Thursday, February 28, 2013

Find the Time to Find your Identity

Last week was the official mark of my first year on the new job.  Even with all the ups and downs involved with such a big change in my life, I will admit it went by pretty fast.  Of course, I’ve been busy with so many other things this past year as well, it’s no wonder time is slipping by at warp speed. 
When you think about it, the idea of time passing by so quickly is both terrifying and also a bit thrilling.  It can be terrifying for the obvious reasons.  Only kids wish for time to go by quickly so they can be at whatever age gives them the legal right to do what they believe they are missing out on.  Adults view the passage of time much differently and only look forward to phases in their lives…marriage, kids, buying a home, when the kids graduate college, when grandchildren are born, when retirement is right around the corner.  I think we’d all agree we could enjoy birthdays just as well without having to actually keep track of what our true age might be.  After all, age is only a number…
The passage of time at a quick rate can be thrilling when you believe it is moving you towards a goal you know will take time to achieve anyway.  On the other end of the spectrum, time can move at a slower pace when you are excited about an upcoming event.  I’d vote for a happy medium but that never seems to be in the cards; time is either moving too slow or too fast.  When it seems as if it will take forever to reach that final goal, it does help to stay focused and busy with all that is involved in the planning phase.  Before you know it, you’re moving that much closer to reaching your goal.
That is the case for me, if this past year is any indication. 
I took on the challenge of following my passion to write.  I took on the very large idea of writing a book and the tasks involved with what it takes to publish and market that book.  It is not an easy task and cannot be completed in just days or weeks.  Instead, it takes months, even years.  This type of undertaking has many unknown factors to it and because there is no easy or quick path to success, there are those who probably just give up.  Time would most likely be the reason.  Maybe they’ll come back to it later, after the kids grow up, after life is not so busy, after retirement, after, after, after...and then it could possibly be too late.
I’m happy I did not decide to wait.  I do have a busy life, with a full time job, with a son in high school and another in college.  My time is further split between spending time with my husband, taking care of my house and spending time with my dogs (yes, they get their time in too).  It helps that I have a very supportive husband and family.  I do sympathize with anyone who can actually find the time to follow their passion but ends up failing due to lack of support.  However, if there is one thing I’ve learned the past few years, too often women put off what they need to do for themselves while they continuously care for others and save the bulk of their time for obligations they feel are more important at the time. 
But where does it say in the Handbook of What Makes Women Wonderful that they have to put their dreams and desires to the side until everyone else no longer needs them?  Well, the handbook might not exist but if it did, the answer would be “Nowhere.”  There is no reason any woman, at any phase in their life, should use time as an excuse to put off finding their own identity. 
It took me what amounts to just about half my life to figure this out.  I’ve always been a strong, independent woman but the idea that I had not followed my passion or found my identity was not a factor I had considered until I finally put aside the time and began to realize my passion to write.  As I stand on the teeter totter of life, I will attempt to keep the board from tottering too much one way or the other, and I will continue to learn how to divide my time between what identifies me as a person and what makes me happy as a wife and mother.   Maybe my legs will get stronger in the process but in the meantime, I am happier with the knowledge that I am taking the time to fulfill the goals I have set for myself as I work towards making my dreams come true.
What about you?  Are you a busy wife, mother, working mother, business owner or all the above?  How do you set aside time for yourself to carve out your own identity? 

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