This has been a week filled with celebration and surprises. This has been a year of tremendous changes and adventure. This has been a decade of finding my way to my one true love. This has been a half-century filled with lessons.
Where has the time gone? Who are the people that have passed thru my first 50 years? Which ones are still here? What have I let go? What have I held onto that maybe I should not? What have I accomplished? What have I failed? Did I learn anything from those failures? Who am I? What have I learned?
SHE is an acronym for Strength (personal and professional), Health (mental, physical and relational) and Essence. With that said, I’d like to reflect for just a moment on those things I have learned that align with the very core elements that I considered when creating this blog, Evolution of SHE. So, before that next half-century gets underway, here goes…
There is no timeline. This concept has been so true in so many aspects of my life, but the one that truly “hits home” is when I was at my most painful time. That time when I was beat down, on my knees in quicksand, seeing no way out, wanting to no longer be here. It was in that moment when I asked one simple question: “When will the hurt stop hurting?” “How many weeks is this going to last?” I learned then and there that healing has no timeline so live in your moments, be with the pain and breathe thru it – and recover without a timeline.
Pull your chair up to the table and work, build relationships, negotiate and strategize like a woman. I’m a professional woman, working in a predominantly male industry. I’m a professional woman beginning a new business that is outside of my comfort zone. I’m a professional woman who has learned, through the school of life, what it takes to work towards balance in my life, negotiate with those I love to allow room for my personal and professional life and strategize how in the hell I was going to “get it all done” in each 24-hour period. Life is my teacher and it has taught me that I do have a voice that matters because I am wise enough (at least some of the time) to stop talking and just listen. THAT is my key to building relationships, getting the work done, knowing how to negotiate for optimal success and being strategic as to when using my voice would have the most positive and profound impact.
Laugh. A Lot. I used to not laugh much. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I could smile thru just about any painful experience. But smiling thru the pain is not joy. To me, the old adage of “stop to smell the roses” is secret lingo for “take the time to LAUGH,” as laughter truly is the best medicine in most cases. Laughter does not make the hurt go away, laughter does not solve the world’s problems. Laughter does, however, work like a natural drug in the brain that relaxes the body, eases the mind and truly is contagious. What makes you laugh? Keep it close by, as the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the better you will feel.
Move your body and water it regularly. I am eternally 10 lbs. heavier than I want to be. Always. But in a world with so many tricked up “secrets to weight loss,” “secrets to a flatter tummy” and “secrets to a clearer complexion,” my manifestation of all that ails me physically in my daily life (sans any disease, of course) is fatigue and an occasional achy joint. I have worked in the fitness industry, have tried most diets and am here to tell you my subscription to physical health: MOVE and DRINK WATER. I know, I’ve oversimplified things. But at 50 years old, I find that when I simply move, whether it be taking the longest route to the other side of my office building, taking the stairs, a yoga class or a long walk with the dog after work, I feel better. And when I water my aging self (yep, 64 oz a day and LOTS of trips to the restroom), I feel PHENOMENAL. Try it for 2 weeks…the results might just surprise you.
Love fully, unconditionally and with adventure. I have loved the wrong man. I have loved my soul mate, but almost lost that in a fear of loving out loud and without fear. I loved the friends who were not true friends at all. I have loved my true soul sisters. I have helicopter-loved my children. I have loved my young adult children enough to let them go and experience life’s triumphs and failures. Love and all that comes with it can be brutal, painful, adventurous and invigorating. The wrong love can make you never want to love again. The right love is so worth waiting for. My love is full, I love “out loud,” I mean it when I love, love is unconditional. Truly loving is freeing. You should try it.
Tell the truth. I learned a long time ago, in the most painful experience I have had in this lifetime, that the truth really DOES set you free. Telling the truth takes the elephant out of the room. Telling the truth fuels your inner strength (because the truth is not always easy). This is one of the greatest gifts I ever gave to my children and to myself. Without the truth, there is no freedom or joy in life.
Be yourself. I didn’t always subscribe to this life lesson, which is why it is one of the greatest of my lessons learned. We have created a society where it seems so much easier to look a certain way, act a certain way, have a certain job or career path just to fit in with the “popular kids” aka “societal norms.” It was only in my darkest moments that I learned that I needed EASY and EASY came only when I was the same Darlene in the carpool line as the Darlene at the office as the Darlene on the patio with girlfriends drinking wine. Being me doesn’t always align neatly with the people or experiences around me, but I’m good with that. Being Darlene is what I am best at and truly, SHE-friends, it is so much easier on my mind and my soul.
Listen. To your heart. To your gut. I have spent 50 years trying perfect this one. Still working on it but, hopefully, have mastered it at least 85% of the time. The answer is inside of you almost every time. Whether it is your gut instinct, your dreams (which is your subconscious self), your “aha” moments in your quiet times (mine is mostly on my yoga mat or when I’m writing)…listen. Get rid of the noise and just listen. The answer is right there
Don’t be afraid of “what’s next” in your Evolution. This is the perfect place to end this post, as this life lesson is really next week’s post. I am still evolving, but this week of highs and lows, celebrations and losses, has paved the way for my next half-century and, SHE-friends, it’s looking pretty adventurous.
So, in my 51st year… 🙂
Note from the SHE files: Life is our novel. My first 50 years were not the chapters. My first half-century was merely the Prologue and Introduction. Let the best part of the book begin!