It seems to me, now that I’ve learned to stop, watch and learn, that a lot of the people I’ve met in life (the very same people that I gleaned my habits and behaviors from) are just bumbling along waiting for someone to show them what to do, what to want, what to be. But no one is willing to admit they don’t know why they do what they do, and no one is willing to say I’m going to do it my way whether you like it or not. We all walk through life with an air about us like we have it all together even though once you get to know someone, invariably there is some aspect of their life that is tearing them apart at the seams. We all force ourselves to subscribe to rules made by people that have no business making our rules for us anyway and find minor ways to deviate within our designated post that allow us to sow our rebellious sides but don’t disrupt the flow around us.
Very few people I know have burst out into the world with their own hopes and intentions at the forefront of their mind and if they do, they’re instantly scorned and viewed as betrayers of their origin. It’s not because choosing not to follow in the family tradition is such an affront, but that any deviation shakes the foundation of everyone else’s lives when someone decides to pursue their own path.
The shockwaves that come from someone choosing a new way is incredibly threatening to those who aren’t ready or willing. Many people will seek to hold you back because of their own agenda in life which usually boils down to keeping their ducks in a row and preserving their own sense of security, and in other people’s lives you’re just another duck. They don’t want to harm you, but they especially don’t want to lose the normalcy in their own lives and you’re a part of that! So, many people give up their hopes and dreams in order to never cause shockwaves to anyone else and live a life that never quite reaches the point of fulfillment.
After everything I have faced in my life, I was given a huge gift. I was faced with the worst and had the very foundation of my life rocked. I went through hell but then was reborn with a new awareness and rapidly began traded away my life of fear, sadness, lost potential and wasted time spent beating a drum to someone else’s beat on the endless quest for approval and love. It seems like we are all so programmed not to question whatever system we have been brought up within and the incentive is to maintain the (false) sense of security that comes from being part of a community, despite how miserable and diminishing it may be.
It took me a major life crisis and making it to the age of 30 before I realized my life just wasn’t being lived right. I wasn’t being a very good person, for one, yet if pressed about it I’d have called myself good because I had never dug below the surface of myself and always had a ready justification for any crappy thing I did. I lived within the borders of what I knew and aspired to the be at the top of that pile, simply clamoring for status within my designation in life but never taking it a step further to realize I could choose something else entirely.
I was influenced in my early life by some very fearful people who never liked to step outside of the box in life to an extreme degree. Don’t ride a roller coaster, people have been killed on roller coasters! Don’t visit the city, there are bad and dangerous people there. For any new pursuit I might consider, they were there to fill my mind with the dangers that lay in wait. It greatly robbed my joy in life and yet I didn’t realize it, simply absorbed it to become a part of myself.
I am a natural risk taker and built to go against the grain, I know that now. Yet every risk I took in life came with a fearful disclaimer from the people around me and despite my rebellion and desire to still try it my own way and to pretend those kind of words didn’t bother me in my youth, deep down within I was already so tinged with everyone else’s fears and paranoias and preoccupations that I didn’t realize I was becoming infected with a terrible disease: complacency. I started to see the appeal in avoiding risks and pain. I lost that fire for life and passion for adventure and did like everyone did before me, sought to ‘settle down’ and tried to sate myself with simply having my basic needs met.
Gradually over the years I became beaten down enough by life that I stopped seeking change or personal evolution and my natural curiosity and individually was suppressed. I learned to hide my inner self so effectively from the rest of the world that I forgot who that person was and my fate was sealed. I took my dutiful place in life to trudge along on the quest for ‘safe’ fulfillment: nice things, lots of money, the nuclear family, the traditional American dream. None of those things ever generated any true satisfaction for me though, and I continued to spend my whole life waiting for the next meaningful event to occur, but none ever came. Nothing ever changed.
It never occurred to me to take it that one step further and truly assess my life and decide on a path that would bring me joy, irregardless of the social implications. The fear got to me and I lost years of my life trying to attain other people’s goals until suddenly my life was shaken at the foundation. It threw me into the deepest and darkest depression of my life until finally I crawled my way out of it. Through it, I realized I’d been living a ridiculous lie that made me miserable and I wasn’t going to waste any more time. I made the choice to reclaim my life at the risk of everything and everyone around me. For once, for the first time ever, I chose myself and my needs first.
Finally having this realization was an incredibly life-changing event and I’ve not taken my foot off the gas since. After a lifetime of oppression, I am now down almost forty pounds, shed multiple destructive and oppressive relationships, began parenting effectively MY OWN WAY, started shedding possessions once I realized the consumer driven motives weren’t keeping me warm at night and I am happier and more self satisfied than ever. True, tangible results have taken place and the change is undeniable. I feel alive for the first time in my life.
I would say I don’t recognize who I have become, but that would be a lie. The truth is, I don’t recognize the person I used to be. That was the lie. This person, writing this article, sharing my story publicly, (something I NEVER would’ve done in my earlier life, simply because of the blow to my pride from admitting I’ve made mistakes). THIS is me.
Here is my story and what brought me to this moment, today, where I have begun to take life by the balls and stop being such a sheep to lost shepherds.
I remember being a kid and longing for adulthood, for the freedom and independence it would afford me. I had fully expected to hatch from childhood and become a glimmering grown up, a different species entirely. I look back sadly now at my anxious state, a young child sitting on my bed with a calculator and notebook, adding up how many days until I’d be an adult. It numbered in the thousands and I was sure it would never come. Every so often I’d pull it back out and do the figures again, watching them slowly decrease, not realizing how I was squandering my time on Earth by willing it to go faster.
I had a difficult childhood. I never quite felt like I fit into the world anywhere. I was the only child of teen parents who struggled with me on multiple levels, I was mercilessly bullied for years in school, I spent way too much time socializing with my elderly (extremely fearful) relatives and not with peers and from these and many other events, I became very weird, distrustful and socially unskilled which set me up with difficulty relating to others that still affects my life to this day.
In my teen years I blossomed with good looks and finally garnered what felt like positive attention and affirmation from my male peers, so was promiscuous and reckless, looking for attention and validation in all the wrong places. Invariably these exploits always ended the same, in hurt and shame, and yet I never processed any of these emotions. I kept my emotions tightly locked below a layer of pride and contempt for those who would seek to suppress me in any way and fought like a cornered animal for my autonomy and freedom. I remember my dad in frustration telling me that I was ‘unparentable’. I felt unwanted everywhere I went and withdrew even more deeply into my self. This is when I began feeling suicidal on and off, self mutilating, using drugs and alcohol, creating drama with girls at school. I didn’t feel secure or protected in my life and was sure that once I was on my own my life would be exponentially better. My life was still just a countdown to freedom.
Once I reached young adulthood I left home very broken and damaged from my youth. I spent a year at a very expensive university, thinking that was what I should do but quickly realized this was not wise. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, I didn’t get along with anyone at the college and it really burst my bubble of expecting life to take off as soon as my adult life began. I returned home, defeated, and looked for work. I felt like a failure at life already at the age of eighteen.
I hid this well though and quickly threw myself into a career working with special needs adults. I genuinely liked the work itself but I especially liked how people told me how good and kind it was of me to do it. I had finally found something that garnered me positive attention, I was finally able to support myself financially and life became such a rapid cycle that I lost seven years to a career that by the end I was finally able to admit I hated.
The truth was, the higher in rank I went the more demanding and time consuming the job was. There was never any satisfaction of completion and I learned that in order to succeed career-wise you had to be willing to set aside the interest of the people you were caring for to some degree and focus on the politics of it all, a huge weak point in my life. Once I was in a position of leadership no one liked me anymore, because my standards and expectations were impossibly high for the caliber of employee the job attracted.
My superiors quickly hated me once they saw how bad I was at the interpersonal aspect of it as well. There was an unspoken expectation to turn the other cheek to far too much foul play. I hated the corruption within the system but I knew I couldn’t beat it. I hated knowing that I could never truly save these people from abuse and exploitation and I hated how I was abused and exploited as well by the broken people who were my superiors and wielded the bit of power life had given them over others like a steel pipe. Eventually I was disillusioned enough to realize I had to let go and pursued a nursing degree, which left me with a huge wound in my life because I had to abandon 12 patients that I loved dearly and cared for from the age of 18-24.
Despite my fierce desire for independence, I spent my entire adult life attached to and supporting some man-child or another right up to meeting my husband. I told myself it was what I was supposed to be doing, seeking out a husband, getting ready to build a family. Really, I would repeatedly saddle myself with ‘project’ men who would use me to iron out their issues and then launch off into the world on their own. Every time I’d be confronted by my deep abandonment issues and sparked into a stage of depression and self abuse until the next one came around, which never took too long because I would immediately throw all of my energy into securing someone new.
I didn’t realize how scared I was to be alone, how fearful I was to be left in a room with my own thoughts and feelings. I didn’t realize that I had lived with a stranger for my entire life, that I had never chosen to get to know myself. As a child I had learned that no one liked who Lace actually was, so that needed to be hidden away. I wore a shell of what I felt would succeed in the world and sculpted my personality like clay, emulating what seemed to work for other people. Every relationship I had in life including the beginning of my marriage was total fraud on my part and doomed from the start, yet I realized none of this.
When I first sprang out of adolescence I didn’t know what I was doing but I knew I wanted independence desperately so I looked to other people’s lives to guide me through my own, with no awareness of doing it. This was all done subconsciously based on my deeply hidden desperation for leadership. I would model myself after the people I knew that had what I had deemed to be success. People who had nice things, social status and a lot of money in the bank. Everything superficial. Doing this, I learned a lot of bad habits that entrenched me even more deeply into my false goals.
I was totally enamored by status and power. Even an elegant looking stranger would spark me in the pursuit of similar clothing because surely then I would feel like I had it all together. It never occurred to me that looking outward for the source of satisfaction in life assured that I would never achieve it. It was a vicious cycle that I was not even able to recognize.
I lived my whole life morbidly obese, from age five to current day (down forty pounds but nowhere near done) from years of anxiety induced binge eating and having been taught awful food habits by my elders. It definitely contributed to my low self esteem and low self value, to be taken advantage of my men who acted like they were doing me a favor, and the cheap, processed foods I ate added to my depression as well. (I will do a specific post on this topic at a later date because it’s such a large part of my life.)
I was living in whatever cheap living situations I could finagle, bouncing back and forth from my parents home when I had to. I would return optimistically that now that I was 18, 22, 24 years old things would be different between us this time and it would work out, but as soon as the jaws of control would close around me I would leave again. I was desperate for security and someplace to call home that would last. Men filled my void for that. I was a serial monogamist but if I was single I would comb dating sites for a man to fill my night if I didn’t have a regular available, repeatedly putting myself in dangerous and humiliating situations. I racked my number of sexual partners up so high that I truly have no clue of how many.
I lived like an animal, achieving nothing personally or for the world. My life was miserable, unfulfilling and broken.
The people who knew me at the time didn’t see the terrified and broken person though, I know I didn’t see it even though it was my own self. I hid my truth so well with lies, manipulations and posturing. I’ve always been very well read and eloquent and masterful at storytelling and I used these skills to secure the view of myself that I wanted people to have. I achieved my goal of always appearing outwardly to be a secure and capable person. Despite this, despite my apparent success and good looks (despite the weight) and being smart and witty, most people have always wound up disdaining me and I always wondered why.
I realize now, I had an aura around me that repelled quality people from my life. There is an inner sense that people have that allows them to see through a liar, and I was a masterful one so I never got found out. No one could put their finger on it and accuse me of anything but I made the people around me uneasy.
And now I can see why, because I was a fraud! I was living a lie, my entire persona was a lie. I had done it for so long that I believed the lies. Eventually I became so disassociated from my own life and actions that I had no morality, no checks and balances, no guiding force inside of me. I lived like an animal, always on the defense and always on the hunt for fulfillment that I could never find. I had no personal issue with lying, cheating, stealing or anything else but if someone did it to me it was the ultimate betrayal because I viewed it as something else entirely. I felt entitled to do so, further, I felt obligated to do so, to survive.
I met my husband, Justin, at age 24 immediately after coming out of a very bad long term relationship and we had an incredible whirlwind romance. I found him after I had what I can only call a divine impulse one day to go for a walk during a rainstorm no less to find wifi and log onto a dating website. Prominently, he was the first face I saw, I reached out and the rest quickly fell into place.
My husband is the love of my life. Despite all that’s happened between us, I still have no doubt in my mind that we are meant to be together, because we are like a mirror of one another in so many ways. Because we met a little older than I had expected I’d meet my spouse (I had a very contrived image of what life was supposed to be) we foolishly wasted no time at all. We got engaged within six months, pregnant within a year and married during the pregnancy.
With my husband came an introduction to a new lifestyle and a whole new cast of characters. His family had much more material wealth than mine, which was immediately very alluring, a huge house, fancy cars and big egos to match. Early on, I tried to immerse myself but I never fit in with his family. His mother never cared for me and was very domineering and the one thing in life that I could not suffer was being controlled.
Stupidly though, in love, feeling my own aspirations and with blinders on, I moved into his family home despite my poor relationship with his mother who allowed it as it was her sons wish. We were both finishing our educations at this point and for the first time in many years I was without a full time income, Justin very much wanted me to live with him and it was more appealing than the alternative of going back to my parents home yet again, yet it led to the complete destruction of my relationship with his family.
His mother and I clashed in an extreme way. Unhappy with my presence in her home, her behavior was malicious, irate and manipulative and I was suddenly thrown back into a relationship based on control and abuse. I withdrew into myself, feeling trapped, which I was. I had gotten myself in way too deep way too fast. I had finally gotten myself into a situation I couldn’t bullshit my way out of because now, I was pregnant.
Within two years of having met we had gotten engaged, finished our educations, got married and moved into an apartment (with extremely loud and disturbing upstairs neighbors), had the baby and finally bought a big house with many, many issues that we were foolish enough to feel like we could handle. In this time period we joked that we never sat still and it was the truth, life was on a roll and I was checking those material desires off with lightening speed. The envy, praise or concern it generated from the people around us only fueled my desire to move faster to prove them all how unstoppable we were.
I had checked so many things off of my list and yet secretly, I felt the lowest level of satisfaction I had ever felt in my life. Very quickly the high of it all had worn off, the steady flow of wedding, housewarming and baby gifts stopped tricking in, my husband was working all the time and I was alone raising an infant and renovating at house all at once. The glamour of it that I flashed around on social media gave way to exhaustion and frustration when I was left alone to process it all. To top it all off, we had awful relationships with various family members that dragged us down constantly. It didn’t take long before we turned our frustrations against each other and began abusing one another.
This isn’t the kind of thing that happens suddenly and anyone notices right away though. My husband and I had come together so organically into an instantly unbreakable front. It was us against the world and we didn’t notice when the worldly influences began to turn us against each other. It happened so slowly and insidiously that it was easy to blame every fight and altercation on all of the things happening around you and not on your own behaviors. This time period is the sincerest regret of my life, because it set me and my husband up for additional years of absolute torment.
It took me almost two years of sacrificing time and happiness in the house to realize it wasn’t worth it. It was a big, old house with a LOT of problems on top of needing a full renovation for style alone. One project would be resolved and another would crop up, always to the tune of thousands of dollars. We poured a fortune into that house never to recover it in the sale, even with hardly paying for labor.
I was almost fully reliant on my very capable and handy father to come over and do the major renovations, hiring out for only the most dire, while my hands were more than full with all the small stuff plus a baby. My dad gave a year plus of his life to renovating, and it bred deep resentment from him onto us. He began to view my husband as lazy and worthless and witnessing his view permeated my own opinion of my spouse. It tore that relationship with my father back down again to a horrible state, and finding out we were going to sell it must’ve been deeply insulting after all of that time and work was put in.
Despite owning the house for two years, for the first six months of it we didn’t even use the upstairs and all slept downstairs in the living room and dining room. We would put the baby to bed in the living room and go lay silently in the dining room for hours, feeling trapped and miserable. I felt like a failure, my husband felt like a failure and I never missed a chance to agree with him. It was during this time that I began to hate and resent him for the state of our lives. The stress broke me down and I became very cruel and nasty to my husband, verbally lashing out constantly.
I lost my desire for him romantically and sexually and would stop in the middle of intimacy and berate him for it. I lost the ability to climax for months and my skin would crawl if he touched me. We were both too absorbed in our own anger and pain to see the massive red flags hanging over us and I feared my marriage was going to be over as quickly as it had begun.
I had felt my husband was choosing not to pull his own weight because he didn’t contribute to the house renovation. He worked his full time job and would come home to bounce the baby on his knee and watch tv or play video games while I switched from mom by day to home improvement specialist by night. I’d be upstairs sanding walls or painting into the night, covered and choking on drywall dust thinking the most bitter and hateful thoughts about him.
I felt abandoned and angry so I withdrew romantically and lashed out verbally. My husband emotionally shut down, he did the bare minimum at everything in life and our marriage became a stalemate. It was around this time that the divorce word was first brought up. I didn’t mean what I was saying, but I was looking to provoke him, scare him into action, wake him up, motivate him. I know now how wrong and misguided it all was, and I also know now that my husband had withdrawn from the project because he has such a deep fear of failure. I failed him completely by shaming him when he already felt so deeply ashamed.
I had no emotional or social skills to help us at the time, I was so deeply absorbed with my own needs not being met. It was such a time of fear and confusion but I knew I didn’t actually want to lose my husband, I loved him so much more than the house despite everything that was happening between us. We made the hard choice to sell the house to try to save our marriage and wound up choosing a more expensive condo in a more expensive town. We traded more money for less work, or so we thought.
We got into the condo and it has still kept me busy since we came. Despite it being about half the square footage of the house, it was still not up to my standards and I’ve tinkered with every bit of it for the two years we have been here. Luckily it was mostly stuff that I could handle independently, and I accepted that I was the doer and my husband was the money maker. Sadly, while I was tinkering with my house and just assumed my marriage would heal itself now that we were out of the house and we’re having more peaceful interactions, my husband sunk into even deeper depression and eventually began an affair.
In all honesty, the affair is a topic for another post far down the line to discuss it in detail. I do have a ton of insight to share, but I am still just not ready. It lasted only three months, yet has lingered on in our lives ever since. Even now, it is a topic on which to tread lightly because if I focus on it, it will break me down. It was heartbreaking to discover and nearly tore us apart, especially on top of all of our existing history. It led to 18 months of even worse mutual abuse that even turned violent and physical, led to deep and serious consideration of divorce and even consideration and attempts of suicide. It was the ugliest time of my life, and for a long time my husband wasn’t willing or able to do the work necessary to bring back my sense of security. Once I had had a man whose own joy rose and fell on my satisfaction and now I was thoroughly abandoned. I felt I had lost everything in life and it was over, life was over and not worth living anymore.
It came to a major head when I realized it was influencing my child and she was aware that we were having problems. I admittedly was neglecting her emotionally, especially compared to the healthy relationship we had enjoyed before the affair. I lost my desire to parent and spent a lot of time avoiding interactions with her. She was anxious, nail biting a lot, asking questions like “will you always love me forever even if daddy leaves us?” Hearing questions like this from your three year old will rip your soul right out of your body. I realized I was spending a ton of time waiting on him to turn his life around and fix mine for me and yet I couldn’t depend on him for our salvation here. I needed to be better for my child and not wait on anyone else to make it happen.
I turned deeply into myself, for the first time in my life. I shunned anyone else’s influence and input which ranged from helpful to viciously cruel. I began deep, painful, uncomfortable introspective work and mentally picked apart my life at every seam. I looked at myself in a way that I had never done before and it was truly life changing because I forced myself to see what I really was, not what I presented outwardly, not what I hoped or wished. And the truth was really, really ugly.
Every painful memory, bad choice and humiliation, I mulled over and still do at times. I got to know myself as a person and I shed a ton of mental dead weight that was holding me back from being who I truly am. I spent hundreds of hours contemplating my actions in life and why I made them. I researched myself from the inside out like a stranger. I wrote mountains of pages and threw them away, getting anger and rage and darkness out of me. I turned towards my spiritual side which had been long since set aside and miracles began happening, signs that I was making wise choices finally began to rain around me and the world started to open up to me again as a place of possibilities and not entrapment.
I made the choice that even if my husband wasn’t going to be on my team, I was going to be on my own team and for about a year, I worked hard on myself and held him at an arms length. I would fall off the path, fall back into rage and anger but the incentive was important enough to keep me coming back to the task at hand.
I was not going to fail my child and leave her with this terrible mother who couldn’t meet her needs, especially when I had already saddled her with a father who wasn’t looking out for her either. She means everything to me, I am all she had, and the motivation to do and be better for her transformed my life. I came out on the other side feeling more in tune with myself and confident that I would move forward with my life no matter what happened in my marriage. I didn’t have a choice, I had my daughter to think of. It got to the point that I was planning a truly independent life for the first time ever.
The miraculous thing is that as I did this work, I inspired my husband and he finally began his own introspective work as well. Eventually, he was able to process the affair from my end and see how truly horrendous this all was for me, why he did it, and to see the mistakes he had made in life. He made actual changes in his behavior and the way he treats me, others and even himself. For the first time in years I felt prioritized by him. He acknowledged the pain he out me through with the affair and showed true remorse for it. I was able to acknowledge and apologize for the way I behaved in the old house. We were finally getting somewhere and for the first time in a long time, there was hope.
We also shed the bad relationships around us which was tremendously difficult to do. An affair is an event that shows the true colors of everyone it touches, including the ancillary people. As the opinions poured in, as I was lashed out at, shamed, blamed and my grief was minimized and ignored I realized that I had spent a lot of time in the last few years taking energy from my own life and immediate family to use for these people who were relishing my pain.
Their feelings towards me became obvious and undeniable, reinforcing what I had felt all along. After seeing it, it was almost easy from my end to release the relationships and a lot of time and reflection has helped me remove most of the bitterness towards them from my heart. I knew they had gone too far, too far past the point of me ever being willing to reconcile. I stopped trying to force myself to meet their needs and wants. I released the desire from my heart to make it work and told my husband that his family is now his own business and I will not be readily involved with them anymore.
No bad influence in your life will ever go down without kicking and screaming, however. We now have family on his side that we are now fully no contact with because they were a constant source of stress and upset. Every time we saw them they’d tear us down and start arguments and insult us, behaving insanely in front of our child, they felt secure to do this because their familial status meant we couldn’t do anything about it. His family constantly reinforced the need to stick together despite any issues, because blood is thicker than water. They’d get to abuse us and we would still be back for another round another day, because you can’t break up with your family, right?
We realized that along the path of choosing one another and a better life for our own family we needed to let go of the people that continually influenced us towards fighting and anger, so we did, to much rage from those people. It brought on new waves of abuse and some other relationships were lost as collateral damage, but together we were and still are able to face it and stand by our decision.
The truth is that some decisions are hard as can be, even if they’re vital for your wellbeing. Even though we wanted out of these relationships, we were still so held back by the fear to hurt anyone. We didn’t want to reject anyone because we both know how painful it is to be rejected by the people you want to love you. Despite the pain they had caused us, our unwillingness to cause them pain kept us locked into a miserable cycle for years. I know these people now feel we are cold, cruel and callous, and they’ve made that crystal clear with various attacking communications that still come along the way when the injustice of it overwhelms them beyond self control. But we had to learn to let go of such an extreme level of self sacrifice that brought us to such a depressive state.
We learned and lived by a quote at that time and still speak it whenever the topic comes up, “we will not set ourselves on fire to keep you warm.” Applying that to our lives has changed everything. I no longer act out of obligation to others, I act out of love and respect. If the relationship doesn’t foster those motivations and the other person is only out to control, dominate, abuse or manipulate me as a propeller towards their own desires, I refuse to engage. This makes people mad, very mad. But it doesn’t take long until you realize those people were only using you for their own gains. It’s a painful, bitter pill to swallow, but the people who actually love and respect you will never expect you to harm yourself for their gain.
We spent a lot of time considering what we really wanted out of life. My husband realized that despite throwing his identity into “the provider” role, as he was taught by his parents to do, he didn’t want to hand his entire life over to an institution to bring home a fat paycheck to pay for a fat condo. We can downsize our possessions and space and live a life fueled by love and joy, not dollars. Having seven figures in the bank or owning the company (the goal my husband was raised upon) doesn’t mean success if everything else around you is crumbling and you wind up sad, alone and suicidal.
So I began reading, researching, looking at different areas around the country where we could go to live a life more on tune with what we desire. Ways to make money from your own home and land, and we both fell in love with the idea of homesteading. My husband, who tried to drill one screw in at the new house and failed, so never touched another aspect of the house, wants to be a homesteader? Yes, because he realized that success doesn’t measure him as a man. Effort and desire do. If it takes him ten times to get the next screw in, he won’t give up again.
And this time, I have faith he will learn and grow in this area too and success will be a result of the effort. And this time I will be a proper and supportive spouse and not stomp on his pride when he is already down.
As I explained to him many times, and sometimes screamed at him in rage and frustration back in the house, I wasn’t born with a drill in hand either. I learned, I failed, I tried again and figured it out. My first projects were crap, now they’re nearly masterful. However, what I didn’t understand back then was that my husbands problem wasn’t being lazy or unwilling, it was his massive fear of failure and lack of self confidence and self esteem. The life influences that powered him had taught him that if you try and fail, you’re then a failure so he programmed himself to never try anything that didn’t guarantee success.
I wish I realized it years ago and could’ve chosen to shower him with the love and respect he needed to boost his confidence, but I was emotionally stupid in so many ways. Like I said, I didn’t know myself at all. Instead, I grabbed onto my own anger and annoyance at his lack of effort without trying to learn why. Now that he has a supportive spouse in me, and feels the ability to create change and impact in his own life, he feels prepared to take on new and scary endeavors. I am so proud of him, and of myself for where we have wound up in life.
So it brings us to today, and in the current day and time I am preparing the condo to sell. This place isn’t us, it’s not what we are about. This inflated atmosphere where money is traded for convenience, this isn’t us anymore. We pay common charges for our lawn to be mowed and yet I got a notice saying I’d be fined if I didn’t remove a child sized picnic table from the front yard. I don’t want to live in a place where I am controlled like that but they happily cash my check every month.
There is a choice to be made in life that until recently we were on the wrong side of. Either you need to be able to do things in life, or pay someone to do things in life. I’d much rather preserve my freedom and liberate my spouse from the career rat race and learn to do as much for ourselves as we can than have him sell his soul for three decades so we can have nice things. That is our choice for a better life.
The plan is to sell this place and downsize into a local apartment to ease the transition. This will save us a full HALF of our housing cost and we will be able to pay off all of our debts and save a nice wad of money and all the while hone our skills and research and plan for the long term move.
Some people wouldn’t consider moving from a 2,000 square foot house to a 1100 square foot condo to a 800 square foot apartment to be “success”. But we do. We do, because we had the grand realization that we are more than our home and possessions. Half a decade of our focus has gone to our home and things and money to secure them, all of which are proving to be temporary over and over again. All of the things I missed or feared I’d miss about the house are now long forgotten. Things come and go, I don’t want our lives to come and go for the sake of things.
I’m so excited for this journey, and I want to help other people come to the realization of their own potential and take the time to have some deep introspective thought into your own life and choices. That is why I entitled this article “making the choice to choose a better life.” If you’re feeling lost, aimless, hopeless, there is a way out but it all has to begin somewhere. I can tell you where it begins, because I have lived it. I went from the pit of despair where the only thing keeping me from suicide was guilt for my daughter I’d leave behind to now having bright excitement and optimism for the life I am working towards. There is life on the other side of any pit of despair, even your own!
My eye is on a new prize of a big, beautiful acreage all my own, nestled into mountains with a stream running through it. A just-big-enough sustainable house built by our own hands, chickens running around my feet as I tend an orchard. Most of all, I dream that my husband is home to enjoy it with me everyday instead of slaving away at a job he hates. This is my dream. It is the absolute opposite of the dream I had installed in my head in my earlier life of the biggest house with the nicest car with the best furnishings and as many zeros in the bank as possible, placed there by society, family, outside influences that had no business telling me how to find my joy.
I feel the single most important lesson to hit home with my daughter is that she will find her own path someday. No one ever sat me down and told me the world was already my oyster and not to worry about the pearls so much. Everything happens for a reason, and if I went through all of this pain and evolution to spare her from it I would gladly do it again.
I decided to start this blog now because I feel like I have so much to share. I’ve shed the materialism and status climbing that held me back for decades of life. I wish I arrived at all of this insight so much younger in life, but “coulda, shoulda, woulda” is all I can do with that. Progress comes with action, and I am finally on the move.
If you want to begin working towards your best life possible, it all begins with making the choice to do so. Began how I did, by getting to know yourself. I challenge you to devote ten minutes a day, every single day to deep and introspective thought. You owe it to yourself to get to know who you are and what makes you tick. You may not even realize that you don’t, I certainly didn’t. Relive your life in your mind and really feel the feelings that come up, don’t run from them. Allow yourself the chance to process them and put them behind you. Listen to your intuition and start to understand who you are. When you feel ready and inspired, draft a blueprint for your perfect life. You may be astounded at how different it looks than what you imagined it would before taking the time to truly understand your own self.
Follow along with me as we progress even further on this exciting journey though life, because this story isn’t over. I will share more deep-minded posts like this, and also lots of other practical topics about the other ways in which we have bettered our lives.
This life belongs to you and no one else.
Make the choice to choose better.