It all started as easily as that.
I decided to go and visit my mom one weekend. My car was headed in that direction. I extended a few invitations and it felt wonderful to say "No pressure. The choice is yours. I am headed that way anyway and all you have to do is hop in and enjoy the ride!"
I think that is basically what a lot of us want to hear. We just want the option to join. Not out of obligation or a sense of doing the right thing. We want to follow our own whims. And sometimes, just sometimes, we need that choice to be easy.
The years 2009 to 2011 were years of living my life to the fullest. They were filled with making plans and asking people to come along for the ride. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they didn't. In the end, I was the winner. I was an active participant in my own life and they were wonderful years.
They were years when I believed anything was possible. I pursued dreams and caught a few. I felt younger than I had felt the entirety of my life. I started to believe in me.
It all started with a decision to return to school. That choice opened up so many doors that had absolutely nothing to do with education but everything to do with freeing up my schedule so I could live a life beyond work and being a mom.
I spread my wings and flew. I soared like an eagle. I found so much within myself that I honestly believed that I was capable of much more than I ever dreamed possible.
Thankfully I didn't take a nose dive in mid flight. My descent down to earth came in the form of employment that didn't fit me. I started investigating other options and thought that I found a winner. In two words? I didn't.
In a paragraph (which is worthy of a chapter), a bullying situation in a work place took me down farther than I had ever been before. I was 51 years old and I was a victim. I walked through an abusive marriage from the ages of 17 to 27 and it didn't take me to the depths that two months in a toxic workplace situation did. The fall of 2011 will forever go down in history as the season that unravelled me.
It has been a slow process of rebuilding since that point in time. I don't question the fact that I learned lessons that were very good ones to learn. I walked a path many have walked before me. I had such a rosy attitude before I learned a very important lesson. No one is immune to the effects of a bully.
I had one negative experience. There were a few co-conspirators that aided and abetted the situation. Other than that, I was surrounded by positive people, encouragement, appreciation and everything one would think they would need to negate two months of a bad situation. Yet I could not find the person I was before this all began.
It has been a long, arduous process. I have had friends, family, support and encouragement that far exceed that which I ever expected. I have a wonderful support system all around me. But no one else could build me up. It had to come from within.
The next few years were spent repairing the foundation on which I was built. It was on shaky ground and I needed to start from the bottom up. Reopening my daycare was the first best decision that I made that put me back in the driver's seat of my life.
It takes time for relationships to grow within those we meet in our lives. So why would I expect anything different when it came to rebuilding my relationship within myself?
Baby steps. Steps in a forward direction. Rebuilding. More solid than it was to begin with. I finally, finally started filling myself up once again. But I was still ruled by fear. Fear of making mistakes. Fear of making decisions. Fear of acceptance. Though those years were very critical to the process, they were the years when fear overruled rational thought.
It was frustrating to remember the person I used to be and see the person I had become were not in sync with each other. Why couldn't I find the "me" I was during the years of living life to the fullest? Where did she go?
She is gone. She had to learn a few lessons and come back with a little more perspective. She had to find the new "her" within the lessons learned before she was ready to hop back into the place which brought her the greatest happiness.
The year of 2014 will go down in my personal history as the year that I took those loose threads and started weaving them back into the tapestry that is my life.
I have made a few moves in a familiar direction. It rekindled the spark that led me down the path I travelled during those years where I felt fearless and was fuelled by following through on small ideas.
Baby steps. Steps in a forward direction will eventually take you to where you are meant to be. Even when you felt like you are back tracking, you are taking necessary steps. If we want to evolve and grow, we must follow the path that we are on and simply trust that the journey is a part of the plan.