You ever go through so much change you don’t know who you are anymore? For me, a few difficult events led to a gradual process of huge transformation. And I didn’t even realize the magnitude of all I was going through until a friend pointed it out. She told me to stop, to be gentle, to give myself a little grace. I was so hard on myself prior to that, treating myself with little respect—a way I’d never treat another person.
It took months following my mom’s death to put pieces of my heart back together. I’m still not ‘the same.’ I never will be; I don’t think I’m supposed to be. But her death, followed by huge changes in my daughter’s life, changes that were great for her but hard for me, left me feeling like I didn’t know my place in the world anymore. Sometimes I still don’t. Mother-daughter relationships are primal like that, and I was going through these transitions with both, at the same time.
While I felt helpless in some ways, there was more choice than not. Making choices that support others feels awful when its not what you want, but the realization that its not always about YOU helps you grow as a human.
Over the past year I’ve come to fully recognize that life is a series of these choices, sometimes random, sometimes huge, but each one leads to the next. Each step we take, that we never thought we could, makes us a little stronger and gives us more insight into life–and sometimes the bigger picture. Each one leads us more deeply into ourselves. I also recognize that we must get busy living or we’ll automatically get busy dying (and depression feels a lot like dying, or what I imagine a slow death process feels like).
I look more toward the end of my life now than ever before, not in a dramatic or sad way, but in a ‘what if’ sorta way. I don’t want to get to the end and have regrets. To me, life is about doing my best, and accepting my reality, even—ESPECIALLY—when I want my reality to be different than it actually is.
In my opinion, a joyful life depends on us being the best versions of ourselves, on striving to be better while finding contentment in what is. I think living this way encourages others to do the same. That’s part of the legacy I choose to leave.