On a lake in Idaho - May 2005Life is experienced in cycles for most people. A renewal cycle, an increasing interest cycle, a plateau cycle, and if we don’t change anything a cycle of decline. The renewal cycle is what I want to focus on in this post. There are two ways you come to a renewal cycle, by your choice or by events beyond your control. When there are events beyond your control renewal is one of the few benefits. Whether you seek a new job, a new relationship, a new life, or all three, you are bound to experience the benefits of renewal. We see this every day when a friend’s relationship ends, they lose weight, get in shape, start new activities, and eventually get back out there. The same is true when a job or a career is lost, the person gets energized, seeks training, networks, opens up to new possibilities even though they may have been completely satisfied in their old job. Unfortunately right now it seems our whole country is being forced into a period of renewal.

But what if life is good… you’re in a loving and happy relationship, a satisfying and stable job, you do the things you love to do in life. In these times you are pretty lucky. Is it still possible to get in a rut? To burnout? Of course it is, variety is the spice of life. Does that mean you need to end a great relationship or walk away from a great job to “seek renewal”. Of course not. Seek new responsibilities at work. Find ways to renew your commitment to your employer and your career. Take classes to learn new ways to approach your job. Keep growing or eventually your interest or your abilities will decline. In your relationship, find new ways to enjoy the time with your partner. Seek out new things to try together. Do you know everything about the other person? Even if you can finish their sentences for them, I bet there are things you can still learn. Have intimate talks. Do challenging things together. They’ll be learning things about themselves that they didn’t even know and you’ll be right there with them.

I’m terrible with routine, whether it is with work, hobbies, or in a relationship. I love to hike, but there is no way I could hike the same trails, on the same days, with basically the same people for weeks at a time. I crave new experiences. In relationships this is different. I don’t want different people. I want to experience new things with one person. If neither of us has been to a place then let’s go! If neither of us can ballroom dance, play a musical instrument, or speak Italian… perfect, let’s learn.

Another key part of renewal is the ability to relax, think about nothing, listen to some mellow music, and let your mind and spirit take a break. Seeking renewal takes energy, you can’t do it constantly. But if you break has stretch out to months or years, then you’ve had enough break. Get off the couch, put down the wine bottle, the book, the DVD, whatever… and start the renewal in earnest! Don’t wait for something to happen that is out of your control to force the issue, just go for it!

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