Defining a duration of time in your life as an era includes a predominant feature or quality that drives the time period as it plays a significant role in how that chapter unfolded – a guiding idea, person, career position, culture expectation, etc.
Sometimes a significant event, one in which we have no control over, kicks off a new era and almost seems to immediately end the previous. Think of the shifting of leadership, the Victorian Era with Queen Victoria’s reign in England; the Elizabethan era referring to Queen Elizabeth the 1st. But just as powerful as an external event seen, witnessed and known by the larger world prompts a shift in eras, so too can an internal aha or personal discovery shift our lives into a new era for our life story.
It has been pointed out by historians that often an era doesn’t just abruptly end, but rather fades away as more and more people forget that they are a part of a particular era, and the same can be true in your own life. Over time, you grow and learn and evolve into someone who when you finally do take the time to reflect, you realize over the duration of decades, you have not only changed, but there were distinct eras in your life journey, even though you didn’t know it at the time when the shift occurred because it occurred gradually. The era of searching, then knowing, then searching and applying your new-found knowledge to something else as you let go of what no longer felt supportive and/or loving is how our eras ever so gently can overlap and dissolve into a new era.
A simple example in my own life, my shift from trying to enjoy the ever-changing popular music into my love and appreciation for classical music. When TSLL readers introduced me to the two classical music stations I listen to still to this day, I finally found a source that not only played consistently music I had always been curious about but also taught me something about what I was listening to. It was because something wasn’t working that my curiosity kept searching and eventually my searching lead to where I had tried to go but could not do on my own. So while now upon reflection, I know when that shift occurred, at the time, it didn’t feel sudden because I only gradually began listening and then trusting that the source was as valuable as I eventually realized it was.
Inspired by two well-known and long-running television shows using the word ‘era’ in their most recent and concluding film and episodes (Downton Abbey and Grey’s Anatomy), I began to ponder this word – era – as I too have felt my own life shifting over the past handful of years. Shifting due to intentional desire and effort for a new era to begin, but not holding that word in my mind as I was making the necessary changes. However, I think in many arenas in our world, new eras are beginning or taking hold and long-running ones are ebbing, some more abruptly than others. And while collectively, political, economical, global and communal eras require more than one person to cause the shift, it is in our own lives, that we too have eras. And the more conscious we are of this life truth, the better we are at choosing when an era comes to an end and into what new era we should strive. In other words, being the driver of our lives through our life journey bodes well for a journey we want to relive upon reflection.
Arthur Brooks shares in his bestselling new book From Strength to Strength that one of the two ways to ensure we don’t hit a slump as our adult years unfold is to consciously subtract from our lives rather than add to them. In other words, using our awareness, choose to let go of what is not high on our priority list so that we will have more time and energy to give to the passions, people and way of life we love living. When we do this, we create a life we love living and thus become more fulfilled.
Perhaps at this moment or a moment in your recent past you arrived at a point in your life when you realized you needed to let go and bravely invest in a way of life more fully, less distracted, less ambivalent. When you make the choice to let go of what stands in the way of your ability to fully engage, you are stepping into a new era. And in this example, because you are doing so consciously, your next era has far more potential to be outstandingly awesome than if you were pushed into it.
However, simply because you are pushed into a new era by either something being taken away from you, losing something beloved or anything in which you would not have chosen to do so willingly, you can step into a powerfully rewarding and uplifting new era as you discover new strengths, meet new people and are introduced to a way of life previously not considered.
Today examine your life and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is there an idea that I have long accepted as true that no longer supports the life I know I can live and enjoy if only I would let go of the way of thinking that holds me back from doing so?
- Is there an activity or hobby that while I once enjoyed it sincerely, now feels more obligatory and takes up time from my doing other things I thoroughly enjoy and wish to engage in more fully?
- Is there any relationship or any aspect of my career that has a limit to how much of myself I can be or give? In the past, I didn’t realize this limitation because I had not run up against it yet, but now that I have grown in my self-awareness and/or skills, I have run into these limitation and realize because it is placed there by someone else – personal relationship or professional responsibilities and rules, etc. – it will not change.
- Do any of your dreams you one held now seem short-sighted or misguided? What new dreams do you have that may not be understood by those who long understood your old dreams and may not want you to let go of them? Where can you redirect your energy to making your new dreams become your reality?
Above are just a few questions to ask yourself, and while they are general in their scope, hopefully they will help you navigate to a deeper awareness and understanding of where predominant ideas that guided you for quite some time may no longer serve and support the life you now are or want to live.
With that said, knowing a new era needs to begin for your benefit and quality of life and making the shift is, as Grey’s Anatomy’s writers reminded, easier said than done. Or should I say, ending the old era is easier said than done. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible.
The key to ending an old era is to acknowledge the benefits and good you are welcoming into your life by ending the old era and beginning the new. Keep reminding yourself of the benefits. Much like the carrot enjoyed as a reward when you strive forward, just because one era ends doesn’t mean it was a bad era. It simply has just run its course. Extend gratitude, be grateful for the opportunity to learn all that it had to offer, but then bravely let go of what was only meant to be a chapter in your life story. It can be a gradual letting go or an abrupt one, but either way, so long as you do so with integrity and loving kindness, your conscience will be at peace and you will be able to hold yourself fully in the new era you have the opportunity to begin.
Wishing you a wonderful start to the new week. Thank you for stopping by today.
18 thoughts on “Stepping into a New Era of Your Life Story”
Wow Shannon you have so elegantly described where I am right now. An era is ending for me (I hadn’t even thought about it in those terms until now), one that has been about a decade long.
I had unconsciously let things drift for the last few months but I formally ended things last week. While I will always be grateful for the things I have learnt, I have realized that it’s not supportive in how I want to live now or into the future. It’s time to allow this particular life chapter to close. The spaciousness I feel is freeing. Thank you for this post, the timing is perfect.
Victoria, What an exciting time, and having given it such thoughtfulness and consideration, you give yourself so much strength to strive forward with strength and fully hold yourself in the present knowing you have navigated well to this point and consciously chosen this next era. 🙂 Thinking of you and wishing you great days ahead!
Such helpful reflections, Shannon, thank you .
Life gives us unending possibilities to grow and change , which is so exciting !
Sometimes we forget , and settle into our comfortable , habitual ways of being , without realising that we need to keep growing ?
Every stage of life brings its own joys and sorrows , being able to look at how they have helped us to grow , and how we use that self knowledge to change our futures , is often an unseen blessing .?
Have a wonderful week……we are celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee here in the UK , with four days of celebrations from Thursday ?
I was six when she became our Queen , and remember watching her Coronation on our newly acquired television , which was such a thrill.
What an amazing example she has set us .
x Anne x
Such am exciting moment in history for the UK. I will be watching and celebrating from afar! Enjoy!
Same as Victoria, you have elegantly described where I am. The last few years have had many, many changes that led to a new era for me. As I let go of certain things (some with fondness and others stating “good riddance!”) and embraced new opportunities, I feel freer, lighter and happier than I ever have, and believe my next era is to be the best yet! I wish everyone would read this because when one resists closing a chapter of their lives and moving forward, the negative feelings are amplified instead of folded away to evolve into nostalgia. I am seeing this happen to many of my friends, family and colleagues, and bookmarking this to share with them.
Joy, Thank you for sharing what you have observed. Your final point about fixating only on the negative of the shift and not savoring the good that was and will always be appreciated is a powerful one. Thank you for pointing this out. 🙂
As always, Shannon, a great post. But I’m curious about the 2 classical music stations. Will you share?
Cathy, Thank you for stopping by! Great idea. I have linked it in the post now, but here is the direct link to a list of places to explore – https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/podcast197
Have a wonderful start to the week!
Thanks, Shannon. Not sure why I didn’t think of kusc – because of you, that’s the station I listen to every Christmas season. So enjoyable!
Timely as we are moving into a new era of our life. A new decade- our 60’s, and a move back to our home state surrounding ourselves with family.
Awesome post…so reflective on letting go and choice. STRENGTH needed!
Well, that is a very odd coincidence of timing for this post! My last “baby” graduated Friday, ending my almost 24 year era of being a stay at home mom. Not going to lie, I feel a bit tipsy Turku and lost as to what is next. I spent all those years giving every ounce of my time for free, whether at home of thousands of hours of volunteer work. Now to figure out who I am at this new era is a bit daunting. It doesn’t look anywhere near what I thought it would be, divorced after 26 years of marriage, a new relationship, and pondering a move. I am taking the first step in 2 weeks and legally changing my to not my married nor my maiden but one that is JUST mine . I am using my middle as my last name. Probably going to not be well received with everyone but at some point I have to stop making everyone else happy with my choices. Onward and upward! Thanks for the thoughts!
So very happy and proud and excited for you!!!! Such strength you are exhibiting. 🙂
Great thought-provoking post, Shannon. Many years ago I read a piece of advice (can’t recall where or who wrote it, unfortunately): to always make sure we’re moving TOWARD something & not just away from something we don’t want or that we want to escape. The reasoning is that the energy in those two directions is so different, one positive & fueled by optimism, the other negative & often fraught with indecision & turmoil. I have found through the decades that this is so very true & have always tried to find the “toward” in any life change rather than the “away from”, even when I did not instigate that change (consciously, anyway — I think we often instigate change in ways we’re not conscious of at the time because there is a deep part of us that knows what we need) & in fact initially resisted it. That shift in attitude — toward & not away — has been a life-changer for me.
Susanne, the shift in attitude you write about is exactly what I need at this time of life. Thank you for that!
My new era begins 6/11, as I retire from my teaching position. I am so excited about the possibilities in front of me, and while I don’t have anything concrete in mind right now, there are lots of stirrings that have me delighting in the new era. Helping me feel this way, I am leaving teaching on a most positive note, sharing my materials and classroom decor with other teachers, knowing that these past years have been a gift in which I have received as much as I gave. This era is done, and no regrets! I didn’t know I would feel this way, but it’s nothing but joy right now when I know I have done my best every day.
I’ve enjoyed reading all the comments! My new era is a familiar theme: the empty nest. One daughter has graduated college and the other is a senior; they have flitted in and out of our family home over the college years, but that flitting in is decreasing. For the first time ever, my husband and I spent Father’s Day without either of them. For a few years, I’ve felt myself in limbo. The “now what?” feeling as they soared off to college has lingered. This post, however, has opened my eyes and my mind to actually embracing the possibilities, the potential, for my new era. Raising my children was indeed a chapter in my life, not my entire life. It’s one thing to know that logically, it’s another to view it in a completely new and different way.
Ellen, Thank you for sharing your awareness, your true feelings and your strength. Nearly all transitions, even those we choose involve at the least, some discomfort. The discomfort is how our beings let us know change is occurring otherwise we wouldn’t know and perhaps be moving in a direction we weren’t aware. I am excited for your new era. Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation. 🙂