Being an avid reader of More I have been both inspired and haunted by the stories of women reinventing their selves. Who wouldn’t be inspired by the stories of motivation, courage, hope, freedom, self preservation and pursuing of dreams? But, with each story I also became more haunted by the fact that I needed this reinvention process myself, haunted by the question of where to start.
So where did I start? With Google of course! You have no idea how many sites and suggestions you will get if you Goggle reinventing yourself or one self: Over 500 hundred thousand. Doctors, psychologists, psychotherapists, self help coaches, life coaches and even clergymen have a plan for you, from changing your hair color, to chucking your entire life, moving to a remote island and becoming one with yourself. After countless hours of reading and surfing the web, I was more haunted than ever. Talk about not feeling good about oneself. I was really down now.
I knew I had to begin with my own self, what was right for me. What did I want to change? I started by taking a long hard look in the mirror. OMG, I was not prepared to face this person looking back? How did I become this person and did I even like this person, were my first questions.
While it was easy to answer some questions right off, others caused me much pain. Who is this person in the mirror? Middle aged (54). I sure hope this is middle age and I still have 54 years left. (I even Goggled middle age, but don’t go there; it will not make you feel any better.) Overweight, starting to gray, a few wrinkles, more frown lines, sagging appendages, and when did I start wearing my mother’s clothes? Okay, you get the idea: I needed to catch up on taking care of myself.
Before I could change anything I had to find out how I became who I am. The deep down soul searching, confession time, nitty gritty stuff. Hard to do and not always pretty. As the oldest of 5 girls (I was eight when my youngest sister was born), with a mother who worked outside the home, I had learned at an early age to take care of everyone else, to clean, cook and be a mother to my younger sisters. This didn’t leave much time for dreams or thoughts of what I wanted to be when I grew up. It seems as if I was always grown up.
Marrying right out of high school, husband still in college, I went to work to help support us. By the time he finished college and began his teaching career I was expecting our first child. A couple of years later another boy came along. The mother of two boys and married to a teacher/coach and still working full time I spent the next 20 years going to every sporting event possible. Working at doctors offices and odd jobs until the boys went to school, I then landed a job working for the same school my husband was employed in and the boys attended, which at the time was a godsend. I was able to have the same hours and days off that they had.
But, somewhere between being a mother, wife, employee, sister, Sunday school teacher, sports booster president and anything else that came along, I had lost myself. I no longer had my own identity. I was a cookie cutter design of what everyone else wanted me to be. On auto pilot, just existing, making sure everyone else was happy. Never taking time to look in the mirror, just putting on my happy face every morning for the world to see. I even dressed how everyone else thought I should. I had put any dreams, hopes and even my own happiness on the back burner to be everything for everyone else. We all make choices with each circumstance that we encounter and sometimes those choices are out of our control because of all the lives they will affect. We make the best of the situation because we have to. (I don’t know who said that, but I heard this over and over). I tried to remember the last time I was really happy or content or enjoyed life around me. Isn’t this what we all try to attain?
Enough with the background and whining; Back to the evaluation of self.