I am a beautifully tarnished 43 year old woman in the process of starting over.
We all seem to have “date and age expectations” in life. So silly, yet true. We have these expectations that are put upon us before we are even born. There’s a due date for our birth. We will walk by the age of 1, read full sentences by the age of 5. Puberty will hit by 14 years of age. And God Forbid, you will have your license at age 16, be voting in these insane elections at age 18, married by 30… blah blah blah.
Freaking Expectations. Thanksgiving Eve, 2013. A few months after my 40th birthday, when I “should have” felt as if my life was amazing, all of my Expectations in life were obliterated. My foundation crumbled around me and in an instant, both myself and my family would be forever changed. My 17-year marriage collapsed; much of what I thought to be true, wasn’t. Without going into details (you can read the book when it’s published), I can honestly now say …
IT. SUCKED. BIG TIME. I was NOT expecting that!
My Expectation of being married for 50 years to a life partner that would desire to explore the world with me was now Shot to Hell. Gone. Instead of having those unspoken expectations of my future, I was now grieving its loss. Vanished in the blink of an eye.
I was suddenly the “everyday mom” finding herself in a new unexpected space. My life was changing and I needed to change, too. I needed to pull myself up by the bootstraps and start over. I needed to love myself and my values. I needed to find a new identity.
So I decided: “[email protected] Limiting Expectations”
I realized my need to throw out all Expectations of myself. By setting aside my Expectations, I discovered that it gave me the mental space to realize that I AM far greater and deserving than the Limited Expectations I had once put on myself. Belief systems of what I “should be” were now squashed by what I “could be” and “would be”.
Not having Expectations provided me the space to grieve, get angry, and find hope. I would walk down to the Pacific Ocean at 2 am, sit on the 28th Street lifeguard stand, and cry myself into exhaustion. In my despair, I begged God for guidance, clarity and strength. Staring at the moon, I yearned for a sign from above telling me what to do in my life.
One minute I would feel hopeful and euphoric about my life, and in the very next moment I would find myself doubled-over in pain from fear of the unknown. Yes, I had fear. I had a lot of fear for our future.
Many times that fear of the unknown caused me to fall apart at the seams. My seams were ripped apart, torn, and shredded. I thought that I knew who I was at 40 years of age. And yet, I didn’t. Not fully, anyway. Now I was finding out what I was truly made of.
My life shifted greatly when I decided to try new things. I began to realize that I am far greater than the Expectations I or others had placed upon me. When I thought I could only run a marathon, I decided to try a 50 miler for the Hell of it. I did it. When I thought I couldn’t stand up paddle for more than 5 miles, I asked myself, “Why not?” I decided to join 50 other crazy people and paddled 22 miles to Catalina Island, ran a marathon, and paddled back home again. I did it. When I drove to the Grand Canyon in May, 2014, I had no idea I’d be hiking it Rim to Rim. Yet I stood looking into the expansiveness of the Canyon from above and thought, “If he can do it, so can I.” I did it. Every time that I tried something new, I realized the old me dissolved giving way to a far more integrated me.
I chose to stretch myself mentally and physically, placing Unlimited Potential for my new life and growing in ways I never thought possible. And that’s why I began my business and decided to write my book.
I’m doing it.
I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. Honestly, zero. I didn’t and still don’t have this “Grand Plan”. In place of a “Grand Plan”, I have “Grand Dreams” full of creative ideas, visions, and concepts yearning to be shared. I just want to be me. I want to inspire, educate, give back, and have others realize that they can do it, too. That “Grand Expectation Plan” was thrown out the window on Thanksgiving Eve, 2013. It sucked and still does, and I can’t change it. However, it’s made me realize that I am far more than the much dimmer Expectations I had set on “the old me.”
Yay for Life Crap Happening.
Fast Forward: Thanksgiving, 2017.
For the very first time, I chose to do Thanksgiving without my ex-spouse. Instead, my boys and I went to a friends house. At this beautiful feast with wonderful friends, my dining partner was a sweet five-year-old girl. Looking down, I noticed her tiny fingernails were all neatly painted. Taking a look at my nails, I noticed how mine were aged and beaten up from my daily grind. Being a mom of three boys, active herself, and always doing chores around the house, I never saw the point of perfect nails. I hadn’t painted mine in years. I guess I just expected them to look “barely presentable”. And yet, in that moment, I wanted what those nails represented: to be a girl again and take care of me. I asked the little girl if she would paint my nails for me. Excitedly using beautiful blue turquoise nail polish (ideal for the ocean lover that I am), she painted my nails perfectly imperfect. With every stroke of the brush, I was reclaiming a new me. A girlish me. One that had been set aside for far too long.
So now, for the first time in my life, my nails have been painted for two solid weeks.
Two. Solid. Freaking. Weeks. Who would have thought two weeks ago?