My friend just turned 50. She’s a psychologist and hates her job. I ask why she continues doing it and she tells me she’s invested too much time, energy and money into it to quit. This is the exact same reason she told me 20+ years ago when she became a psychologist and realized she didn’t like it. Back then, it was the 10 years of schooling, training and student loans she’d accumulated. Now, there’s 20 more years of work-life experience, resentment and misery added on to her justification for staying in a profession she hates.
This morning I woke up and discovered someone had slipped a pair of cranky pants on me while I slept.
We have puppies again. And before I can take care of me, I have to take care of the crying puppies. That means poop duty, feedings and a little morning TLC before I get to sit down and enjoy the holiness of that first sip of coffee in the quiet sanctity of morning.
Mornings are sacred to me. I like quiet, reflection and stillness. I like to wake up, get a cup of coffee, sit outside with my journal and watch the sun peek over the mountain. I like to sip slowly, write whatever my hand feels inspired to write, and reflect on the beauty of the open blue sky, chirping birds and the misty haze that sometimes layers the mountains around me.
But when you have nine four-week-old puppies, you wake up to a pen full of pee and poop that’s been rolled in, stomped on and spread around, thanks to 7 hours of neglect because you were sleeping. The puppies are hungry and they demand. food. now. They don’t care about your coffee, your quiet or holy mornings. They want their holy food.
For the last 4 weeks, I didn’t mind puppy duty in the mornings. But this morning, those cranky pants were buttoned on tight.
So when my man called as I was wrangling the furballs to their feeding stations and hurrying to roll up all the torn, dirty newspapers and lay out clean wee pads and papers while they’re preoccupied with eating instead of trying to chew every wee pad I put down, I snapped at him.
We have an agreement to never talk to each other in a disrespectful way. That includes snapping at one another, even when we’re frustrated, cranky or hangry. While some couples think this is normal, we’ve agreed that it’s not our normal and no matter how frustrated we might be in any given situation, it’s not okay to treat the one you love that way. So we just don’t do it.
Except, I did. And then I apologized.
And after the pups were back in the clean pen with happy rounded bellies, I gave myself permission to begin again.
I went back to sleep.
Thirty minutes later, I woke up, refreshed and renewed, no cranky pants in sight. It was as if waking up for the first time, except, now I could enjoy my morning the way I like… in peace and quiet. Without puppy poop.
Whether it’s a profession you hate or a morning ritual gone awry, give yourself permission to begin again.
I could’ve spent all day analyzing why I woke up cranky Tree instead of the usual happy Tree. I could’ve made a bunch of excuses and justifications as to why I was cranky-pants. Or I could just go back to sleep and begin again.
My friend could spend her life analyzing why she became a psychologist or why she hates it so much, and she could make a bunch of justifications as to why she needs to stay. Or she could just begin again and do something she enjoys.
It may not be as simple as going back to sleep, but it all starts with giving yourself PERMISSION to begin again… to be open to letting go of reasons, excuses and logic, especially if they’re keeping you in misery… to allow yourself to consider something new, something exciting, something that makes your heart sing rather than mute it.
Because you’re worth it.
Because life is worth it.
Because it’s no fun being stuck doing something you don’t want to do, being someone you don’t want to be and living a life you don’t want to live.
I’m not talking solely about jobs here, I’m talking about anything and everything in your life that’s causing you misery. Maybe it’s a relationship. Maybe it’s the way you yell at your kids. Maybe it’s how you lose yourself in your emotions. Maybe it’s a belief system that no longer serves you. Maybe it’s your lack of trust in God. Maybe it’s your lack of trust in yourself.
Whatever it is, begin again.
Undo years of habit and conditioning by simply giving yourself permission to be, do or have something different.
Often, we don’t make changes because we think it has to be big and dramatic, like burning-bush-trumpets-blaring-in-the-heavens kind of big. But it doesn’t have to be a huge, drastic change.
When I was in Bear Valley Search & Rescue, I learned that a hiker who veered off course by a mere one degree could end up miles away from their target at the end of the day, and that’s how many hikers get lost. One degree difference doesn’t seem like much, hardly noticeable when you’re putting one foot in front of the other.
But over time, the difference could be a matter of life or death.
The same is true for making changes in your life. Small steps toward your target, repeated and made consistently over time, is the difference between living on purpose or living by default.
Like my friend, one day you turn 50 and wonder how you wandered so far from your joy.
Give yourself permission, today, right now, to begin again.
Take a small, one degree step toward your bold, beautiful and joyous life.
Whatever it is…
You have permission.