“The 3 C’s of life: choices, chances, and changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change”. Unknown
I am lost.
I am without purpose.
I am lonely.
Who am I?
Life’s purpose appears to be relatively clear. Challenge you, push you, then squeeze you until you think you have it all sorted out. And then it pushes again. It doesn’t have to be this way, but that’s for another time.
At what point in your life do you say enough is enough, I can’t take it anymore, or do you reach a point where you start pushing back.
In my head, where much of my life has happened, I had it all planned.
40, married, kids, house, running my own business, regular surfing or playing golf during the week, holidays and long weekends spread throughout the year.
Ok, at 42, it hasn’t quite panned out the way my head had planned for me. I felt like I had no purpose, no kids, divorced, and living in a unit.
Now at 44, after a re-build and a little remodelling, first and foremost, I am in love with who I am again, and as a bonus, I’m in a beautiful and loving relationship, with kids, and am happy to say I have rediscovered my life’s purpose. But first, let’s rewind a little, and get me lost again.
Before I Could Find Myself, I had to be lost
What does it actually mean to be lost?
Many would call it a mid-life crisis, the day you wake up and realise that half of your life is over, and you haven’t achieved what you had set out to achieve.
I definitely had bigger visions of success and what that meant, but how did I end up lost?
Looking back, it seems fairly simple.
I got caught in a life that I thought was mine, and one that I thought I wanted.
Married, in what appeared, to those on the outside, as a happy, fun relationship. It’s amazing what you can do for a crowd. Yet I thought it was normal, and that’s what you did when you were married.
It definitely wasn’t my now ex-wife’s fault, I was as much to blame for letting go of who I was, and giving up on myself.
Like any relationship, there were plenty of challenges. Trying unsuccessfully to have kids, IVF, miscarriage, and waiting on a 2 year foster adoption program. Not to mention setting up a business, and then a second, and third business, and the financial and emotional strain that it places on a relationship. Add to that what I thought were ‘normal’ relationship challenges, only to realise I was putting up with a lesser version of myself, and what I thought I deserved.
As the financial strain took hold, I realised, after the fact, that I also felt I was deserving of being treated without respect.
For many years, I learned not to love myself, and learned that love, to me, meant that I needed to be criticised, or told I wasn’t good enough in order to be loved, that makes perfect sense doesn’t it (sorry, I may have forgotten to mention I am going deep in this article). At that stage of my life, the person who showed me love, also showed me that I wasn’t good enough.
Imagine being in a body that you realised you didn’t love, living a life you didn’t love. I didn’t realise it for a long time, and had to reach a low point in my life, before I could see how bad it actually was.
I never wanted to give up on myself, but as a natural fixer, I wanted to help my wife and those around me, and I kept giving until I had nothing left to give.
Finally I reached a point where I lost my purpose, lost myself, and wondered, if what I had at that very point in time, was all that life had to offer.
Growing up in a big family, with parents who were married (and still are) for over 50 years, and have seen their way through challenges that I decided, were way bigger than what we were going through, so you should just put up with it, or keep trying to fix it, surely that was the best thing to do!
It took me some time to sit with these thoughts, maybe a couple of years or more to be honest. But I always had a light flickering inside me that knew that life had more to offer, and I needed to fight if I wanted a chance to find it, and find me.
This is what I did to get me back.
First, I put me first, and as selfish as it seemed (I struggle with putting myself first), I started fighting back, not literally, but I started standing up for myself, and started believing in myself again. I also started doing what I enjoyed, and started taking care of myself, emotionally and physically.
I became much better at setting boundaries, and knowing what I was prepared to put up with, and have in my life, what I would say yes, and say no, to, and who I did and didn’t want in my life.
My priorities, and where I put my energy, became clear again, and I started enjoying being around me again.
I stopped worrying so much about the things I couldn’t control in my life, and spent more time on enjoying what, and who, I had in my life.
My life had to include fun and adventure, so I stopped putting up with, or resisting that side of me, and stopped trying to tell myself it wasn’t important, I wasn’t important. It is a big part of who I am, so that side of me has to be taken care of.
And I had to stop lying, to friends and family, trying to put on a show suggesting that everything was ok. Those closest to me knew, but I decided it was easier to stop seeing or keeping in touch with people, than it was to catch up and lie, pretending that everything was ok, when really everything definitely wasn’t ok.
It is so much easier being myself now, and presenting me to the world, and everything that comes with me.
Making a Decision
This all really started with me making a decision, and giving myself a choice.
Making a decision about what I wanted for my life.
Making a decision about what I actually had in my life, and comparing that to what I wanted in my life, accepting that I wasn’t going to have everything exactly as I wanted it (you can, but that’s for another time).
Once I finally decided, I sat with it awhile, to make sure everything felt ok, then I had a choice to do something about it, and take action.
You will come to different stages of your life where you need to make a decision. Some of those decisions work out for you, while others not so much, but you always learn with every decision you make.
Don’t let the fear of the potential result, stop you from making a decision.
In finding you, it’s about learning and growing as a human being. Learning how to make life changing decisions, and learning about what and who you need in your life to enjoy it, and to help bring out your best.
While I don’t recommend everyone goes through a divorce, I do recommend you don’t put up with a life you are not happy with.
Finding you is a hard road, and it may destabilise your current environment, but if the end result is you finding yourself again, and living a life you actually want to live, then isn’t that worth it? The life you change won’t only be your own, it will be all those around you, but it will be for the better, even when it doesn’t appear that way from the start.
We all get one shot at life, and sometimes the grass is greener on the other side, and sometimes the grass is perfectly fine right where you are now. It might just need self-care, a little nurturing, and a bit of regular love and attention.
Remember, life is about Choices, Chances and Change. We all get choices. Do you need to take a chance to change your life, and find you again?