It’s Sunday morning. I’m lying in bed, phone in hand, as I jot down an array of thoughts running through my mind. It’s always hard for me to get them all down on paper (or in this case, on “digital paper”), mainly because I over analyze my thoughts before I’m even fully done thinking about them. Makes sense? No? Great, it doesn’t to me either, yet, here I am.
I guess the main point of this is to share how I’ve been feeling lately. The only word that I’ve been able to come up with that I feel best describes it is: surreal. No, I don’t mean surreal as in bizarre. I mean it more in the sense of disbelief, but in a good way. In a “wow, I can’t believe this is really my life,” kind of way. Now, when you read that last sentence, don’t perceive it as a negative connotation by any means; read it with the sound of my voice being overly excited (kind of like how we all felt when our beloved Saints won the Super Bowl 🙂 – & if you’re a Colts fan, then I’m sorry for that reference)
Anyway…read it and hear it with a smile in my voice.
Now, those of you reading this, will fall into one of two categories: 1) you know me quite well and therefore, are well aware of me and my personal life or 2) you don’t really know me at all and are probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about, and that’s okay. If you happen to be in the latter, let me enlighten you a little bit.
Over the last two years or so, I began a journey of some serious personal and professional growth. On the personal side, I went through some stuff that forced me to face my past, learn some tough life lessons, and move on. My personal struggles and strengths, in turn, led me to the somewhat unforeseen path that I’m currently on today. On the professional side, I channeled my emotional hardships into furthering my career and becoming more successful. I completed an accelerated graduate school program over the course of a year and a half, while working full-time, taking classes full-time, and maintaining a 4.0. Upon graduation, I faced some setbacks, as the job market odds were certainly not in my favor. Que the personal feelings of complete discouragement, depression, frustration, and failure. Once again, I felt stuck in my life, and I absolutely hated it. However, this time was different than the last. I had new goals to achieve, and I just kept reminding myself that my feeling stuck was only temporary. I was going to find my way eventually. I just had to give it some time.
Fast forward to an evening in January, when I finally got a phone call that instantly lifted my spirits. Two days later, I had a phone interview. A few weeks later, I had an in-person interview. Then, a little over a month later, I packed up everything that I could fit into my car and drove eight and a half hours up to Tennessee to start a new chapter of my life.
When I look back on all that I’ve accomplished throughout the last two years of my life, I realize that I couldn’t be prouder of the woman I am today. For me, that is a huge deal to admit that to myself. I am, quite often, my harshest critic. Maybe it stems from insecurities or a fear of being inadequate in many aspects of life. Maybe it’s because someone once made me question my own self-worth. I believe that a lot of it stems from me just wanting to be a better person, in general. I’m finally recognizing that every day of my life is a chance for new opportunities and new life lessons, even on the days when I’m feeling down.
If you’re still reading this and you’ve made it this far into my mini novel, then this is where I’m probably going to get a little more empowering and/or inspirational. My life experiences may be minuscule compared to yours. I don’t know what any of you are going through. Our experiences and perceptions of life will never be exactly the same. Some of you may be having the time of your lives right now. Some of you may be going through some really tough times, and you don’t know if it’s ever going to get better. All I can say to that is this: wear your accomplishments, your pain and your wounds as your armor. As a sign of your strengths. As a reminder of every fear, heartbreak, or struggle you’ve ever had to face and/or overcome. Wear them and wear them proud. Use them as your motivation to keep moving forward, even on the days when it really seems impossible. Just take it one day at a time.
Don’t be ashamed of your past or the person that you used to be. You may not have to wear your past with pride, but at least recognize that it’s played a huge part in getting you to where you are today. You’ve lived it. You’ve learned it. You’ve grown from it. Don’t let yourself be defined by it, and don’t define others based on their pasts.
Instead, embrace it all: every accomplishment, every heartbreak, every fear, every struggle, especially your past. Take it all in, and immense yourself into whatever feeling you need to feel on any given day. Just remember to keep on keeping on and look forward to what’s coming next. Life is a never ending journey. The path that you’re on right now may end up surprising you in a few years…
Yet, you’ll never truly know where it may take you until you give it a try, right?