Is life what you expected?
When you were 20 years old, is this where you saw yourself in 2022? Did you imagine living this long? Did you know that you’d be living in the place you do now?
Congratulations. Life presented itself to you and you met the circumstances that were delivered. Who would have guessed that it would have turned out this way? Not me! There were some great things and some hard times, and we did the best we could with the skills we had at the time.
When I turned 20, I had already been married for a year. We were both escaping crummy home lives, but we knew we wanted to grow up together. He was a cop and I was working in administration for a small business. The only goal I had was to get a raise to be able to go to university part-time. I had no idea which path I might take. I saw the courses themselves as stepping stones to creating my personal path in life.
A decade later we had two children, and I was taking one course a year at the University of Toronto. I was working hard for a charity that glamourized the message that reading was fun and we grew it to the national level. We had so much fun imagining how to deliver this message and inspire families. With the strength of loose connections, we built something from nothing.
My husband and I had decided to become the parents we wanted to have and worked hard to heal those childhood wounds and raise our children in a different way. It worked out and they are fully functioning adults with lives of their own making. It’s a joy to witness.
By the time I turned 40, my big brother had died, and I was stuck in grief. I had to keep searching for the path out of that grief. It took a while to find it. A series of setbacks hit us, one by one. I learned that I could overcome the challenges I had to face.
After the children launched, I was interested in expanding my life and he was stuck on the couch and couldn’t get up. I wanted a change, and he wanted a divorce. Grey divorce – the fastest growing demographic. This was a detour that frightened me. I felt like I was in a foggy field and could only glimpse the start of several paths, but I couldn’t see where they led.
It has offered me a freedom I have never known. Playfulness crept into my life. New stepping stones showed up. Laughter Yoga. Solo Travel. Paragliding. Swimming with Sharks. No one judging me or holding me back. I didn’t feel that I needed to stay safe anymore. I’d raised my family and was suddenly single. It also brought more responsibilities. I got to pay all the bills. I had to plan for a new type of retirement.
I have discovered a gentler love. Self love. I’m sharing that love with another man. It’s a different decade with less responsibilities and more autonomy than I’ve ever known.
What about you? What detours or freeways have you traveled? What have you discovered? What’s next? Is there something you want to try on? Anything is possible. There are courses to take and adventures available to you. There are clubs to join. Internal and external exploration awaits. What’s ahead for you? Can you give yourself permission to choose the path to a satisfying future? Adapt to the changes that show up to live YOUR best life.