Last week, one of my journaling prompts was “what new practices or interests have changed my life in the past 3-4 years.”
That’s a pretty good prompt, right?
So I started thinking – 4 years ago was 2017 – what did I start doing that year? What about the next year?
What new thing did I get interested in last year? Or the year before?
I like to organize things – so I made some headings in my journal for each year and started to fill in what I could remember.
That was such an interesting memory exercise. At first, it was a little difficult to think about the specific years and what I started when. But, pretty soon, my mind warmed up to it and I got really curious and engaged in thinking about this super-interesting topic!
And, the topic has stayed with me and popped up for me in other ways over the past week or so.
I really recognized how much my own life has transformed in the past 5 years.
I thought about the people in my life and how their lives have transformed.
I started noticing discussions and social media posts about transformations over a 5-year span.
I collected a few comments I read from people about what has happened for them in the past 5 years to share with you. Here are a few of the lightly edited quotes that might remind you or inspire you or give you something to consider about your own recent 5 year time frame.
- I was “doing everything right, despite feeling taken advantage of… someone I admire told me to stop being a pushover and demand my worth”
- “People will never change and I have to just accept it and not stress myself out talking about something that lowers my mental health”
- “I am so much more sure of myself and what I want. I stopped settling for a life society had planned out for me”
- “I’m more confident in not just my abilities but myself. I understand what I’m worth and what I’m willing to exchange for my time.”
- I realized I was too critical of myself and now I’m working to stop that, my self confidence shot up
- I developed self esteem, gained body confidence, got a handle on my mental health, learned countless new skills and experienced more than I ever expected I would.
Wow! Those sound like amazing transformations right? And even though I do not personally know any of those people that I quoted, I am so proud of them. And I’m so happy for the life they’ve created for themselves in the past 5 years.
What to call “the Last 5 Years”?
I wondered if we have a specific name to identify a 5-year span. I don’t think we collectively do – but we should! Right! I came up with a few options- you’ll have to let me know what you prefer.
We could call it a demi-decade – since 5 years is half of a decade. Or, we could call it cinq an – that’s French for 5 years – what do you think? Do you have another name?
5 years might seem like a long time – but also, it seems like it passes in an instant! And, as I just shared all those examples- a whole life, and personality, can completely change in 5 years.
This reminds me of a coaching exercise I sometimes do with my coaching clients. I ask them to list 4-5 things they have learned, created, completed or accomplished in the past 1-2 years and then I invite them to think of the “you of 5 years ago.”
Then we talk about how that 5 year before person created and learned and accomplished all those things they had listed. Then we push our conversation into the future and wonder what they can learn, create, complete and accomplish in the next 5 years – even if they are not aware of it yet or don’t know how yet or don’t have the resources or confidence yet.
It’s SUCH a powerful coaching exercise and it’s very encouraging and empowering for the client and also for me as the coach to hear about all of it and see all the possibilities.
So, I decided to run through this coaching exercise on myself – with a few variations – to share with you.
I also wanted to think about some of the struggles and unknowns that I have encountered over the past 5 years.
This episode isn’t meant to just be a memoir of the past 5 years of my life – it’s not supposed to be all about me. But, I am sharing all of my own information with you so you can hear what real life examples sound like in case they relate to you or in case you can hear one of my examples and use it as a metaphor for something in your life.
Let’s go back to 2016. How was life in 2016? What was I doing in 2016?
That was my year of learning and realization and growth. I think that really was the year that my life began to take a serious turn.
It was my last year of working full time in a corporate environment and working as a traditional employee. During that last year of my traditional former career was when I discovered and incorporated all of those concepts that changed my life. I described the six concepts that changed my life in one of my earliest episodes last year. All of those practices and ideas and habits came to me right around the same time during 2016.
I didn’t know at that time what all of those changes would mean for me in the future.
What I did know was that I had learned how to lose weight. I had taught myself a new skill. Basically I had learned about the power of managing my mind. I started to get a glimpse of my intuition. I started to consider that I could design the life I wanted instead of living by default and I realized how abundant my life was. I learned about the brilliance of decluttering and minimalism and all of these things just really put me in a position to change everything the next year, starting in 2017.
What was I expecting?
By the end of 2016, I think I knew that my corporate career was coming to its close and that I would need to look for my next thing, whatever that next thing would be. At that time, I had an idea that maybe it would have something to do with Tarot, and because I loved learning about business and entrepreneurship, I thought maybe I would be doing my own business.
I started my quick entry journal sometime in 2016 or 2017 and I started taking daily pictures of myself so I could see my own visual transformation.
Around that time I was taking watercolor courses and really started to consider myself an artist.
I guess my struggle in that year, even thought 2016 was such a great year for me with so much learning and so much positive transformation was that I really was unhappy in my work and I wanted something else but I was afraid of voluntarily giving up security and comfort and the familiar in order to step into the unknown.
Starting in 2017, I was working at a few contract positions and I was still in the mode of trying to figure out who I was and what I wanted and what I was going to do.
I went to a Life Coach School Event and met other people who were completely immersed in self coaching and on their way to becoming coaches.
That was the year that I really solidified my intentional zumba routine and knew I intended to go to a zumba class somewhere every morning. I think that was also the year I decided to do “something new” each week because I was trying to expand my horizons. I would comb through event calendars and meetup boards and look for announcements of new things I could go to. That led me to volunteering at the library for 6 months and got me involved in a few active meetup groups. It seems minor now, but 2017 was the year that I switched from being a PC user to a mac user with a mac as my desktop and an mac book air as my laptop. It’s so interesting now when I help other people on their computers, doing things on a PC is so foreign to me – but that was just 5 years ago that I made the switch.
My struggle in 2017 was feeling a little lost and purposeless since in the 20 plus years prior to that I always tied my identity to my work and that wasn’t really accurate in 2017. I was also so afraid of being bored and wasting time so I ended up committing myself to some things that I didn’t really want to do and then I eventually felt like I had to extricate myself from them.
2018 was the year that I really started journaling daily. I made it a very conscious and intentional practice to journal every day. I made specific time in my schedule to have my morning routine.
Also in 2018, I started getting regular weekly coaching. (Actually that might’ve started in 2017, but I specifically remember working weekly with a coach in 2018 to really examine my own thoughts and my own beliefs and make my intentional choices about what I wanted to continue to think. I had already been doing self-coaching on my own, but not in a formal way and not with the help of a certified and trained coach.
2018 was when I really learned about the idea of alignment and attracting what I want for myself. That was new for me and pretty transformational and it really got me on the bandwagon on thinking about abundance and and attraction.
2018 was also when I really started to trust my intuition, not just to do a Tarot reading, but I learned to ask my own inner wisdom – not images printed on cardboard- to really give me guidance in my life.
I specifically remember I had decided in 2018 that I was ready to go back to a W2 job instead of the shorter contract jobs I had been doing. I was looking for the perfect fit for myself and I had specific criteria. I only wanted these specific conditions. If the job didn’t meet my list, I didn’t want that job.
Getting a Firm No
I found the almost perfect job. It was just so right up my alley, but my intuition told me it was a no, and I was very confused by that. I didn’t actually like hearing no because I was happy to think that my search was over and that I had found my little part-time job that was going to help me overcome some of the things that I thought a part-time job would help me with.
But anyhow, my intuition said, no. Thankfully I listened to that no and didn’t take that job.
I accepted the idea that I would never know why that job wasn’t a fit for me. It was disappointing, but I accepted it.
A few months later, I ended up getting the explanation. I found a working environment that was exactly what I wanted. I like to tell people that I manifested the perfect job and coworkers for myself. It literally had everything on my list and gave me so many experiences that I had been curious about or wanted to try that I didn’t even think to put on the list. So many positives came from that experience. I’m just so grateful that I did declin the almost perfect job in order to get the even more perfect job.
The biggest struggle for me in 2018 was what led me to that perfect job hunt. I realized I didn’t like what I was doing and what I had committed to out of fear in 2017, so I decided to pull back from everything. I told myself that I was taking a break to make space for “it” to come to me. I didn’t know what “it” was – but I wanted to be ready for it. So, I cleared everything off my schedule and in March of 2018 I was open and ready.. And “it” did not magically appear. That’s why I made the perfect job list and started looking. Looking back now, i can see, I was pretty impatient. But, everything also unfolded exactly as it was supposed to.
In the later part of 2018, thanks to a breakthrough session with my coach, I wrote to my manifesto and that I found my purpose as I like to call it through writing my manifesto. So I did end up finding “it” in 2018 – just many months later than I thought I would. Just having that manifesto and finding that purpose and labeling it and putting a name to it and reading it to myself and being so intentional about it was so life-changing. My mood changed. My demeanor changed. My confidence skyrocketed. Writing that manifesto just opened me up to so much that I wasn’t open to before and that I wasn’t aware of before. It was amazing!
In 2019, that perfect little part-time job turned into a full-time job with more responsibility and better use of my skills and taking up more of my time. That is also the year that I started my coach certification program. I was learning so much. I was studying so much. I was coaching my practice clients. This was a very robust program. I took it very seriously and I still had so much fun, but my life was pretty busy at that time: working full time, doing the coach certification program, having an active social life, working on a bathroom remodel.
Plans for a Podcast
Halfway through 2019 I knew I would be starting this podcast in 2020 and I was having so much fun planning for it and researching and learning how to start a podcast. I also knew that my time at that perfect job would be coming to an end. I wasn’t sure when, but I wast thinking about my exit. Towards the end of the year, I dropped back down to part time. That meant I also had a full weekday free each week that I used for coaching clients and content creation and training and networking.
Struggle in 2019
I had a lot of normal struggles in 2019 that I think all full time employees have who are also going to school or starting a side hustle. The question that I remember being really captivated by that year was wondering “what would be the worst thing someone could say about you?” I loved thinking about that question for myself and asking my friends and family. If there was extra time in a coaching session, I always brought it up. I just wanted to hear everyone’s different answers and then dissect those different answers.
Obviously 2020 was a major transformative year for, I think every person on this planet probably. I’ll just speak for myself. I was just so fully reminded of the truth that we really have control of nothing. And even if we make the best laid plans and have the most prepared preparations, none of it really matters. Reality is always in control. We are not in control of reality and certainly we are not in control of the future. So, 2020 was a great transformational lesson year for me. Everything that I thought was going to happen, everything that I thought I was going to do, it didn’t really pan out the way that I thought it would – probably not for me or for anyone, but 2020 was such a wonderful time for me.
It really was. I was able to meet so many people online that I probably wouldn’t have been encouraged to meet or put in a position to meet if online wasn’t our only option.
I definitely deepened my friendships with people that I had met in the previous few years.
2020 was also the year that we decided to move. So that was a huge transformation. We moved out of a house that we had been living in for 13 years, renovated a house that my husband had from before we were married and moved into that house prior to the renovation being complete.
I’ve shared a lot about that process on this podcast.
My 2020 struggles were so minor compared to so many other people. And I do recognize how lucky I was and am. I would say one of the biggest lessons I personally learned in 2020 because of all the unexpected changes was to create what I want for myself. When I couldn’t go to Zumba anymore, I figured out how to get what I wanted for myself. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to host classes and workshops, I started meetup and facebook groups to meet new people and hosted everything online instead of in person.
So, what am I doing and thinking and expecting in 2021?
Well, thanks to 2020, I’ve learned not to expect anything. I am really trying not to expect or plan for anything or to guarantee myself that things will happen a certain way. I’m trying to be very, very open.
If you’ve been following me you know that 2021 was the year that I found surrender. That’s been my pet passion and project and learning and studying this year.
Surrender and Resistance
If you would have told me in 2016, that five years from now, I’d be diving deep into the subject of surrender I would have been very surprised and maybe also confused.
And especially if you would have told me that four years out, I’d be diving into the subject of resistance. I would also have been surprised and confused.
It’s interesting to think that these topics have come into my awareness and made such an impact and been such an important part of my life over the last two years now, first with resistance and now with surrender. I don’t even think I had heard the phrases or given any thought to the concepts of surrender or resistance five years ago.
Now that I’m in 2021 and have been self-employed for over a year, almost a year and a half now my current outlook is something that I would not have expected.
The most interesting thing to me is that I struggle with work-life balance like I never did before.
I never struggled with work-life balance when I was working for someone else. But now that I’m working for myself, I find myself working a lot more than I want or need to. And when I’m not working, I find myself thinking I should be working and I shouldn’t be relaxing.
So this struggle with work-life balance has been a big surprise that has really come to light in 2021.
What else about my life now would the five-year ago, version of me not even imagine?
That struggle with work-life balance. My fascination with surrender and resistance. The five year ago me probably wouldn’t have been surprised that I’m doing this podcast because I was so into listening to podcasts in 2016 and 2017 and all that time in between. So a podcast makes a lot of sense. The coaching makes a lot of sense because five years ago, I was just being introduced to and trying coaching out for myself.
I would never have guessed five years ago, three years ago, one year ago, or even six months ago that I would be designing and selling notebooks. That has been a really fun and creative departure from what I thought I would be doing.
5 Years from Now
So, what about five years from now? What about the future?
The 2026 Bex. What is she going to think about what I’m doing right now? What I’m experiencing?
By then, I will have known about surrender and resistance for five or six years. It’ll probably be old-school to me by then. I will have experienced whatever the arc is of these notebooks.
What if my notebook shop will only have lasted six months?
Maybe I’ll be going into my sixth year of creating notebooks and journals. It is possible I’ll be creating something else by then. Maybe I’ll be creating apps for new technologies or who knows what. It’s just interesting to think about what the future might hold, what might be available, what technology that we’ll have access to that we can’t even imagine now. How fun and interesting to think about!
What Do You Think?
Now that I’ve recapped the last 5 years what do you think?
As with all of the other topics I’ve shared with you – I’m so curious about your reaction and your thoughts about all of this.
Do you have any resistance to going backwards 5 years and itemizing what you’ve learned? Can you think about what you experimented with and what your struggles were?
Can you see how your results today were grounded in things you realized or tried out or thought about 5 or 3 years ago – or just 6 months ago.
I’m so interested in this topic that I decided to dig into other peoples’ most recent 5 year experiences too. Let’s see if my theory that our entire lives can transform in a demidecade holds true for other people.
Next week, I’ll be interviewing a friend of mine who has had a pretty life-changing few years recently too. We’ll look for some commonalities and differences and see what we learn.