I spent a week with 75 people at a retreat and have remained connected with several of them. These have the potential to be strong relationships as we are all working on breaking through our self-imposed barriers to living our best lives. I was text messaging with one of these people sporadically throughout the day when it was suggested we talk that night instead of trying to respond to one another in between meetings. While saying yes to this might seem like a small gesture, it was actually quite a big deal. I have a very structured routine at night so that I can get to bed and wake up early the next morning. I generally say no to most things at night so that I can follow this plan.
As the night approached, I was excited to talk to this person on the phone. I got my children to bed and let him know I was free. I waited almost 30 minutes for him to call and was just about to head to bed when my phone rang. It was close to 9 pm, and he heard the tired in my voice. Instead of bowing out and telling him I needed to go to bed, I engaged in the conversation. We talked about parenthood, dating, our goals in life, and much more. We laughed, and he called me out on my excuses. I, of course, returned that favor as well. By the end of the conversation, I was ready for bed, and we decided we would make sure to connect again.
I went to bed, feeling happy, and connected to something larger than myself. I slept well and woke up 6 hours later, feeling refreshed and alive. This is not a common occurrence for me and gave me pause. When I was at my retreat, I had the same experience of little sleep, but tons of energy and a positive attitude. I think that connecting with people who know you and see the real you is energizing. I didn’t spend the conversation hiding and guarding myself. We spoke freely and openly. I wasn’t worried about his judgment or what he thought of me. I know he thinks I am a wonderful person, and he has an interest in supporting my growth and happiness. There is so much potential for human connection when you bring your walls down, and you allow yourself to be seen. The energy I felt from this interaction is off the charts.
Many of my friends give me such a hard time about my rigid routines. They joke with me about being so old and so limited. I hide behind my lifestyle and being a single mom. While my world is intense, the reality is that my constricted lifestyle is actually the death of me. I don’t live and enjoy my life. I wake up, tackle the day, try to live that day the very best I can, go to sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. If variety is the spice of life, I am living a very bland life. This experience has made me reflect on the way I structure my day to day life and the changes I need to embrace to live a more full and connected life.
Messages to my daughters: Take a risk. Don’t live in a tightly constructed box that limits yourself and your happiness. Listen to your heart and soul to figure out what you need to say yes to. When you listen to the deepest parts of yourself, you will find the balance you need to live the best life you can. You can’t do this, however, by living so rigidly. Color outside of the lines once in a while to see how you feel. You may find you actually really enjoy it!