Looking back, I’m shocked that I have come as far as I have in my life without having a firm handle on who I am…what makes me, well, me. At the same time, I can see exactly why I’ve faced so many challenges. Rather than making educated life choices based on what I know about my strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, I’ve just sort of stumbled along randomly trying this or that, hoping I would eventually find something that worked for me.
When I was in grade 12, I remember listening to so many of my classmates talk about their future plans with such certainty. I couldn’t understand it. How could anyone, especially someone who was barely out of childhood, know what they wanted to do with their lives? I hadn’t the slightest idea. I honestly thought, at that point and for a long time after, that I didn’t have any particular skills or talents. I assumed that’s why I couldn’t come up with a solid plan for my life that I felt good about.
Long story short, I ended up pregnant and married at 18 because I didn’t really think I was good for anything else. I’m so terribly sad for the young woman I was. To believe I had no other purpose in life than to marry and reproduce. Wow. Now don’t get me wrong, my ex husband and I had a lot of wonderful times in our 15 years together (and are still very close friends today) and I don’t for one second regret having my four beautiful babies. But when I think about all the amazing things I’ve learned about myself in the last couple of years, the last couple months especially, I’m heartbroken at the massive amount of time I lost wandering aimlessly without hope or expectation of a remarkable future.
But what’s done is done. I can’t change the past, but I sure as hell can make up for lost time now and wildly change my future. And it all starts with knowing myself. Taking the time to really figure my shit out. I used to believe it was incredibly self indulgent and narcissistic to spend substantial chunks of time exploring the wonder that is me. Then I realized that my insecurities in life revolved not around being overweight as I had previously believed, but around the fact that I couldn’t put confidence in someone I knew nothing about.
The personal growth I’ve experienced in recent times is almost overwhelming. I finally feel at peace with myself. I no longer feel like I have a mile long list of stuff I need to change. Not that I think I’m flawless, but I have a much clearer idea of what my weaknesses are and they are not as extensive as I once thought they were. So many aspects of my personality that were, at one time, on that laundry list of flaws have turned out to be strengths. What an incredible gift I’ve been given! It has impacted every single area of my life.
I now know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, what I want out of life and how to go about getting it. I also know what I have to offer. My days are so much more enjoyable and my relationships are so much richer because I am finally being true to who I am and am able to contribute to the world from the depths of my being rather than fumbling and trying to be someone I’m not. It only took 34 years to get here, but whatever. Better late than never!