Happy New Year! I love saying that until Feb 1st, then the newness wears off and I feel like the year truly begins…
But I say it until then and am happy every time it leaves my lips because it helps me to reflect on what was and what is to come.
I plan on making this year one of the best in my history because it’s a BIG one. I turn 40 this year and am truly in a whole new chapter in my life. I have settled in a new city, have a new job/career, am beside the man with whom I plan to go through the rest of my years and have a family with, and I have a more clear sense of self than I EVER have in my life. Just now while I write this I realize that this may be the final page in the “middle” chapter of my life and the one this blog post is about. Wow, I feel so lucky to be able to define it but damn, that middle part was DIFFICULT and it’s taken some struggles, some hard, hard lessons, heartache and giant growth spurts to get me here.
Last month I was asked to write a blog post for the incredible non-profit organization I recently started working with, Mobile Baykeeper, introducing myself to the community. You can read it here. It’s all about my journey and life in Los Angeles and my transition to now living in Mobile, Al. It was quite a ride. Although that blog post was difficult to write because there is a lot of pressure when introducing yourself to a new community (plus I kind of hate my writing and I get self conscious talking about myself), I learned a whole lot and truly felt a sense of pride as I was able to take the journey again. The only things I had when I moved to Los Angeles when I was 23 was a friend who was living there, the support of my family, a couple bucks I had saved, some background in theatre, a passion for education and the gift my Mom passed down of being able to talk to and make friends with anyone. I did not dream of being a movie star (in reality that scared me to death) and I didn’t have a clue what else I was “good” at but something inside me said I could do it, that I could create a life, FIND what I was good at and survive. I walked away from LA, 14 years later, with a career that I had crafted, incredible friends/family that I will have for the rest of my life, a deeper spiritual connection to the world around me, a love of the environment and a strong sense that I am one of the ones here to help take care of and heal the planet.
Did I mention the long laundry list of the things I learned that I DON’T want to do or put my energy into? Ah, yes, that too.
What I realized while writing that blog post (as it relates to our theme of the month “Pursuing Your Dreams and Taking Chances” ) was that I didn’t pursue my dreams because I didn’t know what the heck those dreams were. Instead, I was on a journey to DISCOVER my dreams through trial and error. By building relationships, trying out different careers, failing, quitting, beating myself up, making really bad decisions, hurting people as I “found” myself, being selfish at times and also being beyond giving at times I realized what did and didn’t work for me. I took chances, I took huge risks, I followed by heart (to a fault sometimes), I said YES to projects, people, experiences and impulses. Like I said before, I also hurt people I cared about deeply because instead of being able to be up front and honest about feelings, I ran and hid among external validation. The hard lessons I learned during those times were the BIGGEST for me. I realized how I didn’t want to feel, how I didn’t want to make others feel, how I can’t please everyone and that I am consistently inconsistent but boy do I CARE. I care about people, I care about projects, I care about doing a good job, I am a hard worker and as a psychic once told me “much of your success is going to be because people want to work with you.” She was right. I have landed and kept jobs because of who I AM much more than because of my background or experience and for a girl with a voice in her head much of the time telling her that she’s not good enough…”getting” that I matter and make a difference in the lives of others is a HUGE giant leap going into this next chapter in my life.
I struggle with self confidence but even over these last few weeks, having to put down in writing what I have accomplished in my life already, a whole new appreciation for my skills, my talents and my compassion has emerged. This next chapter is going to look different. It’s going to be quieter, more focused, organized and present. I am finally forgiving myself for past “mistakes” and letting myself off the hook for what I didn’t know at the time. I am going to continue my study of and passion for taking care of the planet and passing that onto the children that I plan to have in the near future. I will learn and grow with my partner and dedicate myself to open communication, love, honesty and commitment.
In the end I think I can look back and say my “dreams” were ultimately to gain independence, confidence, create and establish a career that I can support myself with and be proud of, share my life with people that show love, allow me to be myself and are committed to growth and use my experiences in life to inspire and empower those around me to be their best selves.
I am still (and always will be) a work in progress but today I am learning and striving to love and appreciate each chapter of MY life story…because I plan to make it a page turner.
Featured Image: Photo by Paul Hurley. “Three Legged Buddha” can be viewed at Storm King Art Center in New York
“Like the Tibetan Buddhist tradition that it evokes, Zhang Huan’s “Three-Legged Buddha” is an artwork of mystery and complexity. It captures life, death, and rebirth. The enormous sculpture is strong and muscular, yet fragile; seemingly dominated yet defiant. Is the key figure within it collapsing, or is it arising?” – MindfulWalker.com