Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's ALL me

I saw a post the other day on Facebook of someone so happy about the last bit of years. How the years gave back to her, launched her and helped settle her into how content she is today. I thought it was great and I thought about how much must have been woven into all that time of her life. Lots of ups and downs I’m sure. A good example though of how keeping your eye on the prize and steadily moving forward does a lot for a person (and says a lot about a person). It made me happy to see them so happy after walking through a good chunk of years, and then it got me thinking about my own travels in my life so far. What the heck happened here in the last 20+ years? The years have definitely given back to me in good ways and, of course, I've definitely given it a run for the money at times as well.

As I sit here, instead of just looking back on “how far I’ve come” I want to remember the “wows” and go beyond the great of today. And I can tell you my life has had many of "wows", and no, they are not all awesome. 

This isn't one of those big, deep posts that will ramble on about how meaningful life all is, it's just a pause to stop and think (maybe get you thinking) about all the “in betweens” that take place over the chunks of time in our lives, you know, the "let's forgets" and the stuff we don’t care to discuss often. But maybe that's the  “other good stuff”? We all have landed where we are today but what all took place? Certainly not just a smooth run with rainbows, unicorns and all the glory we could handle, right?

I mean, if I wanted to just try and boast about ME today, I'd say I'm an accomplished designer, published author, mother and a friend. My daughter is awesome and my boyfriend is amazing. I own pets, a Jeep and a house (and wouldn't we all just love to go on?) but really, there is so much more to how it is that I am exactly who it is I've become, even if it's not all glamorous. There is another side of my life that makes me ME today. Should we set aside these less pretty things? I think they could be respected.

Without going too deep into my wins and woes, I skim the top of what all has contributed to ME...

Way back when, I was bound for college, nothing could stop me. And whew, I made it! And then I’ve had some amazing jobs. I waitressed for many years adding to the bank while I worked the real job, moving up as I could. I’ve been a live-in nanny, a kids clothing designer and worked nonprofit helping kids in underprivileged schools. I’ve worked as an artist painting murals and people's families, children and pets! I’ve worked in graphic design, IT, marketing, web development and design again.  I’m a proud mama who has lived in the Minnesota snow, Colorado and it’s mountains and California on the beach...what a great mix! I've had the best of friends and have been a good friend back. I've been fortunate to have gone paragliding and rock climbing, and learn the art of fly fishing, which I still love. And I have to say I feel lucky that in my very young and fun days in life, I didn't drop health and fitness as something important over the years. I've loved and been loved (cliche, I know).

But also way back when...I’ve been married and I’ve gotten divorced. I’ve failed at work at times I knew I was better, and I've failed as a friend. I lived with the fact that I supposedly couldn’t have children (but then I did...what an amazing blessing). My dad passed and family pressures put me in a very dark place. My body has been weak and I've had multiple surgeries that wore on me deeply and physically. I've lost some people I considered friends along the way and have felt alone. I wear my heart on my sleeve and unless you do too, I can’t tell you what a unique struggle that alone can be. 

I’ve been so stressed my hair was falling out and so sick I lost more weight than I’d care to admit. I’ve gotten beat down by people close to me and sadly for the tough chick I think I am, I had to give up the fight. I’ve had great relationships, failed relationships, and meaningless relationships I’ll never forget. I’ve been happy with myself and then so mad at myself I couldn’t stand it, and even went so far as to have lost a relationship with myself altogether at one point (glad I came out of that). None of those times were pretty, nor were they any sort of boost to my moral.

Should we just admit that most of the time we look at ourselves, we are concerned about where we are today, and what it all says to all the people supposedly looking at us? I mean, are "they" really all that concerned with us? I say respect all of yourself. And it’s not just about today. We are made up of what we were as well and our travels to get where we are. What are you made of? What’s behind that social media smile presented to the world?

The long yet short of it is, take that look back and be grateful. The bad times have possibilities and the good times are gifts. It's the whole of us, that makes us who we are. Whatever you are made of, take a real look and give yourself a pat on the back...though it all, here you are.