The gift in letting go.
I have been lost for as long as I can remember, but it only seems to bother me when the silence becomes too loud. Lacking direction has been a constant state of being for me. At times, I find joy in the journey, and, at others, I am desperate for direction.
At this point in my life, I thought I would feel more settled. At 40, I certainly believed I would have found a rhythm and would be dancing my ass off to it. But the truth is, I never had a plan.
Life was so dark for me by the time I reached 11 years old that I thought ending it was a more viable prospect than moving forward. And by 12, the hopelessness was even greater. I quietly suffered through two unsuccessful attempts at taking my own life before I got the help I needed.
Because of that, I never fully formed a vision of how I wanted my adult life to look. I never saw a life beyond my trauma. I never dreamed of getting married, committing to a career path, or envisioned what a home for myself would look like.
I remember thinking that turning 40 meant you were passing the baton of youthfulness into fully formed “adulthood.” I thought that, by this age, everyone was married with children, in a single-family home with lawns and a well-padded 401K. It never occurred to me that we are not magically transformed into this narrow version of “adulthood.”
I was aware that life paths vary. People get divorced. Some women do not have children. Some people are not fiscally responsible. But my younger self simply did not realize how truly customizable life can be (if you allow for it).
I do not know when I slipped into wanting a version of life that was not truly bred for my own desires. I saw who I perceived to be “successful working women” around me and thought that because I was just as ambitious as they were, I could also have what they had. I latched on to those things: career, husband, home, children. I had a great career path laid out before me; it was (and continues to be) a pillar in my life.
I had a husband. We bought a house. But he ended up not being what I expected. It was a beautiful, loveless prison despite my effort to create a peaceful space. We tried to get pregnant. Although my doctor said everything was fine, no babies came. Divorce ensued, and I was forced to reimagine my life. I clung to all of those things, tightly, before I allowed myself to let them go.
In hindsight, I see that the things I thought I wanted were birthed of comparison. I attempted to compel an ideal version of my life rather than allow it to proceed by its own design. Perhaps the version of myself today is the woman I was always meant to be. I am happy, I am whole, and I am free to write the next chapter of my life as I see fit. It is a daunting task at times, but I am filled with gratitude to no longer have the things I thought I wanted holding me back.
I have forged ahead, rebuilding love and confidence within myself. Being broken and lost has afforded me the opportunity to find my footing. Rebuilding has offered me the freedom to find out who I really am and what I really want. Coming into who I am has been beautiful. Figuring out what I really want out of life is still loading. While I struggle to make peace with that, I have figured out that whether I have a plan or not is fine, as long as I appreciate the journey along the way.
We have a barrage of mediums projecting “perfection” to us, but one must stay grounded in the fact that the universe does not allow for perfection. These visions we create for ourselves can become our prisons if we do not allow space for revision. The imperfections in our lives are meant for the development of our highest good.
The attempts to control outcomes, force relationships, and influence situations in our favor only serve to frustrate the natural course of our lives. It is not easy to sit back, relax, and allow things to take their course, whether you have it all together in your mind or not.
A blank page is frightening. I find myself vacillating between being perfectly content and utterly guilt-ridden about the unstructured state of my life.
But, if I have learned nothing else on this ride, it is this: letting go is essential because what you are holding on to is keeping you from the rest of the journey.