- Michelle Sterling
And now for my courageous next act...
Life is messy.
I’m reminded of this as my birthday approaches, and I reflect on my life over this past year. Suffice it to say it’s been anything but tidy. Instead, it feels more like whoever is in charge of the Universe found the list of life’s top stressors and decided to give them to me all at once. You know, that good old "rip of the bandage" approach. Get this bad stuff all out of the way so we can get on with the good stuff.
Without getting into too much detail, since this time last year my father has passed away, my business has shifted to the point of my considering a career change, I've had a serious health scare, I’ve lived through disruptive home renovations, and my spouse and I have realized our divergent dreams will take us in divergent directions.
If my life were neatly packaged like a play into three acts, I imagine I would be sadly, cautiously, yet boldly entering Act III. Or put another way, I'm moving to a courageous next act. And it feels like this one is going to be a real page turner.
Life takes courage.
This birthday brings my Saturn return, which in astrological terms refers to the moment Saturn lands back in the exact same place in the sky it was when you were born. This is significant because it only happens every 27-29 years, and it always marks a significant shift in your life, a new chapter. Or should I say, the next act?
The last time Saturn landed at this placement for me, I packed up everything I owned and moved across the country, changed jobs, and built a new house. I’m just saying…this Saturn guy means business. And I didn't even know about him back then.
This time around, I’m finding that my heart is once again pushing me to muster the courage to explore realms far beyond my comfort zone; nudging me to chase my dreams while I still have some chasing energy left in me.
For this next act, I’m shifting directions and longing to experience the slower-paced life, like those found in a small Italian village or on the coast of Spain. I want to ride my bicycle to the market. I want to hop on a train and be in Rome for lunch. I want to have long conversations with strangers who might become friends. I want to write, teach, learn, and create. I want to open my eyes in the morning and look out at a sea of green rolling hills and know that I am healthy, happy, and whole.
A courageous life is a well-lived life.
I'm not meaning to imply that this pursuit is an easy choice, or an easy path. Quite the opposite in fact. It would be much easier to maintain the status quo. Am I scared to do this alone? Yes, there’s no question.
I am, however, constantly reminded that it takes courage to live well. It takes courage to have those tough conversations, to challenge convention, and to love yourself and others enough to give space for everyone to have what they feel they need to flourish. It takes courage to let go. It takes courage to relentlessly dream to the point where your dreams become your reality. It takes courage to follow your heart.
If this is truly my Act III, I don’t want to waste it. I want the courage to savor it. I want to live full-on while I still can. And for me, that means I need a new feast for my senses. New challenges. New experiences. New conversations. I don’t want to fade into the sunset, I want to take in the sunset from a new vista. And if the rolling hills have sheep, well...all the better.