I always wake up very early when we are on vacation at the beach. I want to sit on the deck and greet the sun as it stretches its arms out from the ocean, the beautiful colors emerging from the darkness…I don’t want to miss a moment. Afterwards, I take a long walk, leaving Dan sleeping peacefully up in the loft. This morning as I started down the trail, hundreds of dragonflies were dancing in the air around me. I felt like it was a good omen, a reminder to face each day with joy and gratitude. Our visits to the beach never fail to make me remember this, why I should be grateful…and how far I have come.
As I walked, I kept thinking about how my life has changed over the past fourteen years, especially. I remember the moment, crystal clear in my mind, when I decided that I had had enough of an emotionally abusive relationship. I finally stood up for myself and knew in my soul that I deserved better. Once that realization happened, there was no putting the genie back in the bottle. The only way out was forward, onward to change and growth. It was messy, at times painful, but exhilarating to find the strength buried deep inside of me. I wanted more out of my life, more out of myself, and I was willing to do the hard work to get there. It is scary to really look into your heart to face your mistakes, your frailties, your fears, but it is the only way to finally accept yourself…and you have to accept yourself before you can love yourself and move into the life you were meant to live.
By ‘living the life you were meant to live’, I mean approaching your life with acceptance, with love, and without fear. It doesn’t mean that your life will be perfect by any means…but I wouldn’t want a perfect life, even if one did exist. The more I have allowed myself to do that, the more beauty I see in everything, the more I truly experience and value the relationships I have been blessed with, the more I appreciate every experience that brought me to this place- maybe especially the tough ones. If I hadn’t gone through such a difficult relationship, I never would have been ready for Dan- without a doubt the most wonderful gift I have been given. Dan has helped me to see what a truly loving relationship can be. He is different from any man I have ever known, very open emotionally, so encouraging of me and others, always trying to be a better human being. I love the thought that we are on this quest of growth together, there for each other every step of the way, without fear. Knowing that, relishing in that love and commitment has enabled me to let go of so much self-doubt and fear. As the years pass, I feel more comfortable in my skin, faults and all. I told Dan that it’s funny- the older I get, the more beautiful I feel inside and out- wrinkles and gray hair and all- and the more excited I am to see what comes next. I like that.
I never want to forget where I came from, the hard-earned lessons, the successes, and the failures. I regret nothing, as every experience taught me, changed me, and shaped the direction of my life. There is so much more to our existence than fear and doubt, than worrying about what was or what will be. Living in the here and now with appreciation and love…that’s where I want to be, each and every day.