As far as the pictures we develop of what a “good life” means, one considers themselves lucky if one can simply get a good education, get married for life, buy a home, raise happy healthy kids, keep a good job, save money, and then retire happily with some vacations, taking care of the grandkids, and maybe tooling around with a hobby or two.
Granted, that’s a good life, as we’re raised to believe. And yet, as many have found while maturing in the world of today vs. the times of our parents, the early “pictures” we had aren’t necessarily realistic.
The American Psychological Association states the divorce rate as between 40 to 50% and the rate for subsequent marriages even higher. Savings can’t survive certain economic impacts such as Great Recessions or crooked investments. The old-world ideal of keeping a job for life is not only totally unrealistic in a “freelance” economy but perhaps not even a good idea if one is looking to expand and move up. And we’ve all had the mythical, solid and steady “home” get shattered in one way or another.
My parents are a good example of that, when Ike hit the Texas Gulf Coast in 2008 and my entire hometown – including their home filled with years of memories – went under 8-10 feet of water. Or my aunt and cousin in Baton Rouge, recently having had their own home of 50 years submerged in a record flood.
So, what is one to do when the pictures of the way life was supposed to be are drowned, along with all the actual photos from the past? Perhaps undergo a Back Forty Resuscitation.
Yes, inhaling a new breath into the whole end-of-the-world experience of divorce, financial or physical destruction, and all forms of devastation can help.
Though comfortable, what if our “pictures” were part of a limiting frame…keeping us all inside a smaller perspective of ourselves and what’s possible for us?
Think about it:
- Ever heard of people who shook off the perceived shackles of a bad marriage and found the more perfect fit for them?
- Ever noticed how some folks respond to financial ruin with a new sense of Self that has them grow bigger than they ever were?
- Ever watched as individuals move up and out of early, confined, career cubicles into roles of leadership, both within other organizations or their own business…often because they were fired?
- Ever seen people create lives far beyond those destroyed in literal or figurative floods or fires on their doorstep?
The Back Forty philosophy, movement and community is all about taking the supposed “worst things that could happen to us” and using them as opportunities for opening up to what’s bigger within us and what’s greater coming next.
If we can look back at our past – even these supposed serious and significant events – and analyze them from the point of view of “laboratory experiments” we ran to discover what we’re here to do and express, we get to then focus on inspiring and forward-moving directives rather than harping on our victim-based losses.
We can be the victim, or we can claim cause over our life and circumstances. Neither are true, but one perspective gives power and the other doesn’t.
This isn’t to discount or bypass our sense of loss from the unforeseen and unexpected. It’s just a possible context in which to hold what has occurred so as to best move forward.
Why, just why, might you have had it happen exactly this way? Come up with several possibly answers to that question and you’re moving past victim in no time. Not necessarily “the truth”…but a truth you can live with and be empowered by.
“Nothing in the universe can stop you from letting go and starting over.” — Guy Finley