We celebrated Independence Day yesterday, which is kind of redundant for single folks. I'm sure it's even more marked for divorcees considering the significance of independence day being a break away from what was essentially an intolerable relationship.
Ever since John Adams wrote a letter to his wife, Abigail, in 1776 proclaiming that July 4th celebrations be commemorated “with pomp and parade...with bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward...” fireworks have been an integral part of Independence Day festivities.
A fire is lit and used to set off brilliant sparklers, loud firecrackers, and roman candles that burn kaleidoscopic colors. The fireworks have different characteristics that present a number of ways, but it's all ignited with fire.
It is all ignited with fire.
A few weeks ago I saw a friend's Instagram post about a free 30-minute life coaching session that she was offering. I've tossed around the idea of working with a life coach for years but hadn't pursued it mostly because I didn't know any life coaches or had any friends who'd worked with one. I was unwilling to take a chance with a stranger, so when my friend, who's extremely intelligent and accomplished--someone you look up to--made the public offer I jumped at the opportunity to work with her.
As we talked at our session, she began aligning my words against my actions. Asking why, what, how, and when. Trying to understand, I mean, really dig deep into understanding why some of my goals weren't prioritized (or not being touched at all) even though seconds prior I said they were important.
About 20 minutes in, after the questions, answers, and the epiphanies that resulted, I erupted in an ugly cry. I was pretty mortified at my emotional slip up. This wasn't supposed to happen. I hate crying in public, much less ugly crying in public.
A mix of desire (for everything I have waiting for me in the future if only I'd pursue it) and shame (for not having spent more time working on my vision or developing my talents) came out of me. Ignited by fire.
Do It While You Have Time.
Ask any married person or single parent or married person with children what kind of free time they have to pursue an individual vision, one that's personal and separate from their spouse and/or child. It's not that these relationships are burdensome or that individuals have no time at all for themselves, it's just that relationships use up some individual free time. There's time to cuddle, time to shuttle, time for date night, time to straighten up after people, time to cook, time for teacher/parent conference, time to support other's interests. The list of time-consuming responsibilities is endless.
If you have neither spouse nor child (or have an adult child living away from home) and no other time-consuming responsibilities like a sick parent, then consider yourself properly positioned to spend quality time on your goals.
I got a fire lit under my ass that day, which was what I needed. How dare I squander so much of my time perusing Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram? How dare I watch YouTube daily for my entertainment, instead of learning--consuming someone else's creativity when I need to be creating? How dare I have a vision that I don't pour more of my abundant free time into? And how in the heck do I let a lack of knowledge and all these other pesky little fears intimidate and paralyze me?
Slowly but surely I'm creating new and more meaningful-to-me habits that'll make ushering in a new wave of creativity and learning easier.
While no one is around to judge me for fixing a bowl of cereal for dinner, while no one is here to neglect while I put my head down to focus, I'm using my single time more wisely now. Perhaps in the future the work I produce will be as colorful as sparks from a bottle rocket. But one thing is true, it all starts with lighting a fire. And I promise, it works.
Photo credit: Jdmoar via CC Flickr