My closest friends, who went through much of it with me, agree. And now that it’s over, I am ready to show hardship and heartache the door, even though – as the saying goes – I am better for it.
Nobody said reinventing your life would be easy. But I just had no idea. A year and a half ago I woke up from what felt like a long coma, determined not only to make each day count, but live the life meant for me.
Really live it. Not just go through the paces. Not settle. Not pretend it all was OK. And not get to the end wishing that I had taken a stand, or done anything differently. Because then, of course, it is too late.
A metamorphosis like this is illuminating and wonderful, as well as discouraging and sad. My outlets for stress became tennis and yoga, and the belief things couldn’t get worse — which they often did, despite my efforts to stay positive.
Compounding things, my son left for the Army, my teenager had two major surgeries in nine months, and my husband and I made the wrenching decision to end our 23-year marriage. If that wasn’t enough, our beautiful dog suddenly died, I had unexpected personal and financial issues, along with a big, old house that refused to sell — life seemed determined to push me to the breaking point to see what I was made of.
I’m still here, I am happy to report. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever knew. In fact, I not only held it together but I balled up the angst that threatened to overwhelm me, and used the passion instead to write a novel; inspiration comes at the oddest times. We also took in a foster puppy who within days became our own.
Such accomplishments might not stand out to others, but to me they are huge. I have solved problems, one by one, when I would rather have given up. And what I couldn’t fix I have held out to the universe, trusting that spirit, and God, and anyone else out there, will help.
And so, here I am, looking at my 50ish self with a little more pride as this year ends. For having learned to sway, but not break. To hang on to what nourishes me, and lovingly release the rest.
Starting over is terrifying. And, for me, excruciating. Which I hope explains why I have not blogged much, and not at all since October. There were days that I just stared at the blank page, knowing my thoughts were too intimate and painful to try to share.
But then today, for some reason, I felt strengthened and renewed. My feet just sort of led me to my laptop. And as the snow ended and sun streamed in through the window, the words decided to come.