Don’t Lose Yourself in Caring for Others
By Mary-Anne Schelb
And I don’t mean winter, spring, summer, or fall. I am referring to the seasons of life. Seasons of friendship, seasons of career, seasons of family. You get it.
We all know the saying: friends come into and out of our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Really, the same thing happens in all we do. Getting married, you become someone’s wife or husband or partner. You have children, and you are mom or dad. You get a career, and you are someone’s employee or boss. Even C-suite employees report to someone. If you are a business owner, you may have a board of directors you are in step with — or you are answering to your customers or clients. Some of these will be for a reason, for a season, or maybe a lifetime.
“If you give too much of yourself away, there will be nothing left for you, and that is why, when you step into your final season — retirement — it’s easy to feel sad or lost.”
When you are all of these things to everyone, all the time — wife, mom, employee, business owner — are you losing the core of who you are? Are you getting lost in the hustle and bustle? We all know that, as the years pass, the hustle and bustle gets more hustley and bustley.
Don’t get lost. Don’t lose your identity of who you are at your core. Remember what you need — to feel whole, to feel alive. If you give too much of yourself away, there will be nothing left for you, and that is why, when you step into your final season — retirement — it’s easy to feel sad or lost.
As the years go by, you see many college graduations with children becoming adults and going out on their own. Empty-nest syndrome is a real thing, and it is OK to feel sad, but (you knew there would be a but) do not lose yourself in this sadness. Try to replace the sadness with excitement that your kids are going forth into the world with all you have taught them, all you have shown them. Our job is to guide them and encourage them to become successful and contributing members of society. Let them live. Let them experience. And I dare you to do the same.
What were things in your world you used to love to do that got pushed to the side or put on a back burner while you cared for your children, or while you worked countless hours at a job you may or may not have even liked. Hobbies you used to love? Friends you used to see? Live your life. Become the person you have always wanted to become — or reignite the passion for yourself you used to have. I always share with clients: it is never too late.
Whether you are still mom and dad — or now maybe caring for your own mom and dad — or you are finding you are identifying too much with a job, take a deep breath, close your eyes, and picture the perfect you. Connect with your higher self (that perfect version of yourself) and move toward that. One small step at a time still moves you forward.
Don’t get lost in someone else’s dream; make sure you are living your own. And if you are? Kudos to you! We are very few and far between. So I ask this of you: reach out to a friend who may be in need. Give them a hug, spend some time, lend an ear. Talk to them about the wonderful person you know they are, and remind them not to get lost.
We are all in this together.
Mary-Anne Schelb is director of Business Development at JGS Lifecare.