About a year ago, my then 8 year old told me “Mom I am done playing with dolls, I want to get rid of them, I am too old.” I quickly took her up on her request, grabbed a few trash bags and got down on the floor to select, pile and quickly determine what we were giving away. I was not letting go of this opportunity to clean up some of the mess in her room. Her doll selection consisted of a big family of Baby Alive dolls at different ages, strollers, a few American Girl dolls, clothes, shoes, and bottles galore!
Throughout the process, I could tell she doubted herself a few times, asking me if I thought it was a good idea. I commended her for being so decisive and mature and explained how happy some little girls would be when they received these beautiful dolls and how someone’s trash is always someone else’s treasure. We accomplished our task at hand, collected our loot and moved on, never looking back. We were on to a new stage of drawing and reading, and a few video games, more age appropriate and certainly less messy. I was happy and so was she.
Fast forward to this week, when while on vacation she insisted we go zip lining. I thought, great idea! It’s so much fun, it’s her chance to get over her fear from past years when she had to be rescued from a few of the runs. We got there and immediately, I looked at my husband signaling to what seemed to be much more difficult and straining than years passed and I said “I’m too old for this… He nodded in agreement but it was too late to turn around. We went ahead and braved the path paved by her as our leader. I finished three obstacle courses and I was done, not just for the day, but forever! I knew even before starting that I was done. Yes, I can still do it. But I don’t WANT to do it anymore. Just like I don’t want to ski anymore. The risks outweigh the rewards for me.
So, what is the lesson? Stages of life are beautiful and should be welcomed with grace and self-compassion. In this stage of my life, I am so blessed to choose what I want to do, who I want to welcome into my life and who I want to be. My daughter felt triumphant that day as she nailed the black diamond course that had paralyzed her just last year. Her growth gave her a new sense of confidence that was so worth my discomfort. And, knowing that “I was done with this experience” was also a motivator to have it one more time. The more we resist the change that new life stages bring, the more unhappy we will be. In order to grow we need to be challenged and we need to feel the discomfort. There is no triumph or satisfaction in “status quo”. We are here to learn and transform and to get messy and real and hopefully be supported by those who love us enough to encourage us to continue realizing ourselves!
Have you asked yourself lately what you simply do not WANT to do anymore? We always have a choice and every choice when made from love is absolutely empowering and an opportunity for growth!