I had a moment of clarity and honesty yesterday that has been a long time coming. I really haven’t been myself lately. If you know me, maybe you noticed I have been different since my grandfather passed away in April of 2013.
I have always felt like I had a special relationship with him, he was always one of my favorite people in the world. I have been fortunate enough that my young family has afforded me the privilege of having met and known most of my great grandparents. Loosing my grandfather was the first loss of a relative that was not a distant one and was made that much harder by the unique bond I had with him.
My mom and I lived with my grandparents when I was born and my grandpa used to bounce me on his knee. As I got older he used to tease me about the silliest things – like singing the words ‘happy birthday to me’ on my birthday and calling my ‘mom car’ a half a car. He was sick for the last few years of his life and it was a hard thing for me to watch and when he passed my world really had changed.
Since then I have been just not myself, and each thing just has piled on top of itself. Until yesterday when we had to put our sweet Lucy down.
I don’t know if the difference has been obvious to my friends and family, primarily because I have been in denial but secondarily because I have always been a strong independent person. I have always been good at keeping it together and working through things. I have always been ‘okay’. At least outwardly.
Here’s the thing, since my grandpa died I have had a hard time identifying meaning and accepting what I once considered the beauty of the seasons of life.
My denial was deep and maybe its own coping mechanism. I have been operating under the theory for most of my life that it is just my nature to have excessive fears/worries/prospective but as long as I still got up and out of bed every morning I was coping. And it was okay.
I decided that being down and feeling a little on the hopeless side was just part of life that I had to deal with and I convinced myself that everyone would have those thoughts/feelings if they spent any amount of time actually thinking about it.
Turns out I think I am wrong. It isn’t okay to think nothing really matters because the out come is always the same in the end. Turns out I have been doing more surviving than living and it turns out I am not okay.
But there are a few things I was right about.
I was right that it is okay to feel the way I feel. It really isn’t about the feelings or thoughts I am having but what those mean. I believe it means that I am not living a life that is personally meaningful. That isn’t to say motherhood isn’t fulfilling but rather there are too many things in my life (usually competing with being a mother) that don’t provide intrinsic value. They are things that provide a means to an end as opposed to fulfilling some deeper desire. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in things that are a means to an end but there is also a threshold and I have somehow surpassed that.
I was also right that I was coping. Unfortunately I think I lost sight that coping as a state of mind should be short term while adjusting to a new norm. It should not be the new norm in and of itself.
So now what? I often hear ‘knowledge is power’ but is it really if you aren’t taking any action?
I think most of this boils down to living with intention … or not living with intention as it would seem to be in my case.
Growing up I had always thought that life was sort of preplanned. Like it was a book and if I could just turn ahead a few pages I would know all sorts of things – like who I would marry, how many children I would have, and what career I was meant to have. Contrary to my personality, I let this dictate my life and somehow paralyze my decision making ability. Honestly, I am a little in awe that I managed to make the decision to marry my husband.
So to shift my focus from ‘is this the decision I should be making, is this was I am supposed to be doing’ to ‘given the information I have, is this what I want and is this good for my family’, I am working on living with intention. First thing is first – I am working on an intentional living binder. Cheesy as it is, this will have something of a ‘vision board’ to remind me of the goals I have, a way to keep things organized, and a plan to attain those goals.
I will be setting intentions for my day or week … depending on the size of the intention and I have already set an intentional goal for work for the next 12 months. I will likely be sharing these intentions as I set them largely to increase my accountability.
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions largely because they tend to be forced, not well thought out, and rarely of strong personal meaning but today is the start of a new resolution. Living with intent – here I come.