In my fitness group - yes, you read that right, I belong to a fitness group - someone posed the question, “How do you know when it’s time to make a huge life change?”

The question was flooded with advice. Some people gave simple advice like, “when it feels right,” and others gave more detailed advice. But, in reality, how does one really know when its time to move on and make a big life change?

As I indicated some vaguely say, “when its time.” What does that even mean? I know that it doesn’t mean at a certain hour and minute you pack up and walk away. But, I also know that answer leaves a lot of uncertainty.

In my life I have made quite a few profound life changes. The first one was moving away to attend college two hours away from home. It wasn’t terribly hard for me to make this decision. I had a handful of friends that meant the world to me and family in Maxwell, Iowa, but nothing else. You might be asking yourself how could I walk away from my family or friends as though they meant nothing to me. I assure you, that was not the case. I am still friends with that small group and although my dad is gone, still treasure the life I had with him.

I needed to leave because in my core - even deeper than my soul - I knew that there was something more for me in the world than staying in that small farming community and at that time I had no intention of becoming a parent, therefore I had no reason to create roots there.

Two years into college and I enlisted in United States Navy. I broke my mom’s heart. She asked me, “how come you just keep getting farther and farther from home?” I answered with the same answer as above - there was something bigger for me than Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And, yes, I have wonderful friends from college and I still love them as they love me.

Two years into my enlistment I got married. In retrospect, I needed to consider that decision much more deeply than I did, not just because it ended in divorce, but because I knew in my core that it truly wasn’t my future.

A year later I had my son. Initially, I regretted getting pregnant, but now, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.

Two years later I had my first daughter. Still, no regrets having her. I wouldn’t trade her for the world, either.

A year later I was divorced. I will never forget the moment I decided to divorce him. I was standing in our living room, fighting with him while holding my baby girl on my hip. I swear time froze. I could hear him yelling and her fussing, but I couldn’t tell you what he said, because in that moment I was done. There was no going back from where we were at in that moment. The fighting had reached a peak. My kids deserved more and needed a home filled with love.

I moved back home to Iowa. Things were difficult there, as a single mom it was incredibly hard to find a job with hours and pay conducive for raising kids. The more I struggled the more I knew this wasn’t it for the kids and me - something big was coming and change was going to happen.

I decided to move here, to Ohio. I knew that no matter what happened once I got here, this is where I was supposed to be at the time. Since living here I have changed jobs three times. The first two jobs I became so burnt out that I couldn’t even find a reason to smile while there. I don’t know that it was one thing that occurred to allow me to feel that way. There were a lot of factors involved, but most importantly, I finally found a job conducive (for the most part) for raising children and I get to use my brain daily - I LOVE to learn.

Every single signficant change I have ever made was after I felt in my core, my entire being that my time was done. I needed to move on. The cards have rarely fallen into place for me to tell you that each change had a seamless transition, in fact, most of those changes were made with a huge uphill battle ahead. But, as I have written before, I’m much better at taking the road less traveled than I am at taking the one with a well worn path.

I absolutely was terrified with each decision. I faced fear, uncertainty, rejection and many other negatives. But, once I overcame them the view on the other side was so beautiful that I regret none of those choices.

No matter where you are or what you are doing there will always be challenging times, but if you listen closely enough to yourself you will hear and feel what you need to make that change or shift that will profoundly impact your life.

That’s the beautiful thing about being a human. We are consistently afforded opportunities to change, improve, move forward and create a life for ourselves that we want to thrive, feel joy and happiness. We are not rooted plants that have to weather the same storms and same seasons. We are more like seeds, we bloom where we are planted when we have the right nutrients and light.