ARE YOU STILL THERE?
This week I took a huge risk and gave up 50% of my job, in less than 8 weeks I will officially be a part-timer! All in the name of following my dreams...
I feel like I may have lost my mind. Seriously, I’m a single mom! What kind of single mom gives up job security? What kind of responsible single mom takes such a risk all in the name of her own “selfish” happiness? I do apparently...
The thing is, as a child I was so fiercely independent and creative. I would gallop my horses across fields or just lay on their backs in the pasture watching the clouds pass by, depending on my mood. I argued with my classmates, or even teachers, when I felt passionately about a topic even if I was the only one willing to speak up. I wrote poetry and stories, and dreamt I would become an author. I discovered photography and fell in love with that too. I had all of these dreams about living this free and creative life, travelling the world, sharing my experiences through my writing and photography. I dreamt I would spend my life creating and living passionately ... but ultimately, I didn't do that.
Soon the pressure to conform to “real life” sank in. I needed to go to school and pick a career that would support me. I needed to settle down and be responsible. And so I went to business school and took accounting. Seriously. It’s like I chose the farthest thing from what I had always dreamt of doing and told myself that's the kind of practical career a “grown up” should have. Why did I do that to myself? Or let’s face it, why do so many of us do that to ourselves?
And if I didn't kill my dreams certainly enough with that move, my next choice packed the killer blow. I got married and spent 16 years living a life that revolved around a man who was emotionally and mentally abusive. Inevitably, that fierce and independent girl faded away. That spark of creativity was extinguished. In her place was a lost woman, sad and exhausted. I hardly recognized myself.
Out of all of that pain and darkness, however, came two beautiful children. Ultimately they sparked the decision to change my life! And so, after 16 years in an abusive and stifling marriage, I walked away and never looked back. It's been four years and we’ve moved three times, from the small town my children were born in to the city. We have adapted to everything from walking away from self-employment, which I had done all of my adult life, to joining the workforce in order to make ends meet; to new schools for the kids; to establishing an almost entirely new social circle.
Maybe surviving all of this is what’s inspired me to want more; maybe it's telling my kids to choose what they want to do with their lives carefully so that they are happy, all while being a hypocrite to that very same advice; or maybe it was just time, but lately I have seen glimpses of her, that fiery girl with big dreams. She’s looking a little worse for the wear, a bit thick around the middle, some greying hair and wrinkles. She has been smothered by the stress of years in a bad marriage, followed by years of never-ending court battles and worry for her children, and she has been unhappily trudging through life in a job she doesn’t enjoy… but she is still there.
If I’m strong enough to walk away from an ugly marriage and start over, to repeatedly battle it out in court, and strong enough to single handedly raise my children while helping them recover from the abuse they have suffered as well, then surely I am strong enough to pursue my dreams and finally live a life I am passionate about!
So I’ve made a plan. In my new part time world I am going to find my passion, I’m going to get creative again! I will finally take those photography classes I always said I would and reignite that old love. I’m going to unwrap that Rosetta Stone Spanish package that has been collecting dust on the shelf for four years and finally learn a second language. I am going to take better care of myself; exercise, meditate, and maybe even take a nap sometimes. I might even dust off the old riding boots and get back in the saddle again (literally and metaphorically speaking)! And I am definitely going to start writing again… oh wait I just did!!
What will you do to reignite your spark for life? Maybe you always wanted to learn to paint, or draw, or do photography; then take a class! Maybe you always wanted to learn another language; so order a course and get started! Whatever sparks your creative spirit, just commit yourself and do it. Don’t lose that spark, trust me, it takes a lot of effort and many lost years to find it again. So come on and get creative, learn something new, and follow your dreams… Let’s do it together!