Changing Directions, Part I

July 24, 2017

If you don’t like the life you’re living. DO something about it! Make a commitment to change your direction.

I did. And if I can, so can you.

I’ve lived many different lives (more than nine), so I know it’s possible.

The life I’m living today is my best one yet. It’s working out pretty good for me, but I assure you, when it doesn’t, I will be doing something about it.

Here are a few lives I’ve lived:

The Childhood: We all lived this life and there isn’t much we can do about it because when we are children, we don’t have that kind of power. I believe The Childhood Life stays with us forever and influences how we live the rest of our lives. Not everyone had a good childhood. Mine was fine.  I was the First Born which carries with it  it’s very own special set of complications. My own first born can attest to this. We are all somehow affected by our childhood experiences to varying degrees. Some more than others. I don’t intend to make light of the more seriously damaging childhoods where the scars never fade, I realize that kind of childhood is in an entirely different class.

Legally, we are considered adults at age 18,  although I cannot for the life of me wrap my brain around how that’s even possible. I was 39 about to turn 40 wondering when I would start to feel like an adult and until then I was running around in an adult world feeling very much ill prepared and appalled by *adult* expectations in life. This hasn’t changed much, I’ve just learned how to work around it.

I went directly from childhood into married life which brings me to my Second Life which I will call-

The Young Wife Life: I had no idea what I was doing and I feel sorry for my first husband who was a child himself and had to put up with me while I learned the ropes. I literally had no idea how to pay a bill or that they even arrived in the mail with any regularity. I couldn’t drive, budget money (this is still a problem) or grocery shop well. I grew up in the military where things were VERY different so not only did I have to learn how to be a wife (fail), I had to learn how to a) live in a different country and b) pay bills when all I really wanted to do was c) party.

During this time of my life I became a mother which I also knew very little about doing the right way. I was not equipped for mother-hood but then again, I’m not sure if anyone actually is. I know people exist where parenthood is second nature to them and they get it right in the beginning but I wasn’t one of them. I still needed parenting myself and I messed up A LOT. Ask my oldest.  We are ALL scarred from that. Never-the-less, I loved my children fiercely and did the best I could with what I knew how to do. As mothers, we mercilessly beat ourselves up for our shortcomings and mistakes and that is not something I wish to do any more and I hope you don’t do it either.

We all fuck up.

Those early years were when I didn’t realize I could change my life if I wanted to. I didn’t think too much about it and just wanted to live Happily Ever After. But, it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t happy and I didn’t know how to be. I invested most of my energy in damage control. By the time I realized I needed to gain some control over my own destiny, I had three little precious children. I wanted to set a better example for them and I wasn’t going to do that if I didn’t make some serious changes. My first REAL attempt to change my circumstances came about because I desperately needed to be *more*. My identity was wrapped up in being a mother and wife and outside of that I didn’t know who I was. I registered for college at the ripe old age of 29. That same year, I dropped out of college, got a divorce and jumped from the frying pan into the fire.

I knew I wanted to go to college but after my divorce I was drowning in guilt, drinking too much and generally just living by the seat of my pants. I was a ticking time bomb. I failed at Being Married and Being a Mother.  I desperately wanted to get something right so I jumped into my next life with drunken abandon. I call this life-

The Black Hole: For these two-ish years I couldn’t tell you who was living my life. I couldn’t wake up from the nightmare my life had become.  I was never sober, my kids were a mess, I was a mess and everything was one BIG DISASTER ALL THE TIME. I still struggle with this phase of my life because the events that occurred during this time were insanely painful, frightening and bizarre. I probably shouldn’t be alive today. When I tried explaining this part of my life to people I met as I was coming out of it, they thought I was making it up. That is the level of bizarre it was. During this phase of my life, I remarried for one year(but had a restraining order for six months of it), became someone else I wouldn’t even recognize today, and made a plethora of terrible choices. I was in survival mode at its finest. The Black Hole part of my life ended as abruptly as it began but I had to decide that I would do anything to make it stop. And I did. When I think about the *end* of this phase I am always amazed. It required a significant amount of orchestrating and a 100% absolute conviction that God had my back. I felt like I was jumping out of a plane without a parachute. I’ve never done that, but I imagine it’s quite scary. This phase quite gently rolled over into the next life which I will call-

to be continued…