Spring has sprung! The rain has thoroughly watered the seeds and the most beautiful things have now bloomed, including myself.
I am back from my unplanned hiatus! Just as the seasons changed abruptly, so did I. I wouldn’t say mine was as abrupt as the weather but it was a much needed and anticipated change. I needed to get back on track and it took longer than I had hoped. Change that was caused by a number of things like, feeling like I didn’t know what actually made me happy, A LOT of self doubt, not feeling like Ashley and figuring out what actually made me who I enjoyed being. One thing I will say, that was a huge positive for me the last couple of months, was recognizing I was “off”. I was able to proactively self-regulate and tell not only myself but others I needed time. A couple of months to you might seem like a lifetime or maybe not enough time. Remember, every single person moves at their own pace. That means what works for you necessarily might not work for me! I am incredibly thankful that I am able to use my “tools” in my toolbox that I’ve known for so long were there but neglected their use and importance.
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place”
I’ve always been a person who empathizes more than sympathizes. I usually take on or share the feelings of someone oppose to feeling sorry for them and it’s become a stressor for me. I let the feelings, emotions and situations of others dictate my feelings and emotions. My mood interferes with daily tasks and taking care of my responsibilities. I was placing unnecessary stress on myself for no reason. Mid March I figured I needed to take a step back and answer a few questions, as honest as possible, and come up with an action plan of how I’m actually going to actively focus on my “bloom”. I had to answer: What do I need to thrive? What makes me the happiest? When don’t I feel like Ashley? What did I enjoy before I got busy and unfocused on myself? Lastly, who and/or what did I need to let go of?
Thrive. I am filled with success at church and when I am spending alone time with the Lord. I always feel incredibly encouraged and filled with purpose during those times. Why can’t I feel like that majority of the time? Well, I can! This made me realize I had/have to make WAY more meaningful and purposeful time with Him and not just during my harder days.
Happiest. I have a lot of things that make me happy—sleeping in, donuts, hearing my daughter laugh, feeling appreciated, coaching, seeing my kiddos at school celebrate successes no matter how big or small they are and the list goes on. But, as I thought about it there’s a commonality that stuck out to me…most of the things I listed involved other people. Since March 12th I’ve consistently worked out 4 or more days a week. And, have cut out particular foods that I loved but didn’t really love me. I feel and look (LOL) much better than prior to starting. Sports has always been a part of my life and after my daughter was born I began finding every excuse to justify why I couldn’t workout for even 30 min! Well, I’ve found much longer than 30 mins and it’s genuinely made me happy. It also makes me happy knowing I go to the gym or outside to run for myself and not for anything or anyone else.
Not Myself. When is Ashley not Ashley? There’s not only signs mentally that let me know I’m not myself but also physical signs. I tend to sleep a lot and try to avoid everything. Sleeping sporadically is difficult when you have a 3 year old, work and coach. When sleep isn’t an option I become irritable, off task and just overall unpleasant. Recognizing the things that signal I’m not Ashley has helped me figure out what my “normal” Ashley should look and feel like.
Rediscover. What did I do to occupy my time before I got caught up not focusing on myself? Blogging! But writing leisurely in general. I put tasks in front of me that could have waited, instead, I ignored my goal. Which is to show people that they aren’t the only person out there with the same feelings and thoughts as me.
Let Go. I think letting go of something that is toxic or doesn’t serve you purpose is the easiest thing I did during this transition. In many aspects of my life I have high expectations and refuse to lower them to appease others. Every week, in different settings, I am constantly challenged to break my expectations to make someone feel better. I am not comfortable in knowing that I am aiding in setting unrealistic expectations of the real world. I let go of every and anything that didn’t and doesn’t make Ashley, Ashley.
I am thankful I have now blossomed out of my hiatus and excited to see what new seeds you and I will plant this season