How Did This Happen?
I used to ask myself this question over and over, until I stopped asking myself. This is the short version of my story—odd, yet becoming less odd as time moves on, and women are either marrying much later or not marrying at all.
Where To Begin?
Unless you’ve been through it, it’s a very strange feeling to watch most others marry while you become their bridesmaid a whopping 14 times! Join a sorority, and that can happen. I felt like there was something out of sorts with me as I moved through my 20’s. I was fairly oblivious to the world around me and how I fit into it. I was too caught up in the minutia of life, unaware and confused about what was happening with my love life. Throw in lots of insecurity and a dash of yo-yo dieting and weight management issues, and we have a nice recipe for loneliness. Oh, there were boys and dates and boyfriends but nothing truly substantial, as there was no way my psyche was truly ready for all that. I had no idea what was happening, living in a world of surface with really very little substance (which pains me to admit).
I really began to freak out in my 30’s about my future; however, the process of self-exploration was in full- throttle mode. I went through the decade contemplating religion, spirituality, and my life’s purpose yet still really wasn’t fully acknowledging who I was and what was best for my life. I know I had relationships in my 30’s, but I really don’t remember most of them. I guess I just blocked them out or lumped them into the abyss. I do know this—they didn’t work out, and they didn’t end well. I was working through my career and beginning to learn what trust, friendship, and change meant in the workplace. I also learned firsthand about death and how real and deep it felt with the loss of my most precious lifelong supporter—my mom.
Getting In My Own Way
Everything changed after my mother died. I changed drastically! I can’t emphasize that enough. My mom’s death was the first major catastrophe of my life, and there was no turning back from the growth that happened from that experience as it catapulted me forward. Empathy, sympathy, openness, kindness, and awareness—they all began to come alive! Thank you, Mom. This was a valuable experience and a necessary piece of the life process. At the same time, guess what was still looming around? Those good old insecurities.
As I pushed my life forward, I managed to accomplish much to make sure everything would get in the way of the elephant in the room: relationships and my problem with them. A couple of advanced degrees, taking care of my exterior being, pursuing career advancement, selection to a high-level volunteer job— all just for me, making sure I masked what was really going on inside. Oh, my life appeared to be great and fun, and everyone loved hearing my exciting stories and life adventures.
Clearing the Path
Here came another decade—my 40’s. Oh no, you have got to be kidding me. I still hadn’t figured it out. Was I still selecting the wrong men for myself? Oh, you bet! My favorites were the emotionally unavailable. However, I was increasingly becoming more aware of what was happening. I spent several years in my 40’s cut off from relationships due to a very bad ending of one of them early in the decade, which by the way, I am now so grateful happened. I learned so much about myself, and it was truly the first time I started to really be myself in a relationship as my personality came alive. It was fun and energizing yet filled with turmoil. Consequently, we were not a good fit for a lifetime; but, we were a good fit for that moment in time. After this break up, I spent years in hibernation and surprisingly unaware that I was doing it. Once I figured it out, I came back alive in a BIG way.
I was studying positive psychology and the law of attraction. You name it, I was into it. I needed this to progress in life. After 20 years of angst, the answers to my relationship woes were just starting to come clear without even realizing it. The build-up must have been enough, as it was time—time for IT to happen. Yes, the epiphany came into consciousness, a feeling that ran through me like none other. The best way to describe it is a fullness of life running through and within me that I never knew or felt before. Suddenly, relationships didn’t matter at all! I actually wasn’t saying it; I was feeling it! That’s a must because lip service will only get you so far. I need to say this again: romantic relationships didn’t matter at this point! My own life was all that mattered, and living it to capacity was all that mattered. That was it, and there I was —me and only me.
Life was never like this before. I didn’t care about anything but being a good person and having fun. Whoever showed up to have fun with me, well, that was great. No expectations, no fear, no insecurity— all fun. This was weird, but believe me, once it happens, you want it, and you must have it! It’s life altering. So what happens next doesn’t really matter, as long as you trust that it’s the right thing at the right place at the right time. This relaxed mode affected me the most and allowed my life to flow as needed. I just took it as it came. The worry was over because I just couldn’t spend another moment giving a hoot about anything except living my life.
So— Did He Ever Show Up? The “One?”
Of course he did. Better late than never. I am engaged to the most ethical, kind, warm, handsome guy ever. That’s what a clear mind and heart did for me.
Let Your Own Journey Unfold
So what about you? Is it time for you? Is it time for you to breathe and have your own epiphany? If you say it is, then it is. Let go, for goodness sake— and live! Be open to everything and pick and choose what works for you. Just know that it’s going to be okay. The unknown is not to be feared but is a welcoming friend allowing excitement into a fresh, new day. I’m thrilled for you and your journey to unfold, allowing in whatever you want, including the greatest guy in the world—if that’s what you want.
Author’s Note: 51 and Just Getting Married is the overview to a series of upcoming blogs.