Every year around the time of my birthday I began to reflect on the parts of my life that need a boost. I don’t remember when I started doing it, I guess about the time Kristen started Kindergarten. I don’t do it conscientiously, it just seems to happen. Most people have New Years Resolutions, well my new year starts on my birthday.
The funny part is the older I get the easier it seems that I am able to clear the clutter. To decide what should stay in my life, what should go and how I need to progress down my own pathway.
This year started with the comment, “We have lived here for 10 years come December.” It does not seem like 10 years until I looked in my rear-view and saw all that has happened in that length of time.
At first, I saw all the things I have lost along the way. All the people that I have lost. But with that loss comes positive things. Kristen graduated in 2006, attended Tulane for a semester. She came home after that semester to spend her last Christmas with my Mother. Mother slipped from the earthly realm in March of 2007. Dad and I both closed our businesses to take care of Mother, then to take care of Dad I didn’t open mine back up. I have been to Slaton many times over that time period to bury or marry a friend or family member. I have sold properties in Lubbock County, in Brown County and walked away from many pieces of material things.
Looking in that mirror, I see all these things, but more importantly I see what each of them have given to me. I see how much I have grown, how much knowledge I have acquired and how much love I have found along the way. I see how much change has helped me, not stifled me.
Before we moved down here and life took it’s twists and turns, I was incredibly angry. I felt as if the person that lived in my soul didn’t match the person that everyone knew. In many ways they didn’t match. It was no one’s fault but my own. For I had lived my life pleasing everyone BUT me. I had done all the things everyone else expected and not too many of what would make me happy. I didn’t take the time or the heart to fight for what I wanted, what I needed, what I believed. I had been this really shy person because I didn’t think that anything I would contribute really mattered. I hid my belief system from my family because it didn’t match what the rest of the family believed.
Now, looking back I see how far I have come. I see all the things I have gained, I have found, and all that I have become.
So, looking around me, I see such wonder. Mother dying, forced me to look into the mirror and see all the things about myself that I had been avoiding. To see that all I wanted to be was right there inside my own soul, my own heart. I learned that my voice, though often times has to still be printed to express what I need to say, is important enough to share. That my own dreams and desires were important enough to pursue. Through this knowledge, I lost being shy, I lost being angry, I lost being dreamless. I learned that you never really lose anything, those things are just replaced with bigger and better.
When Dad died in May of 2012, another learning and growing phase ensued. For the first time in my life, I was able to look out over the world and see that I had a different calling other than just to take care of everyone else. That I had to learn to take care of me. Even though I am still struggling with the fact that my life is forever changed and that all of a sudden I have to find my own path. A path that is not about taking care of someone else, I know that slowly I am arriving at the start of that path. I know that I am beginning a new chapter in life. I know that for the first time ever, it is okay to fight battles that have been a long time coming. I know that I can stand flat footed and fight for my own beliefs, my own ambitions, my own self respect. I can hold my head high with such self confidence that the only thing that should ever get in my way is my own heart.
Yes, 10 years has passed in the blink of an eye. Losing somethings to make way for better things, I have seen how much love life has to offer. I have seen that it is okay to be the kind and loving soul that I am. That I can take that with the gifts that I have been honing over the past 10 years and share it with the world.
Through the darkness, I have learned to seek out the moon’s light, the twinkle of each and every star in the heavens and let my own light shine bright enough to bring the morning sun.
I have learned that each and every person on this planet is fighting a private battle. A battle from with in. It is not my job to make their battle more of a struggle, but instead to make it less of one. The way people act comes from their own fears, their own fights, their own lack of love and knowledge. It is in fact my responsibility to help and encourage, to teach and to lead, but never to judge. To love without condition, without expectation, without judging. It is as much my place to call a friend as it is theirs to call me. It is as much my responsibility to nurture and love the people that love me but to be able to be me in the process. A gentle balance.