This has been one amazing year.
I do not want to jinx it or anything. I do realize we're not quite through.
A year ago at this time, I would never have imagined I would be where I am today. If I am being very honest, I can say that there were moments in the last several years where I wasn't sure I would ever be truly this happy again. Life is funny that way.
I left my job at the end of last year, got engaged on a surprise trip to Rome in March, packed my bags for a two month solo trip through Europe in April and am now in the midst of putting the final touches on my upcoming wedding at the end of October. If I reflect back to a year ago at this time, I would never have imagined that life would take the turns that it has.
I am in somewhat of a reflective mode given the upcoming changes that are taking place. This entire year has really been about reflection and the emerging theme of transformation. Prior to this year, I always thought of transformation in a pure business context, never focusing applying the same principles to my own life. My wake up call was three years ago this past September when I lost my mother to breast cancer. Without drowning in backstory detail, I'll say that this experience was a defining moment in my life.
Everyone who has dealt with losing a loved one and going through the subsequent grief process will understand this journey. Looking back, it was like someone threw my entire life up in the air, slammed it back down to the ground, shattering it into a million pieces and then walked away. There was really no instruction book on how to put it back together.
I do not want today's post to delve into the grief process, but rather to shed a little light on my journey forward. I remember clearly one morning several years ago, my boyfriend, now fiance, sent me an email while I was on a business trip and very clearly articulated that I now had two choices, two paths I could take. I could move forward or I could move backwards. He gave me the gift of hope. He also reminded me that life is about choices.
Truthfully, it was too early in the process for me to make any real decisions and I floundered for quite awhile. There is temporary comfort in sameness. There came a point in time, however, when I realized that something in my life was no longer right.
My mother used to always remind me to "Do what makes you happy." I was increasingly feeling that I had strayed from this path and it was time, and I was ready, to make some choices to realign myself. These choices are never easy. In fact, they are extremely difficult. Leaving my job was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Leaving something behind that defined your identity for so long is very uncomfortable.
It was like a blank slate with no where to go but forward. No risk, no reward. I do believe in this.
Moving forward, making active decisions to change, to transform, is very empowering.
My trip to Europe earlier this year was a significant event in my life, for many reasons, but primarily because it served to create a bridge between where I was and where I am going. Traveling alone gave me time to reflect, heal, and think about my future. I'd be very untruthful if I said I had it all worked out when I returned home, in fact I had none of it worked out, but it did give me time to think and begin to move forward again.
I had serious plans to delve into my next big ideas when I got back, but for good reasons, this has been put on a temporary hold. Conversations after my return home in June went something like this.
"When's the big day?"
"Show me pictures of your dress."
"You must be so excited."
Yes, I was certainly "so excited", but no, I had not completed an inkling of real planning while I was overseas. So, just like that, my path in life took another turn. The past several months have been spent planning our wedding, the details of which I'll be sharing with you over the next several weeks. I am just going with the flow at this point. I know now that everything happens for a reason and when the timing is right I will move on to whatever is meant to be next.
It truly has been an amazing year. I want to thank each of you who have been with me on this journey thus far for sticking around as I explore all of these new paths. Your support has been amazing and I hope that in return I can inspire you just a little bit to think about what makes you happy and remind you that you have your own choices in life when and if you find you have strayed a little from your path.