For those of you who have followed me since the beginning of the blog, or have read back, this has been an incredible year of change for me. Instead of dwelling on how things weren’t working out how I had planned, or the fact that I felt like I’d lost half a decade of my life, I focused on me.
To some, it will seem very selfish to plan to take months, potentially a year, to focus on myself. It is, and that’s the point. I spent the last 5 years of my life working to make sure someone else was happy before me. I let myself lose friends, distance myself from my family, be unhealthy, unhappy, and overly stressed for the sake of having someone else tell me they love me. And while we had some absolutely amazing times, full of fun and experiences I’ll never have for the first time again, I lost who I was to become more of what he wanted, or what worked to support his goals, without him ever thinking about mine.
When this “happy” life came to a halt in February, I spent time being really sad, angry, and wondering what I could do to get it back. And then a sign/opportunity came that would prove a turning point. I escaped to Lake Austin Spa Resort with the goal of figuring out what I want, both personally and professionally, from my life. I spent several days being pampered, enjoying healthy, yet delicious, food, and being with my thoughts. Cell phones aren’t permitted for use outside of your personal cabin, so it was exactly what I needed.
It was easy to be alone with my thoughts drinking coffee looking at this each morning, and walking along it several times a day.
I’ve spent the last 6 months running, exploring, and focused on remembering who I am, and what I love. And last weekend in Chicago, I reappeared. And like another sign, I read chapter 11 in Mile Markers by Kristin Armstrong (Thanks for the suggestion Karen!) Chapter 11 is titled “Identity” and while I feel like every chapter in this book speaks to me (except the one on motherhood), this one hit at exactly the right time.
“Reconnecting with our passions, the things we have loved since we were little girls, is more than remembering who we were. It is the culmination of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming. It is the evolution of a life. It is your I am statement. Chase it down.” – Kristin Armstrong
Over those 5 days in Chicago, I remembered who I am. I found myself having conversations with strangers over dinner about travel and politics. I befriended the marketing team from runWestin, providing me with friendly faces several times a day. I had fun, by myself. I explored, experienced, and didn’t think about who was judging me, because I didn’t care.
I wore running clothes everyday. I explored the city for hours. I used to say I’d love to explore places by bike, and the response I would get was “you’d whine about it after a little while” or “you’re too lazy to actually do it”. Well, I explored Chicago by bike and foot, the day after my half marathon, for hours. I loved every minute of it.
And riding along the
ocean lake, I found myself feeling incredibly overwhelmed with happiness and joy that I was not just doing this, but that I found myself again. After years of being pushed into my personal attic, I let myself out, and cannot wait to see what I can do next.
What is your I am?
What was the last thing you did that made you happy?
Have you ever let yourself be changed to meet someone else’s expectations?