Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
– Carl Sagan
If you live in New Jersey, road work is a fact of life. The sun rises, Taylor pork roll is fried and the road crews set up for the day. Something is always being taken apart and put back together; milled and paved; big projects (think new bridges), small projects (paving your street…in fact, they just set up camp at the end of your driveway.) Detour signs take us on new roads, concrete partitions (ironically called Jersey barriers) shunt us from lane to lane, sometimes leaving our desired point of exit in the rear-view mirror. We’re used to it. We don’t particularly care for it, but we’re used to it.
I have found that the path through life can present similar obstacles. Yes, I know that the idea of life as a highway isn’t new. The journey, the road, the way. But it’s still a good analogy.
And the idea of waking up to the best on-ramp to your next stage of your life? A good parallel and oh, so necessary. (I prefer the idea of an on-ramp. It feels like movement to something new rather than an off-ramp which feels like the journey is over.)
What I have learned is that if you don’t look ahead and form even the slightest idea of your desired destination, you’ll end up on an eternal round-about. Have you ever gotten stuck on one of those? So frustrating.
For me, the goal is and continues to be to building and maintaining an on-ramp to each next stage of my life. It started as an unconscious yearning close to twenty years ago. Since then, I’ve had to make several U-turns. I got proficient at driving in reverse. I learned to pay better attention to where I was and where I was going. (Believe it or not, I have missed work exits, not once but several times. Being attentive really helps!)
You plan ahead for a road trip, right? Why not do a little for your one, precious life? Seriously, where is the benefit in the struggle?
If we stay with the analogy of the road and visualize the crisscrossing winding arrays of possible directions, here are a few things to consider:
The speed at which you’re traveling.
Like the White Rabbit who’s always in a hurry, are you always in motion? No time, no time… What might you be missing as you rush through life? Possibilities can be hidden in plain sight as you speed by.
Take the time to pause and listen to the quiet voice inside that is nudging you in your best direction. Be curious about where you’re going and understand that it is an unfolding process.
What you bring along.
What are you toting around in your bag, backpack, trunk of your car, the untended places of your heart? The old messages about what you can and can’t do; should and shouldn’t do. The ballast that weighs you down. The rules of the road that don’t work anymore.
What is one small thing you can offload now?
The clarity of the view
Sometimes we drive along squinting through our windshield, when all we need is a little Windex.
What are the things you say to yourself that get in the way of what’s in front of you? What old beliefs are coloring your current experiences? Are they true? Maybe they were then, but are they still?
What might clear that view, even if just for a mile at a time?
A vision of where you’re going
Even if your vision of the journey is not fully formed, there is usually an overarching element in your yearning that is non-negotiable. Freedom, beauty, creative expression, relationships, family, out-reach, advocacy.
When you know what is essential, you will tune in to the possibilities that will provide those elements.
The goal in all this is to home in to your personal journey so you are able to recognize your on-ramp to what is next for you. Pausing and considering your direction will set you up for a rich and meaningful next part of the road, your second half of life, retirement or whatever is next for you.
It doesn’t have to be elaborate strategy. It definitely shouldn’t be overwhelming. It should always be a work in progress.
What part of the incredible you is waiting to be known? Contact me to find out how I can help.