As you read this post, ask yourself, “Am I the same ‘me’ that I was 20 years ago? 10 years ago? Even 5 years ago?” I know all of my 40+ friends just chuckled and said, “maybe minus a few love lines on the face and hidden grays on the head!” For me, the answer is simple, yet complicated. You see, I am still ME, but at each of those chronological milestones and a few “life changing milestones” in between, I can honestly say that I have been different versions of me along the way.
That is my evolution. That is my “aha moment.”
Some might look at my last statement and simply say, “That’s maturity, Darlene.” But I’m not so sure that the said “maturity” is something that happens just because we get older.
My evolution was honestly set in motion by some of the most significant EXPERIENCES that I have had in my almost 50 years – not making ANYTHING I tried out for in high school the first time, then making it after a lot of hard work the 2nd time around; dancing all night long in my favorite night clubs in the ‘80s in Dallas without a care in the world; marrying my “Prince Charming” who ended up not being anything even CLOSE to prince or charming; losing one of my best friends to depression and suicide; the birth of my two children; trying to “fit in” and “find my group of friends” when my kids were young; the staph pneumonia that almost took my older child’s life at the age of 7; the moment when I walked into an FBI search to discover my “prince charming” was really the “predator next door;” being a single Mom and starting a new job in a new industry trying to support my kids; climbing the corporate ladder of that job, that I surprisingly have loved and felt supported and loved by those I work with; becoming a certified yoga instructor; writing my book and traveling the country to fight child sexual abuse; meeting Oprah and Deborah Roberts; meeting my 2nd husband with skeptical eyes and learning to love without conditions or walls; being TRULY in love with my husband and all that comes with that; becoming an empty-nester; watching my oldest graduate from college and helping him move to another city to begin his new life; starting this blog; whatever today brings…
That’s my “life list” and it’s only a thumbnail sketch. I re-read it and fully realize and embrace the SHE that I have found in me – not in spite of the difficult times, but BECAUSE of the life-changing experiences, the best and the worst.
What does your “life list” look like? Try actually writing it down, then re-read it. How has it contributed to who you are today, how you view life, how you treat others, how you feel about yourself?
When life hands you lemons, make lemonade, right? Well, actually, feel free to curl up in a ball and cry your heart out, be angry, be wary…it’s all cathartic. BUT THEN…
Get back up, brush yourself off, don’t settle for just lemonade—create a whole franchise of lemonade stands ☺
I don’t know what life still has in store for me and I’m pretty sure I still have some evolving to do, but in the meantime I know my life experiences are catalysts that have helped me see the world thru not a NEW set of eyes, but with the same old Darlene eyes and a lot more clarity of vision. I choose happy. I choose smiling at strangers. I choose to love unconditionally and try to keep my fear at bay. I choose to try new things (not always an easy choice for me!); I choose to try and make a difference, whether it be for one person or a whole cause; I choose to sometimes just bite my tongue; I choose to notice but not react when someone doubts me or my choices because they see the world differently than I do.
What do you choose? Seriously, write it down. Write it down directly UNDER your “life list.” Then just sit with it and explore what you do, what you feel.
I leave you with this:
“SHE not only saw the light at the end of the tunnel, SHE became that light for others.” –SHE, the pretty table book
Now, insert YOUR NAME in the two places that SHE appears and read that quote out loud.
Now, go be that light.
Note from the SHE Files: Namasté and Shine Your Ray!