It’s been an interesting year for me. I ended a ten year relationship and found myself alone for the first time….ever. I’ve had to figure out everything in the solitude of my own mind. Of course I had help from family and friends, but the real work, the work of growing up, I had to do alone.
As I struggled to make it alone as a single mom, I found myself haunted by two things. Usually at the same time. Regret and guilt over the past, and fear of the future.
In my self-critical eyes, I had failed. Never mind that there was another person involved. To me, I saw it as a major personal failure, and one that effected everyone around me. I was a child of divorce and swore I’d never do that to my son, leaving him with the deep emotional scars that divorce brings. I loved the man I thought my husband was underneath it all and wanted my love to be enough to make him happy and whole. I wanted to recreate the family unit I was craving. And I failed. Miserably. I crashed and burned.
So what I perceived as this personal failure, that in my eyes had crushed my son, caused me a lot of guilt.
I also found myself crippled by the fear of the future. No longer was it ok to play the role of part-time working wife who really just wants to be a homemaker. That vision for my future evaporated as I discovered that I had to pay bill after bill. Everything was on me now. If food needed to be brought into the home, I had to do it. If there was an intruder, I needed to stop them. All of the little things I never felt personally responsible for, that I deflected responsibility onto my husband for, suddenly were my responsibility. I could no longer blame him for why things weren’t a certain way. Where we would go, what we would do, and what would become of my son and I was now up to me.
This sent me through waves of self-doubt and anxiety. Sometimes I would swear I could do it all, and other times I would be crushed by the worries and fears.
So the past wasn’t a safe place for me to dwell mentally, with its shame and regret. The future didn’t seem to provide a lot of peace either. Thankfully, I’ve found a sweet spot.
There is a place called the present. This present moment as I breathe in and breathe out. I lay in my bed writing and drinking coffee while my son plays downstairs. Everything is quiet before the days activities, and I am at peace. My lights are on. My bills are paid. My son is healthy and so am I. If I look, and I don’t even have to look far, I can find a thousand reasons I’m happy to be here. In this present moment. Even when things were not always easy, the present was the best place to be. The present reminds you that life isn’t about where you live, or how much money you have, or even what you’ll make of yourself. It lets you just…be. Be alive. Be at peace.
The present is the best place to get the real story too. The past says you messed things up. The present reminds you that no one is perfect and it’s ok to forgive yourself. The future says you might not make it. The present laughs and says, “Aren’t you here now? If you’ve made it this far, you can continue to make it.”
I want to always dwell in the present. Walking in forgiveness for the mistakes I’ve made and with hope for my future. Mostly, I want to just enjoy every moment of the life that I have. I want to love the people that are in my life and suck every drop of sunshine and joy out of every little mundane task and step that makes up my life. The past is written and can’t be undone. The future will be here in a moment, in a blink, and I’ll be old and gray. But let me ever dwell in this present moment. And let the joy of just being alive be enough to wash me white as snow and fill me with courage for each new day.