Coasting...

I was thinking about this week’s topic which I felt was going to be about ‘coasting’ through life.  Not ever reaching our full potential. Getting stuck in a ‘comfortable’ space and not growing as individuals, as spiritual beings.

Most, if not all, of the topics I write about are my own personal experiences – or things that those close to me experience.

As I was tossing around a few ideas about ‘coasting’ through life (actually thinking that this topic didn’t really apply to me) the unthinkable happened.  My 14-year-old son, Alexander, who has a seizure disorder of unknown origin, had a seizure, after a year of being seizure free. 

I’m the type of person that you want in an emergency – I can handle anything.  Really, I can.  I administered the emergency anti-seizure meds to my Alex – all the while barking orders at my Husband to call 911 – instructing my 10 year old Son to get dressed and lock up the dog in anticipation of the paramedics arriving.

Praise God that Alex came around in a short amount of time.  I got Alex up, shoes on, still shouting orders at anyone around (I didn’t say I was pretty to watch in an emergency – just capable) and helped Alex to the living room to be assessed by the paramedics.  Vitals were stable, and we transported Alex to the ER (husband drove – squad couldn’t take Alex to our hospital of choice).  I handled it! Sure, I was talking fast, and driving everyone crazy (especially Alex) with my repetitive questions of “Are you ok?” but, my goodness everyone was safe and breathing!  Goal met! After a check by the doctors – and several hours later - we were able to bring Alex home – thank God.

I was fine.

Until afterward.

I felt like I was falling apart inside.  My Husband was burdened enough, I didn’t want to call anyone…I felt completely alone…and empty.  My fear for my Son ratcheted up to an almost unbearable level. My mind filled with ‘what-ifs’. 

I hardly slept. Anticipating all the scenarios I was creating in my mind.  I woke to check Alex’s breathing, lifting his eye lids to check and make sure he wasn’t actively seizing…     

In the few weeks that have passed from the above incident on October 22, 2018 – I’ve come to the realization that I have been ‘treading water’ waiting for the next ‘shoe to drop’ for over a year.

I’ve realized that I have been living in the shadow of the tragedy we experienced in 2017 when my Alex spent much of the summer ‘sleeping’ (he was in a medically induced coma) … we have been blessed to be able to say Alex has been seizure free for over a year. 

Upon reflection, I am aware that I have spent much of the last year ‘coasting’.   Just doing the bare minimum to get by… somewhere along the way I got stuck.   

In life there must be growth.  When we are stagnant, we experience atrophy of our spirit and, whether we acknowledge it or not, we feel it to the depths of our soul.

I have said this before, and chances are I will say it again, your experience doesn’t need to be as life-altering as my own… (and God willing it won’t be) All of us, to one degree or another, experience ‘coasting’ at different times of our lives.  Maybe you are living in the shadow of a tragedy; a death of a loved one, a divorce, a loved one with a substance abuse issues - or - maybe you’ve just stopped where you feel comfortable and are ‘coasting’ for a moment… your internal compass telling you it is ok to just ‘be’ for a while, to ‘take it easy’.

The fact is the more time you spend procrastinating on your progression in life, the more time you spend with a sense of anxiety and unease.  Easy is comfortable and that’s why many of us like to stay there.   But the risk of staying on an easy path is that it could eventually lead to boredom, monotony and unhappiness.

This pattern of “getting comfortable” is far too real and results in a cycle of unfulfilled dreams and mediocrity. We stop growing and settle … the deeper we fall into the chasm of stagnation, the harder it is to climb out.

If you can’t recall the last time you felt excited about something, there’s a good chance you’re just getting by—and not actually living. The absence of excitement in your life means that you’ve lost a sense of what your true passions are.

How long do we linger?  For how long do we remain static?

There is never a perfect time, but ironically enough, it is always the right time to make a change, take a risk, and get out of your comfort zone.

The reality of life is that we can all grow as individuals.  We can be better partners, parents, friends.  We can pursue dreams that we put on the ‘back burner’ when we are raising our children, taking care of our parents, maybe supporting a spouse in obtaining their goals.

(The idea that my needs are important too is one I struggle with.  Not wanting to be selfish or self-centered – maybe you can relate…)

If you are consistently doing and actively choosing the bare minimum, feeling comfortable and secure in the moment, eventually it will make you feel unfulfilled and resentful because there is a spark that resides inside of all of us that wants more.

When you know you can do better, but don’t for whatever reason, that means you’re coasting.  Find out what’s preventing you from pursuing what would make you feel better, feel complete, feel fulfilled.   Is it lack of motivation, energy, confidence or something else?

Once you’ve spotted the problem, make it a point to address the underlying reason. Are you losing confidence because of internal dialogue or external forces?  Is it how you are speaking to yourself or are you listening to individuals that you choose to surround yourself with?

Get clear on what it is that you would find fulfilling - a smaller waistline, a more organized home, continuing your education, volunteer work – (Keep in mind that we need to only ask for guidance from our Creator and signs will appear before us…leading the way helping us to define what we truly want and how we want our life to be).  Don’t simply “exist” without a purpose in life.

Whether it’s your work or a hobby, do your best to pinpoint what motivates you and follow that path.  When you set your goal, state a timeframe and a general plan. You will be well on your way to living life with more direction and motivation.

Don’t wait for the stars to align before implementing change…start now and dream big!

Every day, make a habit of incremental progress (small steps lead to big changes) and you will inspire yourself and others as well.

Complaining will get you nowhere, so start setting aside some time to do the things you know you should be doing without bothering too much about the noise around you. You might surprise yourself.

The simple fact is this, My Alex will continue to be in recovery whether or not I decide to pursue my goals.  Life will go on - it is my choice how I choose to spend my time – how I will be, and what purpose I will pursue.

Just as a death, divorce or a loved one in recovery (or whatever applies to you) may be the shadow you are living under or you maybe you just became complacent - life goes on– you deserve better than complacency, than mediocrity.  Recognizing you are stopping you from achieving the life you deserve is step one.  It is your choice how you proceed.

I cannot continue to live in a shadow…I cannot continue to tread water.  My family deserves a happier, healthier me…I deserve it as well.

Discover (or rediscover) your joie de vivre…you are worth it.

May God Bless Your Journey -

Natalie