Hard to believe my youngest nephew is turning 18 this year.
Seems like only the week before last when the phone rang announcing the news of his arrival.
With the good fortune of living nearby, I had the privilege of spending a lot of time with him in his early years and being a keen observer of his growth.
J was a pretty amazing infant and toddler – content, active, even tempered, respectful, super curious and learned new things like a sponge.
Several times a year, however, he drove my sister around the bend.
From out of nowhere he’d start into a high pitched baby-talk babble and clearly not be himself for days at a stretch.
Then just as quickly, he’d wake up in the morning and be the old J again.
Except he wasn’t.
“All of a sudden” J could do something he never had before – maybe stack blocks, fit together more puzzle pieces, grasp a new concept, or have more refined motor skills.
Didn’t take long to figure out the “crazy talk” was his outlet for the energy of a metamorphic rewiring happening inside.
Change and growth certainly doesn’t stop once we become adults.
We may not babble in baby talk, but the signs of our own metamorphosis are there nonetheless.
And for as much as we’d like to open our eyes one morning to find ourselves exactly where we’re supposed to be – there’s a high probability some bumps, stumbles, falls and frustrations will be part of the process.
Instead of putting all our attention on avoiding the discomfort, we can use these signals as a reminder to let go into the experience and become excited of what will unfold ahead.
The bumps and stumbles won’t necessarily go away, but how we perceive them can change dramatically.
How do you tell if you’re going through another “growth spurt” of your own?
Here are fourteen signs to indicate change is afoot. You might identify with a few or a lot of these.
1. Nothing fits – Slowly or suddenly (or always), you don’t belong anywhere. Family dinners are a struggle for conversation beyond the weather. Staying home feels like a much better option than pretending to be your old self going out with friends. Where you used to be on the same page, nobody in your life seems to think or see the world the same way you do now.
2. Work is not enough – Although you’ve put yourself and your life into your work, you know deep down inside there’s more to Life. There’s more to you. What you’re doing may still be interesting, but it’s not the end all, be all anymore. This void or emptiness leaves you feeling dissatisfied, so much so you may even …
3. Hate your job – There is nothing worse than pretending to be somebody you’re not for hours on end, feeling like you’re selling your soul and should be doing something else. But you don’t know what. You can’t leave without anything to go to. You’re stuck. On top of that, if you’re paid well then everyone thinks you’re crazy for even considering a change. Money can make your dilemma worse.
4. Interests have changed – The books you used to read, the music you used to listen to, the TV shows you used to watch, the movies you loved going to, the discussions you used to have … they don’t hold your interest anymore. Sure you have a few keepers here and there, but you are eagerly excited to be immersed in entirely new worlds opening up to you.
5. Passion is gone – What used to make you jump out of bed in the morning now feels like bleh. The high, the buzz, the excitement that made you feel alive has disappeared.
6. No motivation – Things begin to pile up or are left unfinished. There’s always tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that to do what needs to get done. What’s the rush? Or the point? Meh, was it really important after all?
7. Restless – For as much as you might lack motivation to do anything, you’re restless to do something. Sitting around, being still is driving you crazy. Finding something to do isn’t satisfying because it’s not the right thing. You’re just putting in time instead of moving forward. But where to next?
8. Ready to explode – Change creates energy and energy needs to move. When energy is not allowed to release and builds up inside, your feelings of being overweight, sluggish, clogged and constrained increase right along in step. Being pregnant with the new you evolving inside is frickin uncomfortable and annoying more of the time than not.
9. Endless loop – Almost seems like somebody hit the “repeat” button instead of “play” because the same message keeps appearing over and over. And more blatant each time. Whispers feel like they’ve turned into shouts. You can only ignore them for so long. But you really don’t want to hear either because of the implications of what would occur next.
10. Resignation – You’ve tried everything and nothing works. What else can you do? Everyone else has a purpose except you. You really wonder how much more of this can you take. Really, if finding your purpose is this difficult and may never be found, why bother to keep trying? Life could be so much easier going back to the way you were before.
11. Worried to come out of the closet – Being who you are now around those who knew you before feels pretty vulnerable. You know you don’t fit in, but you’ve also not been formally rejected either. If they don’t accept the real you, and you don’t belong anywhere else, then what?
12. Out of your mind – While you’ve been pretty good at thinking through problems and using logic, more and more you find yourself being drawn, poked or prodded by something inside. Often feeling like you’re going against reason, your intuition is kicking into a higher gear. You may even start to hear messages, or know things you shouldn’t. What you once considered woo-woo is now happening to you.
13. Forced to change – Disliking change or not wanting to change doesn’t mean you won’t have to. Divorce, sudden unemployment, an unexpected death, the loss of your home, an empty nest or a health crisis can all throw you for a loop and create the opening for a new you to come through. Doesn’t make these situations any more pleasant, but they can be the best thing that happened to you.
14. Opportunity knocks – Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time. You’ve heard something a gazillion times, but only now does the light bulb go off. A chance meeting turns into the exact person you needed to take that next step.
You are always transforming. All of these signs are a point in time, not an end.
Keep in mind, while we find many common threads in our experiences, they aren’t necessarily universal or guaranteed.
What happened before may not happen this time. What someone else describes may be totally foreign to you.
By paying attention to see the patterns of what happens when, you begin to write your personalized travel guide to navigate the paths of change.
Let’s take a look next into ways to support yourself through these transitions.
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