FOLLOWING UP

BUTERFLYI can hardly believe it has been a year since my life reared up last summer and smacked me in the face.

Wake up! it shouted at my dreary routine. You call this living?

Well, OK. Obviously, no one really said that. But you may remember me writing about it then, and periodically over the winter, describing how it felt to emerge one day from the fog that had surrounded my life only to learn I had lost the sense of who I was, and what I wanted to do.

It wasn’t like misplacing my wallet. I wasn’t sure I even remembered how to be happy, which sounds a little pathetic. But I have learned over this year that the dumbing down of hopes and dreams is pretty common. Some people I know are feeling the same thing.

It’s nothing we do deliberately, mired as we are in work and marriage and kids and bills. And, somewhere in there, life somehow shifts from being the tender treasure it is to a heavy load of mortgages, orthodontia, and taxes on the rise. Everyone and everything else comes first.

Lucky is the person who can keep it all in stride and remain true to self. I’m just glad for the wake-up call.

Twelve months ago I was a different person. Then, I had a routine with few choices and no exit. Now, I am redrawing my roadmap. Then, I felt empty and somewhat hopeless. Today, I allow myself to feel deeply, to enjoy the simple pleasures all around me, and to think freely and take risks.

I have learned to remind myself that joy and contentment are not waiting around the corner or down the road, they are with me already, in the here and now, if I will only open my eyes to see them.

Take something that happened the other day. I was talking with a friend when a sudden tidal wave of emotion overtook me. In fact, it was so strong I was almost unable to speak, and I struggled with it as we said our eventual goodbyes.

I was confused as I tried to figure it out. What the hell was wrong with me?

Nothing, I realized later, as I thought about it some more. I wasn’t fighting tears because I was sad, or hormonal, or for any other reason I can come up with. I was overcome because I was happy. In that moment. In life. Just in general. I felt something big. So, I cried.

Learning to navigate this good, perplexing, unpredictable life of mine is a challenge, but I am finding now that it fits me well.

Rediscovering yourself is a hard, cathartic job. Still, if I had to choose between then and now, I would take the “now” me. Not just because change forced a path, but because I am so very eager to see where it leads me.

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About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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