Many, many years ago I dated a guy who did not celebrate American holidays. It was just not his thing. He would celebrate birthdays because he didn’t see that attached to some cultural dogma imposed on others by Western Culture. Thus, when a holiday rolled around that was always the elephant in the room. Needless to say me, this Christmas Baby, was always silently disappointed that he would not celebrate with me, and let’s not even talk about Valentine’s Day. But I continued to celebrate my favorite time of the year on my own terms. My friends thought he was not really my type, but he did have other attributes that spoke to me. In the end I had to travel my own path to enlightenment and in the process I learned that I shouldn’t have to compromise my own beliefs and values to be in a relationship. That lesson would become a part of who I was and who I was becoming as I realized that each new experience that gave me an aha moment was like being born again, as long as I remembered to incorporate my new lessons learned into the ever-changing landscape of my life.
This past decade has truly brought many changes into my life, all which a decade before would have been unforeseen. But I’ve learned to look at my life as a series of pivotal events occurring every few years, all transitioning my life in ways that have ended up taking me to the next level of my life’s experience. As I look back, each new level has brought challenges but also growth, sometimes giving me challenges to overcome or at least learn from.
At the end of each of these “learning clusters”, I’ve had the realization that whatever I was to learn, I hoped I did and eventually I would move on to the next experience that would ultimately enrich my life and give me the clarity that I needed as I continue to move forward, or ascend upward.
I call each of these “cluster experiences” my being re-born. The death of my husband (as well as my father 4 years before) were probably the worst and most difficult of these learning experiences, and because of each loss, I was forced to decide whether to die or to live again (stand frozen in time or move forward). Fortunately for me, I chose life and spent the next decade crawling out of an abysmal pit into the light of my new beginning. In retrospect, I can now see that I was born again. I took the time to learn what I was being taught along the way, so I wouldn’t wallow in my grief or remain stuck somewhere in time having to repeat lessons which I know would have become tougher as time went on. I learned to live consciously so as not to end up on a merry-go-round going round and round, almost catching the ring, missing it and then repeating the ride until I could securely grasp the ring and move on.
We are always being given an opportunity to be born again and again, but sometimes our rebirth can never materialize because we aren’t able to make the necessary changes needed in order for new opportunities to manifest themselves.
In the next decade let’s all try to take those next steps that will help us to change our lives in ways that make us accountable to ourselves, wiser, happier and put us on the road that our destiny requires us to be on. Sometimes we must discard old habits, ways of thinking, ways of doing and we must really ask ourselves if doing things in the same way and reaping the same results is benefiting us. It’s good to remember that it’s not how the world is treating you but more how you’re navigating yourself in it. Discarding “old think” and old ways of doing things as well as people who aren’t serving you well or not giving you what you really want out of life, can be painful in the short run, but in the long run you will be able to live authentic lives knowing that you’re discarding blockages to happiness as you embrace new opportunities.
This year has really given me and millions of others an opportunity to examine our lives. It’s not often that we are able to pay attention to the day to day, because we are so caught up in who we are, what we do, and what should happen next. We have been given an opportunity re-examine our goals, lifestyles, the habits we have cultivated, our intentions, as we figure out what is important and what is not. That is the silver lining of this pandemic, if there is one to be found. We have been forced to unpack the “stuff” that we believe to be who we are and what we are about. We can now reprioritize and begin to live lives that are enriching, thoughtful, more selfless and authentic. Trappings discarded, guard gates down…our true selves revealed. The time lost during this period, is not lost really. It’s time found that in the long run, if used wisely, will make our time left more valuable and true.
As for that relationship I once had, once I had my epiphany that revealed that I was disregarding my own desires and what was important to me by remaining in a relationship with a person whose values didn’t match mine, I left it. In a short time I would go on to meet my husband Chuck and eventually we would walk off together into our shared destiny, with mutual interests, and abiding love…….both reborn.
To find out more about how you can heal after loss read my book, Brave in a New World: A Guide to Grieving the Loss of a Spouse available on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y38oks99