Then and Now
I love my life.
I’ve recreated every freakin’ inch of it and I’m proud of what I’ve built.
But on Mother’s Day evening; with my children 9.8 miles away sleeping at their Dad’s and my own Mother 3,035 miles away; I have to admit that what I’ve built, for now, is rather lonely.
I was with my sister not too long ago and she made a comment about my obsession with my mobile phone. I told her that the red dot means someone is there on the other end, engaging with me. Online or not; it’s something.
It was a harsh reality the first time I realized that I could literally drop my kids off one day, crash my car 10 minutes later and, as an entrepreneur with a home office it could literally be days before someone realized I was missing. Not hours; days.
There’s an odd sense of freedom, dangling in the breeze this way.
I’m attached with a tether to the life I live, the home I’ve built for my girls and my responsibilities and pleasure of being their Mom but unbound to anyone or anything else.
As I rattle around in my empty house at all hours of the night, especially around significant “family” dates, I have flashbacks to my life before. I’d have my girls in the next room. My job and co-workers to wake up to and before that, their Dad to wake to.
Someone to check and see how my day was. Someone who cared if it was good or bad. Someone to show empathy or take the edge off. Someone to celebrate the wins with. Someone to cheer me on and pump me up with courage when I needed it.
Right now, these things don’t exist for me with any sense of regularity. I’ve built a tribe around me that does all of these things and much more, just in spits and spurts; and for all of them and their loving support, I’m deeply grateful.
Here’s the point: I’m OK without the “someone”.
Truly. I’ve gone as far as to explore if there’s something wrong with me because I’m OK.
I’m going to rewind my life for you, for a brief moment, because me saying I’m OK rattling around my empty house is magnanimous; but if you didn’t know the previous me, you might not see it.
Here’s the abridged version of my previous living situations: I went from my parent’s home (born and raised in the same house) to my college dorm with a roommate. After my freshman year of college, I moved a few thousand miles across the ocean to Hawaii and back into my parent’s home. From there I moved in with a boyfriend. Together we relocated to Seattle. After we split up, I moved into another home with an incredible family that took care of me for 9 months while I sorted out my life in WA. Another two roommates in another dorm and then to my former husband’s house where he lived at the time.
The first time I set up my own utilities was Jan. 2014; I was 37.
If you had asked me at any point before 30 to live by myself I couldn’t have. I was too afraid of being alone. I didn’t trust myself to be alone.
I didn’t know who I was and every attempt I made to “find” myself was just another compromise to adjust to someone else’s definition of what that looked like for me.
I didn’t have the self-confidence and I didn’t know how to get it. At 30 I was giving birth to my eldest daughter. Frankly, I didn’t even know, consciously, at that time that my life needed sorting.
It took me a very long time to realize I had to go an exceptionally short distance because I didn’t have to go anywhere but inward.
I had to fall back in love with who I was born to be. I had to put aside the cutting, moderate the alcohol and ask some really tough questions.
My life coach gave me an exercise once to look at myself in the mirror, in the eyes, and say I love you. I couldn't do it the first time I tried. It took me a few weeks to even begin to take the exercise seriously; usually there were tears. It took me a year to actually feel like what I was saying was true.
So when I say it’s a pretty big deal that I’m totally 100% comfortable with my life; it’s not just my life I’m comfortable with; it’s ME I’m comfortable with.
I have a beautiful version of what I want my future to look and feel like and simultaneously, right now is enough.
I feel fully alive. I’m experiencing the world I’ve built around myself and relishing all of it’s nuances. I can do this because I’m wholly self-sufficient, self-loving and self-caring.
I can do this because I found myself.
I’m building what I want my life to look life and I’m strong enough to know what I will and won’t give of myself. I’m also wise enough to know who the right people are to let in for love and support.
I share this because as we close out Mother’s Day weekend I want to leave you with this one, very simple, very real idea.
We all have someone we came from.
If you are blessed enough to be a parent then you know what you see when you look at your children; you see perfection. You see beauty. You see hope, potential, joy, love, peace and propulsion. You see life from the most profound sense of love.
Someone looked at you that way once. Isn’t it time you did it for yourself?
If you or anyone you know needs a refreshed perspective, I’ve taken what took me years and distilled it into exercises that will get you started down the right path in just a few weeks.
Join A Study in Self Love; because loving yourself shouldn’t be hard work.