When I go over the last 8 years in my mind, I sometimes forget the courage it took, the crazy experiences we went through, the change and adaptation and I wonder if it was all real.
I see myself today as this person who has gone through many changes, even early on. Life started off pretty bumpy and deciding to make changes that would help me grow as a person, wasn’t easy. Change is freaking hard.
I get it! I was like most everyone else. Twenty years working away making money to buy the things to fill my life was the most important thing to me. I wanted the house, the car, the nice clothes; all the things I lived without when I was young. My twenties were based on the theory that you work hard when you are young and can swing two jobs and the long hours. Looking back, the traveling alone to and from each job would have made most people’s heads spin. I spent my youth working, saving and planning for something, but I never knew what exactly. I had faith that my life would turn out though, even if I have no real faith in religion, I always had faith in my abilities. And I knew when my true partner came along, the person I wanted to be the father of my own children, I would be ready! With a plan. A savings. A steady way to help provide. I would be ready for the commitment as an equal partner. I never wanted the knight in shining armour to let me longe at home. I would never have wanted someone that took care of me. I wanted equality right from the start and to be respected. I couldn’t respect myself if I were a kept woman. Although Alfonz and I have taken turns taking care of each other over the last twenty years, but that’s another story.
Then I woke up! I was running on the treadmill, lapping over the same kilometer over and over again. I realizing that the business I gave my youth to didn’t give a hump about me. I gave such dedication to only be treated very poorly over the years. I finally stopped giving myself entirely to my work. I knew there had to be a better way. But I was still stuck on the idea that if I worked hard and long enough, that I would get the life I always wanted. Well the truth, it is all a big fat lie! The ‘American’ dream has been shot down by big corporations like I worked for, by the fat cats on the top of the ladders, greedily eating everything up, and leaving the common man to struggle.
I had had enough of people living off the hard work I put in; off the backs of the common people, waiting for them to break and replacing them after they are used up, and throwing them away like toilet paper. None of it had meaning. It is always about the bottom line for corporations. A narcissistic system based on growth without emotion.
The only way to find your purpose in this life, is to understand who you are at the base of your core personality. To be brave enough to say that you know that this doesn’t feel good anymore, and it is time I make some changes. We cannot sacrifice ourselves for the dollar and come out the other end feeling good about it. It is all superficial. Life does not equate stuff! Especially when you have spent your last dime and look around wondering where your youth went? Was that nice car worth all those family meals missed. Was that new house worth it all just to see it after sunset everyday spending your waking hours away working? There had to be more meaning to life than this.
Taking time to figure out who we are as individuals, what makes us tick and feel good, should be a mandatory part of life. If everyone would take a wander for about a year across some vast desert or climb a mountain reflecting on who they are, I bet more people would be happy. To truly understand oneself, what makes a person unique, can be within finding our strengths and our abilities through a reflective journey. I still believe that every single person has a purpose in this life, we just need to give ourselves the time to find out what that purpose is.
My only regret is that I did not take the time when I was young, when I had the energy to experience life to the fullest. Instead, I worked my bag off. Of course yes a few good things came from all that I went through. I met people from all over through my work, I worked with interesting people, I learned how to contort myself into a person that was consistently pleasing in nature, I knew the value of a dollar, and I saved and invested well. But what I did not find was balance.
Here I am. Midlife. Turning to the past to gain some wisdom and giving myself advice as to how to move into the second half of my life at a much slower speed. Yet again, I find myself running at mach speed, pushing the boundaries and going back to school. I juggle our business, and work, my kids and our home. It is a different juggling act, but still the same thing remains; I am in fact not entirely true to myself.
If I were I would have more time for myself to spend not planning and working but resting and playing. The balance has slipped back to my old dog ways, I am simply in another country on a different treadmill.
In some ways I am proud of us, when different things pop into my mind like the distance we have crossed, the things we have visited, and the experiences through blogging that came our way. I am amazed that this is in fact my life we are talking about. The trips, the countries, the languages, the houses, the TV shows, the radio programs, the schooling, the teaching, the elections, the singing, the renovations, the joy, the laughter, the food, the wine, the friendships…
Yet here I am again, a little lost. Now what? Do I have a new goal? Yes I guess I do. It seems to me that I may have done things out of order, ok vastly out of order for society, but it does feel extremely rewarding going back to university to get my degree. Even if my work situation doesn’t change, even if they still think I am the stupid American, even if they never give me any respect, I have to remember who I am at the core of my being, but moreover, who I am doing this all for. I can pretend it is for my kids, giving them a good example, but that’s a lie. It is selfishly for me. Something I should have done long ago. To prove to myself that I can do it. To reach a line drawn in the sand, and say, this is my goal, it is important enough to carve out the time for this. It is time to simply achieve what I am after.
Life is incredibly long for those who are stuck. Long days, long hours, long life… My life has been exciting, fast paced, extremely diverse, and I wouldn’t change places with anyone. Not a single wealthy celeb, or a heiress inheriting her father’s fortune; nope my life is all mine. The deep and varied twists, the perpetual turns, sprinkled with self discovery, intent, varied changes, positive growth, deep healing and the result is wisdom to draw on; deep pools of experience.
I love my life. It is full. I am overflowing with gratitude and appreciation, and even the low moments are there for us to learn from.
I still get tackled down emotionally by the haters. I still get challenged to live up to my words on occasion, like today. But I know I can walk through this life with my head held high, my heart wide open to give and receive opportunities that life throws my way. With kind words are my weapon, I will not sink down to the gloom and depths of the broken. I must truck on.