There comes a time where you have to sit down to reflect on recent events and you realize that you did not resurface from your life adventures without battle wounds. This post is in honor of a dear friend of mine who lost her mother a few hours ago.
When I was a teen and even late into my 20s and 30s I felt invincible. Things were falling into place, obstacles were removable with the right amount of ambition and willpower, and all my goals somehow appeared within reach. Everything was a different shade of black and white, but never grey. Never really difficult. I married, had kids, landed a job, was promoted, ran a sub-4h marathon without really training hard, and could afford anything I wanted. There was not a lot I truly needed. And my desires were all met.
Then I reached a point where I thought that things are just not as simple and that life can become complex or grey. The first time I had to breathe a little harder was when my grandmother died. Suffering intensively from dementia induced by diabetes. I really felt I needed to turn a corner and change my way of life or better my health not to fall into the same trap every one of my family members seems to fall into — Die of heart attack or diabetes. So I went the low carb route, eliminated most grains and sugars. And have only occasional binge events — Chocolate is just my weakness.
The next time is when I noticed that I outgrew a friend. I just noticed that all her wishes, dreams, and ambitions from her 20s and 30s were all just talk and she did not follow through on any. I just could not support her anymore and be a friend when all our conversations focused on why things right now are bad and how she just needs to engage in this one thing to improve. And then she never puts in the effort required to actually get to her goals. Talking to her became a drain and so I stopped seeing her.
Then the hardest part of my growing up happened. People started disappearing. Role models died, promises were broken, and my support system was not as good as I thought. I needed to rely more on myself, needed to make my own decisions, develop my own thinking, and work on my own strength. I noticed that not everything is as simple as “putting your mind to it” and thus achievable. Sometimes hard work does not pay off. You all know how I feel about feminism and hitting the glass ceiling has become a reality for a lot of us woman. Something that in my 20s I would have not believed. I thought that personal aspiration would be sufficient to overcome any barrier. I thought of the glass ceiling as a fog more so than a true hard stop. I might still be right — the glass ceiling might still be just perception, but instead of fog it is most definitely a honey or mud. Something that requires a lot of work to get through.
Battle wounds occur when you encounter obstacles and a mark is left. When you get to a point and you look at all your scars and all those scrapes and you stop and think “Did I really experience all this?”
Our scars are making us who we are. They shape our perception and our opinion. They determine our next steps and how we want to plan our future. Sometimes they scare us. Not everything is worth reliving.
It took me a while to realize that me and my friends are going through battles with life and are all developing our own experiences and that right in front of us a story is forming that is worth writing a novel about.
As a teen you all are idealistic; an outlook that does not always change too much before you reach 30. And even then you are just simply dealing with progression. It is mostly steps forward. As you get older you occasionally have to step back.
I have friends who deal with unemployment, abuse, divorce, substance abuse, problems with kids, and parents dying. Things that are more than obstacles. Things you do not easily recover from. Things that leave deep marks. What do you do?
Choices we make become more important. Despite all the marks, scars, battle wounds we received, we will have to emerge with strength and continue to learn and progress. We need to continue setting ambitious goals and to pursue our dreams. Sometimes it is more important later in life to allow ourselves to be challenged and actively work on defining a future than when we are teenagers.
Time slips away too easily. And when we realize that the fix points and constants in life are actually are also only temporary it is too late to turn back to pursue opportunities you did not prioritize before.
Why not sign up for a marathon or learn a new skill? Why not write the book you planned on writing when you were 20 but never found the time for?
Pick a new goal today to honor something you lost! Revive and old dream!
Learn how to fly, there is not need to restrain yourself.