Streaking Through the Seasons of Life
I had come to a major transition in my life. What did I want to do next? And how would I figure that out?
I stepped back and took a look at the wall of my bedroom. It was filled with different colored index cards and post it notes all carefully arranged in categories. “Well, that’s not what I expected” I thought to myself.
I have seven children. And I had seven children because I love being a mother. For much of my adult married life I have been the mother of many small children. I remember the day I first thought to myself, “I am a professional mother”. When you have small children, it can sometimes be impossible to imagine they will ever grow up and that your life will ever change. You feel like you will be changing diapers and picking up toys forever. And when you have small children for many years, as I did, this can seem even more true. So, I was surprised last year when my fifth child left for college, I was left with only two kids at home, and they weren’t small any more.
My life was changing. The chaos and busyness and constant motion of my family was slowing down and wasn’t so constant anymore. I suddenly found myself in very unfamiliar territory. I still had two children at home, so I was still very involved in their well-being, but I was also aware that with every day they were getting older and becoming more and more independent. Leaving me asking myself, “What comes next?”
To many that question may seem exciting and energizing, but that’s not how I was feeling. I was anxious and frustrated that after all those years of telling myself “I will do that, insert some activity that you just can’t do with small children here, when the kids are older, was now here and I couldn’t seem to think of what I should do. It was as if my mind was blank. I kept having the same conversation with myself:
“What do I like doing?”
“I don’t know.”
These thoughts kind of scared me.
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
I felt like I was floundering. I was a fish that had been scooped out of the beautiful rushing river, thrown up on the sandy bank and now I was just flapping around trying to figure out what had just happened and what to do next.
So, I took a productivity and planning class. My life was changing, maybe I needed to plan differently. The class was great, and I spent several months learning to plan differently. However, I still had that feeling of floundering. So that’s what brought me here to my bedroom wall. In a moment of desperation, I decided I needed to visually see my life and maybe that would help me see where I wanted to go next.
I started with post it notes of whatever I could think of that I do in a day or a week. Soon I was adding index cards so I could group the post it notes by categories. What started off as a small grouping of post it notes soon grew to covering the entire wall. When I finished, I stepped back and took a look at my work. The wall was filled with all the things in my life that I was doing. That’s when I realized how much my Streaks were influencing every area of my life.
Over the past eight years I have been Streaking. Not the kind of streaking that involves baring your skin to the world, the kind of Streaking that harnesses the power of personal winning streaks to help you improve and be consistent in areas of your life that are important. Streaking is the most effective way to implement good daily and weekly habits.
My first Streak centered around my physical health. I was skeptical about Streaking, at first, but after months of consistent success with my first Streak I decided to try it in other areas. So, I set a Streak around reading with my children and writing in my journal, two area’s that I felt a lot of guilt around not being consistent. Again, after months of success I realized that Streaking was really working for me. Whenever I started to have thoughts about something that I needed to improve and be consistent with I now thought of a Streak that I could set that would help me. I now have Streaks in all areas of my life…physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, personal, professional. I have Streaks set around relationships that are important to me and around things that I want to learn. I have Streaks for reading, writing and volunteering.
As I looked at all those post it notes I realized that many of the activities that I was doing were because I had set a Streak. Each day I was doing something laughably simple, in fact on many days more than simple, toward reaching goals and creating good daily habits. With a physical relaxing of my shoulders, I recognized that I was not floundering at all. I was very intentionally and consistently doing the things that were truly important to me. Yes, life was changing and yes that can be uncomfortable. And I still had decisions to make going forward, but while I was making those decisions I was very actively and intentionally living life and moving forward.
Life can sometimes be overwhelming, and life can sometimes seem underwhelming. As the saying goes, the one thing we can count on is that life will change. Through it all we can continue to grow and progress daily through Streaking. Those small, laughably simple things that you consistently do each day, each week, and each month add up to a lifetime of intentional living creating a life where you are becoming the person you want to be and doing the things that are truly important to you.