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Taking Time To Live

I'm Stephanie May Wilson!

I'm an author and podcaster and my specialty is helping women navigate big decisions, life transitions — creating lives they love.

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For the last few months I’ve been a poster child for efficiency. I have alarms for my alarms— sometimes scheduling an hour down to the minute in an attempt to get one step ahead of the things waiting to be checked off my list.

But every once in awhile, something gets in the way and the list has to wait, and if I’m being honest, that used to drive me crazy.

I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it, but it was like swimming upstream. I may have had a plan, but life didn’t seem to care. Things changed, the schedule shifted, and all of the time that I thought was mine to control was peeled from my fingers, a whole myriad of unscheduled events slipping in between.

I’d feel panicked and anxious, my mind anywhere but the present moment—tirelessly reviewing my growing list.

But lately I’ve begun to make peace with these surprise changes of plan. And it’s a good thing because no plan could have sustained the whirlwind of this last week.

On Tuesday our office had a party at the lake—our bosses pulling us away from our desks and replacing our meeting times with a company-wide water balloon fight. On Wednesday we left work early to go to a conference in Atlanta, spending the next two days listening to some of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. Carl and I left the conference on Thursday and hopped immediately in the car, driving all the way up to Indiana.

Taking Time To Live - The Lipstick Gospel

There was no down time, no moments to myself, and no hope for my ever-growing list.

I halfheartedly checked my email as we drove, but finally put it down in favor of being lulled to sleep by the hum of the open highway.

There were articles to be edited, blogs to be posted, emails to be answered, and for almost a week, all of those things were gently pushed aside.

And in their places, life happened.

In place of my plans, other plans got to unfold. I got to hold onto a tube for dear life as it was pulled wildly behind a boat—my cheeks aching from smiling so hard.

Taking Time To Live - The Lipstick Gospel

I got to spend time with my sweet roommate Kacie before she leaves heads back out to the mission field.

I got to scribble down notes as I listened to brilliant pioneers talk about the dent they’re making in the world’s problems.

Taking Time To Live - The Lipstick Gospel

(Nathan Williams, founder of Kinfolk Magazine)

And I got to drift in and out of sleep in the car to the sound of Carl laughing at our most recently selected Audible book.

We topped it all off with a perfect Indiana weekend, complete with a trip to the state fair, and a full day lounging around on the boat drinking wine and eating goat cheese on salty pretzels.  It was quality time at it’s finest and it gave my soul a much-needed breath.

Taking Time To Live - The Lipstick Gospel
Taking Time To Live - The Lipstick Gospel

I’m all about plans. I know that ideas and dreams are just that without a plan to make them happen. But sometimes, those plans need to be set aside.

Sometimes the phone needs to be put down and our eyes need to be peeled for the beauty that’s happening in the present. Sometimes we need to just breathe and watch and enjoy.

Those things will get done… but we’re not going to get these moments back.

Sometimes we just need to abandon the plan and allow life to happen.

How can you leave a bit more room in your schedule for life to happen? 

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  1. Toni-Lyn says:

    This one is a gem, Stephanie. I think a huge step toward clearing the mind is to simply set aside your phone nowadays. As ridiculous as this is, I even pick it up to check it at red lights. Today I told myself to observe the cars and asked myself to pick out what colors they were. Seriously. It’s gotta stop! I am meticulous about lists, but mostly because I am so forgetful, and in the process of trying not to forget I drive myself bonkers. On another note, the other day I had multiple plans set in stone for after work hours, meetings, skype, etc. None came to fruition, however, because my main squeeze texted me out of the blue and said he was going to the BEACH and wanted to swing by and pick me up. Obviously I should go, right? Obviously that’s the whimsical and spontaneous call I needed. And I totally did go, duh. But it was HARD for me, actually. My thought pattern was like, “That’s nice but I made plans to _____ and I can’t let anyone down…” It took a few seconds before I responded “Yes, of course!” I had to stop, process, and finally ask myself, “What do YOU want? Which will you regret not doing most?” Mostly I regret every time I took life too seriously and didn’t loosen my grip to experience living and not just existing. Not only did I go to the beach, but on my way up 95 last weekend (ready to be gone for a week on business) main squeeze asked if we could rendezvous on the way…in Charleston. It was like 1.5 hrs out of my way and changed all of my set idea of what my structured visit home would look like…but life is slowly breaking through. I’m so glad you guys had fun in Indiana!! It looked like a blast!

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