Prompt: What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
(Author: Tara Weaver)
It feels lately like I'm learning a lesson almost everyday. It may be similar to the old adage that the older kids get, the smarter their parents are. I feel like I've gained a lot of insight into myself and my relationships this year. Maybe it was because I turned 50; maybe it was the year of change that we had; maybe it was a conscious decision to be more aware. Whatever the reason, I think a few things clicked in my brain that previously didn't quite make the connection.
As I reflect what some (or even one) of those lesson were, there is one that comes to the forefront. I've had always had a good sense of instinct and maybe this year, I'm learning to trust it more and more. It feels like this comes with maturity; enabling you to be more comfortable with what you know is true and less worried about whether anyone else agrees.
This has happened in my personal life and my professional life. That niggling little feeling as you're about to make a decision that tells you to stop, wait a moment, rethink the plan and adjust. I'd be lying if I said I always listen to that little voice but in the times I did, it was usually right on target. As I sit here giving this more thought, I realize that this simple concept of "trust your instinct" gets all mixed up in a few other lessons learned.
A big one is accepting that things do not have to be "now or never". If this little voice is saying this is not a good idea right now, it doesn't mean it will always not be a good idea. For example, I've had a strong desire to pursue my PhD for many years. Last year, an opportunity arose to do that on a part-time basis while still working full-time. I eagerly prepared at the end of 2009. I crammed for my GRE dredging those old high school and college match concepts from the back of my brain. It was tough but I did okay. I lined up references and began to fill out the application. Suddenly, I couldn't shake the feeling that it wasn't the right time. I really struggled with it. I beat myself up on a regular basis as I procrastinated completing the application to the point where I literally ran out of time. It was a pretty tough period and I was angry at myself while at the same time relieved. I kept reminding myself that I could apply next year or the year after that.
The reality hit in March when suddenly our financial situation changed as my husband was laid off. I was immediately relieved that I hadn't applied. Had I been accepted, I would have had a tough time not moving forward. Although I could have made it work financially, I knew that it was not the best time. I was very glad that I listened to my instincts this time.
A year later, I still haven't applied but I'm still planning to do so. I just need to wait until the right time...when the little voice inside my head lets me know I should go for it. I sure hope I'm listening.