A kind, wise man once posted the following on Facebook –
“Blessings are sometimes disguised in failures, or setbacks. However, God makes no mistakes. A good friend told me this week to ‘embrace your place’.”
Even though this was months ago, I never forgot his words. I knew that eventually, when my creative energy started to slowly flow through me again, I’d be writing about why this resonated with me so deeply.
‘Embrace your place.’
This is a hard one for me. I know you can relate – when you’re young, you have this perfectly mapped out vision of how your adult life is going to be. What career you’ll have, how much money you’ll make, where you’ll live, what your house will look like, when you’ll get married, how many (if any) children you’ll have, all the places you’ll travel to…
Am I leaving anything out?
Point being, these images – these dreams – are CRYSTAL clear, and when you have an innocent, untainted mind, there is nothing but endless possibility in the world. There is no way these dreams of yours can’t come true.
Then you grow up.
You begin to learn that life rarely goes according to plan. You become aware that being an adult comes with massive responsibility, and nothing (NOTHING!) is as simple as you’d once imagined.
I remember feeling like the more independence I gained, little by little, the more I realized how much further away I was drifting from that idyllic ‘dream life’ I’d always imagined for myself. And in many ways, this was perfectly fine.
I began shaping new dreams and setting new goals. I understood that the fairytale I’d envisioned as a child had little to do with who I was at my core, and more to do with unrealistic fantasies that stemmed from unnurtured pieces of myself.
It’s all part of the journey, figuring out what you truly want verses what you think you’re supposed to want.
The kicker though? Achieving these goals hasn’t really been any easier than chasing after the throw-away’s. Life has still been a complicated, challenging uphill climb. Shit still happens, plans still fall through, and the older I grow, the more exhausted I become.
I’ve spent the past five years bouncing around from state to state, from one job to the next, from one living situation to the next, NONE of it working out or feeling completely comfortable and safe.
Has it all been awful? Of course not. I’ve made new friends. I’ve learned lessons I needed to learn. I have seen and experienced more of the world, and I am here to tell you – the grass is not always as green as it appears to be on the other side of whatever fence you’re feeling trapped behind.
Embrace your place.
When I left Albuquerque in 2012, my attitude was this –
“My life here is comfortable. I have so many people here whom I love, and I am going to miss them every single day. But I can’t stay here for the people. I need to find a place where my soul feels at home.”
Five years later, I realize that I had it backwards.
When you find a place where you have a comfortable life, and you are surrounded by people who love you – that is HOME.
I suppose I needed to leave, to realize that those greener pastures I craved were a very expensive illusion. I needed to experience life elsewhere – where it was NOT comfortable – to understand that this was where I belonged.
This chapter in my life has been incredibly hard, and humbling. I’ve struggled – financially, physically, emotionally – and I’ve reached places within myself that I thought were long healed, buried, and in the past.
There were days when I’d literally not know how I was going to survive the next week, the next month – the depression and anxiety were crippling. During the many months when I was searching for work, barely paying the rent, and watching as the bills piled up, I often thought, “If this is as good as it gets for me, I don’t want to do it anymore.”
The only thing holding my spirit to the earth (aside from my dog) was this tiny, flickering glimmer of warm light I could feel in my soul. Whether this glimmer was faith, or hope, or God, or all three… I clung to it with everything I had.
Embrace your place.
No matter how lost you may feel. No matter where you feel like you ‘should’ be, hold space for the fact that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment.
Your place might not look like you wished it would, when you reached this age, this stage, this chapter… Mine sure as hell doesn’t. But it’s where I am. It’s the place the world has carved for me, and where I’m free to move forward in any way I can.
I struggle with this. Enormously. I feel like my life is so far beyond a Hot Mess… I feel like a colossal, off-the-rails train wreck.
Even after being offered an amazing job opportunity back in Albuquerque – exactly where I want to be – and successfully pulling off a solo, cross-country move once again, I look at my life and I think, “Are you kidding? This is what you have to show for over three decades on this planet?
Embrace your place.
I turned 35 in November, shortly after I arrived back in Albuquerque. I was so happy about being able to celebrate my birthday with many of my most favorite people. I was ‘home,’ and it felt wonderful.
In the month that’s passed, it has been hitting me – HARD – that I’m 35 years old… and alone. I can’t put into words how difficult this is to admit, even to myself, let alone to the nether regions of the cyber-world.
I’ve always prided myself on being independent, self-sufficient, and I refused to be one of those people who needed to be dating someone to feel like my existence was valid.
I hate dating. It’s stressful, exhausting, and for the most part – disappointing. There are indeed lovely exceptions, but in my experience the men that wade in the modern dating pool are lazy, entitled, and shallow.
There is no chivalry, no romance, sex is a blatant expectation that’s taken for granted, and I have never been willing to settle for any of this.
Most people nowadays are so zoned out on electronic devices, they wander around oblivious to other humans seeking real connection.
Am I old fashioned? Perhaps. I’m okay with that. I don’t expect an epic fairytale romance, but I DO expect a human who knows how to treat me with respect, kindness, and appreciation. He will also need to be able to put down his GD phone long enough to hold an intelligent conversation.
Apparently, I’m shooting for the moon with those standards.
So, I’ve remained alone.
This wasn’t really a sore spot in my twenties, at least not consistently. I wanted to meet him; but I was also content to continue being single, independent, and free of the bullshit. I also knew I still had plenty of time.
Even when I turned 30, I wasn’t overly concerned with still being alone. I was beyond excited to welcome a new decade, and I knew – I just KNEW – I was on the precipice of so many positive life changes. Turns out, I was… But they were not the kind of changes I was hoping for.
The reality? If I want to get married while I’m still in my 30’s – and I do – I’d need to meet him, pretty much now. I’m laughing aloud as I write these words, because the likelihood of this happening is slim to nil.
I don’t say this to be negative, truly. But I have spent the past decade and a half believing that the right person was just around the corner. As long as I kept my faith, believed he was out there, and kept on doing my thing – being me – our paths would cross when the time was right.
At 35 years old, I’m realizing that I have stopped believing this. I didn’t know it was happening at the time; but as I look back on the past few years, I can see where pieces of that faith have slowly been chipping away.
Not everyone gets to experience love in their lifetime. Not everyone gets married, not everyone finds a person that changes everything and makes the waiting seem worthwhile. Perhaps I’m one of those people, and I need to eventually reach a place of peace and acceptance with this.
At the moment, though? I’m not there. At the moment, this idea makes me feel really fucking sad.
We are designed to crave companionship, and we are created with hearts searching for their counterparts. I don’t believe that we need another person to be complete – the whole “you’re my other half, you complete me” nonsense doesn’t feel authentic to me.
We are complete just as we are.
I imagine that finding the person with whom you want to share your life, feels more like coming home to a place you already knew was beautiful, and warm, and exactly as you wanted it to be…
But the colors in that home are now brighter, the fire is warmer, and everything – while still familiar – has changed.
I’m allowed to grieve for something I’ve always wanted, that I may never experience. I pray that on the other side of that grief, lies possibility for things I never knew I wanted – but that I am meant to have.
Embrace your place.
Currently, I’m an emotional basketcase. I’m mentally exhausted from the constant stress of the past few years. Physically, I’m a MESS. I have trained myself to never look in the mirror – ever. If I do, I plunge down a rabbit hole of self-loathing. I am not comfortable in my skin, and it shows.
My setbacks feel like failures – they really do. But I’m trying to see the blessings hidden beneath the surface of each setback, and the greater purpose of every experience I’ve had the past few years that have brought me to my knees…
All of it has led me here. To this place. And I’m doing my absolute best to embrace it with gratitude, grace, and love.
I haven’t reached a place inside myself where I’m ready to trust that everything is going to be fine…
But for the first time in almost four years, I do trust my surroundings. I trust the people I’ve come home to. I want to trust that 35 is going to be an amazing year, but I’m barely starting to breathe again without feeling panic in my chest with every breath I take.
So, do me a favor, if you’d be so kind. Believe for me. Believe that I’m going to be okay. Believe that the best is still yet to come for me. Believe that 35 is going to be a year for the books… and in a GOOD way.
Believe. And I will eventually be able to follow.
Cheers, friends, to a 2018 full of new opportunities, positive changes, lots of self-love, and a renewed trust that God makes no mistakes.
Cheers, to embracing your place.
P.S. A special thanks to Rollin Bohn, for speaking the words and lighting the spark in my mind.