I’m not much of a rebel. In fact, I’m a pretty committed rule-follower and goody two-shoes.
Growing up in a world where I interpreted that approval came from what I did, not simply who I was, I fitted right in. I did well at school, played sport, ran races, learned the flute, danced my heart out and made friends easily.
I rarely rocked the boat, broke a rule or even so much as dreamed of rebelling. I played it safe and was a ‘good girl’ ’cause that’s what I thought brought me the love and security I craved.
And yeah, I was happy enough. I certainly think I looked happy from the outside. Busy can look happy because we are distracted from those inner whisperings that question whether we are truly serving our soul’s purpose. Although I guess that’s what being young is all about: Trying this, trying that, being active, working different jobs, studying, dropping out, changing track, starting and ending romances, getting married, getting divorced….Oh, well maybe that last bit’s not for everyone.
That’s just what I did.
Finding myself a newly separated woman shortly after our first anniversary was a bit of a shock. My slightly more rebellious younger brother’s response was a classic: “Yay! Tricia’s finally done something naughty.” That made me laugh – a little anyway.
Yep, I’d walked out of a 15 month-old marriage and was not going back. Goodbye good Tricia. Well, not really, I was still living the illusion that I could make my life work by keeping my head down and playing life safe. Any minor transgressions along the way were simply not me, couldn’t possibly be me.
So although I felt guilty as anything over the marriage breakdown and very sad too, I didn’t really know how to take responsibility for my actions and move forward without hating myself. My moral compass was fluttering in all directions and it took me a year or two to regain some semblance of inner stability.
What really bugged my super-focused, efficiency-oriented mind was the time I had now wasted. I was in my mid-twenties, doing a job not remotely connected to the seemingly useless Bachelor of Arts I had completed, I was divorced, had no assets, no savings, a new boyfriend in the same situation as me and was spending yet more time and potentially wasting more money (only thanks to Mum and Dad), on another university degree to what end?
In my grandly delusional dreams I was going to be happily married, financially secure and at home with my first child by 25. What on earth happened?
Anyway, it all actually worked out okay. That penniless boyfriend and I moved in together that same year, I finished my psychology degree and post grad. diploma and started a new career, we got married and finally in my early thirties I got the ‘happily married with financial security and two children’ dream. And that’s when I began to finally work out how to be happy.
When we get everything we thought we needed to be happy and realise we still aren’t, that’s when real personal growth happens. I’m in a similar situation again right now. I have the life I dreamed of when my children were babies and guess what, I still need to learn that it’s not enough when I don’t love myself fully and value each present moment for what it offers.
So to finish this long story, I just want to say at a slightly wiser 43, dream your dreams, make them happen AND remember to spend time learning to love yourself just as you are right now and love just where you are right now. It makes the ride much smoother. That’s all. <3