My husband and I recently returned from a 3-day hiking trip. We rent a small, simple, cabin in the Allegheny Mountains here in Virginia. No phone or internet services except at the ranger station or camp store. It gave us a chance to reconnect and enjoy some peaceful time away.
A big goal I set for myself at the start of 2021 was to make simple joy a priority. Taking these trips is one of the things that helps keep me grounded.
While the hiking was beautiful, I mostly enjoyed the solitude and time for quiet contemplation.
I’ve been feeling restless lately. With my oldest two children growing into independent young adults, but with a young teen still at home, I’m not an empty nester. And yet more and more I feel the shift in my family, and in myself.
There is excitement at watching my children become adults and pursue their own goals. And a nostalgia for the past. A little grief mixed in as well.
But I’m also feeling curious these days, and asking myself questions like:
- Aside from family, what do I most value in life?
- What would I like more of in my life?
- What would I like less of in my life?
- What excites me?
- What would I like to accomplish in the next 10 years? Five years? One year?
- What would my life look like if I achieved these goals?
I’ve been taking my time with these questions, trying out different ideas. Using my imagination and painting a picture with the different possibilities.
In my 20’s life was about pursuing an education and life experiences – college, travel, graduate school and starting my career.
In my 30’s it was about raising a family, living a homeschooling lifestyle, and searching for work-life balance (which doesn’t actually exist I discovered).
In my 40’s it was about parenting older children, downsizing, and pursuing a simpler life.
Now, at 52 and married to a man about to turn 62, I am wondering, “What comes next?”
I admit I feel a little guilty thinking this way when my young teen still needs so much parenting. I feel like I have one foot each in two different worlds.
I don’t know other moms like me, and so I recently went online searching for a little inspiration. The blogs I once found inspiring have changed as the writers’ life experiences have changed.
Looking at lifestyle content for mothers, they are all younger women with young children (which was me 15 years ago). Looking at “midlife” content, they all seem to be about travel, fashion, and retirement for women in midlife. I can’t relate.
So here I am, remembering how I used to create my own inspiration through writing, photography, and sharing my personal experiences.
Instead of being carried along by life, I want to live with intention. Living intentionally means creating a balanced life full of meaning and purpose. Stepping out of mindless activities and the daily habits that happen on autopilot and setting out each day to ensure we engage in meaningful activities that serve a good purpose and will have a positive influence on our lives.
We do this with the gift of quiet contemplation time – time to think and dream and plan. Which brings me back to a few of my original questions:
What do you want less of in your life?
- Less pressure to always get everything right
- Less pressure on myself – with unrealistic expectations and self-criticism
- Less stress and worry over things I can’t control
What do you want more of in your life?
- More peace
- More gratitude
- More time and space for quiet contemplation
- More simple joy – laughter, fun, enthusiasm
- More contentment
- And to still enjoy a sense of purpose and life satisfaction
As far as what I’d like to accomplish in the next 10, 5, and 1 year…I’m still figuring that part out.
I’m curious – What about you – what do you want LESS of in your life?
And more importantly, what do you want MORE of in your life?
Wishing you peace and gratitude,
Find joy in the simple moments.