The past month has been interesting.
Alongside the on-going challenges of living and working in the presence of a pandemic; days of debilitating back pain and a busy work schedule, my husband and I have officially entered the stage of life typically termed ‘the empty nest’.
While it has been a period of adjustment in one way and another, it has also been a time of reflection – much of which has revolved around the on-going shifts one is required to make as parents of young adults finding their own way in the world.
Although the process of our respective children creating personal and professional paths of their own is not entirely new to us as a couple; when the youngest moves out of home one is struck somewhat more loudly by the chime of the moving hands on the clock. And is reminded of just how quick life is!
It is in the context of this reminder, combined with the incredibly privileged professional journey I have had in learning of and sharing in that of others, that I have come to view bravery in a context not entirely in keeping with the definition it holds in the dictionary. Possibly, also not with that held by the majority either.
I have come to recognise that bravery lies in the courage to choose to live life in a manner that resonates with and mirrors who we are at our core; in a way that is in keeping with our individual uniqueness.
It requires embracing feeling fully alive when taking the risks of vulnerability; being ‘different’; ‘swimming upstream’; chasing the dream and consciously avoiding the temptation to default into living ‘the average’ life; one of mediocrity. Or a life that falls in line with how our parents, school, organisation, colleagues and others have told us we must in order to ‘be successful’.
Success is personal, not generic. It is sought after, found and experienced in a variety of ways and is often challenged by the judgement of those who fail to appreciate this reality.
Taking guidance; seeking advice; considering the impact of our actions on others; ensuring health and well-being are clearly imperative in preventing falling off the edge in the pursuit of success, but with these considerations in place, the most honest life must surely be that in which we are truest to ourselves.
It takes courage to step out and step up to living in alignment with who we are, particularly as so many of the systems through which we are required to transition as we grow older are defined by measurement tools designed to cater for the ‘general’, as opposed to the unique.
When I listen to my adult children’s views on life; hear their dedication to honesty; observe their determination and commitment in working towards creating a lifestyle and living environment that is most in keeping with who they are, I recognise the essence of bravery.
I admire and applaud their courage in choosing the path that they believe will lead them to their own definition of success.
If ever there was – and is – some kind of solace to be found in the emptiness of the nest, it is that of knowing that no matter where the road leads them, my children are driven by trusting in the uniqueness at the centre of their hearts.