As we begin this new decade, I can’t help but reflect back upon the last one and marvel at just how clueless I am about my own life and what it has in store for me.
Ten years ago, I was divorced, living in a lopsided one-bedroom, three-story walk-up apartment with my cat, Oliver, and everything about my life was borrowed. I didn’t own a car, I rented my apartment, and even half of my furniture was second-hand. I was 32 and still trying to find my footing, professionally and personally. I was one of the lowest women on the totem pole at work and was fighting for more, struggling for more, without much luck or hope.
I’d also spent the last few years clawing my way back from a devastating divorce that not only left me alone, but shattered. Pieces of me could be found scattered throughout every nook and cranny of that lopsided apartment we’d once shared. I was uncertain of what my life would look like moving forward, since what I thought it would be, was gone. But slowly, I'd come out of the dark, carrying some of those pieces and leaving others behind. I was sure, though, that I’d never fall in love or be loved again, let alone get married. I thought I was such a terrible judge of character, after all, that I didn’t necessarily trust myself to even try. And even if love did come around again, I certainly wouldn’t ever want to bring kids into the world.
In so many ways, I felt like I was just coming out of adolescence myself, so I certainly wasn’t prepared to parent someone else. Especially not with a hand-me-down dresser. Women without their own dressers can’t be mothers! I’d been spending this time watching my more together, mature friends maintaining healthy and seemingly lasting relationships, owning their own dressers, having children, and climbing up the ladder at work. At 32, I felt like I should be more sure of my life, more sure of my path, more sure of…well, anything. Was anyone else this confused, this unsure?
But I’d also made the decision, after my divorce, that I couldn’t let it define me, wouldn’t let it define my future. So I kept trying. Trying to really understand what happened, understand my role in it, and learn from it, for the love of God. Just keep learning, I’d say to myself. Just keep going.
And go I did. Less than two years later, I found myself in love with one of my best friends. The same friend who’d walked with me to go get chocolate milk shakes on the morning I revealed the end of my one-year marriage, the same friend who ran miles upon miles with me over those next four years, watching me literally trying to out-run my demons. The same friend who sat next to me at work and listened to me drone on endlessly about nothing and everything, who’d introduced me to his family at happy hours or at races, not knowing that I’d take that as an invitation to basically join his family, whether that was his intention or not.
Two years after that, we were married; a year later, we were celebrating our first anniversary with a 7-week-old daughter. Sixteen months after that, we had our second daughter. Less than two years later, we bought our first home. And now, here I sit, in my own little writing nook in said home, mommy blogging as a side-hustle for the last year (sporadically, I’ll admit, but I’m working on it) - while making my way further up that ladder in my career that seemed un-climb-able just a few years ago.
As it turns out, I’m a terrible judge of what life has in store for me. Things were so lopsided and temporary a decade ago that I was just beginning to visualize a life with some balance and roots. But thirty-two-year-old me would never have seen this coming, and certainly not with Ian. Not with these kids. Not any of it.
But I did find some answers along the way. Yes, everyone else is this confused, this unsure at some point. Yes, everyone comes into seasons of doubt - about their life path, career choices, marriage, and everything in between. I was not alone. And if you’re in one of those moments of confusion or uncertainty, you’re not alone, either.
Which is what this past decade ultimately taught me. The more I dipped my toe into the waters of uncertainty, the more I tried and failed, tried and succeeded, and just flat out tried, the more others came along for the ride with me. The more honest I was about my own failures and fears, the more others felt safe letting me in on their own. And it wasn’t so lonely anymore, and I just kept going.
You’re not alone, mama, this I know for sure. And while life has taught me that I’m terrible at predicting it, it’s also taught me to lean into it more and welcome others to join me by being honest about the journey, even the lopsided and uncertain parts. Especially those parts.
Happy new year, dear reader, and thanks for being a part of this journey with me!