Monday, January 26, 2009

Building A Life

This past year and a half has been such a period of growth for me. In a wierd way much like the military. Think about it. When most young men join the military they do so to transition from a boy to a man. They have an identity in highschool or so they think. They go away to boot camp and the drill sargent strips them from their previous life and breaks them down. They are told that the life they previously had or their sense of self as they believed it to be no longer exists. They are torn down so the military can then build them up their way. Boot camp is incredibly difficult. Some do not make it. The ones that persevere learn a new way of living. They become stronger mentally as well as physically. Now, do not get me wrong, I am an ardent liberal who has always struggled with the conservative, military approach to life. However, I have softened a bit to the military approach when I see and watch my son-in-law. He was in the military for four years and is such a hard working, honorable man. He knows how to set a goal and do the hard work, the discipline, necessary to achieve that goal. He is not afraid of hard work. I admire him a great deal. When it comes to his conservative political leanings I am still working on him, maybe Obama in 4 years?

The point of this entry is to make an interesting comparison. In 2006, my life changed. I ended a marriage. It was a horrible marriage and the man I was married to was a human train wreck but that process changed my identity. I was no longer a wife. This past year has been a metamorphyses of sorts. I was stripped of all I knew in life, all that did not work and helped to rebuild a stronger, healthier me. I realized all the things I was not and had alot of difficulty comprehending what was left. I was not a wife. I was not a mommy (my kids were grown...sort of...LOL). I was not a nurse or healthcare provider. I trained and worked in that field my entire adult life. I knew I was not beautiful as I gained weight and basically, let myself go after my divorce. I knew who I was not. I had all the negatives down completely.
You may say...Wow, she had no self-esteem and you would be correct but is it having no self esteem if all the negatives are true or just a reality check? I knew one important thing even when I was actively living in "negative land". I knew I was not done living. So, if I was not done living then what kind of person was I and what kind of life did I want to live or was I created to live?

I decided to embrace what I knew that was true. I was a mother and a grandmother. I worked hard for both of those titles and would not trade them for the world. I was a sober woman who had / has a chronic disease. I am no different than a person suffering from diabetes. As long as I make the correct choices each day, pray, talk to my support system and attend meetings I keep the disease in remission. I knew I wanted to build my legal consulting career. I had years of medical knowledge and a master's degree in medicine. I could apply my knowledge to a legal career and build a career into anything I wanted. I had and have a terrific position as a consultant for a law firm.

The above was a great foundation. I then decided I would focus on the person I am and would like to become. What are my values? How do I want to be remembered years down the road when I am gone? I sat and wrote out my obituary. It sounds grim but think about it, it truly is the tribute to one's life. By identifying how we want other's to think about us, we acertain what are values really are. Are we living those values? From this, I determined I want to be a person with integrity, a person who is not necessarily the most popular but one who has guts to stand up for herself and for what she believes in. I want to be a person who values her health and has lots of energy to play with her grandchildren as they grow. I want to be the fun grandma and a role model for my grandchildren. I want to be active with them ie: taking them swimming and bikeriding. I want to learn how to be a photographer. How to take beautiful pictures. To do this one has to appreciate the world's beauty and take pleasure in the simple things like a rose blooming and the sun setting. What a great start.

Now, what steps would I need to take. Just to have the dream is not good enough. A dream has to materialize otherwise, it takes up wasted brain space. On Saturday, I joined the YMCA. I am going to go nightly after my meetings and use the equipment, walk on the track, swim in the pool, use muscles that need to be used. I also began weight watchers on Saturday, to focus on healthy eating. I began vitamins and began drinking water. Life is progress, not perfection. I have plans to take a photography course. I want to learn the basics. How to develop black and white pictures at home. How to take 35m pictures of the people in my life and the world around me.

A friend once was describing walking toward a goal. He said imagine walking on a beach. Way down the beach you see a lighthouse. It is small just over the horizon but you can see the light off in a distance. As you walk down the beach, you sometimes struggle walking through the sand, stepping on shells. Waves slow down your step as they wash across your feet but if you keep your eye on that lighthouse, the light gets brighter and it grows above the horizon. Eventually, you will reach the lighthouse if you keep it in your sights and walk in the right direction.

I have my goals in sight and so it begins. However, I never want to forget as I am working on my goals, that life is what you live while you are focusing on the future. It truly is the jouney...

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Kudos mom on finding yourself! I have always known you were and are an amazing person with so many beautiful qualities, now it is up to you to see those things too. :-)

When you stop learning you start dying.