When I launched this blog, one of my intentions was to be much more open and to write from an honest place on my struggle for balance between passion, my quest for happiness and family. I fully intended to report back often, yet couldn’t quite find the words – or more accurately, I couldn’t get them out of me.
I have been distant on the happiness front for a few reasons, major reasons – namely though the lack of happiness. For the last several months of 2014, life was anything but happy. I had nothing to report except the lack of travel, the lack of balance or stability, and most definitely the lack of happy moments.
So in order to get through this, to let these words and thoughts finally escape my head, there is no better forum than the one I designed for it. Please bear with me while I ramble.
Though 2014 was full of many ups, I experienced some severe downs. I am happy to report that today however, I am on the road to recovery.
It’s the law of life. Before you can go up, sometimes you must go down.
Sometimes it’s down low, much lower than you ever anticipated. I thought I was familiar with the feeling of low, however I was naïve. As someone who has dealt with anxiety my whole life and depression off and on, the worst was yet to come. I hit a new low.
I enter this new year in a new way.
Single after 14 years in a relationship, (eight of those married), I’m now living on my own and sharing custody of my kids. After years of trying to make each other happy, I mean really trying, my partner and I decided to quit making each other miserable. This obviously left me in quite a different place, from the comfortable yet fairly bumpy (and many times unhappy) life I was living the past few years.
I felt though, that I was prepared for it. We had mutually decided this was the way to go, and both knew and still know, it is the best decision for our family. What I didn’t expect however was that my sense of loss would be so immense.
By the year’s end I found myself doubting my gut. The one thing I had learned to trust. I quizzed myself endlessly, second guessing every reason or decision I made that led up to this point.
This is was what I wanted wasn’t it? I used to think so.
Maybe things weren’t so bad?
Maybe we would have worked it out over time?
Could I have made a mistake?
Could I have tried harder?
Why does it hurt so much if this was what I desired?
I found myself going back to those desires to look for answers. And instead, only could reflect on the ‘what if’s’. Surely I thought, they would help me get back the mind set that led me here.
If only I could have more time to myself.
If only I was understood.
If only I wasn’t completely wrapped up in the failure of my relationship.
If only I could pursue my passion and be loved for my success.
If only I was appreciated for who I am and what I give.
If only we weren’t so different.
If only, things were different … Well, they sure are now.
Reflecting back, I had started 2014 like a person holding a laser pointer. I could point it wherever on whatever target and make it happen. I had a firm grip on where I was going and what would work best for me. I was confident, performing well and sure about what was holding me back. I had goals, and was achieving them, even exceeding with a few. I started to find a bit of work-life balance after two years of struggling to follow my dreams, while holding down two jobs on top of trying to be a stellar parent and wife. However, that was from my perspective.
By mid-year, it was clear I was succeeding, but I was the only one celebrating it within our relationship.
As the year ended and we made everything official, the realness of the situation took its toll on me emotionally. What I wanted so badly, what I thought would make me the most happy, seemed so much less important by the year’s end.
I lost that feeling, my drive, all ambition. I became numb. Felt lonely. Like more alone than ever. This wasn’t quite the quiet time I had in mind earlier in the year. Depression took its toll. Poor diet choices, apathy and a full on pity party took over my life. I wasn’t even sure what would make me happy day-to-day.
Not to mention the severe creative block. I couldn’t get words out. I stopped pitching assignments and struggled through ones I had committed to. And I didn’t shoot barely a thing for three months. This coming from someone who regularly takes about 3000 or so images a month. Depleted physically and emotionally, I just kept expecting for my usual pick me up to kick in. Only it didn’t.
I needed a full on manual reset.
Instead of holding the laser, suddenly I was the cat hopelessly chasing that ever moving red light. I looked everywhere to try and figure out which direction to go? I didn’t know where to turn to find happy again.
I thought hard about giving up my passion, which seemed to have been one of the culprits that led to our split (there were of course, many more). I felt guilty and caught up in my own failures as a wife and parent. I was in a hopeless funk and struggled to get through each day.
Over the course of the last few weeks of the year I decided something had to be done. But first I knew I needed to allow myself some time. To be sad, to adjust, to re-evaluate my choices and priorities. I needed to think on it.
Instead of clearly understanding why this was so much harder than expected, I found myself letting go, swimming in and succumbing to, new and unexpected feelings. I admitted defeat, I had no answers and no control. I just needed to let it all happen.
I finally came to the point where I realized a simple concept — that happiness is a moving target. And my focus has evolved, so too perhaps should my outlook on happiness. And happiness after all, is my responsibility.
And although I wasn’t done mourning the loss of my marriage, I knew it was time to shift my perspective and get back to the very optimistic person who had been in hiding. I started thinking about and vocalizing to whomever would hear me out why things are actually on the up and up for me, and my family. After all, these things were true, I just had to make myself believe it over time.
I am so lucky for so many reasons.
Me and my ex probably have a more healthy relationship than ever.
He is a wonderful person who I still care for and love.
We are amicable.
We help each other out.
We are stable parents whose tension doesn’t hang over our family like a storm cloud.
We both have lovely, safe homes.
Our kids are adjusting quite well.
We have our schedules down but are flexible.
Our kids are the centre of focus, not our fighting.
The short of it is, I found gratitude in my heart. For this terrible outcome, I found some silver linings. I’m proud of the things we achieved by making the hardest decision of our marriage – the decision to be apart. Now it was time to work on me again.
Let’s talk transition. I’m in it.
I became motivated to move on. To excel again. It’s just not usually this hard. Sure I have never been in this exact spot, but I have always been someone who viewed change as an opportunity, a new challenge. What’s more motivating than mastering something new? Okay maybe instead of mastering I am going to pat myself on the back for accepting what transpired, my accountability in it, and where I am at. That sounds healthier.
It was time to create some new pathways, simple ones which I could focus and count on to bring me back to a happier place. In 2015, I am committed to doing more of the following:
Treat my body better – eat well – exercise – laugh.
Enjoy time with my kids more.
Be kind. To everyone.
And now some goals for my passion:
Slow down find the right fit.
Beware of getting too caught up.
Less stress, more excitement.
Write every day.
Write from a more honest place.
Stop worrying about where I fit.
Do what I do best.
Waste less time and energy – quit doing things I can’t stand.
Love what I am doing.
So where am I since committing to this new pathway?
My regrouping from my unraveling is already leading to positive outcomes.
Health has taken first priority in my life for my sake, and my kids. In order to be the best mom I can be, I have to be healthy emotionally and physically. I already feel better, with my energy growing daily. I find myself smiling more. Stress levels and anxiety have lessened dramatically allowing me to better focus on family time.
We all seem happier though it’s only been a short time. I am more present with my kids, not as overwhelmed, distracted or fraught with despair. We laugh a lot more and there is more calm than crazy in the house.
I am not done mourning and some days are worse than others, but all I can do is focus on one foot in front of the other, all the positives in my life, and things that genuinely make me and my boys happy.
In regard to reigniting my passion for what I do, I dove back in whole hearted. In a few short weeks I have secured three new outlets, filed three stories and have some promising partnerships underway. I picked up my camera – this time first to take pictures of my kids. They are such lovely little humans.
And though I had no travel plans set in stone during my September to December lull, I now have five trips planned in the next six months.
I’m happy to say I’m back up on the horse and ready to not only face, but welcome this year of change. It feels good to finally open up, and write again. I feel my words are much closer to my heart than ever before.
Thank you for being here by reading this – by visiting my site.