Do you have an unsettling feeling that something has to change? Are you suspecting that you are experiencing a mid-life crisis, facing a fork in the road, or stuck in an intersection in your life’s journey? All these phrases are what we use to describe a crossroad in our life. We will all be experiencing a crossroad at different stages in our life.
The 7 Year Itch
Have you ever heard the term, “the 7-year itch”? It is a phrase usually used to refer to the time when relationships are most likely to get into trouble. There seems to be a pattern that things tend to change drastically every 7 years. For example, couples who dated for several years usually end breaking up on the 7th year; married couples end up divorcing on the 7th year, and so on.
This pattern not only applies to relationships but also to larger groups of people such as in business, as well as in our individual journey through life. If you review your life, you will see that things tend to change every 7 years as well. At 7 years old, you go to school with other kids, then at 14 is when puberty hits you. At 21, you graduate from college and enter the work force; then at 28 is when people mostly start thinking about marriage.
In short, life tends to change drastically in some way every 7 years. Thus, you feel an itch to change something in your life every 7 years too. If you don’t change something, then you get stuck in that crossroad and you’ll just prolong your suffering by not relieving that itch to transform your life.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you are in a crossroad in your life right now; here are some questions to ask yourself so you can start making some changes.
What aspect in your life do you want to improve on? Maybe there is an area of your life that you have neglected and that you need to focus on. It might be your health or some of your relationships. You might have a hobby that you want to take up again and hone your skills on. Or you might want to ask for a promotion or even make a career change.
What is it that you really hope to achieve? Most of us are too shy to admit it but we all hope to leave something behind for our family, or even the whole world, to enjoy and remember us by. No matter how small or big; everyone wants to leave a legacy that can benefit future generations. You might share the same vision with others and you can work together to build such a legacy.
What are the pros and cons of your decision? Decisions always have its pros and cons. You can consult your friends and family as well as experts for help. Your own life experience will also help you make an informed decision. Take the time to think and determine how much of a risk you are willing to take to change your life for the better.
What are you afraid of? Sometimes the scariest decisions end up the most rewarding. When we face our fears, we open ourselves up to more possibilities. Being in a crossroad gives you the chance to overcome your fears and come out a better person. Get the support of your family and friends, or even professionals, to help you succeed.
What is your instinct telling you? Have you ever experienced having a strong feeling in your gut that’s telling you to do or not do something? If you followed it, you usually end up being right. However, most people ignore their gut feeling, or instinct, or intuition. In fact, it is a useful tool to guide you in making life-changing decisions. A crossroad is an opportunity to start using it.
Will you be harming/offending other people with your decision? We always consider the effects of our decisions on other people. However, you have to keep in mind that you can only control your own actions. You can tell others about your decision so they don’t get surprised later on, but you cannot control their own reactions. There is no need to get into an argument or cut off relationships; you can just agree to disagree on this one point.
Are you worried about what other people will think? You cannot please everyone all the time, so you just have to accept that there will always be negative feedback from some quarters. Don’t take things too personally. Just keep in mind that those who need to understand your decisions will understand and those who can’t understand don’t need to. Focus on your goal and don’t get distracted by gossip or rumors.
How will the change affect your life? You are trying to change your life so focus on the long-term change that this will bring about. Ideally, the effect should be positive and will also affect those around you positively. Of course, you can’t please everyone but if you and the majority of your tribe can enjoy the effects of the changes you are making in your own life; then that should be reason enough to make a change.
Time for Transformation
Asking yourself these questions involves a lot of self-reflection. Pick the one question that resonates with you the most and try to figure out your answer to that. Although you do need to take into account how the change you want to do will affect everyone around you; remember that your own growth is important so you can help others as well. Each of us has our own journey in life so we cannot continue living our life according to the standards of others. Expect that in the process of your metamorphosis; some things will fall away and others will come to replace it. You might need to let go of a lot of things including letting go of friendships and old beliefs.
A crossroad in life is an opportunity to reinvent yourself. If you are feeling the need to scratch that 7-year itch; do so but be gentle with yourself. Change is needed for growth. However, you don’t need to abandon all that you have worked for in the past. Sometimes, a small change will do the trick. For others, a bigger change maybe needed. It all depends on what you are feeling inclined to do. The important thing is that you listen to your intuition, you believe in yourself, and you take action to change something so you are not stuck in the same old pattern.