When I exited out of the cult I spent the first 20yrs of my adult life in, I was , to put it simply, lost.
Here I was in midlife, having lived a very unconventional lifestyle and was now faced with the prospect of starting all over. It was daunting, it was scary, and I didn’t know where to start
What sort of career could I pursue? was it too late? Could I really create a fulfilling life for myself?
However, I now realise it’s not that dissimilar to many other transitions people go through in life. Marriage breakup (which I also experienced after leaving the cult), empty nesting, retirement, changing career, midlife.
A question that often comes up in the middle of life transition is “What’s next?”
When our life has been on the same trajectory for many years, it can be difficult to negotiate the challenge of adjusting to a significant change.
Is it even possible to change?
We can spend some time grieving what once was, but at some stage, we need to stop looking over our shoulder and start moving forwards.
That was the challenge that faced me, so I want to share with you some lessons I learned along the way to get me unstuck. I hope that they’ll be of help to you.
1. Stop pulling the extra load
We’ve all heard the term baggage. Stuff that we carry around with us from our past. The older we are, the more we seem to have. Ditch it. Ever wonder why athletes training for a race run with weights attached? It’s so when they take them off when they actually compete, they feel like they’re flying.
That’s what it’s like when you can shed your past. You’ll have regrets, things you did you wish you hadn’t and things you wish you had. It’s also tempting to put too much emphasis on your past experiences when contemplating your future. “That’s not me” , “I’ve never done that before” , “This is the way I’ve always been”
I spent a lot of time wondering what my life would have been like if I hadn’t joined the cult, convincing myself I was very limited in what I could accomplish in the future because of my background. How wrong I was.
Ditch the past
2. Be willing to gamble on yourself
When’s the last time you took a risk. You know, did something that scared the s$%* out of you. Not the most enjoyable prospect to contemplate…but probably the best thing you could do for yourself. I don’t mean stuff like driving 100km on the wrong side of the road or using all your savings to gamble at the casino. I’m talking about doing something that makes you uncomfortable.
Doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable , taking a calculated risk, is good for your soul and it will open you up to thinking about new opportunities that may be lying before you.
When I left the cult, I decided I wanted to run my own business instead of working for someone else. The latter provided more security , the former offered more freedom. It was daunting, but I challenged myself and did it.
I now make it a regular habit to do things that get me out of my comfort zone. It keep me fresh and alive
Taking risks teaches us a lot about ourselves and what we’re capable of
3. Plan your life and live your plan
Once you’ve unshackled yourself from the past and have the courage to try something different, it’s time to start creating a new life for yourself. It’s important that the life you design revolves around who you are, it’s based on your theme, what you’re about, your values, interests and desires.
It’s an opportunity for change and it’s something that should excite you. People often don’t see the opportunity in change. They look at is as something to be feared and resisted. That’s a limiting mindset that will keep you stuck. There are unlimited possibilities for you out there if you’re willing to make the transition.
I knew that if I was going to make something of the rest of my life, I would have to change my mindset. I actually turned things around and got excited about my future. This was a new chapter. I was free, I was not limited by by past. I was free to create the life that I wanted
4. Enjoy every moment of now
This very second you’re in is precious. You may not have what you had before and you may not have what you would like yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you have now. Be grateful for every moment. That is the true essence of fulfilment. It doesn’t mean you can’t aim for more, but it’s seems that one of life’s ironies is that unless we are grateful for what we have now, we won’t be happy when we have more
Throughout my journey, and to this day, I am always so grateful for the many wonderful things in my life. I have six beautiful children, two grandchildren, am good friends with my ex-wife, have excellent health, a great social life , fun pastimes. I really feel blessed. Though I am still on my way somewhere, I’m still grateful for what I have now.
So what sort of life are you seeking?
It’s within your reach if you believe in it and are willing to do the work
Enjoy your journey