Do you ever feel like you are not 'moving ahead' in life as fast as you should be? That you are not taking the next step in an adult life like:
Getting married, having children, buying a home or moving ahead in your career.
I have been feeling a sense of others around me moving ‘forward’ while I am not in the traditional sense of the term.
And yet there is a part of me that wants to say ‘screw this’ - not because there’s anything wrong with 'moving forward' if this is what is genuinely chosen - simply that I don’t want to define ‘moving forward’ in life based on prescribed definitions and norms.
More than anything, it isn’t how I want to judge myself - it isn’t how I want to measure progress.
If moving forward looks like other people’s definitions of linear life progress, then I don’t want to be moving forward.
No. Instead I want to grow.
I want to expand and explore and set roots and spread out and simply be alive.
Because when I allow the pressure of moving forward to take over, it feels so limited to one direction and one way of moving. I think for many of us it feels like we are lagging behind in areas of life.
It feels linear and prescriptive - like moving forward should look the same for everyone, as if we were all lined up like the zombies in Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and just moving at the same pace and in the same direction.
And don’t we often approach making change in a similar way?
Many of my clients expect the changes they have started to make should be this continuous forward movement. Anything other than this is seen as ‘failure’.
Yet life isn’t like that.
Real life is more messy and unpredictable and complex.
So I want to retire phrases like:
And instead, I want to suggest replacing moving forward with growth.
Growth feels more natural. Growth feels real and organic and possible at any moment of life, whatever is happening.
And like in nature, growth can look very different for different people at different times of their life.
Sometimes growth looks like creating something new
Sometimes growth looks like putting down roots
Sometimes growth means expanding outwards, stretching out branches, taking up more room.
Sometimes growth looks like letting go of what is no longer needed.
Sometimes growth looks like decaying and fertilizing the soil
Sometimes growth means bursting into flower or making fruit.
Sometimes it is growing bigger and taller and other times it is simply resting and consolidating.
Growth is rich and multi-facetted.
There is no right or wrong.
Growth means going at your own pace. Without a predefined road or way of doing things.
And whatever happens in life, we can always choose to growth - even when this doesn’t look like other people’s definition of ‘moving forward’.