People assume because I'm in my late 30s and single that I picked my career over my love life. And for the most part I think they're right. I didn't intentionally choose career over love though. My career took off and I used it as an excuse to avoid love. The worst part is, I didn't realize I've been avoiding love until I was on vacation recently.
I take a long summer break right around my birthday. My break starts in June and ends the day after my birthday in July. My break is really just an opportunity for me to reflect on what I did with my life over the course of the year and decide what I want to focus on for the next year.
I play on my breaks. I relax and I reflect. I cook a lot while on break too. So while walking through the local grocery store one day this month I realized I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was hoping to get what I needed to make a rhubarb cobbler without anyone recognizing me. I wanted to stay hidden.
As the cobbler baked later that afternoon, I came back to this idea of hiding out. It was a thread I can easily weave throughout my 30s.
When I turned 32, I dedicated my life to making a difference in the world. I became so consumed with my passion for community that I didn't think twice about a personal life. I didn't have time to think about love nor did I care about making the space in my life for love to come in. I was an entrepreneur. That became my identity. My schedule provided me with an easy way out of being in love. Of course, I didn't realize I was avoiding love at the time.
When I turned 35, I made a huge shift in my life to find balance in life. Being successful as an entrepreneur took a toll on my health. This time, I became consumed in the quest to discover myself as a healthy, strong woman. I was self-conscious about the weight my body absorbed due to the stress of being an entrepreneur. Hiding out from love was easier than ever that year. I don't think I was intentionally avoiding it though.
When I took my 36th summer break, I was in a good groove with the business and my health. So, I decided that was the year to fall in love with myself all over again. I did an awesome job at it too! I took trips to the beach by myself. I went to concerts by myself. I joined new clubs and started new hobbies. I deepened my relationship with myself. And in doing that, I opened my heart up to love for the first time in a while. My 36th year was a really great year. Yet, I missed true love. I found it personally just disconnected from it romantically.
I turn 37 on Friday, July 17. I'm wrapping up my summer break this weekend. And what I discovered on my break this year was that I still wasn't fully present to the idea of love. I wanted a romantic man to do life with. I started comparing my life with what my friends have with their husbands and babies. And yet, I was hiding out in grocery stores, avoiding people so I could get home to make a cobbler.
Without realizing what I was doing, I got comfortable being single and doing life on my own. Being badass at being single happened the same way being a successful entrepreneur happened. I just figured it out one day at a time.
I know how to be an entrepreneur. I know how to take care of my health, emotional well-being, body, spirit and mind. I know how to be single. And I know how to be happy. All of these elements are beautiful. They've all served me well.
While on my break, I dug in and did the reflective work necessary to shed old pains that built the wall I stood behind. It was intense at times and already worth it. Standing on my path, without any barriers, already feels like home.
I'm 37 and comfortable. Again. And I'm looking forward to this next year.