Have you ever noticed how the lyrics to a song can change the way you look at life?
I'm movin' on
At last I can see life has been patiently waiting for me
And I know there's no guarantees, but I'm not alone
There comes a time in everyone's life
When all you can see are the years passing by
Life has been patiently waiting for me...
I have heard this song probably a thousand times since it was originally released and until now, I didn't quite understand the gravity of what that meant. Sure, I have been through break-ups before and quoted this exact song before. But I never really took the time to work through those issues we all carry with us. Like why do I always put others first? Why has my life been on the back burner for so many years?
The first part is easy, I have been a single mom for a long time and my girls always come first. It would only make sense that everyone else that I love comes before me as well. However, the second part, that is not so easy. I have to ask myself what made it so easy for me to loose myself - my track of life so many years ago. It wasn't just a break up, or just the difficulties of being a single parent that tipped me over the edge. So what was it that allowed me to allow myself to put my life on the back burner?
Being a single mom doesn't mean you have to be alone and I certainly would not imply that I haven't dated or been involved in serious relationships over the last two decades. However, the majority of the time I have spent without a significant other or spouse. I did however get lost in the ideological want and almost a need to make any relationship I entered work. All that I wanted was my own white picket fence. It became not only a goal, but almost a career, trying to find that one person who would love me enough to stay.
What I am moving on from is that. Low self-esteem. Learning now that other people's love is not something I can control. Sounds easy, right? I would be willing to bet that most people feel as though they have stayed in a relationship too long, or feel like they swayed from their own non-negotiables because they felt like the relationship was worth hanging onto. Men are just as guilty as women of doing this. Both people in relationships change, both experience heartache and pain. Both will put their own personal needs to the side to make sure the other person's needs are met first. Now, granted not every person does this or relationships would never end.
What I am moving on from is lack of confidence in myself to say exactly what I want and need in a partner. I may have expressed it before, but then I turned around and waivered on those needs just enough to show the other person how unimportant they really were to me. If they aren't important to me, why should they be important to anyone else?
What I am moving on from is self-doubt. I have had to step back and really evaluate who I am and what is important. Again, this is not as easy as it sounds, many tears have been shed, and many pints of Ben and Jerry's have been consumed during this never-ending process.
Years of my life have passed me by. I have missed so many things that I wanted to do, I have let go of so many things I needed in the hopes that a partner would stay. Literally, years waiting for that one person to love me "enough." Time served in bad relationships a year or two at a time, not realizing I was allowing myself to get lost in them. Not realizing I was worth so much more than the way I have been treated.
"At last I can see, life has been patiently waiting for me." At last, I can genuinely see that the most important person to love me "enough," is me. What a revelation that is. I have preached throughout the years that I love myself, I'm strong and confident. If that were the case, I wouldn't have the ability to talk about life and love with such passion. Now that I am really dealing with the emotions of all of these failed relationships, I can see it wasn't just them. It wasn't just me. Now, I can see that my life isn't about loving a partner enough to make them stay, it's about loving myself enough to see they weren't right for me. I can't control another person's feelings, or make them want to stay. I have to look for the red flags flying and acknowledge when I see them; running from them. Listening to the warning signs and paying attention to the things that are non-negotiable instead of putting myself to the side to make the other person happy.
Especially being a single parent, living that way is not living. When your children look at you and say all they want is for you to be happy, you should question what makes them think you aren't happy. The truth of the matter is, you probably have not been truly happy in a long time and your kids are picking up on it.
This beautiful life has been sitting over there waving at me from a distance, almost taunting me for years. While I was held back by the ideology of the need for a white picket fence, things like school and friends were pushed off to the side. Not anymore, I have finally broken free from the chain holding me back and have met up with this beautiful life.
Life does that, it patiently waits for you to catch up with it, always reminding us that it is also short. There may not always be a tomorrow. Stop saying I will do that when.... Or I will be better when... start living your life. Don't make life wait patiently on you.