There are days when I just feel lost.
Okay, if I’m really being honest, it’s most days.
I walk around as if in a haze, almost always subconsciously thinking about how lost I am. And then in the next moment, I think, how is that even possible?
How is it possible that a 48-year-old suburban mom of two, with a degree and a home and a minivan and a dinky devil dog can feel this way?
I’ll tell you how…
I woke up.
About four years ago, a few different things happened all at the same time, which shook me out of my complacency and made me take a look at my life. A long, hard look. At all of the things that I had been ignoring, or avoiding, or just too dang busy raising kids to see — let alone even begin to acknowledge.
A perfect storm of Wake The Fuck Up helpers that the Universe sent to me — all grabbing me by the arm, hand, hair, and face, shaking me until I couldn’t stay asleep anymore.
I was suddenly forced to look in the mirror and take a long, hard look at what I saw. It was time to focus on what I saw and deal with it. Finally.
It was time to deal with the hot mess that my life had become. On the inside.
That “on the inside” point is an important point, because my life might have looked totally different to someone on the outside looking in. Because they were seeing only what they wanted to see. What they could see from the outside.
But on the inside, it was a totally different story.
When it happened, it was almost shocking how abrupt my awakening was.
It was like the Universe decided that I wasn’t paying attention to this thing over here, so let’s show it to you in someone else’s life so you can recognize it in your own more clearly than you ever have before.
And, oh yeah, you aren’t paying attention to this either, so let’s get up close and personal with it, so you will stop squeezing it out of your life and pretending it’s not there.
And also, you forgot about this person you were, so let’s reintroduce you to her by bringing this person back into your life…and that one…and all these new ones. So you can remember her.
So you can stop pretending.
So you can stop sleeping through your life.
So you can finally wake the fuck up, sister.
Well, it worked. It worked like a charm.
And I’ve been wading around in the muck ever since.
Laughing about it at first. Even having a little fun with it.
But then it kept going on.
And then it stopped being fun.
So I tried to find answers. And I tried to fix things.
I tried to fix things with volunteer work that would allow me to focus on someone other than myself. Anyone else.
I tried to fix it with a job that didn’t fit, even though I loved the people.
I tried to fix it with walks in nature and striving for the perfect workout award at my gym.
With weekends away that would allow me some time away from my suburban life and the freedom to write and explore who I am becoming.
Or returning to.
I tried to fix it by stepping fully and completely into my life as a writer, by taking part in an apprenticeship that absorbed every last moment of free time I had — but gave me back my voice.
I tried to fix it by leading other apprentices through the same program — which helped me remember who I am as a leader.
I tried to fix it with another job that didn’t fit.
And somewhere along the way, I realized how fabulously I was failing at fixing it all.
So I started numbing it instead. Pretending.
But you know what happens when we numb and pretend?
I’ll tell you what happens, friends.
You look around, and you realize that even with all the changes you’ve made, you are still just as lost as you were four years ago when this all began.
The only difference is that now, you are a 48-year-old hot mess instead of a 44-year-old hot mess.
And every time you took a step forward, something happened that made you take two steps back.
You start to remember that spirited chick you used to be, and then those beautiful reminders of her go away.
You embark on a Soul Project to save your Self, and then your dad gets diagnosed with lymphoma.
You start to feel the freedom you crave, and then the independence is gone.
So you find yourself standing in the middle of a crowd, wondering how all of the people surrounding you are so fucking happy.
I actually had that conscious thought one day, observing a group of my friends as we shared a meal. I thought, “Are they all really as happy as they seem to be? If so, how the hell do I get there? Or is that just what I’m seeing on the outside, but their insides are just like mine? Are they just pretending, too?”
Or is it that they are just still asleep? Or, as a brilliant soul sister of mine phrased it today — comfortably numb?
So you wonder what else you can possibly change that you haven’t changed yet in your life.
But the still, small voice already knows.
She always knows.
Because the lost-ness won’t end…
And the healing won’t begin…
Until you finally do the what the still, small voice is whispering to you.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom.
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