It's Personal: 3 Tips For Life PerspectivePublished May 04, 2022 by Sheila Anne Murray
In my High School it was an informal tradition that seniors designed T-Shirts to commemorate their final year together. Often these shirts were loud colors with cheesy quotes, and our group was no different. We selected tie-dye T-Shirts with an unoriginal Ferris Bueller quote on the back:
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
This quote seems a bit ironic now, as most people often want to miss high school. This wasn’t the case for me, and I actually still love the quote. Yep, I’m that girl who actually enjoyed her high school experience. Obviously not all of it, but when have you ever loved every minute, person, experience, and lesson from four whole years of your life? High school was where I created some of my strongest friendships (and still have them today), learned to play the guitar (I’ve now forgotten, but that’s not the point), galloped horses through trails, and started really becoming the person I am today.
The thing that made the difference for me in high school was that I wasn’t overly concerned with “getting it over with.” I wanted to breathe in and soak up every moment because every moment felt like a gift. When I was 14 and experienced life-threatening appendicitis, a month of my sophomore year was spent in the hospital. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I came away from that experience a different person, and the lessons I learned then continue to echo throughout my life today. Sure, I don’t have the wisdom of a middle-aged woman but what I do have is perspective. If I fail to stop and look around once in a while, I miss out on that perspective.
A great example of perspective is this: the other day I was walking with my husband, James, and our dog. We were talking about the houses that were up for sale, what a crazy market it is, and how lucky we were to have bought our house when we did. James said how wild it would have been if we had bought our house even earlier (than the end of 2020) and I reminded him that at the beginning of 2020 we had no idea where we wanted to live and we didn’t even have jobs.
That made me pause.
Just one year before we moved to Denver, a year and a half before we bought our first house, we were quitting our jobs and backpacking Europe with no plan of what would happen upon our return.
A quick timeline:
2019: I earned my yoga teaching certification, we quit our jobs, we backpacked Europe and stay in seven different countries, we got engaged, we came back to the US, we decided to move “somewhere” West.
2020: I started training to become a coach, we moved to Colorado to “try it out,” the pandemic hit, we adopted a dog, we bought a house
For me, perspective is noticing how full your life is, how quickly it moves, as well as how capable you are of overcoming adversities and uncertainty.
Whenever I feel stuck, I’m going to remember the version of me that could barely lift her feet up to the next step in the office building, weighed down by the grief that was leftover from my mom leaving the physical realm just a week prior. I’ll remember the version of me that went from a salaried and benefits job to an hourly one and was over the moon with happiness because she was treated with respect and loved what she was doing. And the 26 year old Sheila, who was paddling the The River Soča in Slovenia wondering “what am I going to do with my life?”. I’ll think of the jobless Sheila and James, sitting in a cafe in Boulder worried about health insurance because I didn’t have insurance at the moment, we didn’t have sustainable money coming in, and I had a slight headache. I’ll think about the version of me that so desperately wanted out of her corporate job but didn’t believe in herself enough to do so. Then I’ll remember the moment before telling the world about my coaching business, when I chose my desire to live big over my fear of judgment. We can learn so much by looking at our own histories of challenges and triumphs.
We will soon be entering the second half of 2022 (wild, right?) and I invite you to step back and integrate these 3 perspective tips.
1. Look back to look ahead.
When you are feeling off track, behind, stuck, or uncertain, remember a time when you felt this very same way. I assure you that you’ve felt this way before. What you will see is all the times you didn’t think you could go on but you did. Or you worried you would make the wrong choice and everything ended up okay. Or you were uncertain about your own ability to “go for it” but you did and you learned something. The truth is that we can always get further than we believe. We heal even when we think we can’t, even when we don’t want to. We find our power and resourcefulness in the moments of uncertainty and instability. Look back at your own stories, moments big and small, and let them open the door to possibilities of the future.
2. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone.
Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard it before but have you really, really listened? The best choices I’ve ever made were the ones that felt a little scary: Dating the friend from work, moving from salary to hourly, starting my LLC, backpacking Europe without a fully fledged plan, moving to Denver jobless and without a place to live. Much like we underestimate our ability to get unstuck, we also underestimate our ability to figure things out. We cocoon ourselves in places that feel safe and by people that feel safe, even if we’ve outgrown both. Take a chance, trust, let yourself fly!
3. Stop and be present with this moment you’re in.
I realize so much of my life was talked about as transitionary: High school classes to prepare for college applications; Junior varsity before varsity; College effort to prepare for future job applications. Not everything is a transition. There is meaning to be found in each moment. There are lessons in each rut. If you are always preparing for the future, you’re not able to be present and enjoy the heck out of the present - the very one you’ve worked so hard to create. Without even going into the science of why being present is beneficial, isn’t it more than enough to know that if you are present you are actually taking advantage of all your hard work and determination? Isn’t it enough to say “I’m going to be fully in this moment because I’m worth it and that’s that!”? Stop and be present with this moment - it will be perspective for later.
Don’t wait until “later in life” to take care of your body, prioritize yourself, get quality sleep, and appreciate your family and friends.
Instead, slow down and get to know your nervous system, take yourself on dates and get to know that person you’ll be with forever, tell your people you love them (so much!) , dance, sing, play, experiment, find joy, get weird, and nurture your soul
Life moves fast, chose to experience every moment of it.