For the 2nd day of my 30 day blogging challenge, I’ve chosen to answer the question “How have I changed in the past 2 years?” It’s actually a really interesting question. I’m a believer in the power of change and the need for transition periods during different stages of our lives. Almost exactly two years ago, I was running my private practice and my entertainment website with my husband. My days were filled with running errands and going through the motions of, I guess, what life was supposed to be. I had many friends, but not many friends, and I found myself longing for hours of sitting around having intellectual or humorous conversations, surrounding myself in a bohemian environment filled with candles, bright art work and endless vintage records while putting my passions daily into my own writing, with the end result of being a published writer. Nonetheless, I felt pretty hopeless because I wasn’t living the life I had imagined for myself. To anyone on the outside, it would appear that I had a pretty amazing life, but something was missing.
I’m not really sure where I adopted this trait, but ever since I started working, I’ve had a strong work ethic and a need to set pretty high goals for myself. The problem is that once I achieve those goals, I never know what’s next and I linger in a period of feeling stuck. It’s much like the statement that Oprah encourages to those who achieve their dreams that they must “Dream a bigger dream!”
One day, I was standing in the kitchen making a list of things to do for the day when I had a complete breakdown. Laundry, vacuum, make bed, see clients, get coffee, do crossword, post on website, diet…It was the exact same list I had made for the past two years. I went and sat on my front porch and called my best friend, who is also in recovery from alcoholism, and told her I needed to go to a meeting, being that even though I had been sober for over 17 years, I hadn’t set foot in an AA meeting for over 2 years. “I’ve been waiting for a long time for you to ask me,” she said.
That night, I went back to AA and I haven’t left since. It is important to note something that will be apparent to anyone who has long term sobriety but maybe not to everyone else. I didn’t feel a necessity or even a craving to drink or use drugs, but I did feel spiritually exempt and felt that I had no balance and no peace in my daily life. I felt ungrounded. By going back, I started to work on myself again. I immediately realized I hadn’t really grieved the death of my mother and found myself daily sitting in meetings, crying out loud about her, to the point where my cohorts learned to know my mother well.
I also learned I needed to set limits and boundaries in my life again, not only with people, but with what environments I was willing to put myself in. I was no longer willing to do anything or go anywhere I didn’t want to go. With the acceptance of my mother’s death I realized how entirely short life was and that I had many things I wanted to complete before I died, so I was unwilling to waste my time filling it with idle time that was not desirable to me. I know to many people this looked selfish, but it allowed me to start enjoying the things I did go out and do, because I wanted to be there. I no longer found myself growing resentful because I was somewhere I didn’t want to be.
For the next two years, I made new friends, some who have profoundly changed my life, and attempted to keep the friends who were important to me and who felt I was important to them. That was an interesting journey. You don’t really realize your importance, or lack thereof, to people until you exit their lives for awhile. While that’s true, I have remained open to those friendships whenever I hear from those friends, and am probably more able to have healthier friendships than I ever was before.
By doing this work, my relationship with my husband also greatly improved. Before, I felt a need to be perfect when in fact, I was the complete opposite. I was controlling and unwilling to see my part in the success or failure of our relationship. We began to find new ways of communicating, and new ways to overcome our obstacles. I would love for people to think we have had the most ideal relationship, but that’s total crap. We’ve had our share of tough times, but we’ve tried to use them to make our relationship stronger. We probably understand each other better now than we ever have before. While we are both fully aware that we will most definitely have difficult times ahead, we also know we can make it through these times together.
At about the same time I started focusing on improving myself, I had a middle of the night phone conversation with a good friend about the law of attraction. She shared how she had made a list of 10 things she wanted to accomplish, reading and praying on the list every day, while also putting action to her list. She told me she believed anything was possible as long as you felt it could happen in your life. I made a similar list and with the publishing of my book in July, I will have accomplished everything on it. It is now time for me to make a new list. Amazing!
I’m not just saying all of this because I’m a believer in the power of dreams and possibility, which I am, but because it’s the truth. I try to apply these principles into my life coaching with my clients daily, helping them to achieve their own life changes and dreams. If I went back 5 or 6 years, my life was so incredibly different than it is today that I wouldn’t have believed any of this is possible.
Some important things have had to remain constants for me though. I still have the same best friend I’ve had for 18 years and she has been my heartstone through all of of my changes. Alex, my husband, has been patient, incredibly so at times, of the changes I’ve needed to make. I also needed to come out of my shell and challenge myself. I’ve had do a lot of things that were uncomfortable for me but allowed me to make these changes. I’ve always been the person who walked into a room, afraid of what people would think of me, all because I was teased when I was a little kid. I still feel that way, but today, I hold my head up high as a person with character and try to smile at the person I don’t know, because any person could be the next person who is supposed to impact my life in some major way. I have to be open to the options.
Last week, I was driving around with my best friend, drinking a fountain pop and we were talking about the release of my book. I told her that it was hard to believe that it was actually happening and that I would never have believed it two years before. Her response was simple, but so true, “You weren’t open to the possibility two years ago. You’ve changed so much that now you’re ready for the good things to begin happening in your life.”
Oh…I also stopped coloring my hair, which had turned grey and white when I was 22! Stay tuned for day 3 of the 30 day blogging challenge tomorrow!
For the month of July, I’ve decided to do another challenge of daily blog posts but this time I’m going to write about questions my readers suggest, so please leave me a question below in the comments!
And stay tuned for the release of my book The Before Now and After Then July 29th 2014! Add my book to your Goodreads to-read shelf and go there to find out more and visit my author page! Thanks!