At the ripe age of 38, I did the unthinkable……I had a mid-life crisis. All my joking and laughing at this ridiculous label given to other women….how could this happen to someone as smart and ‘together’ as ME?! Well, Karma can be cruel. I had accomplished everything I thought would make the perfect life….a marriage and family that looked right, a glamorous career that was lucrative, a big home, fancy things and financial security. Why, then, did I feel like I was slowly being smashed and asphyxiated by the weight of maintaining the image of the “girl who had everything”? Oddly, I had the most money and 'stuff’ ever but, instead of feeling a sense of calm and security, I was becoming more obsessive and crazed about maintaining, protecting and increasing all of it!
Needless to say, I rebelled. I busted out of that life guns-blazing (as only a drama queen like me can do). I walked out of my marriage, quit my job, and took over a year to put the shattered remnants of myself back together. I’m ashamed to admit that, at first, I naively pictured it to be a 'vacation’ of sorts. Pictures of zen spas, fancy retreats, and fun get-togethers in chic coffee shops danced in my head. As Fate would have it, that was not to be the case. The money that was supposed to last me a year lasted a whopping three months and I was reduced to scaling my lifestyle back severely in response. No luxurious heroic journeys to exotic destinations, I had to start counting quarters….no five-star restaurants, just picnics in the park. Do you know what happened during this time?! The most beautiful and unexpected thing! I remembered that the best things in life cost nothing. I appreciated walks in the park with my little girls, birds flying, and sunsets at the beach…..I started to experience the World with the same wonder of a child again! I had found great peace in how simple my life had become.
Shortly after, I started to look all around me. I saw all the things I had accumulated over the years that once held such an immense value to me. They were gathering dust, unused and unloved…like sad trophies. At this time, the next miracle unfolded for me…I started to share those things. Showing true compassion for those in need and sharing with others (expecting nothing in return) made me start to LIKE myself again. And, believe me, the words 'sharing and expecting nothing in return’ or 'true compassion’ would have been odd words to hear coming from my lips prior to that. I started letting go of all the things that no longer served a purpose in my life…..and it was a lot. I was called a 'hippie’ or a 'tree-hugger’ by people who knew me before…the butt of many jokes. I just called myself 'human’ again.
Well, here I am many, many years later. Back to 'ME’ and happily on a new path. I have not forgotten the lessons I learned in that experience, though. Everything means nothing if we don’t appreciate and enjoy it now….and 'stuff’ will never replace true relationships and deep connections with those we love. In fact, nothing replaces true LOVE (for yourself, for others, and for the World around you).
What do you truly need and appreciate in your life? Keep and protect those things with every cell of your being. The rest of it? Just let go. And, now that you’re traveling 'lighter’, watch yourself rise to heights you never thought you could reach….and make room for beautiful new things to enter your life.