I didn’t know it at the time, but I spent a good chunk of my adult life – till now, actually – moving through life with my eyes closed. I suppose when you’re in it…completely and willingly distracted by everything coming at you…utterly unaware of the fact that you aren’t consciously living but rather maintaining…I suppose when you’re living that type of existence it’s nearly impossible to know you’re lost.
Every now and then something would happen to jar me temporarily awake…a death…a wedding…a divorce…a near miss…but once the adrenaline rush subsided, I’d fall back into the “career coma”. I call it that because I used work like other people abuse alcohol or drugs. It was my substance of choice to distract me and numb me to a life I wasn’t interested in living…to distract me from unfulfilled — no, unrealized — dreams.
My process of waking up to this reality was slow, to say the least. It took nearly five years to come to terms with how far off course I’d gotten. Half a decade of digging…searching…contemplating…breathing…to finally open my eyes and admit I wanted something completely different than the life…or rather the lie…I’d been living.
My life was practically dominated by work. As a result, I told myself stories about why I didn’t want the things that other people wanted….like a dog, I traveled too much…a boyfriend/husband, I didn’t have the time to focus on someone or the energy to emotionally support one…a family, my job was my family and the people that worked for me were my children. I had lots of people to care for…there’d be no time left for anyone else.
Plus I needed to stay flexible so I could take on whatever next big job…challenge…or opportunity was made available to me. These were the stories I told myself…the justification and excuses to keep me looking the other way. To keep me bellied up to the bar of business and devoid of any personal life. This was my doing…no one did it to me…no one put the drink in my hand, except me.
I don’t know what happened to kick off the intervention but I’m glad something shook me just enough to take a half step back. Once I had the opportunity to slightly sober up and see the wreckage, I knew it was over. And so started the process to take back my control…to detox…to dream. To begin to make plans for a future that would include things I never allowed myself to want…or even be open to.
In one way I’m envious of those that come into this life fully awake to their journey…with a purpose to live their truth…but then I remind myself that nothing about our existence is a mistake. Every road traveled…every mistake…every painful experience…is to teach the lessons we’ve been sent here to learn.
Maybe that makes me a late bloomer…to finally have woken up at 41…or maybe it makes me lucky because I’m only 41 and not 55. Doesn’t matter, I’m here now and that’s what counts. All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.