The choices we make

I woke up early this morning and decided to head down to the beach for a walk. As I got there, I was greeted with a view of a pod of dolphins playing in the surf off the point. I reached the point by land just as they arrived by sea. It was beautiful.

As they moved around the point and into the bay, I followed them along the beach. At the far end of the bay, they played in the sunshine so I sat for almost an hour and watched them. As I did, I realised that I was the only person on the beach. The only human allowed this private audience and I was grateful. And I realised that I’m grateful to the Universe for so many things.

Grateful that something had woken me up and made me come down to the beach.
Grateful that my friends have allowed me to stay at their beach house so often this year.
Grateful that I made the choices I did to change my life so that sitting on a beach watching dolphins in the sunshine for an hour in the morning is reality. I’m not sitting in traffic or in an office or in a meeting counting the minutes until I can leave and go home.

I’m also grateful that I’m giving myself this time. Listening to my heart and my intuition. Figuring out what really matters to me and following that passion.

The beach, this place, helps ground me. I can breathe here. I can write here. I can sit with my laptop and work whilst listening to the wind in the trees, the birds all around me, the sound of the surf in the distance.

For years I told myself story after story that the only way to have a happy life is to work harder than the next person. To try to accumulate wealth. To do more and more. To race around and compete against everyone else. But none of that made me happy or brought joy to my life.

I was so busy competing and pushing, I didn’t see (or maybe didn’t want to see) how I was hurting lots of people who loved me. I didn’t allow them to get close to me. I hid from those most important to me as I didn’t want them to see how unhappy I was.

I couldn’t see how I could change. I believed that if I let go and stopped trying to control everything, my life would fall apart.

And then my life did fall apart.

You know what? It wasn’t that bad.

Oh, ok. Truth be told, it was horrendous at times. But I lived. And I accepted that it was a process I needed to go through to grow and learn and be who I want to be. And I feel like I’m starting to come out the other side.

I’m making very different choices to those I made a few years ago. Things that were important to me then (status, job, house, car, clothing, shoes, etc) aren’t important to me anymore. I have a fabulous shoe collection, but now that I work from home I don’t have anywhere to wear them.

People are important to me.

Firstly, instead of putting everyone else first, I put myself first. I’ve realised that this isn’t selfish, it’s vital. For too many years I put everyone else in my life before me. Eventually this led to serious health issues that I’ve had to confront and manage. No one else is going to do that for me. I need and want to look after myself. If I’m not healthy, I can’t manage doing anything else in my life.

Secondly, my daughters are a priority. I realised that I can’t ask my girls to be true to themselves if I’m not a role model by being true to myself first.

Thirdly, I’m working on repairing years of hurt and heartache that I’ve caused my parents. They have both been my biggest supporters, even when I haven’t always seen it or realised it or I pushed them away. I now talk with them a number of times a week and after a very healing trip to Michigan in August, we’re now planning on a holiday (just the three of us) in Hawaii in January. I can’t wait. It’s going to be fun. (It may also be exasperating at times, but that’s ok too. I don’t get to spend that much time with them and I plan to enjoy every minute I can.)

Fourth, my tribe. My key go-to people who love me and help me in so many ways. I love that we are there for each other when we need each other. And are also just there for a laugh, or a smile or a text or tweet that can brighten an entire day.

And finally, my wider circle of friends. So many people have come out of the woodwork to show me love and support over the past few years. I’m reconnecting to old friends I haven’t talked to in 20 years or more and I love it every time someone contacts me.

Besides focusing on people who matter to me, I’ve also made a conscious choice to slow down my life. I realise that running around and doing stuff all the time doesn’t actually lead to happiness or contentedness for me. I need quiet. I need space. I need trees. I need water nearby. I need time in nature every day or else I start to wither inside. I need these things like I once needed status, car, shoes. But now I realise that stillness and quiet in nature truly nourishes my soul.

And as far as doing stuff, I’m working on a few projects that seem to always come at the right time. I’ve just been accepted to start a course in January that I’m looking forward to and in the meantime, I have time to watch dolphins.

I’m much more judicious with my time and the choices I make. Obviously, I’m not choosing a conventional life. But I’m good with that. I don’t want to be conventional. I can’t think of anything worse. I just want to be me. Not what I think other people want me to be.

A friend sent me a beautiful text this morning. She said ‘You don’t have to be a force of nature, just a good person.’ That’s true. All I have to do is be happy with myself and be who I want to be. A woman who lives a wholehearted life and who stays true to me.

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