I was pacing a dock in Wisconsin on a gorgeous autumn day. Sipping my coffee, talking to my sister. “I feel like I took a deep breath in 10 years ago and I’m only just now exhaling,” I heard myself say. “And wow, it’s been an exhausting decade.”
Hyperbole, of course, but it felt apt. I don’t know what you’ve been doing for the past decade but I’ve been mainly trying to extricate myself from a marriage and a life that had become untenable, deal with the financial fallout of my ex’s actions, raise two boys, rescue a 90-lb. dog and love her into her best life. Pay bills, maintain a house, yada yada yada.
The difference between us might be that you were living a life that you had grown into. I was living a life that I was thrust into. I don’t negate my choices, but I am painfully familiar now with how someone else’s choices can steer my life if I’ve throw in with them. And how quickly a life can change.
So here I am. My youngest launched at college. My eldest launched into a job as a fireman and paramedic. Bailey, our furry rescue girl, deeply settled in a life where she has been loved beyond measure.
And then there’s me.
Why hello there, me. Do you even remember who you were before life became a lot of work? Not sure? That’s ok. We have some time to figure that out.
My inaugural blog post, not coincidentally, was 10 years ago. It got all of one like. No one knew I was out here in the ether. But I read those words now and think, “Wise woman.” And I wonder if I actually was writing for my future self without knowing it, because my own words are a balm for my soul now.
I began this blog because I’m a writer and writers write no matter who is reading and who is not. And it was a wise choice not only for self-expression but also because I think—based on comments—that I’ve helped a few of you along the way, through your own tough bits. Just as you’ve helped me.
I call my youngest launching the turning of the page. It is. It’s the end of a chapter in which I felt I threw my kids into a lifeboat along with me and just kept paddling without looking up. Thankfully, they both seem to have reached dry land and launched appropriately.
You know what comes next, right? This picture wouldn’t be complete without well-meaning friends. Well-meaning friends who want to bombard me with happy phrases about the “next stage of life,” “exciting adventures,” and more life coach talk. I’ve already fielded umpteen questions on when I’m writing a book, beginning to date again, moving, etc.
Give me a hot minute, people.
They are well intentioned. They want what is good for me after seeing me struggle. And they want the train to leave the station RIGHT NOW.
In my own words of 10 years ago: Stop. Think. Repeat. That was the title of the blog, which closed with: “Here’s to a lightness of spirit. Here’s to an earnest reflection on the journey we each take into and out of this world. Here’s to making space for the sacred in an ever so brief, but essential, pause today. I’m here. Now. And thankful.”
That’s where I am, folks. In the moment.
Am I slowly realizing the house bought to raise a family in is not the house I want to be in for the next chapter? Likely. But where I want to be—that’s up in the air. I’m in no rush. The writers and artists among you will understand what I’m about to say next: Life moves me when it’s time. I can already feel this house nudging me, as if it’s saying: “I’m built for families. For kids in the yard. For hot chocolate by the fireplace and loud family dinners.”
I feel I owe this house that much. Another happy family to fill it. “There is no rush,” I can hear its walls whisper. “But you know it’s time.”
I will be guided by a Higher Power. I always have been.
I’ve always loved a lake view, a cute coffee shop, light-filled rooms. Maybe I’ll find my version of those.
I do so love to write. It’s the one thing I do really well and the only thing that causes time to cease for me. Perhaps I’ll be inspired to write a book.
I also love love but hate settling. I’m a really independent woman in what is still in many ways a man’s world. Maybe I’ll meet a man modern enough to share my journey. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I’ve proven to myself I can be happy and ok and all good things as a woman alone. The world still doesn’t understand that but it will, in time.
Make me an offer, Universe. Here I am. Do we go back to where I was headed before this 10-year stint? Or do we do an about-face and move in a completely new direction?