Failures abound in my life. When I look back I see plenty of them. The successes are not so easy to identify. They don’t exactly jump right out at you. In fact, there aren’t many of them, and they’re pretty well hidden because they weren’t as big or as public as the failures.
I accept that the mistakes and failures were wholly mine, and the successes, such as they were, have usually been the result of direction and/or assistance of someone a lot wiser than me. I’m not necessarily proud of my life, but I’m not ashamed of it, either. It just is what it has been; I can’t go back and change it. I wouldn’t be who I am if I had made different choices or taken a different path; which, ultimately is kind of circular thinking, cuz I made those choices and have walked this path because of who I was at any given point in my life on the way to becoming the me I am now.
I think you have to be high to really get your mind around concepts like that, and I don’t do that anymore. So I’ll just let that sink in a while…
But here I am, and in this moment, everything is as it should be. I believe that. Not perfect, but right. Not that I was destined to end up here in this place, or in these circumstances, but I don’t think you can “miss” the life you need unless you are totally clueless, and I don’t believe I am. A friend from college recently wrote, “You always had a presence of mind and spirit that attracts me to all similar people…and there aren’t that many!” I was really touched by that, and it made me realize that I couldn’t have and shouldn’t have lived my life too much differently. The outer circumstances could have been different, of course, but the “inner” circumstances have been the same for a long time.
For better or worse, I am and have always been, 100% me.
I have needed the particular lessons I have learned presented to me in a particular way, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to walk my path, by myself, without significantly damaging anyone else along the way. Looking ahead, I can see that the journey must continue this way, as well. There will be more failures, more mistakes, and few successes. Maybe none at all. Because I take the successes for granted, but the failures get my attention. Life has humbled me, and that’s a good thing, because I have gained a respect and appreciation for it that I would have lacked otherwise.
I value independence over connection. That has always been true. It was a problem when I was younger, because it was assumed I would get married and have children, and the older I got without ticking those items off the to-do list, the more worried people around me got. But nobody asks me why I’m not married anymore, and lots of people don’t have children in my generation. I was never very good at being young, and now I’m not anymore. I’m a bit past the middle of my life, presumably, and I’m really happy to be here; where most people have the good sense and the courtesy not to second guess my choices.
I’m trying to learn to find some middle ground, and I’m learning to appreciate the connections I have now, though they are fewer than in the past, they are richer. I’ve been a good daughter and a good employee. Sometimes I get everything right, sometimes I miss the mark completely. I keep trying, though; I keep getting up and going on.
Over and over again.
That’s who I am. Someone I can count on. Someone others can count on. A person of integrity. Someone who has not let life defeat her.
And that’s who I need to be. That’s all I need to be. No one else. Not who anyone else thinks I should be.
When you look in the mirror, who do you see? Do you see yourself, as you really are, or do you see someone who falls short of who you think you should be? Are you looking in your own mirror, or someone else’s? Whose reflection is that looking back at you? Your mother? Your grandfather? Your best friend? Someone you follow on Instagram?
Make sure you’re seeing you for who you really are. All of who you really are. Look hard and really see that person. Celebrate yourself, all your trials and successes. All the joy, all the pain. Look in the mirror and congratulate beautiful you for making it this far. For keeping on, despite the setbacks and the pain. Despite what someone else thought or did to try to convince you otherwise.
Again and again and again and again.