Lately, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself. It’s been a tumultuous year for me. I left my job of fourteen years and started a new job in a different field. I am a fish out of water, flopping around trying to find my way back into some sort of flow.
I hear myself talking to my friends, family, and my kids, whining about how hard change is. I see myself letting my anxiety and irritability seep into my marriage and parenting.
It’s not been pretty. I feel like I should know better by now, at the ripe old age of 44. I should be able to adjust gracefully to the tides of change. Instead, I’m struggling, and I’m taking it out on the ones I love the most.
This weekend, I remembered some advice a friend of mine gave me about feeling more grounded. Literally, she advised laying on the ground outside, connecting with nature and changing your perspective on the world, if only for a moment. So I did it.
I’m sure it was a sight to see, a middle-aged lady lying in the grass in her backyard, staring hopefully at the sky. I glanced up and watched the light play through swaying palm fronds. I noticed the vivid blues and greens. I breathed deeply. Then, self-conscious, I jumped up before the neighbors could start gossiping about the mid-life crisis clearly playing out next door.
But, I felt better, lighter, less obsessed with my own endless inner banter.
It made me think about the value of changing our perspectives every once in a while. When I pull my head out of my own self-indulgent universe, I look around and see friends struggling to keep a new business afloat, neighbors on the brink of a big move to another state, a colleague wading her way through a messy divorce. Everyone has their struggles; change is a constant for all of us.
I can also look at life through my children’s eyes. My nine-year-old bounces from one activity to another, always willing to try something new. Brave and in the moment. My eleven-year-old’s natural state is joy, although his moods are becoming more unpredictable as puberty strikes. Still, he always finds his way back to good-natured joy.
My kids remind me we have to ground ourselves in the moment; we have to shift our thinking to come back to joy again and again. Simplicity.
It’s easy to get stuck in our own inner dialogue, full of harsh self-criticism and negativity. Shifting our perspective takes effort and energy, but it’s the only way forward.
Sometimes we just have to lay in the grass and open our eyes to the world around us. We are all connected, all walking through some struggle or life change, swimming in the current and trying to stay afloat. Just looking up can remind us that we’re not alone, and maybe life isn’t so complicated after all.