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A Second Season of Self-Discovery Isn’t a Drag—It’s a Gift

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I was walking with a new friend recently when she mentioned that she doesn’t know what to do with her next chapter.

She was a teacher before taking some years off to raise her kids, and now that her kids are getting older, she’s asking herself what’s next. She knows she doesn’t want to teach again, but beyond that, she said she’s lost. 

This conversation felt like déjà vu, because I’d had almost the exact same conversation with a good friend just a couple of weeks earlier.

That friend had done physical therapy and massage before and during the early years of raising kids, but it’s now been several years since she worked traditionally, and the one thing she knows is that she doesn’t want to go back to her old line of work.

Just like my new friend told me on our walk, she obviously felt daunted by the idea of figuring out her next steps. 

The Turning Point So Many Women Face

So many of us women go through this early midlife not-quite-a-crisis but definitely a fork-in-the-road situation. I’ve felt it too.

It’s like all of a sudden you notice that your oldest kid is solving your tech issues and your youngest kid can make his own snack—and you realize they don’t need you as wholly and completely as they once did. 

It’s a disconcerting realization, and it pushes you to lift your head up for the first time in a long while and see that there’s a whole ‘other chapter ahead of you—and that it’s coming faster than you thought.

These back-to-back conversations have gotten me thinking about a time in my life that felt similar. 

Back then, I wasn’t a 36-year-old mom of three. I was an 18-year-old, fresh-faced, college freshman. 

Remember When Self-Discovery Was FUN?

I don’t know about you, but I remember this time in my life with an insane amount of affection and nostalgia. 

Looking back on it now, I swear I GLOWED with the newness of independence and the excitement of believing that the whole world was open to me. 

{I have to quickly interject that I know what a privileged position I was in at 18, and I know what a privilege it is to have (much of) the world open to you yet again in your 30s, 40s, 50s—or whenever you hit a similar fork in the road.}

As a college student, I took classes that I was interested in. I TA-ed for an interior design professor, worked in the campus writing center, and went to Africa with a nonprofit organization. 

Only one of those experiences has any real connection with the work I do now, but in quieter ways, they all contributed to the path I took and the person I’ve become (and am still becoming).

A Second Season of Self-Discovery Isn't a Drag—It's a Gift

Could You Recapture This Spirit?

My thought is—

If you’re looking ahead of you and feeling totally lost, what if you tried on the same attitude you had when you were fresh-faced and 18? 

What if you tried out some things that interest you—without putting so much pressure on yourself to be a grown-up and have it all figured out? 

What if you checked out some books or started following some Instagram accounts in a field that interests you? 

What if you took a digital course or asked a friend if you could shadow her? 

But it’s more than what you DO: It’s the outlook you choose for this second season of self-discovery. 

What if instead of looking at this next chapter and feeling intimidated and confused, you cultivated some of those same feelings you had in early adulthood? Excitement, openness, maybe even a bit of fearlessness. 

The Girl Inside of You? She’s Still There

Granted, you’re not 18 anymore, and that’s a good thing! You know more about yourself than you did then, and you know that not every action leads where you think it will. 

But this next chapter is an opportunity to recapture a bit of the girl inside you. It’s a chance to deepen yourself, refine your gifts, and cultivate new ones. 

It’s also not a chapter of life everyone gets.

So many people are thrust from one stage of life to another without the luxury of an intentional transition.

So if you’ve got a bit of time in the margins of your life and the financial, mental, and emotional flexibility to explore your interests and gifts, remember…

A second (or third or fourth) season of self-discovery isn’t a drag. It doesn’t have to be a burden. It can be a GIFT.

It’s scary, absolutely. But it’s beautiful, too, and I hope you face it with your arms and heart wide open.  

Where Do I Start?

I have a free worksheet of 21 questions to help you get in touch with your younger self and discover what things light a fire in you now. Hundreds of women have used it to plant their feet on their next path. ❤️ (I literally used it to discover mine!)

Grab it here! ↡↡

I’d love to hear about your experience! Have you hit this turning point? What helped you embrace it?

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