I traveled a lot in my younger days. Flying across the United States to do a three week road trip by myself, backpacking Costa Rica with a friend. Looking back it looks blissful. No fear or worries. Innocence, as they say, was bliss.
Now days? I do things a lot more cautiously it seems. I open cans carefully, I check the labels on food, I have my kids wash their hands after school. I worry when my blood sugar is too low. I worry about the Megaearthquake I just read about or the Connecticut school disaster. I worry that I need more space, I worry that I don’t play enough with my kids and their childhood is passing by. I worry that I will never have time to do things that I *really* want to do. And on and on and on… It’s exhausting.
Perhaps it’s because the world has gotten more complicated than my pre-kid traveling days. But mostly I think it’s because I feel responsible. If I mess up, someone could get hurt, or feel bad, or I could get hurt and then what? I am all they have. It is scarier than I ever thought to be a solo parent. And while I know I am resilient and this situation has turned me into someone I am proud to be, it can also feel worrisome and lonesome. When I was married or before kids, I felt like someone had my back or at least I was only responsible for my own mess ups. Single parents talk about how challenging it can be but no one ever talks about how vulnerable you can feel.
I have heard suggestions over the past few years like, “Find a nice guy and get married” or “Don’t worry so much, it’s all going to be ok.’ Well you know what, I hear that and thanks…but it wasn’t ok. It wasn’t ok at all and I don’t ever want to go through something like that again, ever. I nursed my newborn baby in front of the Family Law Judge, while getting divorced. I watched my valedictorian ex-husband’s car get repossessed because he got fired and won’t be paying child support. I saw the look on the cashier’s face when I pulled out my food stamps to pay. I have dried the tears of my kids countless times when they want to know where their daddy is. Life is not fair. And that’s just my story, which is pretty tame but comparison to a lot of others.
I notice that some people go through life’s challenges and end up retreating and feeling scared. While others report a new zest for life and want to live each moment to the fullest. Why is that? What’s the difference? I don’t know exactly but I think a lot of it has to do with how you look at it and what messages you say to yourself. (I don’t think my messages are always so helpful.) So even though my heart aches for the life I “planned” on leading and it aches for my kids…they are so beautiful. And even though it’s hard or challenging, we all deserve a life that is rich with love, energy, joy and magic. And it’s our job to make it happen. And to remind ourselves that we can.
So, here I am. Where do I go from here? For starters, I say goodbye to the old dream. And then. I create a new one. Sounds easy, but there is practice that will go along with it. Meaning, we can focus on what did/didn’t happen and how much it sucked for yeeeeeears. And some people get stuck in that, unfortunately. Or, we can focus on what we want today, next week, next year. We can move TOWARD the life we want instead of away from the stuff we don’t. So, starting with the basics, I want scrambled eggs for lunch and then a walk in the sunshine. I want to do “art night” for the third time this week with my kids. I want to travel somewhere new this year. And moment by moment, when the habit of worrying or reviewing the past wants to creep in, I breathe and remember that all is good in this moment, and I not only am I moving towards I life that I love every day, I am living a life I love in this moment, right now.
How are you creating a life you love? Happy travels in your journeys.