As I begin the New Year, full of inspiration and renewed hope for a better year, I can't help but reflect on my life and where it has brought me... or should I say, where I have brought myself. After all, I am not a victim. I have the power to make my own decisions.
Six years ago, I was happily married, living in a beautiful, spacious home, had a good career with a nice income and plenty of growth opportunities and most importantly, a beautiful, young daughter who I loved to mother and dote on. Life was good.
Until it wasn't.
I never expected my life to take a turn; in fact, I had everything mapped out, but much like life often does, it changed. The rug was pulled out from under me. Some of it in my control, other parts not. But honestly, does it really matter?
Flash forward to now and I'm in a completely different world. I am divorced, living on my own for the first time in my life, taking care of everything from appliance malfunctions, to auto maintenance, to trash detail. (By the way, that part is so overrated - just saying). I have gone from residing in 6000 square feet to 1500 square feet. This obviously means a lot less stuff to clean and occupy my energy and yet ironically, one of the best changes I have made to date.
I willingly left my CPA career to become a self-employed graphic and website designer. I know it's crazy but it's true. My company name is IDEAist Designs, which is very appropriate because I am a woman full of ideas. Some good, several bad and others just totally outlandish. But that's me. Always has been - I had just forgotten along the way.
As I grew my new company, it gave me confidence to explore other ideas, with the biggest being Kentucky Taste Buds where "two best friends explore and dish on everything good in Kentucky from food, fashion, events and people." Of course, I do this with my best friend Tamara Schneider, who coincidentally, has followed almost the same path as myself over the last few years. And also like me, has been raising teenager(s) who are entering adulthood and no one prepared us for the difficulty that can be. I am not sure anyone could.
Yes, here we are, evolved into single moms who are heads of our households, with different careers, trying to find ourselves and affirm our new identities. But we are not unique. There are so many people like us, women, who find themselves in a whole new space asking themselves "what's next" at a time, they thought for sure, had been already solidified. Sound familiar?
When I look ahead at 2020, I keep telling myself, I have no idea what's next and for someone who is an A-type personality and a certifiable control freak, this is a frightening place to be. But I am learning to adapt, be more flexible, roll with the punches and embrace the fact that I do not and will not ever possess 2020 vision. In fact, my sight is more like a kaleidoscope these days: a myriad of mosaic pieces, always full of color and depending on the angle, highlighting something new every time and yet somehow, all fitting together, creating the most beautiful image I have ever seen.
None of us should have 2020 vision. "Knowing" our future is limiting, even crippling at times. "Trusting" our path is naive. Don't get me wrong, I am firm believer in faith or else I couldn't get through the day but faith is not having a perfect plan yet rather accepting an imperfect one. And having goals is a must - just make sure they include your dreams, your desires and are continuously re-evaluated to align to your changing or sometimes hidden self. You can't do this with 2020 vision. You have to uncover to discover. You must scrutinize the pieces before you complete the puzzle.
Down deep, we all have aspirations about what we want out of life, even if we keep them locked up for no one else to see. I know, because that is who I was for a long time. Tamara would tell you the exact same thing about herself. But that has changed and we have never been stronger, or happier, despite all of the chaos.
So come on, women, throw away the telescope and pick up the kaleidoscope. It's OK if it makes you uncomfortable. It's OK if it's confusing and overwhelming. We are complex creatures with goals and dreams that often get put to the side for the sake of simplicity or worse yet, to appease others. Don't sacrifice yourself without cause. We have purpose beyond others. Be the magnificent, multi-faceted woman you were created to be. Stretch yourself to become your desired self. You owe it to yourself, your family and your children. If you don't believe me, then read this snippet my daughter wrote me this past mother's day.
"Happy Mother’s Day to the most resilient woman I know. Throughout my life, I’ve received the amazing opportunity of seeing my mother grow into the woman God had planned for her to be, not only fulfilling her dreams, but defining the means by which she achieved them. I’m incredibly grateful I’ve had such an supportive, powerful role model in my life who has always encouraged me to put myself above the struggles I face. Thank you, mom, for being everything I’ve needed in a best friend. I love you."
I can't begin to tell you how proud that makes me - to know that the decisions I've made, that often felt selfish and full of guilt, have actually been praised and admired by my daughter. I am truly blessed.
I know it's tough, and if you don't know where to start, start here. Read the article below about Tam and I and how we have pursued life these last few years. We are so honored and thrilled to be considered one of "Today's Women".
But we are not alone. You are too.
Click Here to Read "Go Have Fun." by Carrie Vittitoe of Today's Woman