Recently I have been reflecting on this past year, and life in general. I think I’ve reached some pretty profound conclusions. I feel compelled to share my story because I know firsthand how difficult it can be to see a light at the end of the tunnel when life gets overwhelming. Being so open is not comfortable for me, but part of this healing process has been showing the world who I really am without worrying about what others might think. If it helps someone else in the process that is wonderful. And, if it turns some people away, that is okay too…
Less than a year ago I was undoubtedly at my personal “rock bottom”. Life seemed exhausting, and hopeless, and a chore. I was incredibly sick physically, mentally, and emotionally. For the first time I felt like I had no control, little purpose, and even questioned if I wanted to continue living. There was no end in sight to the pain I was feeling. I became extremely weak, unable to workout or eat much. If the rest of my life were going to be spent feeling isolated and nauseous in a dark room with unbearable migraines, I would rather not. Even at my lowest, that thought scared me a lot. It was a pretty big wake up call that my life had quickly spun out of control.
It seems like all of the clichés are finally starting to click for me. I’m beginning to believe that life may be about the journey and not the destination, love could be all I need, happiness is more about my response than what actually happens, and what doesn’t kill me will undoubtedly make me stronger. In the past I thought these were all things said just to make people feel better.
Without getting too much into the details, this time last year I was in a toxic marriage, overextended in all aspects of life, involved in many one-sided relationships that required a lot of my time and energy, I had little control over my finances and was rapidly getting deeper into debt. I was grieving the sudden loss of a dear friend, nearing the 10-year anniversary of my mom’s death, and my 30th birthday was quickly approaching which at the time symbolized the end of my youth and glaring a reminder of all the goals that I had yet to reach.
Then, in an instant, my life changed. When I actually thought I was holding it together and things might be getting better, all of the pent up frustration and anger and sadness exploded out of me. I left my marriage, and began to take my life back. It was by far hardest thing I’ve ever done and not a pretty picture for many months. It felt like I was on a runaway train, bracing for impact. It didn’t feel like a conscious choice, more like my body took over when my mind was too afraid to make the decision.
After lots of solo-travel, counseling, moving, simplifying, reflecting, and most importantly being very selective who I keep close, I can honestly say that I am happier and healthier than I have ever been.
I have less people and less stuff in my life than ever before, yet I feel a huge sense of abundance. I still have goals that I’m working towards, relationships that need nurturing, and obstacles to overcome, but in the mist of it all I am genuinely content, and looking forward to what lies ahead. I was on a clear path of career, marriage, and having kids, and now I have absolutely no idea what the future holds. No matter what happens I know I will be okay. Having seen how low bottom actually is everything else seems trivial in comparison.
I now have a strong sense of who I am, what I’m capable of, what I am willing to put up with, and what I need from others. I have gained a confidence and security that makes me so grateful for all that has happened. I know without a doubt that I am on the journey that I am meant to be on even if it doesn’t look like what I thought it was supposed to. I no longer run from pain, or try to fix it. I simply feel it, and listen.
I’ve learned that I can genuinely love someone unconditionally, and also not need them to be in my life. I understand that my happiness is up to me. It is not about what anyone else is doing or not doing, it is not about money or lack of, and it is definitely not about what others think of me. It is about being my authentic self, and making a conscious decision about who I have around me and where I focus my energy. I have learned how to forgive others and myself, and not take things so personally. There is very little that I view as “right” or “wrong” anymore, but rather lessons and ideas to consider.
When things are going well, I now appreciate them more than ever. When they aren’t I make a conscious effort to stay grateful for all the good, and know that the bad will pass. Life can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster full of twists and turns and jarring bumps, and I am learning to enjoy the ride.