Several people I know are facing challenging times so I decided to share some encouragement from my side of the world.
I’d heard about that dark night of the soul; that time in your life when you go deep within and connect to your true self. This past year I had the pleasure of such a journey. Some people labeled it a midlife crisis; I called it a time of facing my life, acknowledging that I was responsible for where I was, what I was doing, and what wasn’t working.
I didn’t like the life I’d built, even though it was my own creation. I didn’t like myself either. Just didn’t like anything and had made excuses for all of it.
It was time to take ownership and responsibility; time to stop blaming other people for my lack of achievement, for being overweight, for lack of focus, and everything else. Time to man up as they say.
Having hiked the Grand Canyon, climbed a fourteen thousand foot mountain, and run half marathons, I’m familiar with preparing for a journey. However, this was not one I had planned for and I’m not sure I could have. If I would’ve been in the state of my mind to plan it, I wouldn’t have needed it.
Situations and events combined at the perfect time to toss me into it. Sometimes life is like that; it just throws you in and you have to figure it out. If you had the chance to think, you’d miss all the lessons.
I have never felt so lost, confused, or wondered just what to do. I questioned everything and making any kind of decision was arduous. I just didn’t want to deal with it. Each time I drove past the airport, I just wanted to get on a plane and fly as far away as possible.
Like any other journey, the only way to complete it is to face it and the tasks at hand. I tried counseling, books, talking with friends, psychiatrists, life coach, went back to church, etc. I tossed lots of money and time every direction looking for answers. I just wanted to know I was on the right path and confirmation that I was going to be ok.
Finally I got my wish and hopped a plane to visit my family for a week. If you ever need a fresh perspective, spend time with people who know you and love you. It’s amazing what you can see when you step outside of yourself. They helped me realize that I’m ok; I just needed to be true to myself.
That was a relief, but I was still unsure. Nothing brings me clarity like the great outdoors, so I hopped a plane again and flew out to Arizona for a week. There’s just something magical about Arizona for bringing clarity. Again, the same answers appeared. You know what you want and what to do, now go do it.
Regardless of where or who I turned, I received the same answer; I needed to be true to myself. Being true to yourself sounds easy, but when you’ve not been that way there’s a lot of pain, emotion, and tears as you get back on track. Some things will make it through with you, but a lot will be left behind.
10 months later, I’m still on my way, but a much better person from the inside out. I’m far from perfect; just ask any of my friends. And if I had it all together, I probably wouldn’t have much to write about. But I’m in a better state, more grounded, and more in tune with spirit and faith. Some days I have my moments and need lots of reassurance, but for the most part I’m doing well.
I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone, but at the same time I’d do it all again if it brought me to where I am today. If you’re in the midst of such an epic journey, it will be very hard and there will be times you want to quit. Plenty of people will cheerfully tell you “it’ll be fine” and you’ll have to resist the temptation to slap some sense into them. I speak from experience it will be hard, sometimes heart wrenching, but stick it out; the other side is definitely worth it.
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