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Worry, Fear & Guilt

I have started this blog to share my journey to plan for and take a midlife career sabbatical.  I dream of escaping the fatigue, stress, and over-work that is considered “normal” in Corporate America – and of blogging my way around the world for a year!

But there are legitimate reasons why this may be a bad idea.

My husband and children are comfortable with the status quo and do not understand my need for a Midlife Escape.  Will chasing my dreams for a time hinder their own or require them to unfairly sacrifice their comfort and happiness?  What about my aging parents and their health concerns?  What about the house?

If we leave to travel for a year, my professional life will stall.  I have worked so hard to grow a career and it would be foolish to hit the pause button.

What about money, health, safety, and my daughter’s (and my) food sensitivities? Will we be homesick?  Am I just being selfish at the expense of others?

All of these seem like valid reasons NOT to take a year off to travel.

Sometimes worry serves a good purpose.  Heightened awareness of one’s surroundings kept our ancestors alive.  My daughters are young and it is my job to care for them and keep them safe.  This is easier to do in familiar surroundings with friends and family nearby and a steady paycheck.  I know what looks “normal” and “not quite right” in my local environment.

Let’s just be honest.  At the root of this list of reasons (OK, excuses) is Worry, Fear, and Guilt, the three-headed dragon that keeps us from chasing our deepest dreams and desires in life.  If I can manage the legitimate travel and life concerns with good planning and common sense, then why not go for it?

Because that dragon invades my over-active imagination, blowing flames at all of my unresolved insecurities.  I stay stuck instead of doing something great.

If Worry, Fear, and Guilt are my kryptonite, then Faith is its anecdote.  I have always considered myself a person of faith and am serious about my spiritual life.  How deep is that faith if I am so hindered by this?

To admit that struggle is a tough pill to swallow.

I talked with my husband recently about my struggles with faith and church.  I identify as Christian but have felt unsatisfied with organized religion for many years.  This is deeply difficult for me as I know that I need a spiritual home.  Although I attend religious services, I am far from engaged and plugged in.

Perhaps the spiritual unrest is the nemesis that is affecting other areas of my life.

How do I untangle all of this in my mind?

We exist in a world that is both breathtaking in its beauty and hideous in its ugliness.  If I take time off to travel I will see both.  I am a very sensitive person so I would not be unaffected by this.

I have to accept that some of life’s “Why” questions can be answered from this side of the grave and others cannot.  “What” (can I do to make things better) is a much more productive question.

And where my humanity runs out, I can cry out for grace.

Then Worry, Fear and Guilt will have nowhere to rest in me because Grace will be there.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Planning any kind of major life change is a risk and it shakes us up at a lot of levels.  To begin the journey, though, we have to take a step.  Then another.  And another.  In doing whatever comes next, we find the grace, strength, resources, and people to help us along in our journey.

As my very wise husband says, “It’s called faith, Mi Amor”.

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