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.