For most people, their time to reflect on fulfillment and resolutions is January. For some people, the time of reckoning and planning follows a school calendar and is September. Some others wait for their cultural or religious new years’ schedules. I am realizing that although I try to set intentions for my year at each of these touchpoints, in reality, July is my month to act.
July is my deadline to move forward in my life. If I don’t take advantage of July, I fear I will move backwards towards regret instead of bravely stepping into the future of my dreams. This July is more symbolic than most. When July 31 is over, I will enter my second half century. That is powerful to me. That requires some intention. I do not plan to allow the rest of my life to just happen to me. I plan to create a future filled with strong, positive energy. I plan to reach those items on the top of my bucket list. I plan to love passionately, laugh heartily, and let the songs of gratitude rise up through me. And that is going to take some work. This is no time to feel lazy or insecure. I’m either going to make my dreams come true, or not. And it’s all up to me.
I’ll admit that taking risks to try out new dreams fills me with anxiety. I have many inner voices trying to limit me and protect me by telling me not to risk failure or embarrassment. But it scares me so much more to think that I’ll live my life without trying. And when I think about some of the experiences that I believe will fulfill me like no other, I know that it’s worth it to take the chance. At times I feel as if I’m putting my trust in a separate being. And I am, in a way. I once was led in a powerful meditation about meeting my future self, who was 20 years older. I had some intense conversations with her and I asked her for advice. What she told me was, “Don’t wait to live your life. Start now.” Wise woman I’ll be.
I receive a glorious month of vacation from work each July. It is luxuriously long and yet way too short. But it is the time I give myself to move forward, to take risks, to enjoy life more, and to implement plans. I start the month with a list of to-dos that range from mental and physical decluttering and home improvement projects, to travel adventures and get-togethers with old friends (for which there is sadly never enough time).
I start with the decluttering. As mundane as the decluttering is, the simple truths I discover give me the fortitude to face the to-dos that require a bit more gumption. Each year I realize, as the clutter is filed or removed, how easy it was to complete. It becomes so obvious to me how silly it was to put this off for the year, and the feeling of accomplishment is worth every dreary minute of drudgery. I’m sure the time I gave to the daily thoughts every morning and evening, wondering if the recycling center would take my old garbage can, that lay outside killing off different patches of grass as I moved it around, was not a valuable use of my time over the past year. I become certain of this when I call the phone number of the recycling center, that has been taunting me from my bulletin board all year, and in two minutes schedule a next day pick up. Done and doner.
The piles of paper that easily find homes in my file cabinet or recycling bin another day, give me more opportunities for reflection about how I make space for what’s important to me. I can do this! This isn’t scary. This needs not be avoided. This is easy.
Now that much of my past year’s paperwork and home repairs are taken care of, I wonder what new experiences I can try. July transforms into my month of saying yes and as scary as that feels, it is so much fun! A friend has been inviting me to a Healing Circle for months. I finally say yes, feeling slightly intimidated, not knowing what to expect, but just going with it. It thrills me as I realize that I heal others. It transforms me as I am healed, not having realized that I needed healing.
I say yes to a concert and overnight a few hours away, not knowing how it will work out logistically for my daughter and me. It is perfect. As we release our anxieties about schedule and slow down, we end up with more than enough time to do everything we wanted. That has happened to me before and I now trust that when I stop focusing on the clock, it actually slows down somehow.
I go camping for the first time in decades and it becomes my new favorite thing. I say yes to an amusement park invitation that lands me in the front car- twice- of the roller coaster, with my hands in the air like I just don’t care. I enjoy city adventures, painting in bar adventures, reading book after book, and the intimacy of getting to know some friends on a deeper level.
What truly stands out to me, though, are the items that I chose for my Vision Board just over a year ago. This board leans on the TV in my bedroom, replacing the screen. I see it every morning and every night, and it is better than any show I would ever watch. This is my physical reminder of where I am aiming to go in my life. It is also the magical reminder of what I’ve attained thus far. More than half of my wishes on that board have come true in this short time. I now know that it is entirely possible for the rest of my vision to become my reality in my near future.
In a few days I will be travelling internationally, literally entering a specific picture with a specific person I placed on the board, neither place nor person being known to me as I glued on the pictures just over a year ago.
And before the end of 2018, I will be leading a powerful half-day coaching retreat, encouraging you to make yourself, your fulfillment, and your future a priority for four hours. We will each be setting our own intentions for 2019, moving forward into the new year with purpose and an understanding of what’s been holding us back and what we can easily do to move forward. Mark your calendars for December 16 from 1-5 pm. Let’s get clarity on what we really want and then have some fun as we create our personal Vision Boards and our futures together. Since I was a young child, my favorite quote has been, “If you will it, it is not a dream.” by Theodor Herzl. My New Year’s plan is to prove it right. How about you?