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This is the somewhat profound question I arrived at during the third week of our recent (postponed from 2021) honeymoon in Italy. Whose life am I living? We had an amazing time, taking on board many different locations and paces of life. And we’d stopped for a week in a gorgeous Trulli in Puglia, with time to look around us and reflect on new information and what’s REALLY important.

I am still thinking about it, as it’s not a quick answer. I’m living my life in the sense that it’s my body, my mind, my timeline. And then there’s another set of questions which need responding to before I can answer the bigger question of whose life I am living. These are things like:

  • My values, are they truly mine or those of others (eg family values)
  • Am I being honest with myself about what I like and dislike, let alone being honest with others? And what do I like and dislike?
  • The roles I am playing, are they mine to own or were they given to me by someone else (such as parents)? If the latter, then they need to be returned to their point of origin.
  • What part is obligation playing? Are they ones I chose or ones I’ve inherited or were given?

And I’m sure there are many more….

As I delve deeper into the world of systemic coaching, I now understand how the rules of belonging which exist in the family system I was born into are driving my life. And it’s time to clarify what truly sits with me, what belongs with others, and what I’m going to discard.

I’ll be 60 in 2024. It’s abundantly clear to me that a clock is ticking. And I want to spend the rest of my days living the life I choose. And with all the tools I have at my disposal, I am exploring what changes I want to make and how I go about enacting them. I’m already a long way down that road and am into the fine-tuning stages.

The questions above are quite big ones. And if you find them easy to answer, then can I suggest you might want to spend more time thinking about that, or being challenged about your responses to establish whether they are genuinely true for you. And coaching, particularly systemic coaching, is a great way to do this.

Matera, Puglia, June 2022