“I feel like we’re in one of those movies, like you got in a car crash last spring and now suddenly you’re a completely different person. It’s just hard sometimes to deal with this…”
It wasn’t a traumatic car crash, it wasn’t a freak accident that caused me to have amnesia, it wasn’t even that I found out I had cancer and decided to live my life to the fullest. But, yes, in some ways I am a completely different person than I was twelve months ago. I’m still not sure what to call this awakening I seem to have had: maybe it’s a midlife crisis striking early, maybe it’s just the realization that I’m unhappy with life as it stands, maybe it’s just a phase.
In some ways, one could call it a dance with death. I did, after all, start doing some extreme things in the hopes of ending my life. In other ways, you could call it self-discovery: I’ve learned so much about myself through all that has happened. Isn’t change a part of life, though?
Many people don’t know how to handle everything. Some people have pushed back or walked away because of the discomfort. Others have expressed their concerns and tried to convince me to “tone it down” or “revert” back to who I was before. I think the real problem is this: people became complacent with my consistency. Now I’m not only inconsistent, but I’m on a path towards constant change and transformation.
The truth is, my life wasn’t what I wanted it to be at all. Maybe it had started that way, but it quickly became something else. It became what I thought others expected it to be, what my friends needed it to be, what my husband wanted it to be. Then I came to a sudden point of impact, a fork in the road that would no longer allow me to continue down the straight path I’d been on for far too long. I know I’m not the only one who has come to this place, nor will I be the last one to arrive here.
I’ve chosen a path, but it’s not as simple as choosing to go right or left then continuing onward. The path I’ve chosen is to create a life worth living. This path takes lots of work: I must cut through the overgrowth, I have to tackle steep inclines and other strenuous land forms, I even have to fight the shadows that appear on the path from time to time.
Really, though, I think we all have these moments where our life becomes less than we envisioned, and we must reinvent ourselves. Sometimes we find ourselves in a relationship that ends up being unhealthy for us or we lose a relationship we thought defined us. Sometimes the career we dreamed of having turns out to be less than we hoped, or we can’t seem to make our break into it at all. Sometimes our priorities or mindsets just change. We are human, and in being human we are constantly evolving.
So, when you find yourself at the fork in the road, at the moment of self-awareness, at the dance with death, at the whatever term you want to use (because, trust me, you’ll end up here at least a few times in your life), remember this:
Only you know what is in your heart. Only you know what you desire, what you need. Sometimes we have to take risks to get rewarded, sometimes we have to roll the hard 6 and cross our fingers tight. It’s okay to change, it’s okay to be a little unstable from time to time. Don’t ever settle for less than the stars, because you deserve it all.