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.


November 5th: Now

I’m going to tell you about a weird little personal quirk of mine (What else is new? I hear you thinking that!): Okay…I buy myself really pretty underwear, and then I never want to wear them. I want to “save them” for…something. Some far-off day, perhaps, when my lady bits have earned the distinctive panty award. Oh, right…that’s not a thing, is it? Well, maybe it’s…no, you know what? It just doesn’t make any sense at all, no matter which way I try to rationalize it.

It is, however, a good analogy for the way I live my life lots of times. And I bet, since we have established at this point that I am not nearly as unique and eccentric as I would like to pretend, that you are guilty of the same offense- waiting and waiting and waiting for the “right time” to do all of the things you want to do most.

We like to pretend that somewhere down the road we will be better prepared, more established, more capable of pursuing our dreams. Well guess what? I’m 44. Half my life, at least, is probably behind me at this point. To be honest with you, I don’t feel anymore prepared for anything than I did ten years ago. The main difference is that I’m just a bit more cynical, my body hurts if I sit in the same position for too long, and I like naps more. Just kidding, I couldn’t possibly like naps more. I’ve always loved naps. Seriously, though- on the inside, I’m not much different.

I’m still scared to death that I’m going to mess things up. This move, for instance- I lay in bed at night and I have moments where I’m like ‘I can still just stay. My life is fine here, why am I doing this?’ and the icy feeling in the pit of my stomach is a fearsome thing. But you can’t believe everything you think when you’re alone in bed in the middle of the night. So, every day, I check in with myself- do I still want this? And the answer is always exactly the same- a resounding yes.

Because it might not work out. It might end up being less than spectacular. I might have regrets. But the thing is, those regrets will be nothing compared to the ones I will have if I don’t try. Not someday, not when the time is right, but now. Well, not right now, next summer, but you know what I mean. My life is fine the way it is, that’s true. But man, that’s not really what I want on my headstone. “Here lies Courtney. Her life was… fine.”

Unless you are actively making plans, your “goals” aren’t goals at all, they’re just wishes. And wishes are nice, but they don’t generally amount to much, do they?

Today, I want you to stop saving your good underwear. You deserve to wear the fanciest, laciest, prettiest ones right NOW. And by that, of course, I mean- stop relegating your dearest desires to an uncertain future. Right now is the perfect time to begin laying down the foundation of your dreams. Once you begin, even if it is just in the smallest way, that action has significance. Don’t wait for the perfect time, because the perfect time doesn’t exist. Just start right now, right where you are.