I have not been blogging as much lately. It’s not that I don’t have anything worthwhile to share, but I feel like my hard work is nearly done now. We all have things we need to work on and improve but overall, my life is great and I am blessed because of the hard work I have done and the difficult decisions I have made. One thing that came about through this process was that I stopped living by habit and started living with intention. Happy people live intentionally. There were parts of my life in the past that were very happy. I loved being a mom and I loved being a caretaker, for the most part. I loved my patients, at the very least. The rest of my life was more of a zombie walk, starting from a very young age. That is when I got into the habit of counting down the minutes, hours, days, weeks or months until one unpleasant task would be over and I could move on to the next. Having no family support and supervision as a child had two major effects on me. The first is that I am extremely independent and highly unlikely to ask for help, and the second is that I had no positive reinforcements for anything so I looked forward to nothing. All the things I do well now and enjoy were off limits then due to the fact that I was forced to be an adult before I even hit two digit numbers in age. Life was strictly something I had to get through. I told myself I would live more when I was grown and gone. Then I told myself I would live more for me when my kids were grown and gone. Then I convinced myself I was stuck because my children and grandchildren were where I was, so I could never leave and escape my own prison. Then one day I woke up and started living with intention because there was no other choice other than succumbing to the misery that life can be. I became a warrior, and I will not be defeated. I had always been stronger in character than any nemesis I had ever faced. I just had to realize it and own it. Every single move I have made through this process was thought out and planned to take place with the least amount of friction and harm to any innocent parties. It worked out better than my wildest dreams, and from that moment on I have continued to live by waking each morning with the intention of enjoying my day, no matter what kind of potential hell that day might hold.
When life gets difficult it is really hard not to slip back into the old survival mode of living by habit. Just three more hours until bedtime…etc. Even in the most trying times of my life I have always been able to find something that makes me feel hopeful and happy and to find the strength to get through that next block of time. Long term, that is no way to live though. Living with intention means that you actively find things to be happy about, to grow your soul, and to increase your sense of self worth. Sometimes you just have to straighten your own crown and remember who you are. We may not have any control over our beginnings and those early years definitely play a role in our future, but they do not control our ability to grow and find happiness if we do not let them. The first thing we all have to do is start being true to ourselves. Embrace your unique self. Own your individuality, and use your free will. Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by popular opinion. If you react without taking control, events and other people have power over your emotions, thoughts and even actions. But if you choose your responses, the rewards are great with inner freedom and self mastery. Be present in the here and now. Dealing with past traumas is necessary, but living there is counterproductive. Worrying about the future robs you of the pleasure of the present. This has been the hardest thing for me. I battle anxiety every day. It took me so long to finally come into my own and find happiness, I find myself obsessing over ways to ensure it does not slip away too quickly. I am definitely a realist, and I know that with age come hardships and disappointments. I am all too familiar with those. I have already experienced death and illness in people close to me many times over. Staying focused on today and enjoying the time we are given is easy, but battling that worry is my personal hell. I am a warrior though, and I always manage to push those thoughts back. Being in the present also means giving others your full attention in the moment too, which cultivates self esteem in them and fosters healthy relationships.
The biggest challenge to living intentionally is managing our own expectations. I always felt that if I did my best and gave my all, good things would come to me naturally and without my intervention. As a child I thought that if I did not get in the way and complain too much, perhaps my mom would take time to do something just with me without the baggage always involved with “having to do girly things”. It has been a real challenge to see her enjoying those activities now with her friends that she swore she hated then. Suddenly girly things like pierced ears and sandals and shopping for cute jeans became okay in her seventies. I always thought that if I never demanded that my ex help raise the kids that eventually he would become the father he professed to wanting to be, and he would love them the same way I do. Forcing the relationship only punished the kids, so I left it to him to keep his promises and take care of his own responsibilities and I refused to mother him. There was no way I would trust him to do the right thing on his own unless it boosted his ego in some way so I rarely would leave our kids in his care. I hoped he would someday see that his multiple addictions that he acquired over the years and his obsession with his own desires and wants over all else, had turned him into a person that he could not even love. Ultimately, I had to move on because I realized no matter how hard I tried, or what I did to foster the reaction in others that I preferred, there is no changing someone else. In order to be happy, you have to manage your expectations of others and of situations over which you have no control. No matter how much I wanted parental involvement for myself, I could not force it. It did not matter that I wanted the father figure for my children that he falsely claimed to be, because all I could do was control me. I stopped expecting anything from anyone else, and I became happy with that reality over time and after much anger. Occasionally, I was pleasantly surprised and otherwise, it was just another day. I never wasted time worrying about what I would do “if” or “when”. I knew I could handle anything life threw at me and in instances that I knew I was going to have to deal with unpleasantness, I would try to come up with the very worst scenario that might come about. I would then come up with a plan on how to manage that reality. Nothing is ever as bad as we imagine, at least not on a daily basis. Today I still do the worst case scenario thinking, but I do not focus on the bad until it arises in most cases. I choose happiness and peace intentionally, I radiate it, and I achieve it, even if I struggle to feel it sometimes.
Who do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to live? What makes you unique? What hidden talents do you have that can help you live your life with intention and motivate others to do the same? We all have them, and we can all accomplish our dreams. It doesn’t matter what kind of life you have lived, or what kind of dysfunction you came from. You just have to be honest with yourself about what you want and what you are willing to do to make that happen, and own it. I still have a lot of work to do and like everyone else, I’m doing the best I can with what I was given. That is good enough for me.
I gotta get this off my chest to let it go
I need to take back the light inside you stole
You’re a criminal
And you steal like you’re a pro
All the pain and the truth
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I was broken and bruised
You can save your apologies, you’re nothing but a liar
I’ve got shame, I’ve got scars
That I will never show
I’m a survivor
In more ways than you know
I wear like a battle wound
So ashamed, so confused
I’m not broken or bruised
Now I’ve got thicker skin
I’m a warrior
I’m stronger than I’ve ever been
And my armor, is made of steel, you can’t get in
I’m a warrior
And you can never hurt me
A little girl grew up too fast
All it took was once, I’ll never be the same
Now I’m taking back my life today
Nothing left that you can say
‘Cause you were never gonna take the blame anyway…