It’s fitting that the very first post on December 4th, 2012 was entitled, Embracing a Bumpy Road, a lesson that I am still learning five years later.
Among other relevant lessons, like life being completely unpredictable.
That first post marked my journey into self-employment, starting a business after listening to a nagging voice inside that demanded freedom, and giving my audacious dream of writing a book a shot.
27 years old. Married. Living in my dream house up a dirt road in a small canyon with my two kids, 8 and 3 years old at the time. Business cards and no income.
I was bursting with confidence and a sense of surety about the world and my place in it.
I’m now 32. Divorced. Renting. My daughter is a teenager and my son has matured into a young man. That business I started replaced my prior income with the bonus package of freedom, and has saved me in surprising ways.
Midway through those five years, I lost nearly everything that I thought mattered and started over with the only thing that really did: love.
I am less confident than ever before. I feel no sense of surety about the world, or my place in it. And in many ways, this feels right.
I’m still working on that audacious dream of writing a book, although it’s a very different book now, and there are days when I want to just let it go. Simplify and be content with a business that provides more than enough.
At the end of the day, though, I come back to my truth: I couldn’t live with myself without going after the big dreams. The real sacrifice would be to give up.
Learning I can still find contentment, without settling.
More than anything, these past five years have forced a reckoning with my very nature.
I’ve fought it in every way possible, but I now exist in a reality where I cannot deny it – at least not for long stretches:
I have no real control over what happens to me, or to those I love.
The illusion of control provided a deep sense of safety from all the bad that can happen in the world. Facing the truth is the shattering of that safety bubble. A feeling of such complete vulnerability and hopelessness that I’ve dreamt often of escape.
If I didn’t have children, I would have packed a few bags and disappeared to a foreign country or the middle of the desert two years ago.
Again, love. The anchor that holds me in place in the midst of storms I would rather run away from than survive.
I shared my feelings of overwhelming panic with a friend after yet another painful reminder of this truth recently, and his words have stuck with me:
You are the master of your fate, no one else.
The only control that matters is that which I do have: my response to the unpredictable twists and turns on this journey.
Here’s to another five years, and perhaps another 200 posts or more, embracing life’s bumpy roads.
Beautiful. 👏. Very similar to something I wrote years back. You can delete if you need. Not trying to steal your thunder here 😅
Of Love, the Ocean, and Letting Go- Joshua D. Hollers
Have you ever felt the powerful swells of Love build up inside? I have, and I remember it…
Like the rise and fall of deep ocean currents, the waves grow, pulled by a strange but strong unseen force.
The waves grow to a crest, a peak, and tumble down headlong before you. And before you know it, you’re in over your head.
Deep, cold, beautiful, terrible, swift blue waves of energy surround you-deep enough to get lost in-deep enough to drown in.
Totally immersed and swept away, the waves of love carry you further and deeper than you ever expected to travel.
But now fear wells up within. The last time I got hurt- badly. The last time- Love sailed away. The last time- I was a castaway.
Scars and tears and pain and the memories sweep in of how long I struggled to survive; how long at times I struggled to breathe.
I can still taste the salty, wet tears, feeling like a ship without a harbor, without a heading, lost and without direction.
Is there anybody waiting for me on the other side of this? Is there a lighthouse guiding me in, guiding me home, guiding me to her?
Here comes the wind. Here comes the rain.
Here comes the storm. Here comes the pain.
Why do I have to hold this hurt inside? Why can’t I just let go, move on, pull anchor and sail away?
I need to, I want to, I have to, I must find love again. Love is not where I am, or where I have been, or what I have experienced. Not even close. I know that now.
I’m tired. I’m alone, I’m cold, I’m growing sick and weak from holding to this anchor that has done me no good but hurt me. It hasn’t helped me one bit it seems.
I have to find her. I must find her. But where is she? How do I find her? Miles and miles and miles of endless, shapeless ocean surround me, and hide me.
How can she know how deeply and passionately I know I can love? How can I show her how strong my affection and devotion to her can truly be?
There are so many things to give her and tell her and show her, but still just as many questions, doubts, and fears-this ocean is so deep, dark, powerful and mysterious.
But deeper still is my longing and desire to love- finally and fully; my wife, the completion of my soul, the part of me still looking for its other half.
I feel it all deep within me, still there after all these years; waiting, swirling, building, growing, swelling, filling my heart uncontainable up to over-flowing.
Now I begin to see clearly in the swells rising around me, they are carrying me over jagged rocks and steep drops and pitfalls below. I need this ocean here.
This is the love I’ve been waiting for, looking for, longing for, hoping for, praying for, seeking for-It’s waves of love I’ve needed to love myself. And I haven’t- ever. Until now.
Releasing my hold, I finally understand. I release my anchor. I need to be swept away. I need to let go. I need to learn to love myself and who I am, and the man I have become.
Whoever she is, wherever she is, I know she is learning to let go too. We’ll meet out there, surrounded by waves and waves of endless love. The adventures we’ll have…
Beautiful post. I’m still coming to terms with the idea that I can control things, or should control them. With a kiddo on the way, I’d like to have a healthier view on that, before I subject him to the same crap my father did to me: freaking out about minorly bad mistakes, and reinforcing the idea that if something went wrong, it’s probably your fault.
Congratulations on the 200th post, and all the cool things you’re doing with Rockstar Comeback!
How did I not know you have a little on the way?!? I need to keep up with your posts better! Congratulations! (and looking forward to this interesting wrench for future budget porn posts!) I’m sure you’ll find some great strategies among PF bloggers who have been parenting on a budget. And best wishes on the better-than-my-parents aim. I really thought I had a good handle on it until the oldest turned 12 and puberty kicked in! Letting go of control has become a central theme around here 🙂
Beautiful reflection! The nice things about keeping a journal is being able to look back at where you were and see your growth and learning. It is difficult to come to an understanding of control- how little you really have- but it can also be freeing in a way. Here’s to 5 more years of learning and growth!
Indeed. One of those paradoxes. When you stop trying to exert control over things you couldn’t possibly control, there is a sweet release. Thank you 🙂
Thumbs up, Em.
Thank you, Bob!