For quite some time I found myself simply reacting or living my life according to other people and circumstances – basically dictating to me what I should do. My Husband, my kids and their schools; my job. I clearly was no longer in control of my life. Things became more and more difficult. Every day my purpose would be to just make it through the day and take care of the most urgent things. Needless to say that is how I dealt with people around me as well.-Especially my family. Thinking back it amazes me how at one point I let go of my anchor and became a rudderless boat tossed here and there. Like so many people I became completely reactive.
If I could live this period of my life again – what would I do differently? How would I do things differently. Now that I am retired and a Grandparent – my perspective on Life’s priorities has changed. When I was in my 20’s I was very sure of what I wanted and did not want in my life and lived accordingly. It did not bother me at all if others did not approve, understand, or agree with my choices, even ridiculed me. I was so sure of who I wanted to be or become. Even though I felt very lonely at times, still I was happy. I felt good about myself. I respected myself. I had this keen sense that I had to live with myself – there was no escape. I could always leave other people-even my family. But I could never escape from myself.
Then after starting my family – something happened and I was not even aware of it – I started to make compromises because it was easier. I never really did anything that would contradict my values but little by little I forgot who I was. I gave in too much to the pressures of managing our business, raising our four children. At that time I thought I had no choice and had to make it work – somehow.
I had no idea just how different my husband and I were and did not take the time to figure out how to harmonize. So we ended up making compromises we did not want to make. We avoided talking about many critical subjects, because it was just too difficult to deal with our different viewpoints.
So a lot of things got swept under the carpet so to speak. We are now sifting through a lot of this debris and sorting through this mess. It feels good to do that. Just a little while ago, I would not even dare to dream about coming closer to each other and our children. But I am happy to say that this process works. Yes it is not easy but worth it.
Our son Peter fishing in Key Largo – many childhood memories are coming back
Once I set my mind on doing that – getting closer to our children who are now 36, 33, 29 and 24 years old – happened gradually and naturally.
My kids notice the change in me too. I am happy now. I like myself. What a relief that is to be at ease with yourself. So many times I just wanted to jump out of my skin – that’s how miserable I was. Now I am very comfortable in my own skin. That makes it so much easier to deal with the daily challenges that come our way! Problems become challenges and it even becomes fun to deal with them!
SO HOW was I able to get back on track?
- I agreed to move with my husband to his country, which is the Dominican Republic. This turned out to be a very good decision. It allowed me to get some distance from my environment; my circumstances.
- I took the time to really think – NOT ruminate – but truly think about my life, what I wanted and did not want. I even wrote what kind of person I wanted to be at this stage in my life (I did not believe at that point I could actually change and become this person)
- I eliminated a lot of unnecessary stuff from my mind – literally decluttered my mind. How liberating that was. There is room now for the good stuff such as peace, joy, sense of purpose, a deep appreciation for life itself – – – looking forward to each new day, creativity.
- I don’t make promises lightly and keep my promises
My husband and I travel frequently to Miami where most of our family lives and spend time with them. It is always a wonderful time although I must admit not easy. But I know we are making progress in coming together as a family. It is my hope that we can pass on to our children and grandchildren a few valuable lessons we learned. It seems the world we are living in is becoming frighteningly more chaotic each year.
Therefore anyone who can manage to become captain of his own ship and stay on course for the life he chooses, will be a very fortunate person indeed.