Stuck in a rut doing the same thing each day? Want to have an adventure but you have obligations? Kids still in school? Caring for aging parents? Or sandwiched in between caring for both? Having obligations doesn’t mean you can’t live your life. Learn how to change your life when you have obligations.
First, recognize that there is a season. Yes, I know I’m quoting a Bible verse. I’m also quoting Turn, Turn, Turn as written by Peter Seeger and sung by the Byrds!
But the point is that if you have children or are taking care of aging parents, then it just might be the season to do that. It doesn’t mean that you can’t still try new things but it does mean that maybe some things are not for right now, but for later.
Now’s not the right time to plan a solo 6-month thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail. But it can be the right time to plan hiking or camping trips with your kids. And sure, you’ve heard of other people who pack up their kids and home-school them while RVing across the country or traveling the world. But that doesn’t mean you have to.
If you can, or even want to do that, then great. Do it. But if that’s not feasible for you. Or if you want your children to be able to participate in soccer teams or ballet classes and have sleepovers with their best friends, then it’s time to think of other things. Below are some suggestions.
Adapt to the Situation
Yes, you have obligations, but it doesn’t mean you have to get stuck in a rut of just caring for your children and/or parents, working, rinsing, and repeating. Where are you in all of that? Where is your self-care?
Yes, self-care is usually seen as pampering yourself with facials, massages, etc. But self-care is also about feeding your passion. If your dream was to spend 6 months at a writer’s colony while you get that novel out of your system, now is not the time. But you can adapt your dream to fit the situation.
If you have an extra room in the house you can create your own writer’s retreat. You can even work out an agreement with your spouse that one weekend a month, each of you takes the kids out of the house somewhere while the other gets to spend the whole day working on their project. Or leave the spouse and children at home while you go to the coffee shop or a co-work space to work on your novel.
Adapting is taking a look at your dream and determining what is possible given your family life right now. It might take you longer to meet your dream, but at the same time, you’re also fulfilling a different dream, that of having and enjoying your family.
Now is the time you can take classes. With so many options between online classes like MasterClass, Skillshare, Udemy, or Coursera you can study from home. You’ll be able to learn new skills or strengthen the ones you already have.
There are also in-person options available through night and weekend classes at your local high school, college, town offerings, or even local businesses.
I am truly amazed by what you can learn online or even locally these days. From ballroom dancing to computers to backpacking to quilting. And almost anything or everything in between. Masterclass itself has online classes like acting, directing, singing, tennis, cooking, photography, entrepreneurship, gymnastics, space exploration, and even political campaign strategy.
If you want to spend time off traveling, then why put it off? Take your kids. Kids are usually very flexible, adapt quickly to new situations, and like to learn new things. Take your parents, too if they are able to travel.
Multi-generational trips allow the grandparents to share their past while also seeing the joy of discovery on their grandchildren’s faces. And, hopefully, they’re willing to do some babysitting to allow you and your spouse to get in some alone time on the trip as well.
You can also take mini-trips to conferences that fit your passion. When my son was younger, we’d take trips together, and then my mother would watch him while I either went to yoga conferences, cross-country ski weekends, or hut-hiking with my girlfriends.
Conferences are great to keep you involved in your passion. As a yoga teacher, they allowed me to gain new skills and learn from experts in their fields. What conferences are available in your field…your passion?
Save For It
Now is a great time to save for that next big adventure, no matter what it is. Planning on buying a vacation home? Looking forward to cruising the world? Backpacking across Europe? Creating your own online business?
What better time than now to start saving for your next adventure? Of course, if you have children, too, you’re also saving for their college. But if you don’t start saving for your own adventures now, when will you start?
Do What You Can. Not What Others Think You Should
This is not about other people. This is about you and your family. Do not let other people make you feel bad if you’re starting small and making time for caring for your children and/or parents. It’s your life, not theirs.
And don’t make excuses. Everyone can carve out a little bit of time somewhere in order to work on your project. Study. Workout. Write. Paint. Knit. Whatever. There is time to do something without interruption. Whether it’s at night or early in the morning or while your child is down for a nap. Take that hour of time and work on what matters to you.
What can you do in an hour to move your dreams forward? How can you change your life? I’d love to hear what projects you’re working on.