open up the myriad options that are now available for me. I think this has been one of the best things that I could have done at this point in my life. If I can find what I really want at this point in my life, it will make things so much easier and less painful in the future.
I'm still figuring things out. I'm still working on being a proactive participant in my life rather than a passive observer. But I'm trying and I'm much happier than I have been in a while.