The crocuses are starting to emerge from the ground to remind us that no matter how dark the days of winter, spring will always come again to offer us new beginnings. And like buds emerging on the trees, a new beginning in our lives can be exciting–whether it is as complex as a cross country move or as “simple” as taking a class through community education services. But new beginnings can also seem chaotic until things begin to settle down. Here are four strategies our mid-century fore-mothers would probably give to help us through the chaos so that we can blossom into the women we want to be.
Like springtime weather, all sorts of crazy things will be coming at us. Sometimes our emotions will get the better of us and we will wonder if we are doing the right thing. Or, we’ll become chicken livers and wonder if we have what it takes to succeed. All of those emotions are absolutely normal. But like Scarlet O’Hara shaking her fist and declaring God to be her witness before the intermission of Gone with the Wind, we have to dig a little deeper within ourselves to latch onto the bravery in our souls.
Prune the Saboteurs
Buds can’t grow from dead wood. To help a tree or bush thrive, we need to prune away the dead wood. We may need to do that in our lives, too. As we grow and change, there are people who will try to prevent us from becoming the women we want to be. Perhaps it is the “friend” on Facebook who engages in those hurtful “mommy wars” (we will never be fully empowered if we expend all of our energy on tearing each other down). Or maybe it is the coworker who tells us that just “one little box of mega-donuts” from Fried Dough Shop won’t hurt our desire to be healthy. By being clear about our new boundaries, we will know who is supportive of the changes and who needs to be pruned (if possible).
Look to the Harvest
Changes brought about by new beginnings may seem like they are taking forever to come to fruition. It may not seem like anything is happening, but there is a lot going on out of sight. Like gardeners, we may be planting a seed that won’t be ready for harvest for a long time. We have to trust the process and just keep going when we feel like giving up.
Just Do It
Whether we made an educated decision or the new beginning was foisted upon us, we just have to do what we need to do. All too often, we get stuck in the planning and the organizing part and never get to the doing part. And then we get all disappointed with ourselves when we don’t achieve our goal. At some point, our new beginning has to stop being a new beginning and needs to become a reality. In order for that to happen, we have to actually do something.
I once had a conversation with my grandmother about how she was able to leave her friends and family in Kansas behind during The Great Depression. She told me that she and my grandfather didn’t think too much about it after the decision was made to move to the California Promised Land. Their new beginning in Los Angeles wasn’t easy at first but my grandfather was good with his hands and was able to get a job for Sears’ appliance repair shop. But he kept hustling and was able to get a union job as a set builder for the movie studios. Their hard work eventually paid off and they lived a good life in the suburbs.
But something she said to me during that conversation has stayed with me in the intervening years. When I asked her if she was scared, she simply said that they “just did what needed to be done. That how we did things back then.”
As we make our way through the disruption that new beginnings can bring, we need to remember my grandmother’s words and just do what needs to be done by being brave, looking at the long-term big picture, and not letting saboteurs bring us down.
What new beginnings are you starting in the near future?