Life, Me

What’s Holding You Back?

What’s holding you back? 

Whew! Loaded question there, Sunny. 

I know. I know. It’s a heavy question. Especially for me right now. I’m getting ready to celebrate a milestone birthday and my last child is about 18 months away from leaving the nest. 

Having been a parent for nearly 32 years, that’s almost a haunting thought. I realize many moms and dads have gone or are going through the whole “empty-nest syndrome”. But, not every one of them have been parents since they were a teenager like me.

I told a family member and friend not long ago that I don’t know who I am as an adult without kids around. Needless to say they didn’t understand.

As the birthday gets closer – let’s be real here, y’all – I’m struggling. Struggling with who I am and who will I be once the last one is gone.

Now, that’s not to say I’m not needed. I know my children will always need me, but it will be different. I get it. I understand the concept of empty nest. But, I’m trying to figure out who I am outside of motherhood.

I’ve had some days where I’m flat-out excited for the journey. And then there’s been days like the last few weeks – I’m yelling at God on my walks. Or, I’m on my knees crying and feeling all out of sorts.  

Yes, I yell at God sometimes.

There’s no sense trying to hide my anger, frustration, disappointment from Him. He knows and sees it all anyway, so might as well work through the feelings with Him, right? 

I’m not yelling at Him in an accusatory way. He knows that. I’m just yelling because I know no one else will love me through the process quite like Him. Keeping it inside doesn’t do me any good. 

So, I vent. 

What’s next? I don’t know. I wish I did.

But, I know I don’t want to dwell in these feelings forever. Been there, done that. Unedifying is what that is. Feelings like that tear down. They don’t build you up. 

And I certainly don’t want to dwell there for the next 60+ days when that decade number increases by one or the next 18 months until my youngest is gone. 

I see and have seen people who dwell there in those unsatisfied, frustrated, the-world-is-against-me feelings. Instead of starting with who is in the mirror, they blame everyone else for their problems or lack of opportunities. 

Been there, done that too. 

Living like that….man, that’s crazy. So now I am asking one question of myself. It’s a question that came as a result of a LinkedIn post I saw today. 


Not sure who originally made it – and grammatical issues aside – this infographic got me thinking. 

First, this can be applied to anyone in life, not just athletes. Reading down each column, I try to see which qualities I have and those I don’t. Then, I start picturing people I know or have known who have the qualities. 

Second, I start perusing the lists I see what fits me best in each: 


  • Wants to learn 
  • Plan their time
  • (Sometimes) embrace challenges
  • (Sometimes) learns from failure
  • Works hard
  • (Sometimes) learns from criticism
  • Asks questions
  • Helps the team (I view this as helping others)
  • (I’ve learned to) work hard after setbacks
  • I can improve
  • Disciplined


  • Gives up easily (hate to say it, but I do this more often than not)
  • Fears failure




Upon completion and after I get over the internal criticism in my head, I ask myself one question: What’s holding you back? 


If I think I’m “successful”, what’s holding me back as I approach this next phase of life? I don’t want to be like those who I see in the right (Unsuccessful) column. I want to keep being successful in whatever I do, whether it is in life or career.

Success is different for each person, but I believe the qualities are the same across the board.

It takes time, planning, a teachable spirit, others-focused and a willingness to try something new to be successful. It also takes humility and honesty.

Like I said, I had an internal, critical conversation as I looked at that graphic about myself and others. I need to be honest with myself. I don’t want to be someone who is always pointing the finger at other people for their problems. I don’t want to stop learning because I think I know everything

As long as I have breath in my lungs, I want to learn. That’s how I want to live my life now and in this next phase. Learning who I am and who God made me to be. I don’t care if I’m turning 50 or 100, the moment I stop learning is the moment I stop living. 

What’s holding me back? Nothing! 

Maybe I should ask you – what’s holding YOU back? 

Knees down, Prayers Up