It was the colliding of two separate and yet immensely connected events that became the story of my greatest loss and rebirth at the same time.
The first I knew deep in my soul was the truth, but for many years and so many reasons could not bring myself to reveal it. The second was happening so slowly that I never even saw it coming; and in fact it wasn’t until their collision that I could begin to finally understand what was happening.
I knew for many years that my marriage was not what I wanted. There was no drama, beating, cheating or horrific event to mark it as a “bad” marriage, but truth be told, we were simply not a good fit as intimate love partners. But as the daughter of happily married parents with no experience with “broken” families, I believed that I was going to have to make the best of it; after all, it wasn’t “bad” and I had every reason to be happy. Two delicious young boys, affluence, security and proximity to my friends and family; clearly I should be happy with my good fortune.
Around the time that my youngest went off to kindergarten, I found myself intellectually acknowledging that life would change. I would have more time and be able to breathe, having a good break from the energy of two happy, rambunctious boys each day. But while at some level I was excited for this shift in schedule, I couldn’t find my energy, drive or desire.
It was at this time that I celebrated my 35th birthday with a party thrown by my parents. There were friends, presents and all the makings for a fabulous celebration, but I could not find the joy in any of it.
At the end of the day, and as I began opening the pile of presents left behind, I found myself an observer of my own life. I didn’t like the way I looked and felt; and as I opened the presents, I was underwhelmed by the number of table books, Judaic kitchenware and gardening tools. But it wasn’t until I read the card proclaiming that I was an incredible “asset to the community” that it hit me.
I wanted the gifts and cards to reflect the vibrant, audacious, sexy, smart, hip and rockin’ woman and mother that I was supposed to be. But they didn’t.
It was in that very moment that I realized these gifts and cards were instead reflecting how I felt in my life and in my marriage. And that was the moment I knew.
The time had come to unleash the truth of who I was and had always wanted to be.
It was time to own what I wanted my life to look and feel like.
It was time to break up with mediocrity.
This moment, and my divorce that followed began a decade of letting go. Letting go of relationships, security, certainty, habits, commitments and more importantly the story I had created around what my life was “supposed” to be. And let me tell you, I was scared to death. Other than my parents and my children, I lost everything that I had thought grounded me in who I was.
But it was in the depth of this loss that I found myself and my desire, passion and purpose.
The past decade of letting go has also been my decade of reclaiming, renewing and reinventing. I have turned my darkest moments of fear and discomfort into an opportunity to learn, to grow, to explore and to receive. I have experienced pain, sadness and loneliness that have almost always been followed by incredible moments of joy and pleasure. This cycle seems to be the symbiotic partnership of living an authentic and extraordinary life.
I never saw it coming. I never imagined when I took my wedding vows, at the innocent age of 24, that it was the beginning rather than the finish line, or that my divorce would again be a beginning rather than the end.
My life has not been marked by death or tragedy, and therefore at times I have felt unentitled to feel loss in the profound way that “survivors” do. But I do know that moments of life transition, both reliable and unexpected, are opportunities to live and love bigger and better than ever before. It isn’t easy, but it is a choice and it does take intentional action.
I am careful now to remember that my life is a series of beginnings and endings; new and next chapters. Not only are there second firsts, but third, fourth and many other firsts as well. I have always had everything I need to be and become the woman, mother, partner, daughter, friend, guide and soul that I am meant to be; and so do you. We all do.
I’m so excited to debut the Life Starter’s Blog Series. I have had the greatest honor and fortune of hearing your powerful stories of personal transformation and I wanted to share them all. Because I know that together we can help support, inspire and lift one another. Every Tuesday, we will proudly feature your stories. If you’d like to submit a post, please go here for guidelines and more info. Happy reading!
Image courtesy of Dominik Martin via Unsplash.