How did I get here? What am I doing with my life?
These questions have been on my mind for months now, but I had no idea how to answer them. I wasn’t even sure if I could answer them. I thought I loved this place. I thought I had exactly what I wanted. I did all the ‘right’ things, followed the ‘right’ path and yet here I am. Completely lost. Lost in what seems like an abyss of dark emptiness with no flashlight. How could I feel so empty when I was surrounded by exactly what I had wanted? Why has this life I have built for myself not filled the huge hole in my soul that just seems to be getting bigger and bigger everyday? Why do I feel so lost and alone when so many friends and family surround me?
The answers wouldn’t come easy. I knew that much.
I have spent most of my life catching up to other people. Always a couple of steps behind my friend’s life achievements. So I worked hard and kept my head down. By the time I actually stopped and looked up I was 34 and running a business I didn’t like. I was living in a town I had never meant to stay more than a few years in. I was lost. I had lost sight of who I was somehow. Who I wanted to be and I had no idea how to get her back. I didn’t even know where to start.
I used to be this brave young woman who took risks. I used to have self-confidence. I used to be bold. I used to not care about what everyone else thought of me. Not because I was arrogant, but because I didn’t allow others judgments of me to change who I was. I had an idea of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do with my life. Now, at 34, I realized I was no longer that woman. Sure I had held on to very small aspects of her. Things like changing my hair colour on a whim or cutting off all my hair just because I felt like it. I had tried to hold on to who I was. What I loved about myself, but it was like sand slipping through my fingers. Before I knew it, all that was left was a few grains of who that person had been.
I spent a few weeks traveling around to friends. Visiting people outside the little town I have called home for so long. I started to understand what didn’t fit. I had built this life that would allow me to build my own family. The typical 2.5 kids, a dog with a white picket fence and a big backyard. Suddenly reality hit me like brick to the chest. That was the life I had wanted when I was 20. Before I knew better. Before I had grown up. The life five year old me had dreamed of.
I wasn’t her anymore.
I was so busy building my life I hadn’t stopped to make sure it was the life I still wanted.
If you had asked me 10 years ago if I wanted those things the answer would have been YES. No question. No doubts. YES I had wanted that. So why didn’t I have kids and a house years ago? Why had I avoided that my whole life? The answer was simple. I didn’t really want those things anymore.
It was one of those (as Oprah calls it) light bulb moments. I looked around at all my friends who had 2.5 kids, a house and this “perfect” life and I knew I didn’t want that. I had outgrown the desire to be that person.
I had only myself to blame. I had stopped listening to my inner voice and allowed myself to be swallowed up by a life that no longer fit who I was.
One of the people who I had agreed to spend some time with didn’t have kids. She didn’t have a white picket fence and she just happened to live in a city that I fell in love with when I lived there in my 20s. I was only there a few days, but in those few days I found some of the answers I had been looking for.
The answers came like waves as I started to evaluate my life. While running to catch a subway train my heart skipped a beat. I remembered being 20 and running from North York to Downtown to meet friends for drinks. I remembered falling asleep on the subway on my way home from work. While sitting at a bar and ordering, what turned out to be 3-hour nachos (a long story for another day), I remembered how much fun life can be. I remembered who I was or who I had been so long ago. This didn’t happen all at once, but in little waves over the few days I was there. I began to piece together who I could be. What I missed about that woman I used to be and who I wanted to be now. I had no idea how, but I knew my life needed to change.
I used to be brave. I used to have courage. I used to be bold and unapologetic. I used to be happy.
I want that part of me back. So, I am closing down this business I started. I am selling all the stuff I have accumulated. I am packing up my life and I am moving forward. I don’t know where exactly I am going. I don’t know how exactly I will get there.
All I know is I am going to be that woman again. I am going to be brave. I am going to be bold and I am going to have courage. I will listen to my inner voice and follow my heart wherever it takes me. Even if it takes me a lifetime to figure it all out, I am going to try. I am going to find the things that fill the hole in my soul. I am going to be happy.