It occurred to me in the middle of driving my wife to work after we'd dropped the kids at school on a totally ordinary day with nothing special happening at all: I've hit a life plateau. I blurted it out to the wife. "I feel like I've hit a plateau." I'd been thinking about it for a while. My daughter just finished a book report on an entrepreneur who is giving back to the world in a huge way... he's helping people in developing countries to get drinking water and shoes. He's a year YOUNGER than me. It got me thinking. I'm out of college, fully established in my career, fully entrenched in parenthood with two girls, long gone from being a newlywed (long, long gone)... I literally am right now who I am, not who I've spent the past twenty years striving to be. I am the person I've become. So, what's NEXT? Or is this it?
My wife was the first to say, "What's wrong with a plateau?" She went on to speak with me about the things that truly matter: our family, our kids, each other. It was a nudge to me to try and spend more time thinking about the things I HAVE accomplished.
I dropped her off at work, went home and took the dog for a walk. I walked slowly, that slow, springtime walk where you close your eyes and breathe deep. I listened to the birds. I listened to the wind. I started thinking of that plateau. I always envision one of those beautiful mesas in the desert. They're tall and majestic and reflect the sunset. They're flat and level. The plateau is the bedrock. A plateau is stable and strong and steady. It's a lot like my family. Maybe the plateau isn't so bad, after all.
Maybe I can learn to embrace the flat spots in life, the place between the peaks and valleys. It's not a white surrender flag that there isn't more to do... it's just an acknowledgement that it's OK to be where I am right now and to take my time to get where I'm going.
By the way, we've been planning where we're going this summer for vacation. We're thinking about a trip to the Grand Canyon. Maybe I will get to see some of those plateaus in person.
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