Have you ever had that? Where people who have been through the stage of life that you are STRUGGLING in tell you that “this is just a season of life”?

I wholeheartedly agree that our lives should revolve more around seasonality. I don’t think we can balanced without taking a bigger picture of where we are and what is going on, much like a tree will have seasons throughout the year and we wouldn’t expect it to behave as though it were in spring when it is clearly winter.

BUT.

I also think it is tricky. And not always encouraging.

A friend once said to me that she struggled with everyone telling that her baby would get easier at certain stages. Not because they were mean or unkind. But because they were trying to be helpful they kept putting the goal posts at the next stage.

“They get a little easier at 6 months.”

“Once you get to a year it all seems easier.”

“Once they start going to a playgroup/preschool, they are easier.”

“It was easier for me when my kids started school.”

“Oh, if they can read to themselves it gets easier.”

You get the idea.

Can I just say here that I don’t think it “gets easier.” I think you get to know your child, your child gets to know you and everyone learns together to do family… which means that some people take that as easier. Sure maybe it is. But actually then the next development stage hits and there is another learning curve for everyone!

Anyway!

I guess I dislike the phrase of seasons of life since actual seasons have a more definite time limit.

Oh sure, we have not long since had a storm in spring that was much more like winter. It happens. But it is more to do with the transition between seasons.

When you hate your season of life

When people tell me this is a season of my life especially with the kids, I want to know what the signs are that the season is changing tothe next one! You can see leaves drop from the trees and you know winter isgoing to be on its way… the buds comings out heralds the end of winter… thereare certain signs.

But the signs are not as clear with kids.

Or a season of grief.

My brother-in-law lost his sister this year in tragic circumstances. When does that season of grief end? Should it end? Most people will say yes. I think we rush grieving far too much since it is uncomfortable for the rest of us.

A close family friend lost her only child 6 years ago at age 19. She says there will always be a hole shaped like her child in her heart til she sees him again. The grief does not stay as intense. But it doesn’t go. And there are still pockets of it that occur, especially on the anniversary of his death or other significant times.

For myself, I struggle with a degree of grief over the diagnosis my son has. And that is not a grief that will go away. It has pockets of intensity, and many times when it is almost forgotten. But it sits there.

And what does all of this have to do with organising and making our lives calm?

Well, if we do not know what is happening around us it makes it more difficult to clearly organise. And there is not much calm!

Suggestions for coping with your “season”

Acknowledge it!

It is actually ok to be in a difficult stage. It is absolutely alright to be finding things tough!

Here in Christchurch we have had things set up post-earthquake to help us cope with what was a terrible disaster. The “All right?” website is really good.

Get help!

It is also ok to ask for help. If you don’t let people know that you are struggling then they won’t be able to help out. And as a recovering perfectionist and the worst at wanting to help without accepting any in return, let me tell you that there is a service you can do some people simply by making them feel important enough to help you. True!

I am not talking about when you just want people to do everything for you. If that is you, then honestly, stop. Let people help others rather than you!

But several years ago when I confessed to my bosses that I was so depressed that I was struggling to find reasons to keep living, they gave me several weeks off work. And in the next staff meeting they told everyone (with my permission) and used that as a way to open a conversation about how everyone was REALLY doing. I heard from a number of people about that staff meeting and about how helpful it had been. I let my bosses help me. And it ended up helping more than 20 people at work. It built relationships.

Communicate your needs in a way that feels comfortable to you, and to people who you think can listen. If you know what you need, even better! Ask for it!

Decide what can be made simple or easier

So there is almost always a way to make things easier. Find it. Do it.

Sometimes that looks like not cutting your lawn despite grumpy neighbours.

Sometimes that looks like a messy house (with organised parts so life still functions calmly!) I read somewhere that J K Rowling saidshe was asked how she wrote her book as a single mother. She responded withsomething along the lines of: we lived in squalor for 4 years – no cleaning.Something had to give and that was it for her.

It could look like not spending as much time with people who you feel tired or drained after you see them. Or, radical thought, not seeing them at all!

If we step back from what we are doing and look at it all, we can usually find things to change.

IF WE ARE HONEST. 

Many people will say, “oh but I have to do this thing.” I always want to test that. Why? Why do you have to? Who says? What if you don’t?

I challenge you to think about what you really need to do. 

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