Much like road signs on the highway give direction, signs in life are internal indicators to what we should do next. The question remains, will we heed their warnings?
The SPRING is nature’s official announcement that we are a quarter into the year. It’s during this time that most of us do another check-in similar to what we did in bringing in the New Year. How are we doing? What have we accomplished so far? What goals do we still need to set?
It seems my reflections these days are very vivid. Last year during this time the world, as we knew it, shut down completely. We all had to make major adjustments socially and mentally.
But even as devastating as 2020 was for most people, I had personally been in a similar place a year prior. Not connected to others. Making major adjustments–mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially.
Warning! Roadwork Ahead!
In 2019, I had faced many challenges within the first six months. I had experienced problems in my health that affected my sleep quality, my focus, as well as my mobility. Some might just have chalked it up to a mid-life crisis; but mine felt more like a mid-life fatality. I felt I was completely losing myself.
In January 2019 (my birth month) I had vowed to reclaim my time and myself. Admitting that in 2018 my confidence and self-worth were a little off-balance; and I had wasted a lot of time and internal energy allowing irrelevant people and things to fill my head space. I had allowed myself to allow the thoughts and motives of others concerning me to impede my peace. Sad, but true.
In February 2019, I learned I was pregnant (AGAIN). If you don’t know…the 40s are a trip. Female hormones go on a whole-nother level. You think you’re in the safe-zone for having babies. You think that you’re on the downslope approaching menopause. The next thing you know your doctor is calling you to pick up prenatal vitamins from the pharmacy. WTH!!!
Consequently, I blame those before me who did not give me fair warning.
That March, however, I would experience my third miscarriage. And I’ll say this…regardless of whether or not I wanted or had planned my pregnancies after turning 40…losing a baby SUCKS. And until you have experienced it, you have NO IDEA what women who have experienced miscarriages or infertility struggle with…emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually.
Moreover, if that wasn’t enough, in May 2019 I lost my job. I didn’t AT ALL see that one coming. I felt like I had been blindsided. All this time, I had (I thought) been keeping myself serviced. Getting regular tune ups. Being a safe driver. Checking my sides and my review. Still…life hit me…and it hit me hard. Whiplash is an understatement. This blow had me in a full-body cast from my head to my toes.
In June, I was just trying to make sense of it all.
I was in a rut of depression, shame, and uncertainty. Didn’t want to move. I didn’t want to get up. Somedays I felt like I could hardly breathe. Somedays I didn’t want to.
Which way was I supposed to go from here?
Part of me wanted to go back to a better time. Sadly, another part of me wanted to leave it all behind and just quit living. Not to the point of dying ( which I pretty much felt I was experiencing a form of death anyway); but to the point of being absent from what I was experiencing in my waking life. Yet, still, there was a glimpse of me (the dawn in me I guess) who wanted to figure it out…who needed to figure it out.
I hadn’t made it 45 years to stop where I was. But this sure wasn’t where I expected to be at 45. Yet I knew…there had to be more. Was there something I was missing? There had to be a lesson or a place that I was supposed to be; that I for whatever reason had missed, or needed to be redirected to. So, I opened myself up to follow the signs. What signs, you ask? The road signs to life.
Each day we face the world and the challenges that life sometimes brings. It seems as though we can’t get ahead of it all, or at least make sense of it. But I submit to you that life…much like driving…gives us signs to keep us on the right road and to help keep us safely traveling to our next destination, and then one day to our final destination.
Think about it. We start the day wondering just which direction we should take. Should we start something new? Should we go back to a something from before? Maybe something we feel like we didn’t finish, or something familiar to us. Or maybe we should MERGE in with everyone else and do what they’re doing?
Don’t think about it too long. Otherwise you’ll never get anything done. Someone shared with me recently, “Progress over perfection, Sis” (Stephanie Rodnez, Godlywood Girls). What did this mean? I always thought that something close to perfect was what we should always strive for. But in actuality, as it was explained, the personal desire for perfection can actually keep us from walking in our purpose. I had never thought about this way. But the truth is, the need to want everything to be perfect almost stopped me from launching Dawn of a New Day.
So what do we do?
When you feel like you don’t know which way to go, remember there is only ONE WAY to go…FORWARD.
Ok sure, there are roads that lead in different directions, but you can only travel in one direction at a time, and in only one lane. Yours. Even if you turn left or right, there is still a designated lane waiting for you. If you fail to keep that lane, you could cause an accident that could not only hurt you, but others.
When things get too busy, frustrating, stressful, or confusing…it’s ok. STOP. Stop is a command. It’s not suggestive, but required for your safety and the safety of others.
Rethink your plan and purpose. What’s truly needed to make this trip? Are you tired? Do you need more food? Are you thirsty? Do you need to pick someone up? Or maybe you need to take a bathroom break and release some things or let some things go?
No worries. Get your bearing. It’s ok to pull into the REST AREA. Just remember, it’s only temporary and not intended for extended stays. But also, make sure you’re stopping because it’s what you’ve decided to do, and not the shade of others and their fear or insecurity of how far you’re traveling and how fast you’ll get there.
There will be some warning signs you’ll need to take heed to as you travel. These signs are meant to caution you, not completely stop you. So don’t get road rage when you see them.
Know that some roads are gonna be DEAD ENDS. Don’t dwell there. Turn around quickly so you don’t lose much ground. Just remember not to go that way again. It leads to nothing.
Likewise, if you see a road that says DO NOT ENTER, don’t get curious. Keep it moving. You may not get enough time to react to the danger that lies ahead. There is a reason the sign is red.
Additionally, you may drive up on some SPEED BUMPS. Don’t misinterpret them; but do slow down so you don’t bump your head on what’s above you, or scrape the foundation of what’s carrying you.
These bumps are not there to slow your momentum, but rather to keep others (and your relationships) safe around you. Those close to you are likely watching; pulling for you. These are your biggest fans, who want to see you succeed.
Don’t speed away from them too fast. You’ll have to visit them again. If you look closely, you’ll notice that others who went before weren’t always so cautious and left marks of their carelessness. Don’t let that be you.
Please, whatever you do, DO NOT PARK in the space marked for those with DISABILITIES…shortcomings…weaknesses. You do not have authorization to throw a pity party. You’ve got this!
SO WHAT if you have to walk the length of the parking lot to get to the front door? It will not only build your character, but it will also give you compassion to help and encourage others heading that same way.
Others seeing your vulnerabilities…your weaknesses…shows them you’re human; and your weaknesses are gonna make your strengths stand out even more. Who’s to say….in your weaknesses, you may just have to rely on someone else to assist you. However, your need for help will build humility and strengthen relationships; so, when others face similar trials, you’ll know what to say to encourage them to keep journeying.
NO PETS ALLOWED
When you get close to where you’re going, there will be some people up ahead. Don’t let them intimidate you. Learn from them; especially since not everyone you expected to be with you will make the trip.
Remember, NO PETS ALLOWED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY, SERVICE DOGS ONLY. Simply put…as you’re learning, you can’t allow yourself to be burdened by people you have to constantly pet or carry; those who tend to leech, or those that are too needy. You need some folks who know how to serve others and have your best interest; especially when you can’t see well enough to navigate the way through this unfamiliar territory.
Personally, I had to connect with people who reminded me of who I was and what I was capable of rebuilding and repurposing; and not those who were only concerned about learning what had knocked me down in the first place.
“Coach me, don’t roast me”
I heard that from brother and it has stuck with me.
Hey! We don’t all know everything in life. So what you see I don’t know… or I’m not doing well…don’t talk about me…teach me, so I’ll do better next time. In other words, help me check my blind spots.
Don’t Fear the Round-About
Know that throughout life’s processes, at times it will seem like we’re at the intersection of a ROUND-ABOUT, but we don’t have to continue going around and around in conversations, relationships, or with thoughts and choices. The round-about just looks and feels harder than it is. There are actually directional paths that lead out of it. In practice, the person who gets there first has the right-of-way. Just know, you don’t have to follow in their path. You can choose a completely different route. Either path leads to the direction that was chosen. Don’t feel left out by any means. Who knows? Tomorrow, next week, or maybe even next year you may travel that way too. If not, your paths may meet somewhere else on the journey. And by then, if you followed your life signs correctly, you’ll be a better driver.
Yield and Keep Moving
Whatever you do…keep it moving. If you’re not going forward, don’t go backwards. Stand still. Collect your bearings, and maintain upward mobility to the One who provides the roadmaps of life. No, you won’t always feel like you’re traveling on Hero Way. And Lord knows others won’t always stay in their lanes. But don’t worry. You’ve got this. Just continue to YIELD daily to God’s voice and His leading. You will end up just where He intended for you to be.
Just remember, “Progress over perfection.” Keep it moving, even if it’s not perfect. Don’t let the need for perfection hinder you from fulfilling your purpose. That was me. And to be truthful, I still struggle with the burden of wanting to be perfect. But I’ve learned that each day I should be striding just to be a better version of myself. Constantly growing and evolving. Learning from mistakes, adjusting to their lessons, and dropping nuggets of insight to others who travel their own journeys day by day. Much the same way we flash our high beams as a courtesy to other drivers to make them aware that they may need to slow down, turn around, or just be aware that they stand the chance of getting pulled over and ticketed for going too fast. Always keep in mind that the warnings are intended to help you, not hinder you.
It’s OK to Reroute
Oh! And don’t worry…your universal GPS will RECALCULATE from time to time, whenever you take a wrong turn. It’ll seem like it took you longer to get where you’re going, but you’ll get there…just in time. And you’ll consider your journey a blessing, just as I did.
Still, I haven’t arrived. I’m striding daily to get there. But I am grateful that the DETOUR I was forced to take in 2019 led me here. ~Dawn~
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