In many ways; I’ve spent the first part of my early 40’s missing. If I'm being totally honest, to a large degree, I was also in hiding. Where did I disappear to? Well, that’s an interesting question if I do say so myself. I guess you could say I was stumbling around in a maze, through parts of myself I didn’t want the world to see or know about, as well as areas of my life I had kept hidden away from myself. In many aspects life suddenly opened up, but not in the ways I had hoped. I was handed a ticket, boarding an unexpected, unplanned flight whose path was anything but ordinary. I was suddenly thrust into the unknown regions of disaster and many times disbelief. Who I thought I was and whom I've actually become are complete polar opposites. So to answer the question of where I’ve been and even what I’ve been doing, is simple; I’ve spent most of the last two years growing. I found and opened doors inside myself I honestly hadn't realize existed. Mostly, I’ve fumbled through a maze of personal growth and an assortment of growing pains.
The results: the grass is never quite as green on the other side as we think it is. I really believe once we begin to work on our present life not focusing so much on the disappointments in our past, life begins to opens up, beautifully and spectacularly. This is the only life I have been given and so it begs to reason the only life I can be responsible for is my own. I can allow the pain of growth to do one of two things, either destroy me, making me bitter and angry, destitute of joy or I can allow this journey to shape me through the process, becoming a part of the solution instead of the problem. There simply comes a time when we're faced with the decision to move forward or go backwards. I ultimately came to a place in my life where I dropped everything, giving up what I wanted most for what I really needed.
Life lesson #6: the road to personal growth can lead us to untamed, unbridled transformation beyond our wildest dreams.
Life leaves us with scars, there's no way around them. Personal growth can reopen many of those old wounds especially once we begin acknowledging our need to re-exam who we have become and why. At the end of the day we have to accept if we're really going to grow, we have to learn to both apply and enforce boundaries in our lives. Sometimes what we thought was a good thing, turns out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing, entering our lives to consume us, to evict us from the security of our family, stealing our joy, eliciting our confidence to outright destroy us. Learning to say no or even goodbye is a necessity sometimes, even if it’s not what we want to do. I have to say, it’s seriously not an easy lesson to learn, but once we can wake up inside, opening our eyes, listening to the still, and small voice inside us, we're able to take our first, real giant leap of faith forward with conviction as life lifts up off the ground.
Two years later, I'm growing as a woman, independent and secure. I’m nowhere close to the woman I was and nowhere near where I am heading yet but I'm moving forward. In the year or more since boarding my own personal growth express life has changed in big ways. Oh, have I face my demons, taking responsibility for my own actions, spoken words, attitude, perceptions of wrongs done to me, choices made in the heat of the moment and how each one of those life changing decisions has shaped my character and relationships. We can’t blame others for our own misguided hoopla. Today, I’m a little bit wiser and definitely a lot older but as difficult as my personal growth has been, I’ve found what I am made of. I can’t forget some things or some people for that matter; they’ve changed me, moved me and left their mark on my life for good or bad. Am I afraid, absolutely, but real growth requires each of us to face our fears, to acknowledge we may not have found out exactly who we are or even where we are going just yet.
Once we have nothing left to hide, and can recognize we are no longer ghosts of our past, living life in a cage, our lives become unforgettable. I never thought I would end up where I have, breast cancer, loss, grief, and the list goes on, but then which one of us ever does? Life isn’t an illusion; it’s a work of great effort, with brush strokes of vivid color, some dark while others are bright and brilliant. Learning to dance, even when the rain is falling down, is what growth is all about. Sometimes it’s not the pain of being let down, but the joy of being picked back up again by a greater strength than we have ever known that defines us.