I don’t know if it is age, mommy brain, nutritional deficiency or just this crazy time of my life called “separation and divorce” (AKA my-world-is-upside-down-and-it’s-all-I-can-do-to-just-hold-on) but whatever the cause, moments of clarity are hard to come by. When I do have a moment of clarity it’s usually more like a smudgy semblance of clarity. It’s more like a conviction that slowly forms that I need to sit with for a few days, maybe even weeks or months, to feel comfortable that it is something I can be somewhat sure of.
That’s the thing about monumental life changes, they can make you question everything you ever believed about yourself, life and the future. The black and white certainties of yesterday crumble and you are left with shades of grey uncertainties.
This summer, I had a prolonged period of soul-searching amidst those grey shadows. I needed to question and reevaluate my progress and my direction. It wasn’t easy, but finding clarity felt critical.
Sometimes the grey was so thick I had to put my life in park and curl up in a fetal position for a while. Other times, my determination to survive and thrive was like a piercing fog light that allowed me to feel fairly confident in my ability to plot a path. Most of the time it was overwhelmingly unpleasant.
The easy and tempting thing for me to do when I feel overwhelmed is to delay decisions, push away negative thoughts and distract myself. Netflix and a bowl of ice cream? Not this time.
I’ve felt out of control of my circumstances for too long now. And, as a newly single mom (How long can I keep saying “newly single”?) who turned 40 years old this July, I have been feeling a desperate need for control and independence. Finances, Max’s future, my career, my retirement…so many responsibilities looming in the future. It is challenging to think about and plan for providing the quality of life that I desire for Max and me.
How do I do that while reinventing myself?
How do I do that and still feed my soul?
Is there anything I am currently doing that is propelling me towards a better tomorrow?
Is there anything I am doing that is delaying, or even threatening the possibility of a brighter future?
You see, there are times that it IS safer to pull over to the side of the road or park at a rest stop to wait out the storm. It’s called self-preservation. Then there are times when it only FEELS safer. Times when some of the darkest storm clouds are not your situation but your feelings. In my case, my view of a positive and successful future has been obscured by sweeping storms of fear. My enjoyment of today’s sunshine and the amazing landscape around me has been eclipsed by anger. There has been very little clarity!
These feelings may stay with me forever, but I need to figure out how to live with them, process them and even use them instead of allowing them to render me helpless. Emotions are ridiculously powerful. They can cloud your vision and judgment but sometimes they are the fuel that empowers you to take action.
So, after my tempetuous time of self-contemplation, I finally have some clarity. I have chosen to get off of some roads, to continue on a few others and to start down some roads that look promising.
Tomorrow, after I drop Max off at Kindergarten, I will head over to the University of Calgary and begin my journey as a “mature student”. It’s a long road and I must admit that I am nervous about my ability to navigate it while maintaining my business and my life as a single mom. But, it’s a direction that I have regretted not taking for many years and the trail has been blazed successfully by many others before me. The best thing is that I am confidently moving forward into the fog toward a tomorrow that is filled with vast opportunities.
It’s a new road. It’s a good road. It’s my road.
I’ve taken my life out of park and put it back in drive!