I remember when I was in seventh grade, I thought that 26 sounded so old! Back then I was all about leg warmers, basketball + what book I was going to read next. I figured by 26, I’d be married with a kid or two, but it seemed like a lifetime away. I never gave a lot of thought to the how or whys of my life, I just trusted that eventually things would happen.
Fast forward to today: I didn’t get married until I was 41 and had my first baby at 42. It wasn’t the plan I had, but I couldn’t be happier. How did I get here?
It was when I was single, living in a great rent-controlled apartment in a hipster town, surrounded by some amazing people, that I really made some big personal moves. Because when I moved there, I decided I was going to love the hell out of my life for whatever was happening in the moment; I took advantage of every new, fun opportunity I could. My friends were active with different causes + interests and I grew so, so much during this time.
I started painting and exploring the artistic side that I always tampered down. In the past, I had looked at it like it wasn’t practical–that I wasn’t good enough to be taken seriously as an artist or that it wasn’t going to earn me enough money to be legit. I threw that way of thinking out the window and started creating with reckless abandon.
I felt a shift happening in my heart. I decided to love the crap out of my relationships during this time, too–friendships, family members, acquaintances + even strangers. Everyone had a story to tell and there was a reason they were in my life; I wanted to know why. I silently sent them a blessing for crossing my path and for bringing me a message, whatever it was.
From being so open and accepting, I realized that I had become the happiest I had been in a while; I was enjoying my life as is.
I let go of the expectations + pressures that I, or others had set for me. I took a deep dive off of the who-cares-what-people-think board and swam in the sea of self acceptance. And my life started to bloom in a way I never experienced before.
I learned so much from this time: that moments are fleeting and I need to drink it all in as much as possible. I also learned that if I want more of something in particular in my life, I needed to focus on and appreciate what was already working. Loving my life in any given moment was the best way to create the life I wanted in the future. Abundance happens in my life when I appreciate what is.
I realized my life had been built one block on top of another, not in one flash of a lightning bolt; becoming who I am takes time.
Some days I reflect on those junior high projections and think, what if that picture at 26 actually happened? I might have missed the travelling I did after college, maybe I would have handled the death of my mother differently, or stayed in higher education instead of following the true yearnings of my artistic path. I might not have experienced a lot of those growth moments had I married younger, before I learned to be more myself.
All of the twists and turns that got me to this point were worth it. I realized that all I had to do to find the life I dreamed about? Was to fall in love with the one I was living.