Recently, my husband and I discovered what it’s like to have an empty nest. My youngest is away at college, and my oldest is “adulting”. Our parents health has stabilized and life is good. It’s just me and the ‘ole Goat. (Said with love and affection, FYI – my hubs name is Todd.) We’ve recently celebrated our birthdays: Donna v5.2, and Todd v5.6. We enjoy being alone together more. It’s almost as if we’ve rediscovered each other. We text more often, plan supper for two, watch Jeopardy and an episode of Game of Thrones every night – because we love it.
I looked at him the other day and said, “Dude, where have we been the last 24 years?” It was so nice to just be in the moment, together. We had nowhere to be, no crisis, no drama, and the house was STAYING clean! Suddenly, the realization of infinite possibilities came upon us. Wintering in Tucson, traveling, and being more artsy came to mind.
Soon after, I found myself freely volunteering my time, working more, and playing more. It felt glorious to jump in my car and go anywhere I wanted, anytime I wanted, and not be responsible for anyone but me. As Annamarie wrote in her blog post, her dream was a real possibility. All I had to do was show up for mine.
Becoming reacquainted with change and chaos
A month later, my oldest called to tell me great news – she was transferring back to Mansfield with her company.
“That’s Great news, Honey!”, I said.
“But wait, there’s more!” She said.
I’m moving back home! “Sure, no problem!, I said.”
…and, my fiance is coming too! “Oh? Ok, that’s cool…”
…and our dog! “I’M ALLERGIC TO DOGS!”
…AND, you’re going to be a grandma!
And here is where I imagine a cloudy speech bubble above my head go :::: KA-BOOM! :::
The above may seem like no big deal to some, or that I’m whining or complaining – but really, I’m not. I was just startled my dream of infinite possibilities shifted in thirty seconds. I fully understand now how my own mother feels about her dreams of retirement and travel because her dream has shifted too.
Come to see how perfect your life is today, even if it doesn’t look or feel that way
So, now I’m posting nursery and mobility stuff on my Pinterest board. The mini-van has been well maintained for transporting parents and grand babies to doctor appointments. Carpet and flooring have been replaced for wheelchair access. I am grateful for flexibility and that I can care for aging parents, and new grandchildren.
Stepping back, I am so grateful for my life, health, and family. I now understand my gifts are to build on my strengths, which include loving and caring for people. And, now that I’ve spent time with my thoughts, perhaps my “me” time was in my twenties? My life’s time-line is flip-flopped… maybe? I didn’t have my first child until I was twenty-nine. I am grateful I survived my twenties.
Thank you for listening while I pondered this. Sometimes, writing your thoughts down evokes a new perspective. My life is happy. I want for nothing. I need nothing. I am able to love. I am able to serve with joyful abundance. The time is now, and the possibilities are still endless.
I’m a wife and mother, free thinker, digital evangelist, entrepreneur, author, and equal rights advocate. In that order For a living I help businesses connect with their tribe. Websites, newsletters and Facebook are my expertise. #RichlandRocks
The Mind Body Align topic for this month is “infinite possibilities.” Do you live as if anything is possible or, in other words, without limitations? Can I live as if I can achieve or experience anything of which I desire or dream?
What’s your dream?
I invite you to take a moment to bring into your mind a big dream or desire.
I remember my dream to live overseas. I have always wanted to experience life as part of a different culture and fluently learn to speak a second language. I read everything I can find about restoring old villa’s in Italy and the life of an expat.
I dream about the morning ritual of going to the corner café for an espresso and casually bantering in Italian with the bel giovanotto (handsome young man) at the meat market. I imagine walking home through cobbled streets with my baguette di pane (long, thin loaf of French bread) rising gracefully out of my cloth bag.
The moment this dream comes into my mind, however, I am mentally listing all the responsibilities that make this vision impossible.
Each perceived responsibility sounds like the voice of my GPS app – “turn right in 500 feet on Aging Parents Drive” – leading me to a destination that doesn’t include a morning walk along cobbled streets.
I invite you to contemplate the beliefs, limitations or obligations that might eliminate the possibility of realizing your dream?
And yet, there are tens of thousands of people that manage to live overseas. Presumably many of those people have the same obligations; responsibilities such as family, work, and community. What makes it possible for them to live their dream? In asking myself this question, I get the sense that the difference between those that have no impossible dreams, and those that allow their dreams to become impossible, is a choice. So, what’s happening that I have chosen to make my responsibilities a barrier to living overseas?
My mind keeps returning to the fact that my dream looks a certain way. I have my life in Italy completely mapped out in my head. I have so clearly drawn the vision, I have given myself no choice in how my life in Italy would be; I have given myself two possibilities from which to choose. 1) My Italian dream and 2) my family, work, and community obligations.
What might it look, feel, sound and be like for you to honor your obligations AND continue to hold the possibility of living your dream?
Behind the wheel
The first time I visited Italy, I had no plan. My husband and I arrived in the country with a rental car, two backpacks, and a Rick Steve’s travel guide. Every day we woke up, looked at the guidebook, assessed the distance, stopped at a neighborhood café and drove into the countryside with a general direction in mind. Every evening we looked to the nearest town, consulted the travel guide and found an Albergo (hotel) for the night. It was fabulous!
We spent much of our time lost. I butchered the language; once creating a cacophony of laughter from the owner of the neighborhood produce stand by asking for a fish, pesce, when I meant to say peach, pesca.
This memory has triggered a realization. I have allowed, “it’s my way or the highway” tendencies to drive this dream. What if I put “no big deal” behind the wheel? What’s possible if I didn’t set a particular course, and I allowed the route to remain unclear; following the streets and highways that seemed the most desirable and navigable at the moment?
And… living a life of infinite possibility
1) Notice a dream or desire that you eliminated based on beliefs, limitations, and obligations.
2) Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Do the work and be introspective; inquire into the nature of your choice – possibly you are “being” a perfectionist or a victim.
3) Ask yourself the following questions:
What about this dream is important to me?
What about my beliefs, limitations and obligations are important to me?
Both the desire and the expectations and responsibilities are essential in discovering and understanding your values. Get to know your values so that you can make choices that best honor them.
4) Begin to listen to your bazillion “I cant’s.” “I can’t” usually sounds like, “living in Italy has been a dream of mine, but…” and, open your perspective to allow for more possibilities. A first step is to substitute the “but” in your language for the word “and” instead.
5) Be authentic! You are given your dreams and desires for a reason; allow you to be you.
Living in Italy has been a dream of mine, and…
I’m sending you a big hug.
Annamarie Fernyak is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Align LLC based in Mansfield, Ohio. She is a certified life coach, mindfulness meditation teacher, and serial entrepreneur. The development of the MBAwareness Education Program was conceived while Annamarie was volunteering to teach mindfulness in a local middle school and found that the teachers and students were struggling to grow calm for their guest teacher, students seemed unable to pay focused attention, and the teachers were growing frustrated.
Annamarie’s focus was to create a program that would transform the lives of the students. She focused on hiring a licensed teacher to create and instruct the mindfulness-based social and emotional learning curriculums to elementary and secondary school students and teachers. Due to the challenges associated with global health concerns, Annamarie’s mindfulness education program is further now evolving into online mindfulness education focusing on teaching tools that reduce stress and support a life where people can feel more at ease. We also teach as a part of corporate wellness programs.
In 2017, Annamarie launched Align Mindfulness which is a FREE app downloadable from your app store that sends prompts a few times a day, bringing attention to what’s happening in your world. Intentionally simple, these reflections help you build a well-rounded “mindfulness” muscle by offering variety in where you place your awareness.