November 18th: Time
There is something incredibly liberating about being a single woman in her forties. I’m not just saying that so you won’t feel sorry for me, either- I mean it!
I spent the better part of my life chained to my addiction problems, convinced I had time, I had time, I had time to fix all of it. Prior to that, I was a kid with trauma I didn’t even recognize as such, starved for approval and acceptance and wanting to be loved…and if I couldn’t be loved, I at least wanted to be cool, to fit in.
When I finally got clean, I signed myself right up for a whole new set of directions for how to live my life in a 12-step program, and that worked really well for me…until it didn’t anymore. At a certain point, I got very strong, and very clear that, for me, rehashing my past and confirming over and over again that I was an addict was no longer healing me but keeping me stuck. I know that this is not the case for everyone, but we are talking about me right now, and this is not up for debate. (This is another wonderful thing about being who I am today- boundaries)
I set myself free at the beginning of the year and decided I would figure out my life on my own because I trusted myself to be capable of that. What I discovered about myself in the following months were some incredible things. I discovered that focusing on who I am today rather than who I was five years ago made me capable of forgiving myself in a way that I hadn’t been able to before. I discovered that I am not doomed to repeat history, that I have healed. And I discovered that I spent an awful lot of time trying to reach goals that I didn’t even really want.
Now, how crazy is that? To work your tail off to get to a place you don’t even particularly want to be? Not that there was anything wrong with those places, mind you, but they weren’t for me- maybe they were close to what I wanted, but they weren’t what I really wanted. Why in the world would anyone want to live that way?
Well, the answer is pretty simple, and I think we all do this. I aimed for other things because I didn’t believe in my heart of hearts that I was capable of achieving the things I truly wanted. The minute this really sank in, I decided I wasn’t going to live that way anymore.
Because I just do not have time. I am 44 years old, and the time for meandering is gone. This is IT. This is the first time in my life when I have both the means and the wisdom to go after my dreams with a real chance of succeeding. And if I don’t? Well, at least I will know that I gave it a shot. That will be enough for me. Had I gone after all these smaller, secondary things; I’d just be wondering ‘what if?’ I am not the kind of person who would take that in stride.
So, what is so great about being a single woman in her forties, you want to know? I am blessed to have a keen awareness of time these days. I know that I do not have forever. None of us have forever, but when you are very young, you truly have no sense of your own mortality, and maybe that’s how it should be. But I do now. And it drives me to take more risks, to do bigger things, to not worry so much about how I look or what other people think. I am more concerned with how I feel and what I think, and that is a wonderful thing.
Today, if you are reading this, I want you to understand that every minute of every day is a precious gift. Stop wasting it. You do not have time to hate yourself, or time to squander on lesser dreams. This is it! This is your life, happening right now. Go for the things you truly want, reach for the life that you envision that seems so far beyond your reach- because you have no idea what you are capable of until you try. Don’t count yourself out before you’ve ever taken a shot. Don’t wait. Start right now.