This, for me, is chapter thirty-four, I’d like to think it is a season of growth on so many levels. Most especially, growth from within. This happens a lot in seasons of stillness. Pay attention. I hope this can get you to think about your own chapter. Think of what its implications are in the greater scheme of things. Be aware of your sense of agency or the role you play in steering your life in the direction you would like to see it go. Understanding chapters and seasons is never easy. Especially in difficult seasons. It is mostly in retrospect that we are able to process the things that happen to us.
I’d like to invite you to dive deep into your journey. Can you name the chapter or season you are in? Have you been passive or active thus far? Are you a victim of your circumstances, or do you bring your own sunshine to the party? Is it a season of triumph or stagnation? Victories or lessons to learn? Through intense reflection, you can begin to understand the chapters and seasons in your life. Then actively embrace them, one chapter at a time.
Getting into my thirties got me doing some serious reflections about the twenties. What exactly did I do with that decade? Regrets about what I could have done or should not have done. Silly right? Why dwell on the past when there’s nothing you can do about it you ask? Well, I did resolve to make the thirties count. Not that my twenties didn’t. Now that I know better, I realize I could have achieved and accomplished a lot more, had I believed in my agency and understood that chapter or season. Here is what I have learned and am still learning.
Live in the moment through a chapter or season
It is interesting how we can never wait to leave one chapter or season behind, only to jump into the next one and wonder what all the fuss was about. Why didn’t we just enjoy that process whatever it was? While doing my Master’s degree, all I did was peer into the future all the while grumbling about the present. I spent the time I wasn’t studying killing myself looking for part-time jobs. True, I needed the corporate experience and some cash. But had I embraced that chapter for what it truly was, I would have made better choices.
For instance, I would have taken my thesis supervisor up on his offer to do a Ph.D. with him. Maybe right now I’d have been a couple of months away from being Dr. Mrs. Focho (lol). But no! I was so ready to close the school chapter and jump into the corporate world. Well, it’s been three years and the corporate chapter has still not happened. So what was the rush? I mean, there’s no telling whether I’d have followed through with the Ph.D. or if I would have dropped out midway. Who knows? One or two years in, I might have made some contacts that could have led me to my money-making destiny.
The point is, it was a good offer and would have been a great opportunity. We often miss out on such chances hidden in plain sight when we don’t live in a season. I only turned down that offer because I had not learned to to enjoy every chapter. A lot has happened since June of 2018 (graduation). Now that I know better, I happily watch Paw Patrol and The Fixies with the boys on a Monday afternoon. Knowing that while I long to be on the computer contributing to building some company, that chapter is yet to come. I might as well enjoy these boys now before they get to “stay in their rooms and ignore mummy phase”.
Be proactive: do not be a spectator in your own life
What are you doing while waiting for your big shift? Are you a spectator or are you proactively growing? While living in the moment is great, do not get stagnant. A wise woman once said, when water stays in one spot for too long it starts to stink, and so would you. Again drawing from my own experiences, there was a chapter in my life where nothing much seemed to be happening to me. But a lot was happening within me. But because it was not what I wanted, I felt off most of the time. I stayed stagnant wondering when the big shift was going to come.
Ironically, I was most inspired to create in that season, I didn’t. I remember sharing my thoughts with a friend and he was in awe and advised me to write them down with dates and all. Had I paid attention I would have been more ready for my present chapter. I was so focused on an external shift, yet unaware of the dreams that could have been birthed then. Wait well, horn skills you may need for a chapter or season ahead. When ideas come to you, write them down. They may be a catalyst to your big break five years ahead.
Embrace every chapter, look for the good in every season
Not only have I not been proactive in certain seasons, but I also have not waited well, and I failed to see the good in those “seemingly” unnerving seasons. Embracing a season means feeling all that you need to feel. Actively processing what it is that is happening or not happening to you. Embracing a season means you do not bury any hurt, disappointment, anxiety, or frustration. But handle them the best way you can. If you need to cry five times a day to feel ok, by all means. Crying helps clean the eyes, so I heard. If you need a support group, seek one (Click to read more). If you need professional help, seek it out.
When we do not embrace seasons, they tend to catch up with us down the line. Resurfacing as unresolved feelings of rage or pain, anger, and whatnot. Embracing seasons means finding whatever lesson there is in that chapter or season. Sometimes there really aren’t any lessons you can immediately see. Sometimes things happen so you can be someone else’s light.
I know that my experiences sound very privileged given that someone may be in a life or death chapter. My seasons of pain and uncertainty seem trivial compared to real-life physical and emotional pain. Turbulent phases such as a catastrophic divorce, mourning the death of a loved one, struggling to conceive with all the pressure and unkind words from society, and barely being able to afford three square meals a day. How dare I tell anyone to live in the present, enjoy every moment? Meanwhile, they are barely surviving? These are unwanted seasons no one wishes for.
I can’t say for certain that I would be more optimistic with gleamer circumstances. But I know girls who have shown me it is possible. It is possible to go through a series of miscarriages, lose your dad and first love, deal with so much personal trauma, get diagnosed with cancer, and fight to stay alive, all the while smiling through it all.
I have so many strong individuals in my corner who continue to show me that no matter the pain, it is possible to embrace every chapter for what it is with glee. No matter the catastrophe it is doable to see the good in a season and tread on. Knowing that while you may not understand a particular situation, you have to live in that moment. In spite of how dreary things may seem, Keep living! I am thankful for the strength they possess. I hope they keep inspiring others.
As usual, I’ll love to hear about your own experiences. What chapter or season are you? Does it feel like you are stagnant or do you feel like you are on top of the mountain? What have been your toughest seasons and chapters and what would be your best advice to your younger self? Are you truly living or merely just existing?
“In seasons of blessings, dont be arrogant. And in seasons of struggles, do not despair” Steven Furtick