We are surrounded by a culture of do more, be more, start a multi-billion dollar business from the ground up, in your kitchen, while raising four kids - all while documenting a perfect home on Instagram.
Well, I'm over it. To be honest, I don't think I was ever really into it, but I am declaring that I am officially over it. As a teenager I lived for Sports Med - I know this seems like a real left turn right now, but hear me out - I spent extra hours in the classroom and soaked up all the learnings. I remember at one point seeing one common denominator shared between just about every disease and illness that we discussed - it was stress. At that time, I was maybe fifteen or sixteen, I decided that I would never live a life filled with stress because to me, it seemed to be one of the biggest causes of illness or death.
Ten years later I was a new-mom, wading through the experience of all things first-time-mom. I was grateful, very grateful, but I wasn't happy. My struggle during that time is documented in other posts, so I won't go into it here. Through my healing process, I did a lot of reflection. For me, it all felt so much harder because I had built a life navigating stress, anticipating what was coming, and preparing ahead of time to avoid any undue pressure, upset, or of course, stress.
For the better part of my life, I had, without really being aware of it, prepared and planned ahead. From setting out my clothing the night before, to writing my university papers weeks before they were due, I realized for the first time how many steps I took to reduce stress. And then, babies happened. For someone who was such a planner and anticipator, this was hard. Really hard, clapping hand emojis in between all the words hard. But awareness helped, once I recognized my patterns it was easier to reinstate some and let go of others - and while many of those patterns and habits were built to reduce stress, being able to release them relieved a whole bunch of stress and you know, all that postpartum anxiety. I found a new normal, a new way of releasing and preparing to keep the stress levels low and the anxiety at bay.
Five years after that I was a full-time working mom. Working was my dream and it was fulfilling - until it wasn't. A few years into working my dream job I recognized an old feeling. The stress and anxiety of not being able to release or plan ahead returned. When I recognized it I knew I needed to make a change and oddly, one of the hardest parts of that was feeling like I was not living up to the hustle lifestyle that our culture perpetuates. All at once I had worries about what it meant that I couldn't do it all and how I would be seen walking away from a career that I worked so hard for. Would people think of less of me for choosing to be home with my boys? Or because my career was taking a backseat to my husband's? The shame associated with choosing to leave my career felt overwhelming at first.
In deciding to leave, and since leaving, I have done a lot of thinking about this. For me it's not about hustle, it's about pace. The pace of my life was not one I could sustain and eventually, something would have to give. Was choosing to be home with my boys a way of playing small? To some, maybe, but not to me. Slowing down, being home with the boys, being able to walk them to and from school, all while still being able to feed my soul of service and continue helping organizations and people tell their stories - to me, that doesn't feel like playing small at all. We all have different paths in life, and we all have a different pace that we are capable of sustaining.
I am so grateful to have had the chance to dance with a faster pace, to be among some of the most inspiring and intelligent humans, and I am even more grateful to have been able to take a step back from it all. Finding my way to contribute in a different way has been one of the most terrifying, risky, and rewarding decisions I have ever made.
It's okay to recognize your pace is off, and it's okay to shift it. Your pace might be too slow for you, or like mine, it may be too fast. Whatever it is, I hope you are able to shift it because you just might find a whole lot of happiness waiting for you in that new pace.