I had a long-term boyfriend from college that lasted WAY too long with too many hopes of him being the actual “one” when in reality there really isn’t THE one. He was the one at one point but I believe (don’t tell my husband) that there are many people out there that you are compatible with and capable of falling in love with. Timing is critical when it comes to where you are in your life and what person you are at that time. If my ex-boyfriend came to me today and got down on one knee asking me to marry him, Lord have mercy on us all I’d say “No thank you” and run for the hills. You see, the person I was at age 21 to 30 was a completely different woman than I am today. I’m truly thankful that I was the person I was, learned all I did, and experienced that relationship.
When I was newly single, I was 28 years old. You may read that and think, “Man, she was a baby! She still had so much time to find someone new and create that family she wanted.” But you see, that 28-year-old woman moving into her new apartment, living alone for the first time, starting over, when ALLLLLL of her friends were married, had kids, were engaged, close to it, living in the suburbs, living the family life… was terrified. Terrified YET also very excited and proud that the huge weight was off my shoulders and I could move forward and trust the journey that was in front of me. So even though the number said 28, that didn’t matter with where I thought I should be in life. That schedule I was supposed to follow. WHO created this schedule for our lives? I’d love to meet that person. This person decided when you go to college, when you should have a serious boyfriend, you need to get engaged by X age, have a child by X age, have X amount of kids, move to the ‘burbs, stay at home, go back to work, when to go back to work, and this list goes on. Why aren’t we making our OWN schedules and what works for us? At 28, the schedule I had in my head (which I wasn’t meeting of course) was I should have been married and have at LEAST one child. Because that’s what most of my friends were doing. Not all, but most. Today, I look back to the woman I was at 28 and see that was neither the time for marriage nor children for me. That time was an opportunity where I was learning so much and my heart wasn’t open to let certain things in.
Being newly single and living on your own for the first time is an experience like no other. I was also afraid to be by myself but at the same time there was pride in what I was doing and confidence that this was where I needed to be. My parents helped move me in and set up my apartment where I remember my mother folding my jeans and stepfather setting up my sound system. I felt like I was stepping back and moving into my college dorm. The reality was I was making the biggest step forward in my life. I didn’t want them to leave; yet I yearned for that first night in my own place. A Mary Tyler Moore moment where everything falls into place and you realize you’re going to make it. So many emotions were traveling through me that evening and as I lay my head on the pillow, setting my alarm for my first morning by myself.
I lived in that apartment for over 2 years and in that time I not only dated, but I had the chance to truly learn how to live on my own. I didn’t need a roommate, a boyfriend, or a parent to help me. These 2 years hold some of the best memories I’ll ever have and I’m so grateful that I took that leap and didn’t settle for what my “schedule” was telling me. I swear to this day that if I met my husband during those 2 years, or earlier, I wouldn’t have married him. I wouldn’t have appreciated him nor was I in a place to open my heart to him. The war wounds of dating and the path of independence I took shaped me to the woman he met and married. I only wish I had that mindset of trusting the journey that was right for me back then as I do now. My timing was unique to me and there wasn’t a schedule I needed to follow other than what fell in my lap.
When I met my husband, I was 30. My best friend and her husband set us up after a SLEW of online dating, along with too many bad set-ups and blind dates to keep track of. We fell hard, and fast, and he proposed within 6 months and I let my Mary Tyler Moore apartment go and moved to the suburbs to be with him and his 2 children. Ready-made family in less than one year! Shocking as it was, it felt right and this was the path I should take. Obviously I also over-analyzed at times and friends around me questioned if I was doing the “right thing” or “rushing into it” but I confidently told them “You know, if it doesn’t work out, there’s always a Plan B. But right now Plan A feels good.” My years of selfishness (or whatever we want to call it) and living on my own gave me confidence that I could figure anything out. I’d get back on my feet with any mistake and embrace whatever I could learn. I’d be stronger. Those feelings are still always in the back of my mind. Not that I see divorce in the future, but let’s be honest, ANYTHING can happen. My husband could sit me down tonight and tell me he’s leaving me, he could fall ill, or the worst case scenario. I don’t live life as if bad things will eventually happen, but I do live life feeling prepared. Maybe that’s why I waited longer for some things in my life, the important things?
Just as of recent I believe I feel this way because of, you guessed it, my past. I’ve become quite spiritual these past few years and am totally into psychics, mediums, psychic mediums, my yoga instructor reading me Oracle cards, or simply paying more attention to the signs and signals that are around me. My recent Oracle card reading really hit something that I know has been in the back corner of my brain since I’ve been in middle school. The word on the card was “COMMITMENT”. At first, I was confused as to what that could mean and she pulled it referencing my past. We sat and talked for a bit trying to brew up whatever this meant to me. The more I talked to her and just let some things out, the more it made sense to me. The word “commitment” became this past promise and pressure that I have put on myself. My parents had an on-again-off-again marriage that, for me, started when I was in middle school when they became separated. The marriage was back and forth depending on how my father’s alcoholism and eventually other addictions played on stage. My mother hadn’t worked since I was born; which I’m sure played some part in her decision to stay with him. The thoughts of “What do I even do? What do I put on my resume? Where do I even look for a job? Will I be able to support my 3 children?” probably ran through her head as she was back and forth on her decision to stay with my dad. Those thoughts would be going through my head FOR SURE and I’d be terrified to be thrown out into the cold. I don’t know what was worse though: those feelings going through her head or my father’s constant instability with his addictions and losing his job? Either way, what a terrifying feeling for a mother to have. Sure you may have family to help or a friend to lean on but we are talking about full on survival mode. I didn’t realize this until my Oracle reading, but during that time, and when they finally divorced my junior year of high school, I created a promise and a COMMITMENT to myself to always be prepared. To always have something of my own, to have a source of income, to be able to find a place to live, not to rely on anyone, confidently leave a bad situation, never stay because I depend on that person, and to always have Plan B resting on the shelf.
I wasn’t baby-crazy right after our wedding. Sure, I thought about having a baby. My husband has 2 children where I felt we had a pretty awesome family as it was. I was working a lot, traveling for work, having fun with friends, traveling with my husband, at times my stepchildren, and enjoying the life we had. For some reason there wasn’t a huge rush, even though I received the “You’re over 35” lecture from my OBGYN along with the “high risk” label. When I started to actually think about it, it didn’t happen as quickly as I thought it would. So many of my friends just got pregnant, plain and simple. I never heard anyone struggling to get pregnant and was very unfamiliar with this world. There wasn’t any concern and my doctor had the typical “well, come see me in a year if you haven’t become pregnant” response so I thought it wasn’t a big deal. For me, it was a feeling of whatever happens would happen. At the same time, I also wondered if I was just “old” with the warnings my doctor gave me.
My husband and I were in Puerto Vallarta for my best friend’s wedding where we tagged on some days prior to enjoy some time to ourselves before the wedding. We stayed at a Westin hotel away from the wedding festivities to enjoy some quiet time, sun, and umbrella drinks. What was supposed to be one on one time ended up being a 3-day party with about 40 gay men lounging at our pool each day. Of course we became best friends with them all and had a blast and even better, I made a connection with one of the men. He was a Health Coach and lived by me where we got to talking over our drinks about his career. I don’t know how it came about that I was having a hard time conceiving, but I find a gay man can open all of my doors and Pandora’s box in less than an hour. Since he was just starting out, he offered to talk to me more when we got back home with the possibility of working with his 6-month program and me to see if he could help. Hanging out with a fun gay man for 6 months? Did he even have to ask?
When we got back to reality, we met up after work where he did an initial consult with me to get to know me, my lifestyle, how I was eating, moving, drinking, the whole shebang. I was honest with him. Again, gay men can also be my truth serum. I feel so comfortable telling them anything with no fear of judgment. “Girl, you have a LOT going on with that body of yours!” I don’t think I realized this until I laid it out and talked it through with him. I worked long hours in a stressful industry, traveled for it, entertained clients a lot which involved many cocktails and late nights, I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t sleeping well, my spirituality was bleh, I wasn’t connecting to my husband, and was pretty much in stress-mode all the time. I wanted change after writing this all out, seeing all this on the paper, and actually talking about it with him. So I followed the changes he gave me and was loyal to our meetings, homework, I reached out when I needed help, and I was passionate about taking care of myself. Within 3 months I was pregnant. I truly believe that the changes I made, along with taking some pressure off of myself, made this happen.
My pregnancy was amazing and I never felt better, due to working with my health coach along with the motivation I had inside me to be the healthiest I could be for Brooklyn. It’s so crazy how pregnancy motivated me to not only make some amazing changes with my health, but also to become a health coach myself. I’ve had my slips and slopes since then but I’ve truly changed my lifestyle and carried it through to this day. I don’t know what it would have been like to have a baby in my 20’s or early 30’s. I was in the worst shape, I drank too much, smoked cigarettes, ate horrible food, was pretty darn stressed out and wasn’t connected spiritually like I am today. I don’t think I would have the teachings I have given Brooklyn if I wasn’t where I was when I had her. And where I am today. It’s crazy how today I have more energy, alertness, happiness, confidence and connection than I had 10-20 years ago. Maybe I would have figured it out in a different way. It would have still worked out to what was meant to be. That’s the beauty of this all. I can look back and wonder, question, talk about it, but this path that I’ve taken is the path that was meant for me. Now it’s your turn to connect and appreciate the path that is meant for YOU.