Dear Diary,

There’s a recurring scene in the movie “Soul” where all of the souls who have earned all their badges get to jump into their lives. Before the jump, they’ve explored, tried out new things, learned a lot, and then finally, the last badge appears. It’s only then they know it’s time for them to step away from this realm and enter the life they are meant to live. This soul journey reminds me of what it’s like to step away from the classroom.

Sometimes I wonder: Where the hell are all of my badges? Which badges am I still missing? These are the voices of some gremlins who like to keep me feeling stuck and full of worry. I have names for them, so when they appear, I know they are with me and I can respond to them in a kinder manner than I have in the past. No longer do they completely wreck my emotions because I know they were there to help me somehow in the first place. But if I’m not strengthening my mindset muscle, I can go down the rabbit hole way too fast and question if the future I’m building actually exists.

Photo by Melike Benli on

Okay, don’t get me wrong. I do have badges. I’ve made huge steps to step out of my comfort zone…beyond anything I’d ever expect to do. I think I’m working on some of my badges right now, but it’s like they are secret badges because I don’t really know what they are yet. That’s what drives me a little crazy…the not knowing what they are or when they will come.

Maybe I should acknowledge and honor the ones I know I have earned:

Courage – I discovered how much I lived fearing the unknown, feeling paralyzed by the uncertainties of “what if” and allowing the anxiety to keep me in what was familiar and comfortable. Now I push through fear and try things I never expected to in my life (like posting daily videos on social media to support teachers!).

Empowerment – Much like fear kept me feeling stuck, so did anxiety and worry. Those two gremlins led me down a path of toxic behaviors that impacted my health and well-being in negative ways (like an increasing pant size and panic attacks). When I’m feeling anxious and worried, I step into my empowerment to overcome the stories I tell myself. Instead of reaching for a glass of wine (or three) to “relax,” I steep a cup of tea, journal my feelings, or go for a quiet walk.

Expression – Gosh, I kept so much bottled up inside for decades! All along, I lied to myself believing I was a good communicator, too. I’ve done a lot of throat chakra work to find my voice. It has been so transformative that I’m expressing myself in vulnerable ways, sharing my story (much of which I kept secret from shame, embarrassment and guilt), and I’m stepping it up to be a voice for others. I’m just over it – I’m no longer willing to be on the sidelines, letting others get trampled without any help.

Those are only a few of the badges I’ve earned on this journey. Earning these were years in the making, starting from my childhood and being realized as an adult. But what else am I working on that’s happening behind the scenes? What badges are still developing without my awareness? Maybe I am aware and not recognizing the badge itself.

I’m not sure, diary. I’m practicing my patience, trust, and surrendering to what’s coming. Could those be the next badges to let me jump into the chapter I’m so eager to experience?

Until next time,