That moment when you finally open your laptop and your email greets you. The same email that you didn’t pay attention to on your phone earlier because sometimes you need to disconnect.
You do a double-take as you scroll through your new mail, suddenly realizing that there’s an email there from a friend who lives in Europe. And it brings you to tears as you read her heartfelt sentiments and smile at the beautiful pictures of her family. You think of how much you miss her and how fortunate you are to have her in your life.
You stop for a moment because you need to wipe the tears from your eyes and regain your composure. So you sit for a moment and take stock. The silence of the winter night is upon you, and you curl up listening to the sweet sounds of your dog and husband sleeping. Only to be accompanied by the occasional snowplow working diligently to tend to Mother Nature’s follies.
You wonder how a heart can feel so many emotions all at once. It reminds you of how the rain fell with such intent in the early morning- intricately glazing the roads. And how it transformed in the blink of an eye into big flakes of snow, mischievously peppering the trees with a menagerie of icicles and snow dust. Strangely it felt like a nod to how life changes so damn fast; and how it doesn’t.
At that moment, you reflect on timing and serendipity. What if the catalyst that made you say “I’ve had enough” had never happened? What if you hadn’t picked up your laptop and seen that email? What if you finally decided to stop living for “what if?” and just started living? You’ve felt off balance. Your heart has been yearning to put it all down, but your mind has been fighting it. Admittance can be so hard. But it can also be freeing.
Your thoughts drift back to one of your dear friends who called you brave because you made such a big leap. You had never really thought of yourself as courageous. Strong yes, but brave not so much; until you remembered your vulnerability. You think about your other dear friend who talked you down from the ledge when your anxiety-riddled you with hesitation, more what-ifs, and why me? And how she calmed you down and made you laugh. When she said, “why not you?” you took a deep breath, smiled, and for the first time, you thought it too.
You smile when you remember the moments that have been such an integral part of your being, each one reminding you that with each breath and each exchange, there’s an opportunity. And you can act upon it. You realize that you’ve chosen to surround yourself with people who hold you up and not drag you down.
You think about all the dear friends who had continued to support and encourage you – believing in you, even when you didn’t believe in yourself. Until you did, that is. You think about how they have made you laugh, made you feel, and even called you out. And when you took the road less traveled, messed it up royally, or just detached yourself for a while, well, they never left your side. They never passed judgment. We are who we are — imperfect creatures just trying to make our way on the silly boat (and occasionally jumping into the sea of ridiculousness). You think about how hard it would be to navigate without them and count your blessings because they are in your life.
And when you reflect on the moments that led you to where you are right now, you are mystified at how the universe works. It’s always at play.
As the night wears on, you think about the unconditional love from a husband who told you how proud he is of you and inside you smile because you are proud of yourself too. Suddenly, you jolted back to that scary night a couple of weeks ago when you ended up in the ER; and when you had a break down one morning because you felt so defeated by your own body (and maybe even your spirit too). At that moment, your hero hugged you and told you it would all be okay. You cried a little harder because that’s what you needed to hear. And you persevered.
You think for a moment, “wow, should I be sharing all this?” But you keep going because this is who you are. So what if you have a big heart and compassion. So what if you cry. It doesn’t make you weak. And don’t ever for one moment think that it does. You do you because no one does it better.
Suddenly your thoughts drift to your sister-in-law, who understands that it isn’t all hearts and flowers and fantastically beautiful the minute you flip the switch. But it is better. It is good. In the meantime, cut yourself some slack for the sake of your sanity. Practice self-care because, quite frankly, you owe it to yourself.
After all, you made a massive change: You followed through. You broke the cycle and the mold. But you knew you had to. You knew in your heart of hearts that your happiness is what is essential and that you play a significant hand in creating it. Your brother reminded you of that, remember?
As you continue to type, you lose your train of thought for a moment. What was it that you were going to write? You chuckle because you realize that your thoughts can be fleeting at times. That good old CRS syndrome is rearing its head. You know that you are not on top of your game the way you used to be. But as your sister-in-law said, “it’s okay because it’s a new game.”
Game. Set. Match.
You think about what it was like to walk out the door for the last time – a door that you had entered and exited for almost 16 years. You never imagined it would be so easy and so hard at the same time. But you knew it was right. You knew you were ready. When you asked yourself, “what are you going to do?” You finally did it. And you did it with conviction, grace, and style.
You think about the chapters you have written over the years. And how, at times, you’ve felt like a drifter. You did feel lost, but then you started to wander and wonder. And that’s when you began to realize that even the treacherous roads led you to here; and that you are no worse for the wear. You are stronger because of it.
As the night lingers on and the clock nears midnight, you have a realization. No. You have two. The first is that your eyes are tired and getting heavy, but your thoughts keep flowing. The second one, well, that’s the big one. You finally acknowledge that one of the hardest aspects of this life change was not being able to share it with your mom.
It was like having to relive her loss all over again. She always had the right words (even when you didn’t want to hear them). You remember crying alone at home, in your car, on a walk because you were conflicted and would have given anything to listen to her voice. To hear her say, “what are you going to do?”
And then it happened. You knew that mom was there all along. Except that at that moment, you didn’t connect the dots. She was with you at the first meeting, and she was there again at the second one. She was even there on your first day guiding you along your new path and shining brightly as she always did. She called you her “sunshine,” and on each of those days at just the right moment, she was yours.
Don’t you remember how the sun was shining so brightly on you? Surely you remember its warmth as it caressed your soul: gently nudging you, guiding you. But most of all reminding you to shine because “you are made of good stuff.”
With that, you invested your stock in faith. You finally tossed the worry aside and unleashed your courage. You said, “yes.” And you ignited a new flame to guide you in your journey. Although you may not know the destination, you know that in casting aside the doubts, the fears, and the what-ifs that you finally started living.