I remember how I felt the year I turned thirty. It was a shock. I had never been able to relate to people over thirty, and it felt strange to suddenly be one of them. When I looked in the mirror, I felt old and young at the same time. I had mistakenly convinced myself that this year would never come, and the alarm sounded in my mind. “If thirty came so quickly, how will I feel when I turn forty?”
Right away, I felt the rush to start and finish my dreams. I needed to create passion in my life before it was too late. What if being thirty meant I could start over, turn the page and live in the sanctuary of my dreams? “Isn’t anything possible?” I felt charged with a powerful motivation, which opened me up to creativity like I had never known before. New ideas flowed out of me, and I became eager to say goodbye to my twenties and embark on the adventure of my thirties. I needed a change.
I began to plan a new direction for my life; only, I wasn’t prepared for the challenges that were headed my way. Each time I ran ideas by the people around me, they brought up my past mistakes as if shouting back to me all of my insecurities. Worse, in my mind I was even more disapproving of myself, joining the chorus of criticism. It was a conscious flip of my psyche. I awoke to the realities of a harsh world where everyone had their own agenda, and true opportunities were few and far between.
I continued to try and live my life to the fullest, but the opposite ensued in my personal reality. I experienced an overwhelming depression and regret. I agonized over missed opportunities and pored over my past choices, which now seemed unexplainable, impulsive and borderline neurotic. I couldn’t stop the exaggerated life critique and I lived with the grief.
Moving Forward: Motivated by Time
Strangely enough, it was the pain that eventually transformed my life, motivating me, for a second time, to make real changes. I began to accept how fragile and short life really is. Time was passing so quickly. From this perspective, I even saw my children differently. I had daydreams of my future self, in my fifties, looking at their sweet pictures with tears and wishing to have one more day with them, exactly the age they are now. It was time to face the fact that one day, my children most certainly would leave home and start their own lives. I didn’t want to take even one more minute of my life for granted.
I wanted to find a better way to live because I knew I shouldn’t feel so down on myself or my life. I began to research how other people were approaching this same challenge and a new excitement grew inside as I learned how other people were changing their lives. I found there were really important steps to coping with grief and finding forgiveness. I wanted to know myself better and I decided it was time to go on the journey to happiness.
Growing Up: A long process with many breakthroughs along the way.
One of the first things I learned was I that had to untangle my past at a deep level to completely find myself. When I looked back to my first experiences of feeling insecure, I could see how I created a defense system meant to keep myself safe. It was when I was young (maybe as an effort to fit in) that I started to suppress my true self. I allowed the big voices in my life to sway my opinions and make important decisions for me. I never fully owned my power.
I ran through most of my twenties, holding my feelings at bay and avoiding conflict at all cost. The real pain existed in that my decisions did not feel like my own. I managed the life I created; living by the decisions of others and then having to defend myself against the pain of not speaking my truth. To endure, I stayed positive, distracting myself with activities and dreaming of a better future with no real means of actually creating one. I had to face the fact that I had been angry with myself for a very long time and this anger was the root of all my grief.