Renewal Is A Journey Not A Destination by Brenda Thomas Ph.D.

It is impossible to predict the future. We live in times of constant change and are continuously dealing with new challenges, unexpected obstacles, and unknown problems. We set goals for our future and make decisions about moving forward to create our best life. However, there is no crystal ball we can consult to help ensure that these goals and decisions are the best for achieving the life we desire. The changes that impact us can make our goals irrelevant or unachievable. This results in the need to routinely reassess and renewal.

Several of my colleagues and I have been confronted with new challenges in our lives for which we were not prepared. We all come from professional backgrounds where we were accustomed to using a standardized approach to problem-solving. Unfortunately, we have found that this does not always translate into success when dealing with our own personal or family issues. To be effective in our present lives we have been forced to deal with each new situation as it arises, to be flexible in our approach and to immediately change and renew the plan when we find it is not working. We also talk to each other a lot and gain strength and encouragement by sharing experiences.

As I deal with my own need for renewal I find that it is often difficult to know with certainty what I should do. In one such instance, I had to make a decision that required me to make significant lifestyle changes. As a result of family needs, I moved from a city where I had lived for more than 20 years to the small town where I grew up. I left a place where I was rooted in the community, had many friends and enjoyed participating in a variety of organizations and activities. In my hometown, I tried to duplicate the life that I left behind and became very frustrated when I could not make that happen.

After fretting over the situation for months I decided to try a different approach. I sought out other newcomers to find out what they were doing to develop fulfilling lives in a new city. Through these interactions, I was introduced to several new activities that included water aerobics, street festivals and writer forums that I enjoyed very much. I also took a stab at aerial Pilates, salt-water fishing and marathon bingo. These events required a little more open-mindedness and they really didn’t work for me but it was fun giving them a try. The good news is I met some very interesting people, learned some new skills and came to realize that my move was not necessarily the end of the road but merely a stop on my life’s journey.

Continually renewing your goals is the only way to ensure that you are focused on the things that are important to you. As you work through your own reassessment process: Remember to ask others for help,

Explore new opportunities and always,

Look for joy in the journey.